GREATER BELL ZION MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH RECEIVES OFFICAL TEXAS
L to R Standing: Charlie B. Agbonkonkon, Ida Proctor, Lois Wilson, Connie Newsome, Greater Bell Zion Missionary Baptist Church circa 1950.
Vernon Thompson, Susan Jones, Eva Newsome, Helen D. Mooty, Pastor Jerry B. Lee Jr.
Seated: Grace N. Ellis and Bessie Sanford
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized Greater Bell Zion Missionary Baptist Church as a significant part of Texas history by awarding it an Official Texas Historical Marker. The designation honors Greater Bell Zion as an important and educational part of local history.
A dedication service to commemorate the event will be held Sunday, January 19th beginning at 10:00 a.m. Immediately following the service, the unveiling of the historical marker will be held in front of the church located at 5917 Carver Avenue, in Texas City, TX 77591. Guest Speaker for the morning will include Alex Pratt, Professor Emeritus of History (Ret.) at College of the Mainland and long-time member of the Galveston County Historical Commission. The Galveston County Historical Commission welcomes the public to share in and witness this exciting historical event.
ORIGINAL SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL BUILDING RECEIVES OFFICAL TEXAS HISTORICAL MARKER
Original Santa Fe High School
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized Santa Fe ISD’s original 1928 high school building as a significant part of Texas history by awarding it an Official Texas Historical Marker. The designation honors the district as an important and educational part of local history.
In the late 1800s, the towns of Algoa, Arcadia, and Alta Loma each operated their own primary schools. By 1912, these communities began discussions to consolidate and establish an accredited high school. Santa Fe became the first consolidated school district in the county. This unique Spanish/Southwestern-style building was the high school for thirty-one years, until a new building was constructed. Now known as the “Old School Museum,” the repository for historical artifacts and photographs is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 3, and Saturdays 9 to 1.
“Santa Fe’s history is unique in that the school was established before the town was officially incorporated with the name of Santa Fe,” said Patti Hanssard of SFISD. “We are proud of this new partnership between the district and the local Santa Fe Area Historical Foundation. This building and its historical collection are a source of pride for our community and an educational resource for our students.”
A dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held on January 15at 13304 Highway 6 in Santa Fe at 5 pm. Speakers will include school district, city and county officials. Tours of the building and its historical exhibits available after the marker unveiling ceremony.The Galveston County Historical Commission welcomes the public to share in and witness this exciting historical event.
JACK JOHNSON RECEIVES OFFICIAL STATE OF TEXAS HISTORICAL MARKER
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized Arthur John “Jack” Johnson as a significant part of Texas history by awarding him an Official Texas Historical Marker. The designation honors Jack Johnson as an important and educational part of local history.
A dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held on February 1, 2014 at Jack Johnson Park, located at 2601 Avenue M, Galveston, Texas at 10:00 am. Speakers for the morning will include Ms. Ann Landeros and Mr. Alex Borger. The Galveston County Historical Commission welcomes the public to share in and witness this exciting historical event.
“The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasures and the importance of their preservation,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the THC. “Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state’s history. This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources,” Wolfe said.
A subject qualifies for a marker if two basic criteria are met: historical significance and age. Historical significance is established by reviewing its role and importance in local history, and the age requirement depends on the topic. The THC’s Official Texas Marker Policies are outlined in the Official Texas Historical Marker Procedures, which may be obtained by contacting the History Programs Division, Texas Historical Commission, at 512/463-5853 or visiting the web site at www.thc.state.tx.us
“The citizens of Galveston are thrilled to honor our very own ‘Galveston Giant.’ This Marker Ceremony shall serve as a celebration of such a diverse cultural history that exists on Galveston Island. To have both a City Park and Texas Historic Marker in honor of Jack Johnson will allow generations of Texans to celebrate his life and Galveston’s rich history” said Hank Thierry, Chair of the Galveston Historic Foundation’s African American Heritage Committee.
Texas has the largest marker program in the United States with approximately 15,000 markers. Seventeen states have used the Texas program as a model; the THC reviews more than 300 marker applications each year.
JOYCINA BAKER NAMED THE OFFICIAL HISTORIAN OF FRIENDSWOOD
On November 4, Joycina Baker, Galveston County Historical Commission board member, was named the Official Historian of Friendswood. You can read more about Joycina Baker's honor at Your Houston News
FOURTH ANNUAL JANE LONG FESTIVAL ON BOLIVAR PENINSULA
On October 12, the Galveston County Museum participated in the Jane Long Festival on Bolivar Peninsula. Organized by the Jane Long Society, the festival is an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to celebrate the rich history of Bolivar Peninsula and honor the legacy of Jane Long, the Mother of Texas. It was an afternoon of education and entertainment, with vendors, historical reenactors, and a local theater troop participating in the festivities. You can learn more about the Jane Long Festival and the Jane Long Society on the Bolivar Peninsula Cultural Foundation
Tony Rubino informed visitors to the Galveston County Museum booth about the life of Jane Long.
Educational panels helped tell the story of Jane Long.
Tom Rooney of the Texas Army participated in the celebrations.
GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION 2013 SALLY B. WALLACE AWARDS
The Galveston Historical Foundation honored the 2013 Sally B. Wallace Award winners in a ceremony in the Topgallant Room of the Thomas Jefferson League Building, a building celebrated as an outstanding restoration in the ceremony. You can read more about the Sally B. Wallace Award winners, view photos from the event, and hear audio of the ceremony on the Guidry News web page.
SOUTH JETTY LIGHTHOUSE LENS RETURNS
For the first time since the ill winds of Hurricane Ike blew through Galveston in September 2008, the ingenious Fresnel lens from the South Jetty Lighthouse is on public display. This large brass and cut-glass beacon is now installed in the lobby of the Galveston Commissioners Court Building at 722 Moody St. (21st Street).
The Fresnel Lighthouse Beacon developed from the pioneering research and experimentation in optical theory and diffraction of light by French physicist Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788-1827). Based upon his ground-breaking studies, the Fresnel Beacon became the standard of lighthouses in all seven seas by the mid-1800’s. Even today the Fresnel Beacon continues in widespread use in maritime nations throughout the world.
The beacon is constructed of a number of hand-ground pieces of glass that either reflect or diffract the light from the central source to orient all of the produced light into a beam of radiant brilliance. The original light source was an incandescent oil vapor lamp. This produced 23,000 candlepower. Subsequently electricity became available to power a 1000 watt bulb producing 280,000 candlepower for a signal that could be seen by ships 15 to 20 miles away.
This Fresnel Lighthouse Beacon was the nucleus of the Galveston South Jetty Light, which was the last manned lighthouse built on the Texas coast. It went into service in 1918 and continued to serve until closed in 1972 – giving 54 years of reliable guidance to seagoing vessels approaching the Texas port.
The vast expansion of the LORAN electronic signal system revolutionized coastal navigation and in large part made lighthouses obsolete. Global satellite signals then made LORAN stations redundant.
Soon after the South Jetty Lighthouse closed, its Fresnel Beacon was given to the Galveston County Museum and proudly displayed in the museum on Market Street.
Hurricane Ike damaged that building and forced the museum to search for another location.
While the Galveston County Museum is a functioning entity, there has been no space suitable for public display until now.
Locating the Lighthouse Beacon in the County Courthouse lobby is a significant first step towards consolidating the offices, public display areas, and artifacts and historical resources in the County Courthouse complex.
A public reception for the South Jetty Fresnel Beacon is planned for Saturday, June 8.
DICK DOWNING CEREMONY
Houston, Texas (March 11, 2012) – The 42nd Ceremonial Cleaning of the Dick Dowling Statue at Hermann Park will take place on Sunday, March 11 at 1:00 pm. The Larry Miggins family, a Houston family of Irish descent, has taken the responsibility of cleaning the monument for Irish Confederate hero Dick Dowling since 1963. The cleaning became a ceremonial event with a speaker, refreshments, and historical demonstrations in 1970. This year’s speaker Helen D. Mooty, Director of the Galveston County Museum, will be appearing in the guise of Jane Herbert Wilkinson Long, the famous "Mother of Texas." Mooty will speak on the topic of "Four Feisty Women of Texas" whose moxie and courage were significant in Texas history.
The monument for Dick Dowling was unveiled on St. Patrick's Day in 1905 as Houston's first public monument. It is now at Hermann Park in the middle of a triangle near the intersection of Hermann Park Loop, Holcombe, and North MacGregor. It is an eight foot statue of Italian marble on a twenty foot high granite base. Richard (Dick) Dowling was born in County Galway, Ireland, in 1837 and his family came to America because of the Great Famine. Although his business and civic accomplishments are impressive, Dowling is remembered today primarily for his role in leading a group of unruly Irish dockworkers to one of the greatest upsets in military history at the Civil War Battle of Sabine Pass. The monument was placed originally at City Hall on Market Square in downtown Houston, and in 1958 was relocated to its present site.
Mooty will be appearing in costume portraying Jane Herbert Wilkinson Long, a woman who first came to Texas in 1819. Long grew cotton to make uniforms for the Confederacy and vowed to use nothing that had been grown or made in the North. Jane Long is famous as the "Mother of Texas" when she lived alone on Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County during the icy winter of 1821-1822.
“The Galveston County Museum supports Jane Long's role in Texas history through the Jane Long Festival every October in Bolivar, and in other Texas re-enactment events such as Austin Town in Brazoria County,” said Mooty. Past speakers for the Dick Dowling ceremony have included congressmen, federal judges, historians, authors, and scholars. On March 17, Mooty will also appear at the Greening of the Bayou and the Houston St. Patrick's Day parade as Jane Long.
The ceremony will take place at the southeast edge of Hermann Park near the intersection of Hermann Park Loop, Holcombe, and North MacGregor. There will be a color guard from the Galveston John Hood brigade to salute Dowling, and a historically accurate Officers' Quarters camp set up with exhibits of Civil War paraphernalia. The event is free and the public is welcome. For more information call Larry Joe Miggins at (832) 347-8117.
GALVESTON COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM SEEKS ARTIFACTS FROM THE HOTEL GALVEZ