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  Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Bee County Courthouse 1912

Bee County Courthouse 1912

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of the Bee County Courthouse built in 1912, and located on the courthouse square at 105 W. Corpus Christi St. Lady Justice, who stands atop the clock dome was designed W.C. Stephenson. Mr. Stephenson and F.W. Heldenfels, both local architets, built the courthouse. Four Corinthian columns grace its north entrance. A south annex was added in 1942. The courthouse was completely remodeled in 1949-1950, when an elevator, air-conditioning and eleven rooms were added with Robert Beasley as the architect. In 2006 during another large scale restoration, features original to the courthouse, such as the rotunda and district court balcony, as well as the details of the tile and marble, were carefully restored. Recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 2000, the courthouse is part of the Texas Historical Courthouse Preservation Program, and is on the National Register.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Jesse Jarper McKinney with Mountain Lion

Jesse Jarper McKinney with Mountain Lion

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of Jesse Jasper McKinney standing next to a mountain lion. The back of the photo says that the mountain lion was killed out Oakville way late 1920's. On August 30, 1923, the Beeville newspaper, Bee Picayune, carried news of a panther, measuring seven feet and one inch from tip to tip. Scott Looney shot the treed cat four miles from the city limits. Looney, an experienced hunter and trapper, had killed several other cats in LaSalle County. He admitted that this cat was an unusual kill for Bee County. The carcass attracted quite a crowd when shown in town. Mr. Looney skinned the cat and gave the skin to Frank McKinney for a rug.
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. Note the windmill on the courthouse grounds. The public well, powered by the windmill, furnished water for the building and for the public water troughs provided for the farmers and ranchmen so they could water their horses. Many remembered dipping their fire buckets in the horses' drinking trough in the heart of town.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Santos Jaramillo at Viva Downs, Beeville, Texas 1974

Santos Jaramillo at Viva Downs, Beeville, Texas 1974

Date: June 23, 1974
Creator: unknown
Description: Two photographs of Viva downs in Beeville, Texas. The top photograph is of two horses on the race track. In the bottom photograph, the winning horse, Zipolo Honey, and his jockey stand beside the horse's owner Santos Jaramillo along with the horse trainers, Pancho Garza and Pete de Luna. In 1937, Santos Jaramillo started Jaramillo Cattle hauling with a bob-tailed truck. He soon had a fleet of big cattle trailers, taking cattle to market from ranches all over South Texas, and even by ferry from St. Joseph Island. After WWII, the railroad’s agricultural customers began to see the advantages of shipping by truck. While shipping by rail was less expensive, trucking was faster. Without the regulations of having to stop to feed and water the cattle, the truckers took cattle from the ranch to market in half the time.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Normanna Gin 1910

Normanna Gin 1910

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Postcard of the cotton gin in Normanna in 1910. Santa Domingo was the community’s first name. It was located nine miles north of Beeville where the Santa Domingo Creek joined the Medio Creek, and was settled about 1848. Jose Maria Uranga’s eleven leagues, the largest single Mexican grant in Bee County (1831), covered much of the community. In 1874 it was known as Walton Station after the sheriff of Bee County, D.A.T. Walton. In 1893 a Norwegian colony moved into the area and settled two miles east of Walton. That settlement is still called the Colony. A Walton post office was established in 1894, but another Texas town already had the name of Walton, so the town became Normanna. (Norwegian for “far north or one from the far north”.) In the early days Normanna had three churches, two doctors, two schools, a hotel, a weekly newspaper, five general stores, a drugstore, a gin, barbershop, a tin shop, a saloon, dance hall, the post office and a general store.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Section House in Pettus

Section House in Pettus

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Postcard of the 1886 Railroad Section House in Pettus. On May 17, 1886, the first passenger train backed into Pettus. A depot and a section house had been built; a well was dug, and a cedar tank had been erected just north of the depot, where the train got water. A section house was where the crew foreman and his family normally lived. Most meals and other get together would take place for all the railroad workers at the section house. There was usually a bunk house where the crews slept near the section house. A tool shed would also be nearby to store the tools used to maintain tracks along the section, and there had to be a source of water. The spacing of the camps was based on the distance a locomotive could travel on a tank of water and how far a maintenance crew could travel by handcart in one day.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Telephone Operator

Telephone Operator

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of the first telephone operator of Pettus. In the early 1900's a switchboard was installed in the Roberts Hotel in Pettus with Miss Lula Roberts as operator. Gradually nearly every home in the area had a telephone. The local switchboard was discontinued in January 1969.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Skidmore Downs

Skidmore Downs

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of a group of people surrounding a horse named Little Joe at Skidmore Downs. Among the people pictured are Bobby Ortiz, Bobby Ortiz Jr. and Santos Jaramillo, Little Joe's owner.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
San Domingo Schoolhouse

San Domingo Schoolhouse

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of the small, wooden San Domingo school. This schoolhouse was built by Mrs. John (Sallie) Pettus in 1859 on the west side of the Dry Medio, and moved in 1867 to between the Medio and Dry Medio Creeks. The schoolhouse was moved again in 1870 to the banks of Toro Creek. Miss Gussie Hitchens, who later married John W. Flournoy, was the first teacher. In the late 1870’s the schoolhouse was moved to the San Domingo community about two miles west of the present Normanna town site.
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission
Mrs. Alma Lee Urps Hampton

Mrs. Alma Lee Urps Hampton

Date: unknown
Creator: unknown
Description: Photograph of the front page of a funeral pamphlet for Mrs. Alma Lee Urps Hampton. Alma Lee Hampton was born on June 16,1902 to Mary (Pettus) and Dave Urps. She was reared by her mother and stepfather, Elvy Canada, a member of a pioneer Bee County family. As a child she attended Lott Canada School when it was a school with no name and only two teachers for about forty students. She was often taken out of school to chop cotton. She worked in the fields during the summer to earn money for her first year’s tuition at Guadalupe, a school for blacks in Seguin. With the support of her husband, Mitchell Hampton, a railroad man in Skidmore, and her mother, Mary Lee Pettus Canada, she earned her teaching certificate and bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University in Houston. She began her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in 1926, and continued teaching for forty-two years. She went to Del Mar in Corpus Christi to fulfill her dream of learning piano, and later utilized this talent as pianist for the old Anderson chapel in Skidmore. Mrs. Hampton passed away March 7, 1998. The services were held at Bethlehem Baptist Church ...
Contributing Partner: Bee County Historical Commission