The John L. Kuykendall Event Center in Llano was filled with young exhibitors, fine-looking animals, volunteers and spectators last weekend for the Llano County Junior Livestock Show. The modern facility kept everyone comfortable despite some high winds and low temperatures outside. (See more pictures beginning on page 7, and even more on the “Highland Lakes Weekly” Facebook page).
It seems that every week around here is interesting, but the week I’m finishing right now seemed extra good that way. The stock show in Llano was excellent, the weather was quite dramatic, and there were a lot of other things going well.
The one thing that didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped was the process of getting pages put together for my book. I had expected to be able to finish it in three Sundays, but it looks like it’s going to take four (or maybe even five). But even so, it’s exciting to me to see the book progressing. I’m at page 109 now (of an expected 184), and as I print out the finished pages and put them in a loose-leaf binder, they are starting to like sort of like a real book! I think I’ll be able to take advance orders until the end of January (you get $2 off the $12 “list price” I’ll sign your copy if you want me to, and I’ll pay the tax and postage to mail it as soon as the books arrive. Just send a check for $10 per copy to “John Hallowell – P.O. Box 911 – Kingsland, TX 78639).
One of the “distractions” this past Sunday was the presence of Robert Gardner at the Federated Church of Sunrise Beach. He is an internationally-known baritone (whose mother happens to play the piano at that church) and he will be singing there each Sunday morning until at least February 18 (the service starts at 9:30 a.m.)
One of the side effects of the interesting weather was the postponement of at least two Tuesday events. The Central Texas Electric Co-op postponed a grant presentation until next Tuesday, January 23 (2 p.m. at the Kingsland Library), and Commissioner Mike Sandoval postponed his 2nd Annual Chili Dinner and Town Hall meeting at the county annex in Buchanan Dam until Tuesday, January 30 (5:30 to 7 p.m.)
Llano’s big news in January of 1954 was (no surprise here) the livestock show. The January 7 issue of The Llano News notified the public that the “largest and best Junior Livestock Show ever held in Llano County” was scheduled for the following weekend. Approximately 62 FFA and 4-H members had signed up to compete for “over $500 in prize money, plus special awards of livestock from Fitzsimons Land & Cattle Company and T.J. Moore, of the Moore State Bank.” Organizers were expecting the youths to exhibit “40 fat steers, 7 breeding beef heifers, 60 fat lambs, 36 hogs and 75 fat capons.”
Another story mentioned that the Kerrville Bus Company was discontinuing its 7 a.m. ride from Llano to Austin because of decreasing ridership. There would still be one bus every day; it would arrive from Austin at 2:30 p.m. on its way to Brady, then return at 6 p.m. on its way back to Austin. It would finish its trip at 8:50 p.m.
Rice University football stars Leroy Fenstemaker (from Llano) and John Hudson went hunting at the Fitzsimons Ranch, and Lester Inman brought in a picture of the two with “a couple of very nice whitetails” they had shot over the Christmas holidays. A few days later, they helped Rice beat Alabama 28-6 in the Cotton Bowl.
Will Collins was the publisher of The Llano News in 1954, and a year’s subscription (for Llano and surrounding counties) cost $2. The Moore State Bank reported assets of nearly $4 million.
What a weekend! I used to consider January and February my “slow time,” and try to plan ahead for things to fill my schedule (and the pages of my paper). I really shouldn’t worry.
It’s partly John Hoover’s fault. He explained the importance of the county livestock shows to me more than seventeen years ago, when I was just starting as editor in Burnet, and actually paid my bosses for four extra pages to be filled with pictures of participants in 2001. I am still proud of that week’s paper, although I had to work most of Sunday and Monday nights scanning pictures at the office!
I didn’t do as well this year; I am limited to 16 pages total, and there were other things I wanted to include. I decided to settle for the Grand Champion winners and a few others. If possible, I’ll try to do at least that much for the Llano kids next week. Then the Chamber of Commerce banquets begin, and there is plenty of other activity in the meantime,
Actually, last weekend wouldn’t have been too busy if I hadn’t got so excited about publishing my Kingsland book. I had set a goal of finishing 80 pages by Monday morning, and I came pretty close. The writing is all done, but I have to choose pictures and tweak them to the printers’ specifications, then lay out the pages. I’m not as fast as I should be, but I’m getting into a routine, so I’m probably 40 percent done. That means I should have books near the beginning of February.
One of the factors contributing to Kingsland’s high profile in the 1960s was the presence of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s lake house just across the Llano River arm of Granite Shoals Lake. With his partner, Judge A.W. Moursund, Johnson had purchased land on both sides of the Llano, and the ranch on the south side had become one of his favorite spots for rest and relaxation. A front-page article on July 9 told how the president had enjoyed a July 4th weekend in Kingsland (his lake house was actually connected to Kingsland only by the ferry at the time), and had hosted a fish fry for guests including “Gov. and Mrs. John Connally.” The story included a report that President Johnson had “lost his cap” while boating on the lake that weekend. It was retrieved by a Secret Service man who dived into the water for it.
The Highlander’s headline that week said “Lyndon, Lady Bird relax on Granite Shoals During 4th,” but the big photo showed Mrs. William Matthews water-skiing with two dogs on her surfboard. She and her husband lived in San Antonio but came to their Lakewood Forest III vacation home almost every weekend to go water-skiing. Lady, a German Shepherd, and Mister, a Boston Bulldog, always wanted to go along.
A more mundane news item reported that the Kingsland post office was extending its hours, and would be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The mail from Austin arrived each morning at 7:30; the mail from Llano at 5 p.m.
Construction began in Marble Falls on July 6 to widen Hwy 1431 from two to four lanes. Stein Lumber was awarded the contract for the new shopping center in Kingsland. John Williams opened a riding stable just down the hill from Longhorn Cavern in Hoover Valley. Sales began well at Sherwood Shores III.
I had a wonderful week off between Christmas and New Year’s. Except for one trip to the library in Burnet, I didn’t go anywhere except the post office and H.E.B. I spent almost all my time working on my book (see page 15), and on Thursday night I finished the last chapter. I slept well each night, I lost a little weight (ounces, not pounds) and my blood sugar was lower than usual. It was great!
This week, I’ve had a little trouble getting back into my “newspaper” routine. I decided not to drive to Llano when the snow started falling on New Year’s Eve, and then the “First Day Hike” at Inks Lake State Park got canceled because of ice on the rocks. But I have lots of construction pictures from Kingsland and Marble Falls, and I wanted to share the last piece of my book (news from the first six months of 1964), so there shouldn’t be any big blank spots in this week’s paper.
There are a couple of things that should have been in last week’s paper (if I had published one). I just found out that the Burnet County Livestock Show is this weekend, and it will have started before this week’s paper gets printed. The other is a big multi-family “House-Cleaning Sale” at the Kingsland Community Center, also beginning this Thursday (but continuing through Friday and Saturday – 8:30 to 6 each day). They’ll have furniture, home décor, clothing, books and toys; credit cards will be accepted.
The LCRA has announced that it would begin lowering Inks Lake on January 2, for a six-week, eight-foot drawdown that will allow lakeside property owners to repair and maintain docks, retaining walls and other shoreline property. The drawdown also will aid in curbing the growth of nuisance aquatic vegetation. The refill will begin around February 10, and will be completed by February 13.
In the Highlander’s January 2 issue in 1964. Publisher Bob Bray rhapsodized about the “economic impact of Lyndon B. Johnson becoming president,” as reporters from all over the world came to central Texas. “Surely,” he wrote. “1964 will be the greatest year since the creation of the Highland Lakes. People who have investments in this area can congratulate themselves, for they will continue to increase in value.”
The first “Kingsland” news that made the Llano paper in 1964 was the birth of Gina Renee Sindorf. Her parents owned the River Oaks Lodge on Highway 1431 in Kingsland, and she was the first Llano County baby of 1964. The January 9 issue of The Llano News also reported that Commissioner Euel Moore, who had already been on the job in Precinct #3 for 14 years, had announced his run for re-election in 1964.
That week’s Highlander reported that the Kingsland Volunteer Fire Department had purchased a fire truck in Odessa, and that there would be a big celebration when it was delivered (within 60 days). A photo in the “Kingslander” section showed A.H. Daricek, of Daricek’s Lodges, holding his great-granddaughter, Ann Parker. The caption noted that her father was Henry Parker, “of Pearl Harbor.” Four generations spent their holidays at the lakeside resort.
Col. Art McGibney addressed the Kingsland Lions Club, exhorting members to “put their best foot forward” in welcoming “untold thousands who would visit the Highland Lakes” during the coming summer.
Just write down exactly what you want to say (up to 25 words for $3 per week; up to 50 words for $5), then mail your ad with payment for however long you want it to run.
Make checks payable to:
Highland Lakes Weekly
P.O. Box 911
Kingsland, TX 78639