Raising funds for a mission trip to Costa Rica next summer, talented members of the Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church in Llano served a delicious dinner and performed famous songs from Broadway hits like “Fiddler on the Roof” (above) in three dinner theater presentations of “A Taste of Broadway” last weekend (see more pictures on page 8 and lots more on the “Highland Lakes Weekly” Facebook page).
Well, I’ve had three turkey dinners already, and it looks like there’s about five more in my very near future; even though the Christmas season is now in full swing, I can’t complain about people in my Highland Lakes neighborhood forgetting about Thanksgiving. There will be at least three big “Community Thanksgiving Dinners” this Sunday, and at least three more on Thanksgiving Day (and that’s just the ones that I have heard about – I’m sure there’s more than that!) Be sure to read my “Upcoming Events” article if you’re looking for a place to spend Thanksgiving.
Marble Falls will be kicking off the Christmas season in earnest this weekend. The Lighted Parade will open the Walkway of Lights this Friday night, and the dancers from the Harmony School of Creative Arts will present three showings of the “Fantasy Nutcracker” over the weekend at Marble Falls High School.
Several members of the Banks family played a large role in the history of early Kingsland, and although the family name apparently disappeared from Kingsland with a fatal gunshot in 1958, there are still many relatives here, and tantalizing traces of their influence remain today.
The Banks family (John Franklin Banks and Mary Jane Roper Banks, both born in Georgia) arrived in Kingsland with their two sons, Albert and Ballard, around 1890; twin daughters (Maud and Mamie), were born in November of 1890, and three more sons (Carter, John and Bill) were born later that decade. John Franklin Banks was a good-natured giant of a man (6’ 6” and 300 pounds, according to his grandson), very athletic and hard-working, with excellent business sense and big ideas.
When the W.K. Murchison store burned down shortly after his arrival in Kingsland, J.F. Banks bought the property and rebuilt the store around the surviving rock walls (probably the beginnings of the Chamberlain Street building which now houses Satellite Station and Pac-Ship & More). When the Houston and Texas Central Railroad began to plan the line from Granite Mountain to Llano, Banks purchased the cotton gin and blacksmith shop at Packsaddle (also known as Gainesville), Kingsland’s competitor for the track, and brought them to Kingsland. That move is credited with bringing the railroad to Kingsland, an event which dramatically changed the fortunes of the little frontier town..
Excerpted from a 1928 issue of the Burnet Bulletin
Not many years ago, electric service in Burnet after 11 p.m. meant that someone was sick. For in those days only by special arrangement with the light plant was the service maintained after that hour, and nothing less than sickness was sufficient reason for the extra expense and labor that continuation of lighting caused.
J.H. Stapp, well-known furniture merchant and long-time resident of Burnet, recalled this fact here recently. Modern-day convenience of pushing a button at any time of day or night for assured service brought it to his mind, and he related some of the early experiences of electric service here for the readers of the Bulletin.
Mr. Stapp, who came to Burnet in 1873, has experienced a wide range of activities since his residence here. For four years, he was postmaster under Grover Cleveland, and in his younger days he served during the cleanup campaign with the Texas Rangers. He also served here as deputy sheriff for a number of years, and later established himself as furniture dealer and undertaker..
It’s certainly not a get-rich-quick scheme, but Bobby Galyon has broken several rules of orthodox career-planning already, and he wants to make sure Kingsland-area residents have access to fresh, healthy produce. He’ll either sell what he grows (without any chemicals) to customers, or he’ll share his secrets with those who’d like to grow their own. How’s that for a business plan?
Galyon grew up in Sevierville, Tennessee, and joined the Army after high school. While he was stationed at Fort Hood in 1993, he met his future wife, Nancy. They were married in 1995, and moved to Kingsland in 2001. Already a lay preacher and amateur furniture-maker, he took up body-building in 2006, earning second place in the “Novice Heavyweight” class at the Texas Shredder Classic in 2010.
He served in the military for more than 15 years, rising to the rank of Sergeant First Class and planning to retire after 20 years, but felt God calling him to devote his life to full-time ministry in 2007; he left the military (and the prospect of a generous pension) and became pastor at the Baptist church in Tow. Sandra took a job as a social worker with Seton Highland Lakes Hospital..
Excerpted from a letter to the Burnet Bulletin, signed “Rambler”
Several changes have been made here since our last report. John Banks has sold his business home to L.C. McCartie and Mr. McCartie moved in and Mr. Banks moved out, now doing business in one of the ‘Old Hill’ houses, belonging to the Hill estate. The post office for a long number of years in the building of Mr. Banks’ has been moved to the rock building, unoccupied until the post office moved its place of abode, and postmistress Miss Gertie Howell appears well pleased with the change.
Rich Kirkland caught a 20-pound cat fish one night last week.
Miss Flora Kate Bolt of Burnet, teacher in the Kingsland school, who has been absent several weeks due to sickness, has returned and is giving the same appreciated service in the school room and to its patrons.
Many friends of Miss Zola Gunn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Gunn and a teacher in the Kingsland school, will regret to learn this popular young lady, who underwent an operation for appendicitis, has not fully recovered from it, having to be absent from her school duties once in a while..
The Wild, Wild West had been pretty well tamed by the end of the 19th century, but Burnet County was still a world away from the tourism-and-retirement haven that now exists around the Highland Lakes. Indians and outlaws were still fresh in the memories of all the region’s “old-timers,” and the economic boom of the 1880s in Burnet (when the railroad arrived and Burnet became a major commercial center) was just starting to fade.
Dozens of small farming communities dotted the Burnet County landscape back then, and the recently-formed towns of Bertram (1882) and Marble Falls (1887) were growing, but (in addition to being the county seat) Burnet was definitely the biggest and most influential town in the county. The Burnet Bulletin was not only a community newspaper, with items about illnesses, travels and weather, but the main source of world news for residents of the still-relatively-isolated county. Front-page stories discussed the Spanish-American War and the Philippines, as well as the Boer War in South Africa and the British Army’s large purchases of horses in Texas and Louisiana; Carrie Nation’s destructive temperance campaign in Kansas also made the front page, as did a new “oil well in Beaumont.” At the same time, another story that made the front page in 1898 told how there was “no service at any of the churches” the previous Sunday “except the usual communion at the Christian Church and preaching at the Presbyterian Church. And another front-page article reported that Alton Humphrey, of Burnet, was teaching school in Hoover’s Valley..
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