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).
Since I still can’t afford Christmas cards for everyone (and because I won’t be publishing a paper next week), I’m using this week’s paper as a substitute card, and wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I believed something I read on the internet last week, and wrote that there would be a community Christmas dinner at the Red Barn in Buchanan Dam. From what I’ve heard since then, I think that was wrong. I know that Joel and Rose Deupree, who had done most of the work for the past fourteen years, announced their retirement last year. I don’t think anyone has been found to take their place; I haven’t seen the usual flyers put up around town, and I’ve heard third-hand from someone who is probably right that there is not a Christmas dinner this year.
There are probably other dinners planned somewhere around the Highland Lakes, but I have not heard; there IS a dinner planned at the VFW Hall in Burnet for 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve for active duty personnel, veterans and immediate family members. To RSVP or learn more, call or text 830-956-8786.
Speaking of Christmas dinners, I read somewhere that a researcher claims that “eating a salad every day could help keep your brain young.” I’m very sorry to say that I have conclusively disproved that theory; in fact, the many salads I have eaten did nothing at all to help my brain, which decided several years ago that it was too old to work full-time any longer.
That’s one reason why I decided to take a “staycation” next week; I think a break from my regular duties would be beneficial to my health. The other reason is that I think I may be able to get my Kingsland history book done if I take a week (when there’s not a whole lot of public events going on anyway) and focus completely on the long-overdue book.
Christmas (or Xmas) was a big deal in 1917 Llano, but the front pages of The Llano News were still dominated by news from the war in Europe. Headlines on December 13 announced “Wilson Proclaims War on Austria” and “Germans Prepare for Big Drive in West.” A little closer to home, a drive was announced to sign up 3,000,000 new Red Cross volunteers, and Llano was planning a “Big Mass Meeting” at the opera house to recruit “a large number” of local volunteers. Smaller meetings were planned at eight other locations around the county (Castell, Valley Spring, Oatman School House, Field Creek, Baby Head, Tow Valley, Oxford and Lone Grove).
A letter of thanks was received by the Llano Red Cross chapter, from “the boys of Battery B, of the 345thField Artillery at Camp Travis, who had just received their “Xmas packages.” They were: W.G. Alexander, of Tow; William Smith, of Click; G.A. Weaks, of Kingsland; and W.F. Bowman, of Llano.
The Culture Club announced that its presentation of “The Womanless Wedding” at the opera house (“one of the most delightful and altogether pleasing entertainments ever given in Llano”) had been a big success, attracting a capacity crowd (despite “most disagreeable” weather) and netting $62.50, all of which would be spent on wool for “the making of knit garments for the soldier boys.”
The Llano County Commissioners Court was considering the possibility of re-flooring the “river bridge,” and the City of Llano was installing “Another Culvert” at “the corner of Sandstone Street near the home of J.T. Simpson.” The article continued: “this is one of the last remaining ditches over which a concrete culvert had not been placed. It is a pleasant reflection to think just a short time back, when there was scarcely a piece of concrete in the city limits.”
There was more war news on the inside pages, but it was overshadowed by a good number of ads (at $12 per page, or $6 for a half-page). D.L. Carl (“The Quality Jeweler”) advertised “Gifts of Real Worth” to “Make Your Christmas Ideal.” He had all kinds of jewelry, silverware, cut glass, clocks, watches, knives, pens and more for sale.
Last weekend was amazing! There were so many good events in so many different places that I couldn’t get to all of them, but I felt like I managed my schedule well enough that I was able to at least show up at most of the best photo ops. Burnet was the busiest town by far, with three BIG events and some smaller events, but I made it to six other towns on Saturday, and I have pictures from at least five in the paper this week (Kingsland, Granite Shoals, Marble Falls, Buchanan Dam and Llano). Sunday was a lot more relaxed, but I got pictures at two great Christmas programs.
This weekend won’t be quite so busy, but I don’t think I’ll have much chance to get bored. In addition to the events listed on page 2, I’ve heard that there will be a band concert and caroling in Burnet on Sunday afternoon. The concert, I believe, will be at the high school auditorium at 2:30 p.m., and will involve all the school bands from 6th grade to varsity; the Diva Dawgs and Bulldog Bros will have caroling and cocoa, beginning at 5:30 at the Parent Resource Center (at the corner of Pierce & Brier).
I was trying to hedge a little on those two events because the websites and Facebook pages I looked at did not have a lot of details (but Darlene Denton confirmed the caroling event in a Facebook message at the last minute). I have guessed wrong on details a few times lately, and I hate to think that my events list could disappoint or inconvenience readers who depend on it. One event in last week’s article had the wrong date, and another got canceled without my knowledge; I hope this week’s is more dependable.
As the holiday season winds down, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to meet my goal of finishng the first complete draft of my book before January 1. I want to mention again that I don’t plan to publish a paper in the week after Christmas; I’ll skip from December 22 to January 5, and see if I am motivated enough to get that book done!
Last weekend was a busy one, and by Saturday night I was really glad to get some sleep. This weekend may be even busier, but it should be the last REALLY busy weekend until sometime in March. I think I’m going to survive, and I expect that (if I do survive), I’ll have a whole lot of good memories from these past few weeks.
Most of the events I expect to attend are listed in my “Upcoming Events” article, but some deserve extra mention here. And some things aren’t in that article, which I finished a few hours ago.
Guitarist Paul Finley is coming to Llano this Friday evening for a concert from 7 to 9 at Fuel Coffee House, and this time he’ll have two friends with him: vocalist Sharon Grant and singer/songwriter Daniel Makins. This trio will be a special treat for Llano.
The Llano Country Opry this Saturday will feature two shows (2:30 and 7:30 p.m.) with the world-famous Bellamy Brothers. If you don’t have tickets yet, call ahead quickly at 325-247-5354; there may be some left!
The Austin-based Irish traditional band “The Here & Now” will bring their festive Celtic Christmas show, Nollaig, Marble Falls this Saturday. They will be joined by the Louisianan Cajun/Irish quartet, Celjun, and the Nollaig Irish Dancers for a family-friendly holiday variety show at 7 p.m. this Saturday at the Uptown Theatre. A portion of the ticket sales benefit the Phoenix Center, a Marble Falls nonprofit committed to meeting the need for high-quality, affordable mental health care for children and families in need.
I’m starting to have more respect for historians. I keep finding “holes” in my Kingsland history, even for the decade of the 1960s, which was covered pretty well by area newspapers and remembered by quite a few locals. The 1950s are even more difficult, and I knew before I started that I’d never be able to write a comprehensive history of the decades before the creation of Lake LBJ.
So my book, which is looking more and more like a real probability in the near future, will not include ALL the details of Kingsland’s “re-birth” in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but it WILL hit most of the highlights. My main concern now is to weed out all (or at least most) of the inaccuracies and misconceptions that crept into my series of history stories. Some of them are from differences in the memories of the people I interviewed, some of them are from mistakes in the newspapers of the time, and some of them are from wrong guesses I made about something I heard and read.
One of the exciting discoveries that I made this week was that Longhorn Resort (which I thought until a few weeks ago had been built in the 1970s) was actually the same “Daricek’s Lodges” which first advertised in The Llano News in January of 1964! I’m pretty sure of that, because Cathy Carpenter (who spent her growing-up summers in Kingsland) sent me a postcard (on Facebook) of the old lodge (see above). She remembers it clearly, and now others have confirmed her recollection (and the cabins in the picture sure look like the ones that got knocked down a few weeks ago to make room for the new Boat Town complex). That postcard was the highlight of an already good week, and I am very grateful to her.
Speaking of the book, I’m ready to announce that I will not be publishing a paper the week after Christmas. Instead, I’m planning a “staycation” here in Kingsland to finally get a rough draft put together for editing by my daughter-in-law (who has already made some very helpful suggestions). With any luck at all, I should be able to get the book to the printers by February (and maybe sooner).
The banner headline on the front page of The Llano News on November 1, 1917 said “Every Housewife in Llano County Should Sign Hoover’s Pledge Card.” It was referring to an amazing voluntary food preservation program, headed by future president Herbert Hoover, which enlisted women (and children, who learned gardening skills while growing food in a “School Garden” program) to conserve and donate almost 34 million pounds of food to help starving Europeans during the war. In total, more than 14 million families around the U.S. signed pledges in the hugely successful program.
Other front-page stories reported that the Llano County Red Cross chapter had reached its goal of 500 members, and that Llano County residents had purchased more than $37,000 in Liberty Bonds to help fund the U.S. war effort.
Another very interesting story told of the opening of a graphite mine “With Richest Deposit in the World” in Llano County. “On last Tuesday afternoon at the old Heath Mine,” the story began. “Now in operation by the Dixie Graphite Company under the personal direction of Warren May,” it continued, “the big power plant was started when Mrs. Warren May threw open the throttle of the 100-hp oil engine. Mrs. C.E. Shults pulled over the lever that started the crushing department, while Mrs. A.G. Barrit threw in the clutch that put in motion the big 50-ton Laine-Mill crusher. Raymond May had previously lighted the fire under the dryer.” The article went on to describe the mining process and rave about the quality of the “apparently inexhaustible” graphite vein.
A brief news item reported that “J. M. Haywood of Kingsland was in the city this week on business.” Another noted that “T.R. Dabbs spent the week in Dallas attending the State Fair.” Also, “Latham Barnett returned home on Tuesday from a visit with friends and relatives in Bertram.”
T.S. Parker delivered three new Buick cars to customers in Moody and Marble Falls, and sold a truck to Moss & Dees in Llano for $1,775. The story reported that the truck was “indeed a beauty, and has already been pressed into service.”
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