The big event last weekend was the Marble Falls Open/Pro Rodeo, held (as always) at the Charley Taylor Arena, on Highway 281 South. The four-day event began with a Youth Rodeo on Wednesday evening, “slack” competition on Thursday and the main events on Friday and Saturday. The traditional Rodeo Parade was held in downtown Marble Falls on Saturday morning, and a dance was held at the rodeo grounds after the competition was over on Saturday night. You can see more rodeo pictures on pages 7 to 9, and even more on the “Highland Lakes Weekly” Facebook page.The big event last weekend was the Marble Falls Open/Pro Rodeo, held (as always) at the Charley Taylor Arena, on Highway 281 South. The four-day event began with a Youth Rodeo on Wednesday evening, “slack” competition on Thursday and the main events on Friday and Saturday. The traditional Rodeo Parade was held in downtown Marble Falls on Saturday morning, and a dance was held at the rodeo grounds after the competition was over on Saturday night. You can see more rodeo pictures on pages 7 to 9, and even more on the “Highland Lakes Weekly” Facebook page.
As you can see from the front-page picture this week, the Christmas season is here! Already, there has been a “Pre-Season Sale” with amazing decorations at Kingsland Florist and a Family Day at the Walkway in Marble Falls; this weekend, the annual “Hill Country Christmas” market will be held at the YMCA in Burnet, there will be a Christmas Parade and Opening Night at the Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls, and a tree-decorating event will be held at the Walkway on Saturday afternoon.
All of which is great, as long as we don’t forget about Thanksgiving. That wonderful American tradition is not celebrated in such a public way (it’s often just a family affair), but there are many public events (especially at churches) around the Highland Lakes. I’ve listed a few of them in my “Upcoming Events” article, and since I put that on a page, I’ve heard that there will be a big Community Thanksgiving Dinner from 11 to 2 at the Vanderveer Church of Christ in Burnet on thanksgiving Day. After that, it’s Christmas almost 24/7 for the next three weeks! Burnet and Llano especially offer an extensive lineup of Christmas activities; I’ll cover as many of those as I can.
You’re probably familiar with Main Street Bethlehem, Burnet’s amazing presentation of the “little town” at the time Jesus was born. That will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights the first two weekends in December. On Saturday the 10th, Burnet will host both “Christmas on the Square” and “Christmas at Old Fort Croghan,” two very different looks at our favorite holiday.
You have probably already noticed that this week’s front-page picture is not announcing an upcoming event. I had two reasons for that temporary policy change: first, this weekend’s biggest events are the Veterans Day celebrations, and they are on Friday. I didn’t want anyone to think that the paper was already outdated by Friday afternoon (and I planned ahead for that one, putting a Veterans Day photo on LAST week’s paper). The other reason is just that I hardly ever get such an up-close look at a building’s demolition, and I thought it was very interesting. I would have loved to have a job like that equipment operator’s when I was a teenager. It may not look like my normal “good news,” but the bigger, better “new” McDonald’s will!
Of course, none of my papers are ever outdated by Friday, and some of them, like this one with its great stories from Llano history, should be kept for posterity (in my not-so-humble opinion). Unfortunately, the history article also requires an explanation this week. I heard a couple of months ago that the online “Portal to Texas History” was making back issues of The Llano News (1904 to present!) available to lazy historians like me (or even to innocent bystanders). Well, there seems to be some kind of delay, and only 420 issues are available; all between 1916 and 1940, and they are not in any kind of order. I skimmed through them, and cherry-picked a few that looked the most promising, before I realized that about 70 of the issues were from 1935 and 1936. There will be gaps in my articles, but I plan to share what I can from those two years over the next weeks.
This week, I have some more urgent items to share; one is an “emergency.” Not a real emergency, but a planning and training event that will test Llano County’s emergency preparedness by simulating a major accident with multiple victims during Llano’s huge Crawfish Open. It will happen next Tuesday morning, and it will look serious (all kinds of emergency vehicles with sirens, etc.) Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Ron Anderson is hoping that many “Llanites” will read this and not get too alarmed if they happen to be in town when it all starts happening.
February 22, 1916, was a big day in Llano, as the Confederate Monument on the courthouse square was unveiled on Washington’s Birthday by the Daughters of the Confederacy, who had been raising money for years to make it a possibility. A crowd estimated at 5,000 people (“one of the greatest crowds in Llano’s history”) gathered on the square; the high school band provided music in between addresses by Mayor P.H. Callahan and Governor James “Pa” Ferguson. Governor Ferguson had been one of the crew which had constructed the railroad (and was accompanied by his old boss, Captain Joe A. Owens, who had been in charge of the railroad project). It was the governor’s first trip back to Llano in 22 years. Young Leonora Simpson pulled the string which dropped the curtain from the statue; the event was covered by big-city newspapers from around Texas, and a carnival was held all weekend following the monument’s unveiling.
Other items in that week’s paper described a new tile floor being installed in the Llano National Bank, along with other interior refurbishments; a new “air dome” for outdoor movies, to be installed at the corner of Sandstone and Bridge Streets, “just south of the Masonic Temple;” and improvements were being made to Llano’s Opera House, including a new lobby and entryway at the front of the building.
The headline on the front page of The Llano News on July 19, 1917, said “State Highway Through Llano: State Highway Commission designates road as one of Great System of State Highways.” The story reported that the commission had designated a road, to run “west from Austin, through Leander, Liberty Hill, Bertram, Burnet, Llano, Mason and on up to Brady” as part of “Highway No. 20.” The article opined that “the value to accrue” from having “our city placed on one of these great highways . . . will be inestimable.,” and continued by saying “No other one thing will do more for Llano than this road.”
It’s not just old age and fatigue that are keeping me from my appointed rounds these days. I’ve had more visits from family members this year than ever before, and especially in October. Last weekend, a visit from my brother and sister-in-law kept me from attending two Halloween-related events (I had been counting on attending the Family Fall Festival in Granite Shoals on Sunday and then I heard at the last minute that the Llano County Sheriff’s Department was holding an event in Kingsland). I enjoyed the visit, and I still managed to stop in at more than a dozen events (you’ll see a few of my pictures in this paper, and a whole lot more on the “Highland Lakes Weekly” Facebook page). I should be back to full time this week.
Last week, I forgot two items that I really meant to include: the BBQ fundraiser for Granite Shoals’ Christmas Outreach and the raffle winner in Sunrise Beach. They should be in this week’s paper, just one week late.
The pictures at the top of the front page this week may require a little explanation. One is the beginnings of Llano’s very interesting “Llano River Pumpkin Float” (I had to leave before it was fully underway, so I borrowed a night-time photo from Lou Quallenberg; you can see it on page 8), and the other is a painting from the newly-refurbished Falls on the Colorado Museum which shows the original falls and Adam Johnson’s factory. I used that as an illustration for a couple of art photos on page 15, partly to draw attention to the museum’s Open House this Saturday evening (4 to 6:30 p.m.).
The temporary building has finally arrived at Prosperity Bank (see page 5), and the countdown for demolition of the old bank has begun. The new bank will not only preserve the front wall with its iconic map; it will feature a collage of historic Kingsland photos on an interior wall. My help has been solicited in choosing the photos; if any of my readers has good pictures of Kingsland before 1970, please let me know.
The Highland Lakes area is buzzing this time of year with Halloween and Halloween-related activities. I’ve already been to a few, and I expect to be at a few more in the next few days. I didn’t really even try to get ALL the Halloween activities into this paper, but I tried to include all that I had heard of in my “Upcoming Events” article. I’m sure there are more, so ask around your neighborhood if you don’t see anything you like in this paper.
But there are lots of other events, too. In addition to the things I listed in “Upcoming Events,” the Herman Brown Free Library will be offering its popular “Color Me Calm”, adult coloring sessions again at 2 p.m. every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month beginning November 2. Dr. Bill Blose has asked me to mention a meeting of the Windows Computer Group at the Highland Lakes Senior Center in Kingsland from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. The topics for November 8 will be security tools and computer speed, plus an open discussion on computer issues. And Faith Academy will offer a free Biblical parenting class on November 10th at 7:00 in the evening. The event will be held in the Faith Academy Student Center. The guest speaker will be Jared Dodd of Dodd Family Ministry. This one-night event is free and open to the public. The Faith Academy Gym will be open and chaperoned for all kindergarten through 8th grade students.
Bessie Jackson told me a couple of weeks ago that the big Thanksgiving Dinner at St. Frederick Baptist Church will be held on Saturday, November 19. They served more than 800 free meals last year, and hope to serve even more this year. If you would like to help with your time, cash or food, please call the church at 830-693-4499.
While most of Burnet County’s major construction projects were completed by 1939, there were still a few loose ends to tie up, and Burnet was still growing that spring. Rural Electrification was finally nearing reality, and a Burnet Furniture Co. ad in March of 1939 was addressed “To Rural Electrification Customers.” It said, “You have probably received a wiring contract” from PEC. “If there is anything that you do not understand about this contract, we are in a position to be of service to you.”
A front-page article the following week quoted PEC Supervisor Lee McWilliams: “Now is the time to plan the wiring” of homes and farms. “You must have adequate wiring to get the fullest benefits from power.” He added his opinion that rural customers had an advantage over city customers who had their wiring done before recent improvements in electrical service.
An article borrowed from The Llano News reported that Joe Fritz, from Junction, was building a “large tourist camp” on Highway 29 in Buchanan Dam. The first building would be a 40’ x 80’ café, to be followed by ten double cabins. “All these buildings are to be of native stone, and will be modern in every respect.”
An editorial commended Mr. and Mrs. Y.J. Foulds as upstanding citizens of Burnet for many years. “In horse-and-buggy days,” the writer said, Mr. Foulds was engaged in the livery stable business for a number of years.” After that, “he carried an RFD mail route for about 18 years,” then transported mail from the Burnet Post Office to the Railroad Depot. “Mr. Foulds has been a progressive man,” the article continued, “wide awake to the interests of his town and community. He has lived a clean, good life and raised a nice family, four girls and two boys.” One of his sons worked with Guthrie Drug; one of his daughters was Secretary and Treasurer for the City of Burnet.
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