Bee County Historical Commission - Browse

ABOUT BROWSE FEED

W. C. Stephenson

Description: Photograph of W. C. Stephenson. In 1908 W.C. (Bill) Stephenson settled in Beeville, and moved his family here from Buffalo, New York. In 1912 Stephenson and fellow architect, F.W. Heldenfels designed the present courthouse. Stephenson also sculpted Lady Justice, who stands atop the clock dome of the 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. 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. In 1925, Mr. Albert Praeger made plans to turn the second story of the Praeger hardware store into apartments; they would be the first downtown apartments in Beeville. W.C. Stephenson was the architect for the apartments and several Beeville homes.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Frit'z Restaurant and Saloon

Description: Photograph of Fritz's Restaurant and Saloon. The restaurant building is two stories with a balcony and a porch. A sign can be seen at the front of the restaurant that reads "Fritz's Restaurant."
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

A. C. Jones Home

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Welder Family Members in Early Bee County

Description: Photograph of members of the Welder Family. Included in the picture are Louisa Welder, her daughter Mrs. Mary O’Connor along with Henry Welder, Jim O’Connor, and Chrys Wood. In 1874 Tom Welder, son of Thomas and Louisa Welder of Refugio Co., moved to Bee County and took up ranching. He drove horses, mules, and cattle to Louisiana and Kansas, and was a rancher his entire life. He served as Bee County Commissioner for twenty-two years and was Vice President of the Beeville Bank and Trust. Other Welder family members ranched in Bee County, and the Welder Family is known throughout South Texas as ranchers, businessmen, and community leaders.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

The Wiliam McCurdy Home

Description: Photograph of William McCurdy's home located on East Cleveland Street. Mr. McCurdy was the publisher of the Beeville Bee, Beeville’s first newspaper. The home is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Garza.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Rialto Theater Drawing

Description: Drawing of the Rialto Theater. The Rialto Theater was built in 1922, as the flagship for the 22-theater chain owned by H.W. Hall and family. After a fire in 1935 destroyed the interior, the theater was remodeled in an Art Moderne style by the original architect, W.C. Stephenson and the theatre architect John Eberson, famous for the Majestic Theater in San Antonio.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Entry of the McClanahan House in Beeville

Description: Photograph of McClanahan House entry way. The McClanahan House is the oldest business structure in Beeville. The building, the second store built in Beeville by George W. McClanahan, was erected around 1867 on the east side of the courthouse square, near Poesta Creek. The house served as general store, lodging house, and post office. It was built in the pioneer western style, with southern porches.In 1962, the building was purchased by the Historical Society for $600, and moved to its present site. The building is still the “home” of the society, and meetings are held there periodically.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Old Flournoy Home

Description: Photograph of John W. and Gussle Flournoy's early Beeville home. Flournoy John W. Flournoy, a Lockhart native, came to Beeville with little more than a mule and his saddle bags after graduating from Emery and Henry College in Virginia in 1879. He met and married (1881) Miss Gussie Hitchings, a teacher from Normanna, and the couple moved to Beeville. Flournoy was a teacher, attorney, railroad booster, legislator, and banker. He served as the president of Commercial Bank in Beeville from 1898 until his death in July of 1916. “Miss Gussie”, whose buggy was parked outside of elementary schools for many years, was a respected Beeville teacher for thirty-seven years. Flournoy Elementary School, built in 1952, was named for her. John and Gussie later bought A.C. Jones home which was located on the hill where the college now stands. They moved this grand home into town by mule and wagon. It sat across from Flournoy Park until it was razed in 1946.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

S.A.&A.P./Southern Pacific Depot in Beeville

Description: 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.
Date: 192u
Item Type: Photograph

Bee County Sesquicentennial Seal 2008

Description: 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.
Date: 2008
Item Type: Photograph

Beeville Post Office

Description: 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.
Date: 1918
Item Type: Postcard

Railroad Depot

Description: Photograph of a group of men standing outside of the train depot. Located in Pettus. Well equipped with S.A.A.P. brass spittoons, each depot became a social center.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Telephone Operator

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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph