Photograph of the S.A.&A.P./Southern Pacific Railroad Depot in Beeville. The marker for the railroad in Bee County is on the site of the old depot. On June 14, 1886, the first San Antonio and Aransas Pass train arrived in Beeville to a cheering crowd. The arrival of the railroad to Bee County came after Uriah Lott, the man responsible for building the S.A.&A.P. railroad, made a formal railroad proposition to Frank O. Skidmore, a wealthy stockman on the Aransas River, asking for a $100,000 bonus to bring the railroad to Bee County. Mr. Lott appealed to stockmen interested in hauling their cattle to market. The committee in charge of raising the bonus was made up of A.C. Jones and John W. Flournoy. In January 1886 Sheriff D.A. T. Walton showed Mr. Lott around Bee County by buggy, and the committee informed him that they had already raised $55,000. Uriah Lott then headed his railroad through Bee County. After the takeover of S.A.&A.P by Southern Pacific in 1925, the depot became an S.P. station. In 1958, the depot was razed, and the last train left Bee County in 1994. Before the railroad all freighting was done by wagon, and most of it came from Saint Mary's on the coast. D.B. Stafford was the first depot agent for S.A.&A.P. and later the first agent for the S.P. Railroad.
On June 1, 1943, Chase Field was commissioned as a Naval Air Auxiliary Station to train naval aviators during World War II. The base was named for Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Brown Chase, who went down in the Pacific on a training flight in 1925. After the war, Chase Field was closed until 1953, when it was reopened during the Korean War to help with the over-crowding at NAS Corpus Christi. In July 1968, Chase Field was elevated in status to a full naval air station. With the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the number of armed forces was greatly reduced and on July 1, 1991, Chase Field was put on the list for closure. VT-26 was decommissioned May 22, 1992, with VT-24 and VT-25 de-commissioned on September 18, 1992. Finally, on February 1, 1993, Chase Field was officially disestablished, bringing an end to fifty years of service in naval training.
Photograph of an aerial view of Bee County College. 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 II, and her three living children, 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.
Photograph of Albert Praeger's home located on 613 South St Marys Street. Albert Praeger was born in Victoria in 1864. He moved to San Antonio with his family, where he attended school and later trained as a tinsmith. In 1892, as a newcomer to Beeville, he married Miss Elizabeth Webber of Beeville, and opened a tin shop on the courthouse square in 1893. In 1906, Mr. Praeger, a successful and respected businessman, built a new brick building on the corner of Corpus Christi and Washington Streets. He built a second story for storage of large items like windmills, wagons, and buggies. He also installed the town’s first elevator, which was driven by hand.
In 1876, Stephen Canada conducted a school for Black Americans in his store seven miles above Beeville. After lumber from the old Methodist Church was donated for a school for Black American children, Stephen Canada and Mose Lott were the carpenters who built the school at 107 Burke Street. In 1931, a new school was built for Black American children. This new school was named the Lott-Canada School in honor of these two men. In this picture Stephen Canada is standing with three children from the Cox family.
Photograph of the T.H.Allsup house built in 1860 in the Aransas community. T.H. Alsup erected the house, then went to Goliad where he married Miss Caroline Smith. He and his bride made the trip home by horseback.
Postcard of a scene showing the area "Along the Highway Near Beeville, Texas" as printed at the bottom of the postcard. Note the electrical lines along the road. Beeville first connected with the outside world by telegraph on July 20, 1885, when the first telegraph office opened on the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad, even before the tracks were completed. Later, in 1891, Wright Van Meter set telephone poles along the Beeville-Refugio Road to Quincy’s Land and Colonization Company. Before 1900, Beeville had two telephone companies, the Southwestern Telephone and Telegraph Company and Eureka Telephone Company. Electrical lights went on in Beeville on November 30, 1896. L.D. Rhodes set up a plant near the Sims gin. Before 1900, lights were turned on and off because too many preferred the oil lamp. Central Power and Light came to Beeville in 1925 and the R.E.A. served all other rural areas.
Photograph of commander Lymas Langley Jr. burning the note for Legion Hall Post 818. American Legion Post 818 was named for an African-American man, Charles Major Lytle, who was killed while in defense of his country in World War II. The late Judge James R. Dougherty, prominent Beeville attorney, oil producer and philanthropist, donated several lots on which to build a Legion Post Hall. He also donated some money to help pay for the construction work. The post was completed in 1952 on West Hefferman St. The members sold barbecue dinners and paid out the indebtedness. The post was organized in 1946 with sixteen charter members. Lymas Langley Jr. as the first commander. Son of noted cowboy, Lymas Langley, Sr., Lymas Langley, Jr. was also a charter member of the Board of Community Council in 1965. He, along with George Hodges and Willie Walker, were in charge of the 1925 "Juneteenth" celebration, and he operated a restaurant on West Corpus Christi St. After Langley died in 1971, Camp Ezell, in his book The Historical Story of Beeville, Texas noted that Lymas Langley, Jr. was the most effective peacemaker of Bee County and the seeds of wisdom, understanding and kindness he instilled in whites, blacks, and people with Spanish surnames will live indefinitely.
In 1905, the Anniversary Club held their annual banquet, which was attended by prominent Beeville business men and their wives. Their names are listed at the bottom of the picture, along with a copy of the membership of the club, and the menu for the banquet. In the 1890’s and early 1900’s the Anniversary Club, a men’s club, met once a month and held birthday dinners which were served at the Nations Hotel. From its beginning clubs and organizations played an important part in the progress of the citizens of Bee County, both culturally and civically.
Barnard Elliot Bee attorney, soldier, and statesman, was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1787. He was the son of Thomas B.Bee who was a member of the Continental Congress, and was Justice of the U.S. Circuit Court of South Carolina under President George Washington. In 1836 Barnard E. Bee and his family moved to Texas and settled near Houston. He served as Secretary of State under David G. Burnet’s ad interim government, and escorted Santa Anna to Washington DC after the Battle of San Jacinto. During the Republic of Texas he served as Secretary of State under Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar. He also served as the Republic’s minister to Mexico and the United States. In 1846 he returned to South Carolina where he died in 1854. He was the father to Confederate Generals Hamilton P. Bee and Barnard E. Bee, Jr. Bee County was named for him in 1857 at the request of his son Hamilton, who served in the Texas Legislative from 1849 t0 1859. A THC marker is located in front of the Bee County Courthouse in his honor.
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.
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.
Postcard showing the Bee County Courthouse built in 1912. The Bee County Courthouse was built in 1912 by local architects W.C. Stephenson and F.W. Heldenfels. It is the county’s fourth courthouse. Recorded as a Texas Historical Landmark in 2000, the county courthouse is part of the Texas historical Courthouse Preservation Program. In 2006, after a large scale restoration, a rededication ceremony took place. Features original to the courthouse, such as the rotuda and district court balcony, as well as the details of the tile and marble, were carefully restored. After being repaired and regilded, Lady Justice was returned to the top of the courthouse in 2005. Unlike most representations of Justice, this lady reigns from her top-of-dome perch, not with a blindfold, but with her eyes open. W.C. Stephenson sculpted Lady Justice. The Courthouse is also on the National Register, and is located on the courthouse square which borders Washington, Houston, Corpus Christi, and St Marys Streets.
Photograph of the Bee County Courthouse after a rare snowfall. Note the A4 Skyhawk jet on the courthouse lawn. The jet, which was once assigned to the Lexington (World WarII aircraft carrier now docked in Corpus Christi as a WWII floating museum.), represents the importance of N.A.S. Chase Field to Bee County. The base trained naval aviators for WWII, Korea and Vietnam. In 1957 it was chosen to start swept-wing jet training for the first time in the Navy. The first F9F-8 Cougar jet aircraft arrived on board on March 14, 1957. The base has since been closed, but the jet is still displayed on the courthouse square as a symbol of Bee County’s role in major U.S. conflicts. In 2009 volunteers from Sikorsky Aircraft Maintenance and Coastal Bend College students from the college aviation maintenance course cleaned, repaired, and painted the jet with Sikorsky providing all of the supplies.
An early photo of Bee County’s Fourth Courthouse built in 1912 by local architects W.C, Stephenson and F.W. Heldenfels. Note the WWI cannon in front of the courthouse. During the First World War the US Cavalry trained at the Cook (now Dugat) Ranch and the Army Air Corps trained on the Nutt land (Capehart). Several Bee County men were WWI veterans and thirteen made the supreme sacrifice for their country.
A pen and ink drawing of the Bee County Courthouse, contributed by the Latchum family. Lady Justice sits atop the clock dome. She was designed by local architect W.C. Stephenson, who also 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.
Photograph of the Bee County Courthouse while it was still under construction. The three-story courthouse was built by W.C.Stephenson and Fritz W. Heldenfels, and still in use today. Note the barbed wire fence seen in the foreground. Before this courthouse was built, barbed-wire (called bob-wire by cow punchers) proved to be a great benefaction to the ranchmen. It put an end to the cattle drives up the Chisholm Trail to Kansas, and brought an urgent need for a railroad through Bee County. This need was met by the SA&AP railroad through Beeville in 1886.
Lady Justice, sculpted by W.C. Stephenson, is lowered from atop the clock dome for repairs after Lauron Fischer and her fellow 4-H’ers raised $30,000 for the lady’s rejuvenation. The restorations were done by the Dallas Museum of Art. In March of 2005 Lady Justice was returned to the dome. Unlike most representations of Justice, this lady reigns from her top-of-the-dome perch, not with a blindfold, but with her eyes open. 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.
Postcard of the "Bee County Jail, Beeville Texas" 1893. The first Bee County jail was built in 1874 west of the courthouse on the courtyard, or public square. Prior to its completion, prisoners were guarded by private citizens who were paid by the county. Nineteen years later, in 1893, this new jail was built. The first jail, a wooden building whose jail cells were lined with cast-iron material, was moved and is now preserved on the grounds of the Sheriff’s Office at 1511 E. Toledo. This second Bee county jail was completed in January of 1893. It was a two-story brick structure that, for almost half of a century, stood as a symbol of Bee County law enforcement. It was torn down and a new facility was built in 1936. In 1989, it was replaced by the present modern jail on Toledo Street.
An illustration of the 2008 Sesquicentennial Seal for Bee County donated to the Bee Picayune as a modification of the 1858 Centennial Seal designed by Lincoln Borglum. . As in the original 1958 Borglum seal, Bee County is projected from its geographical location in Texas. The jet on the seal represents the importance of Chase Field, the Hereford bull represents the importance of the Cattle Industry to the economy of Bee County, the cotton bale represents the importance of agriculture, the oil field represents the importance of oil and gas production in the county, the broom represents the Fortuna Broom Factory and other businesses in Bee county.
Photograph of Beeville's first high school which was dedicated in Oct. of 1912. The two story brick building was located at 601 East Hayes Street, and was named for Captain Allen Carter Jones. Captain Jones’ heirs, following the example of Captain Jones who had donated six acres of land for a school house in 1886, donated the land for this first high school. In 1957, a new A.C. Jones High School was built at 1900 N. Adams Street. This school house became Thomas Jefferson Junior High until it was razed in 1949 to make room for a modern structure that was named William E. Madderra Elementary school.
A 1909 postcard of Washington Street facing north in downtown Beeville. On the left of the card a corner of the Grand Opera House is visible. The First National Bank of Beeville can also be seen at the corner of Bowie and Washington on the same side of the street as the Grand Opera House. Washington Street is not paved in this picture. It will be 1921 before Beeville paved her principal streets.
View of Washington Street in 1914 looking north. The red brick three stories building on the left was the first “skyscraper” for Beeville. It was the Grand Opera House, built by A.F. Rees and E.J. Kinkler at the corner of Washington and Bowie Streets in 1907, and opened in 1908. Many Broadway stage plays, musical comedies, and light operas were presented in the opera house. The building was destroyed by fire in 1919. The building to the left of the Grand Opera House was Beeville’s first bank, the First National Bank of Beeville, which opened in 1890, and moved to this location by 1894. This postcard shows the modes of transportation available in the early 1900’s, a buggy, automobile, wagon and horse. By 1908 automobiles were owned by several individuals in Beeville.
The Grand Opera House was a three-story building located on the corner of Washington and Bowie Street. Owners were A.F. Rees and E.J. Kinkler. Murray Eidson was the manager. His family owned the 1880's opera house located on the courthouse square. The Grand Opera House opened in January 1908 with W.B. Patton in a comedy, The Slow Poke. Admission prices were 75 cents, $1, and $1.50. There was a balcony, and four boxes, or loges. Some of the best dramas, comedies, and musical plays that came south were shown. William Jennings Bryan delivered his famous "Prince of Peace" address in the Opera House. People came from Goliad, San Patricio, Live Oak, Karnes, and Refugio counties, and Beeville became an entertainment center. The Grand Opera flourished for about eight years, but with the coming of movie theaters attendance begin to drop, and many of the big stage shows stopped coming south. In December 1919 a fire destroyed the building.
In 1857, Michael Seeligson was the first postmaster at Beeville-on the Medio (originally Medio Hill in Goliad County), five miles northeast of the present town of Beeville. In the new county seat after 1889, the Beeville Post Office was moved several times. Opened on June 5, 1918, the present neoclassical building was built under Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo, with Supervising Architect James A. Wetmore. During construction, on May 7, 1917, contractor Robert B. Brown shot and killed Drayman J.P. Hermes. Found guilty of homicide in federal court, Brown appealed. In 1921, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Homes ruled that Brown acted in self defense, thus establishing the right to stand one’s ground in federal law. With the WWII boom and Chase Naval Air Field, the Beeville Post Office was upgraded to a first-class post office in 1944. Other changes followed, such as the end of mail contracts for the railroads in December of 1952. In 1961, the size of the building was doubled by the matched addition of the north half of the present structure. Much needed parking space was provided on the south side of the building in 1989. One block from the courthouse, this historic building and its postal services continue to be vital to the life of the town.
Photograph of the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church congregation standing outside in front of the church before their Sunday Services. The church was organized in 1884. Behtlehem Baptist is the oldest African-American congregation in Beeville. Charter members included Matthew Broadus, Peter Flannigan, L. Broadus, Martha Bess, M. Peters, Salanas Davis, and Edna Canada. Served originally by a circuit pastor, the congregation held Sunday services in a schoolhouse donated by Captain A.C. Jones. The church purchased land from Jones and built its first sanctuary in 1893. In 1926, the original white-frame structure and its two towers were replaced by a larger, but smaller structure. The church has been replaced several times since then, including its most recent construction in the 1980’s. It is located at 108 North Burke Street.
Photograph of the historical marker for the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in front of the modern day Bethlehem Baptist Church. The church was organized in 1884. Behtlehem Baptist is the oldest African-American congregation in Beeville. Charter members included Matthew Broadus, Peter Flannigan, L. Broadus, Martha Bess, M. Peters, Salanas Davis, and Edna Canada. Served originally by a circuit pastor, the congregation held Sunday services in a schoolhouse donated by Captain A.C. Jones. The church purchased land from Jones and built its first sanctuary in 1893. In 1926, the original white-frame structure and its two towers were replaced by a larger, but similar structure. The church has been replaced several times since then, including its most recent construction in the 1980’s. It is located at 108 North Burke Street.
The railroad not only aided the economy of Bee County, it was also used for recreational purposes. In 1914, this group of Beeville ladies boarded the Southern Pacific train bound for a fun trip to Houston.
Photograph of the Buelow House located on 211 East Fannin Street. It is a Victorian styled two-story house. Mr. Buelow built this Victorian turn of the century home for his New York actress bride, aunt of Mrs. Carl Heldenfels. A.V. Schvab purchased it for his family when he came to Beeville in 1906. In later years it was occupied by Ann Schvab Reed.
Photograph of women sitting on horses and in horse-drawn carts in Linke Grove, currently called Veterans Park. The horse and buggy was the chief means of travel at the turn of the century. In 1908 the first automobile appeared in Beeville. Gradually the horse and buggy were replaced with the automobile. In 1911, the first airplane, a Curtis, appeared in Beeville.
Photograph of women and one man in an early Skidmore Mercantile store. Some of the early mercantile stores in Skidmore were the Farmers Mercantile Company in Skidmore in 1912 owned by John Galloway Jr. His store included Ford cars, seeds, hardware, dry goods, ready-to-wear and a complete funeral service and could care for the needs for anyone “from the cradle to the grave”; W. R. Miller’s Dry Goods Store, where the first telephone switchboard was set up; and M.J. White Store. The devastating fires in the early 1900’s destroyed most of these mercantile stores.
Postcard of the two-story Baroque architecture styled home of Mrs A. C. Jones located at 611 East Jones St. Philanthropist and supporter of local schools, Mrs. A.C. (Jane Field) Jones (1842-1918) built the house on this site after her husband Captain Jones’ death in 1906. Governors and other Texas leaders were welcomed here. Located on the hill where the college stands today, the first and much grander A.C. Jones home was sold to the John Flournoy and moved into town by mule and wagon. It stood facing Flournoy Park until it was razed in 1946.
Photograph of the A. C. Jones home located on 611 East Jones Street. The house reflects early 20th century Baroque-style architecture with large formal rooms , eight fireplaces, hardwood floors, and high ceilings. Philanthropist and supporter of local schools, Mrs. A.C. (Jane Field) Jones (1842-1918) built the house on this site after Captain Jones’ death in 1906. Governors and other Texas leaders were welcomed here. Located on the hill where the college stands today, the first and much grander A.C. Jones home was sold to John Flournoy and moved into town by mule and wagon. It stood facing Flournoy Park until it was razed in 1946.
A picture of students in front of Caesar High School in 1913-1914. Located in the northern part of Bee County, the settlement of Caesar was started in the early 1890’s. Most of the settlers were farmers and ranchers. Not much remains of the settlement of Caesar today, but it once had a post office, store, school, gin, and a Baptist Church.
Photograph of Camp and Helen Ezell's home located on 1313 West Flournoy. A settler's "box" home, board-and-batten construction. Lumber is Florida long-leaf pine from a house torn down in Old Saint Marys by Robert A. Ezell. The house has three chimneys; one served as flue for the dining room fireplace and kitchen stove. Ezell (1845-1936), a stonemason, built at this creek site in 1892. His wife, Sarah jane, daughter of the the influential legislator L.B. Camp, was born at Mission San Jose, San Antonio. Camp Ezell, a historian and Beville Bee-Picayune editor, and wife Helen can be seen standing on the porch of the house.
Located off the Refugio Highway 202, the Campo Santo burial ground is not accessible to the public. The old cemetery is located on the head right of 1829 settler Jeremiah Toole of New York. Toole’s isolated oak-log home stood on the San Patricio-La Bahia Road. His family was in constant danger of attacks from Indians and invading armies.
Photograph of Captain A. C. Jones sitting in the cart of a horse-drawn buggy. A veteran of the last battle of the Civil War, Captain Allen Carter Jones was born in Nacogdoches County in 1830 to early Texas settlers. He served as sheriff in Goliad County from 1858-1860. Jones joined the Confederacy Army as a private when the Civil War began. Within eighteen months, his leadership abilities resulted in his promotion to Captain. In 1874, the Captain settled in Beeville where he became a merchant, banker, land owner, philanthropist, and cattleman. Captain Jones contributed a large share of the funds necessary to bring the railroad to Bee County in 1886. He also served as Beeville’s first mayor, county treasurer, the general manager of the Beeville Oil Mill, and he was a promoter of public schools in the area. He is acknowledged by all as the “Father of Beeville”. Captain A.C. Jones died in 1904.
Photograph of cowboys herding cattle on the Ed Brown Ranch. The Brown family has been in Bee County for several generations. Austin II's great grandfather operated the mercantile store on the square in town. Austin I, his son, was in the bulk fuel business. As a wholesale dealer for Magnolia, which later became Mobil, he delivered kerosene and gasoline to farm families with a wagon and team. Every time he made a dollar or two, Austin Brown I bought a little piece of land. He began putting the ranch together in 1924. The headquarters operation, where their preconditioning facility is located, is in Bee County, but they lease several other ranches in South Texas. Early on, like many South Texans, the Browns ran Brahman cattle. In 1945, Ed bought some registered Hereford cattle from a man in the area. He began crossing these Herefords with the Brahman cattle and ended up with a "tiger stripe-looking animal," Austin says. "My grandfather found out right quick that the first cross (F-1) was one of the best animals ever developed for Texas." Eventually the Browns phased out the Brahman cattle altogether and began building their Hereford program. Today they continue to maintain a base herd of 200 registered Hereford cows.
Photograph of people that attended a barbecue held by the McKinney Family in celebration of the new oil well Bee County. More than 500 people attended the event. On December 29, 1929 as the Houston Oil Company drilled for gas, the first oil well in Bee County was brought in on the JJ McKinney land east of Pettus. Humble Oil and Refining Company completed McKinney No. 1 Oil Well, Bee County, January 31, 1930.
Photograph of the Chambliss home located on 403 South Tyler. The house was built by F.G. and Louanna Chambliss in the 1890’s, on property once owned by the first medical physician in Beeville, Dr. Leander Hayden. Dr Hayden came to Beeville from San Antonio in the 1850’s. The house was later occupied by Miss Sara Chambliss. Fred G. Chambliss was judge of the Thirty-sixth Judicial District from 1912-1919. Judge Chambliss was active in the formation of the Citizen’s Party, a political party formed in Bee County in the 1920’s by Protestants and Catholics to break the the KKK's hold on the county’s politics. Mrs. F.G. Chambliss (Louanna W.) was the daughter of Joseph Wilson, who settled on the Aransas in 1852 where he engaged in the cattle business. Mrs. F.G. Chambliss was a charter member and past president of the Rosetta Club. She was an early member of St. Philips Episcopal Church (1888). Chambliss Hall, a large room with kitchen facilities connected to the west side of the church, is named for Mrs. F.G. Chambliss and her daughters, Mrs. J.T. (Dorothy) Hall, and Miss Sara Chambliss.
Postcard of the "Swimming Pool, Chase Field, Beeville, Texas" as printed at the bottom of the card. On June 1, 1943, Chase Field was commissioned as a Naval Air Auxiliary Station to train naval aviators during World War II. The base was named for Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Brown Chase, who went down in the Pacific on a training flight in 1925. After the war, Chase Field was closed until 1953, when it was reopened during the Korean War to help with the over-crowding at NAS Corpus Christi. In July 1968, Chase Field was elevated in status to a full naval air station. With the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the number of armed forces was greatly reduced and on July 1, 1991, Chase Field was put on the list for closure. VT-26 was decommissioned May 22, 1992, with VT-24 and VT-25 de-commissioned on September 18, 1992. Finally, on February 1, 1993, Chase Field was officially disestablished, bringing an end to fifty years of service in naval training.
Photograph of Cleo Ray's home located on 312 South Kathleen. Robert Nutt, Sr. built the house, and then sold it to John Timon who added the porches. The John Wilson family was the next owners. They removed the kitchen and dining wing from the main building to make servant quarters at the rear of the lot. Mrs. Ray was Clara Elizabeth Wilson. The home is now owned by Mark and Debbie Parsons.
Postcard showing people sitting on the porch of the "Commercial Hotel" in Skidmore. The picture was taken on December 4, 1912. The names of the individuals sitting on the porch are on the back of the postcard going from left to right. The Commercial Hotel was destroyed by fire.
Photograph of the Commercial National Bank in Beeville Texas. Beeville’s second oldest bank, Commercial National Bank was organized on January 11, 1893. It was during this meeting that officers and directors were elected and the capital stock was set at $50,000, or 500 shares at $100 each. The bank opened for business on May 15, 1893. Dr. L.B. Creath, a retired doctor who had moved to Beeville from the Austin area some years before; and D.C. Stone were listed as the Commercial’s organizers. Dr. Creath served as the bank’s first president and Stone served as its cashier. Following the organizational meeting, the bank’s first building was erected on the northwest corner of the courthouse square, at the intersection of Washington and West Corpus Christi Streets. The original building was razed when a new one was erected in 1965, but when it was built it was considered to be “one of the most substantial and modern bank buildings in the county.” The trimmings were made of Pecos red sandstone and Burnet granite and the interior had furniture of antique oak and brass mountings and openings. The vaults were made by the Hall & Marvin Safe and Lock Co., and being encased in solid masonry were considered to be absolutely burglar-and fire-proof. Because of droughts and the "panic' of the 1890's, the bank experienced many difficulties from its beginnings until 1900 when the county finally had a banner crop year. Under the leadership of John W. Flournoy, who served as president from 1898 until his death in July, 1916, and new supporters, the bank flourished from then on. On October 1, 1999, Commercial National Bank was sold and became First Prosperity.
Photograph of Confederate Veterans at a reunion in Beeville in the late 1890's. Texas furnished about 75,000 soldiers to the Confederate cause. Even though Bee County was only three years old in 1861, many men from the county served the Confederacy. Some died for it. When the war started there were seventy slaves in Bee County. There were many hardships for the citizens of Bee County during the War. A severe drought in 1863 and 1864 made it hard for the people of the county. There was not enough corn to supply local needs. Coffee was not available. Some made a substitute coffee out of parched corn, rye, okra, beans, and even potatoes. There was no sugar available. Calico was worth $50 a yard in Confederate money. Corn cobs were burned and the ashes was used for soda. For medicine, those who were ill used herbs, roots, and bark of certain trees. Women carded cotton into fluffy wads, spun it on spinning wheels into thread, and wove the thread into corse cloth. In 1865 the war ended and the men came home.
Photograph of the Cook home located on 1001 West Cook Road, built by John Cook himself. Born in 1846, in a Texas-bound wagon train, cattleman John Cook fought in the Civil War at age 17. He married Frances Miller in 1866. The cooks lived in a rock house nearby until their tarried Victorian mansion was wired for electricity and completed in 1897. In 1918, the U.S. Cavalry established a camp here..
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