Heritage, Summer 2004 Page: 25
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TEXAS HISTORICAL FOUNDATION HONORS PRESERVATIONISTS
The 50-year old Texas Historical
Foundation honored the work of six
preservationists recently in Fort Worth.
Walter Mathis, of San Antonio, the
man who gets most of the credit for the
rebirth of that city's King William
Historic District, received the Judge James
Wheat Award. In the late 1960s, when
the once-beautiful homes in that neighborhood
were falling into ruin, Mathis
bought one of the crumbling buildings,
and restored it for use as his own home.
That effort by Mathis began the drive that
saved the King William area, which later
became the state's first historic residential
district. Mathis has donated his home,
Villa Finale, to the National Trust for
Historic Places, which will operate it as a
museum after his death.
Dr. H.W. Brands, of Austin, was honored
with the Deolece Parmelee Award
for Historical Research, for his book Lone
Star Nation, published in 2004. The book
tells the story of the birth of Texas-from
colonization, to the battle of the Alamo,
to the days of the Republic of Texas, and
finally to statehood. Currently, a professor
of history at Texas A&M, Brands is the
author of 19 books.
The John Ben Shepperd Jr. Award for
achievement in historic preservation for
an individual craftsman was presented to
sculptor James Muir for his statue "The
Line-Colonel Travis-the Alamo:
March 5, 1836." Meticulous in detail,
this forceful, life-size bronze sculpture
depicts Alamo commander Colonel
William B. Travis, in authentic dress,
drawing a line in the sand. This is in reference
to the legend that has Travis giving
the Alamo defenders a chance to
leave or stay and fight with him at the
The Mary Moody Northen Award for
achievement in historic preservation for
non-profit groups was given to the Old
City Park of Dallas. The award recognized
the OCP's efforts to preserve representative
structures, artifacts, and other historical
materials related to Texas history.
Located just south of downtown Dallas,
the village has 38 historic structures,
including a working farm, elegant
Victorian homes, a school, a church, and
several commercial buildings. In existence
for almost 40 years, Old City Park volunteers
and crafters interpret the history and
lifestyles of those who settled north central
Texas between 1840 and 1910.
The Journalistic Achievement Award
honors excellence in the field of print
media for articles or research dealing with
Texas history or historical or cultural
preservation. This year's award winner
was Bill Harvey, of Austin, in recognition
of his research and publication of Texas
Cemeteries: The Resting Places of Famous,
Infamous, and Just Plain Interesting Texans.
Published by the University of Texas
Press, the book includes the profiles of
noteworthy people buried in cemeteries
across the state. This includes not only
famous individuals but also lesser-known
and even unknown Texans who made
contributions in the arts, sports, business,
military service, and politics.
Finally, a citation of merit was given to
the Northeast Texas Rural Heritage
Museum in Pittsburg, Texas. Proving that
big is not always better, the small town of
Pittsburg, with a population of less than
5,000, has created a top-notch museum
that features the old Cotton Belt Railroad
Depot and a restored northeast Texas
turn-of-the-century farmstead, complete
with the 100-year-old house, barn, and
smokehouse. The museum also houses a
full-scale replica of an 1898 Ezekiel
Airship created by a Baptist minister and
inventor who lived in Pittsburg.
Hal Jackson of Dallas, chairman of the
THF Awards Committee, was emcee of
the ceremony. Each year the Foundation
presents the awards to honor those who
work to preserve Texas history and culture.
From top, award winners with Marshall
Doke, THF president: Jolene Masur,
Old City Park; Ned Muse, Northeast
Texas Rural Heritage Museum; James
Muir; Dr. H.W. Brands; Bill Harvey.
Photos by Keith Pitner.
HERITA GE W SUMMER 2004
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2004, periodical, Summer 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45373/m1/25/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.