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  Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Public School in Pettus

Public School in Pettus

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of public school in Pettus. In 1892 this one-room schoolhouse, 18’ by 24’, was built in Pettus. It had two windows on the north side and two windows on the south. The boards on the inside of the east end were painted black to be used for a blackboard. The only door was to the west. The benches were home-made and the children brought their own lunches and water to drink. Miss Evelyn Hardeman was the first teacher and she had 13 students in grades first through fourth. As the community continued to grow the school was classified as a third-class high school in 1912. In 1917 or 1918, a stucco school building was erected.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Third Courthouse for Bee County, 1879

Third Courthouse for Bee County, 1879

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: The two-story building was built on the site of the present courthouse by Viggo Kohler in 1878 for a bid of $3,425. The lumber used to build it was hauled from St. Marys in Refugio Co. It had a 40X50 ft. rock foundation with a portico 8 X 18 ft. The portico had four octagon columns made from eight-inch square solid timbers. The county officials moved in on May 12, 1879. It was destroyed by fire on January 15, 1911. While a new courthouse was being built the auditorium of the Grand Opera House served as a temporary courthouse.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Bee County College Drawing

Bee County College Drawing

Date: 1980
Creator: Lewis, Richard
Description: Print of a Bee County College in Beeville, Texas. The print depicts a quadrangle on the college campus surrounded by buildings and lined with trees. The original watercolor was created by Richard Lewis. In 1965 the voters of Bee County named the entire county as a college district and issued bonds in the amount of $1,500,000 for a junior college. One hundred acres of land was donated for the college campus by the widow of A.C. Jones, Mrs. W.M. Thompson, W.W. Jones II, and Mrs. H.B. Hause. In the fall of 1967 the first classes of Bee County College were held. Today the college is named Coastal Bend College and includes campuses in Beeville, Alice, Kingsville, and Pleasanton.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Mercantile in Mineral

Mercantile in Mineral

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of the Mercantile Store in Mineral, Texas. The first Anglo settlers to the Mineral area date back to 1845 when President Anson Jones granted a large track of land to the heirs of Henry Coley. After the Civil War, Refugio resident Thomas Howard and son-in-law, Lyman Blackman, begin a freight route from Saint Marys hauling lumbar and other supplies into the Mineral area. They then returned with hides and other products for export. While digging water wells a vein of hot mineral water with 16 different minerals was struck by William and Susan Sanford. Overnight Mineral became a tent city in 1877 as people came because of the healing powers they thought the mineral water contained. The Sanford Hotel, several stores, churches, a grist mill, a school in the drug store, and a post office sprang up at Mineral City. As the medicinal power of the water withered, along with the by-passing by the railroad, floods, and fires, Mineral also withered. In 1952 the South Texas Children’s Home was established near the old “city”. By 1958 one store, two Baptist churches, and less than 100 residents were all that remained.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Orangedale Public School 1913

Orangedale Public School 1913

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of children that appear to be playing in front of the Orangedale School in 1913. In the early 1900’s the Wangeman Ranch was divided into small tracts and sold mostly to people from Northeastern and Eastern States who wanted to settle here and produce citrus fruits, particularly oranges. From which they derived the name Orangedale, and it was lcated about five miles west of Beeville on the road to Mineral. Around 1906 the settlers began to arrive to Orangedale. Included among these settlers was W.C. Stevenson (Bill) of Niagara Falls, New York, who later formed an architectural firm with Fritz Heldenfels and drew the plans for the present county courthouse. Many of the families found that other fruits and vegetables do better than oranges. Others moved on. Friendship Baptist Church still serves many families of farmers and ranchers in the area.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Pettus Hotel and W.T. Roberts Store

Pettus Hotel and W.T. Roberts Store

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of Robert's Store on the left and the Pettus Hotel on the right. In 1888 W.T. Roberts moved his family from San Domingo to Pettus where he bought a hotel, and on April 6, 1891 opened a store. This store burned down in 1901. He rebuilt in 1903, and the first telephone in the area was located in the store. Several years later a switchboard was installed in the Roberts Hotel with Miss Lula Roberts as operator. In 1929 or 1930, a disastrous fire burned the hotel and some seven business houses. Mr. Roberts’ store did not burn. In 1932 W.T. Roberts Company built the first brick business house in Pettus. It continue to operate until 1965,
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Lady Justice

Lady Justice

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of the Lady Justice who stands atop the Bee County Courthouse. Unlike most representations of Justice, this lady reigns from her top-of-the-dome perch, not with a blindfold, but with her eyes open. W.C. Stevenson called his Lady Justice an “enlightened justice” a representation of what Justice should be. He thought the lady should have both eyes open to see who might be trying the tip the scales of justice one way or other. She has the mandate of the law (“scroll of records”) hanging on a staff in her left hand and the torch of knowledge in her right. She is made of zinc and covered with a coating that resembles copper. Since Stephenson gave permission to make copies of his work, there may be other “Stephenson Justices” scattered throughout the country.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Downtown Skidmore 1904

Downtown Skidmore 1904

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of early Skidmore in 1904. The Elite Hotel on the corner was where Dr. I.N. Thompson had his office. A devastating fire in 1919 took its toll of Skidmore. A large block of business houses burned to the ground at the time, and it is thought to have started in an empty saloon. Businesses burned in this fire were the Elite Hotel, W.R. Miller’s Dry Goods Store, Andy Tedford’s Saloon, Gus Staples’ Garage, Howard Faupel’s Barber Shop, M.M. White’s Store, Mrs. Murray’s Café, Midway Saloon, Galloway’s Confectionery, Kemp’s Tailor Shop, a millinery store, Borcher’s Hardwar Store, and Ed Crow’s Palace of Sweets Confectionery, featuring the first popcorn machine and the first moving picture show in the back of the store.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Photographs of Skidmore

Photographs of Skidmore

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Two photographs of Skidmore, Texas. The top photograph of the Skidmore Garage shows John F. Petrus standing on the right and James Galloway on the left (1922). In 1929 John F. Petrus built a large garage adjacent to the bank building and became “Mr. Fix-It”. Any job that couldn’t be done satisfactorily any place else, ended at Mr. John’s. The garage was still open in the 1970’s as the oldest business building still in use. John Ferdinand Petrus (November 30, 1893 to March 18, 1979) married Justina Catherine Hartman (August 4, 1895 to February 11, 1992) on November 12, 1917 in Skidmore. They are both buried in Evergreen Cemetery outside of Skidmore. John and Isabelle Galloway arrived in Skidmore in 1884 as a young married couple from Broxburne, Scotland, John worked for Frank Skidmore. After organizing a community Sunday School for all denominations, in 1890 he helped organize the Methodist Church. Mr. Galloway owned the Little Gem Confectionery in Skidmore. His son, John Galloway Jr. owned and operated Farmers Mercantile. That business evolved into a successful funeral business now located in Beeville. The second picture is a bird's eye view looking north of Skidmore at an unknown date.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Cotton Gin and Stock Pens in Skidmore

Cotton Gin and Stock Pens in Skidmore

Date: unknown
Creator: Skidmore Historical Society
Description: Two photographs taken in Skidmore, Texas. These two pictures of a cotton gin and stock pens represent two important economical activities in early Skidmore. In the early part of the 1900’s, Charles Blaschke and Joe Beyer built a cotton gin near the old overpass. The cotton was carried by hand in baskets from the ginstand up to the press to be made into bales. This gin was sold and later burned. T.C. Buerger built a gin on the Blaschke property in the residential section of Skidmore. Charles Blaschke bought a partnership in the gin. The gin was eventually closed and moved to Olmos where J.S. Hall of Beeville rebuilt it. Thomas R. Atkins, who came to Beeville in 1860, wrote that there were vast herds of Longhorn cattle and thousands of Spanish horses roaming through the tall grass. These cattle and horses were here because of early Spanish ranches in South Texas. Stock raising began in Skidmore about 1840, when cattle were brought from Gonzales and Austin. Mr.Skidmore brought the first registered Hereford cattle to the area in the 1870’s. One rancher settled in the bend of the Aransas Creek with a herd of almost eight hundred cattle. At that ...
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission