Heritage, Summer 2003 Page: 26
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Foundation Honors Six Preservationists
Shirley Caldwell * James W. Cearley
J. Brett Cruse * James L. Haley
Corpus Christi Area Heritage Society
St. David's Episcopal Church
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Thoughts of war and shrinking state budgets could not dim
the enthusiasm of a crowd of nearly 150 who gathered on the
evening of May 15 in Austin to honor six preservationists
who were cited for their outstanding contributions. From a
stone artisan to an archeologist researching the Red River
Wars of the Panhandle, preservationists were front and center
at the Texas Historical Foundation's annual awards banquet
held in conjunction with the state's annual preservation
Foundation board member and Awards Committee
Chairman Joe Bridges of Houston called each of the award
winners to the podium as he highlighted their preservation
Honored for a lifetime of achievement, Shirley Caldwell
was recognized with the Judge James E. Wheat Award for
outstanding achievement in historic preservation for business
and industry. Caldwell, a resident of the small town of
Albany, located in Shackelford County, is without peer when
it comes to success in the field of preservation. Tangible
examples of her regional efforts include the beautifully
restored Shackelford County courthouse and Albany's historic
downtown Lynch Building. A current member of the
Texas Historical Commission and formerly on the board of
the Texas Historical Foundation, Caldwell is also past president
of the Texas State Historical Association and has
worked with numerous local preservation groups.
The Mary Moody Northen Award honors achievement
by a non-profit organization. This year, the trophy was given
to The Corpus Christi Area Heritage Society in recognition
of that group's efforts in the restoration, preservation,
and maintenance of the Centennial House, built in 1849 by
Forbes Britton and recognized as the oldest structure in
Corpus Christi. The three-year, $700,000 restoration
returned the house, which has survived at least four major
hurricanes and the Battle of Corpus Christi during the Civil
War, to its former glory.
One of the most stirring speeches of the night was given
by Sally Cearley of Round Rock who accepted the John
Ben Shepperd Jr. Craftmanship Award for her deceased
husband. James W. Cearley was a seventh-generation
stone artisan who created the stately headstones that grace
the tombs of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Governor John
B. Connally, and Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock. No
monument, however, is more notable than the Medal of
HERITAGE SPRING 2003
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2003, periodical, Summer 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45377/m1/26/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.