Photograph of Tom Lyne's house located on 1701 North Madison. W. C. Stephenson designed the house. In 1910, Tom Lyne moved his family to Beeville from Live Oak County. Because he loved the railroad, he built his house near the tracks north of town. As a cattleman he took advantage of the SA&SP line in Bee County. He drove his cattle from his ranch in Live Oak County across the Nueces River into Beeville to ship them off to market in San Antonio. The house is now owned and occupied by the William B. Mosers. Mrs. Moser is a granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Lyne.
Photograph of C. A. Pressey sitting in his airplane, which is the first airplane for Bee County. In 1911 Charley A. Pressey arrived from Georgia in a Curtiss flying machine. Charley Pressey is also known for establishing the first moving picture theater in Beeville in 1906. The name of the business was Superba Family Theatre and the admission price was five cents.
A 1913 postcard with an image of a two-story, brick building labeled "First National Bank Building, Beeville, Texas." The postcard was sent from Beeville January 24, 1913 and addressed to Mr. & Mrs. W. M. Billingsly in Mineral, Texas. Part of the postcard is damaged, but the text reads "...certainly did...ourselves while w...all day think I will fo...my good time any ways...You must come and see us when you come...With Love from R[..]erta & Lonnie"
Postcard showing Washington Street in Beeville Texas. The ornate building on the left, at the intersection of Bowie and Washington, was the First National Bank of Beeville's location from 1894 to 1960. The First National Bank of Beeville was organized on December 30, 1889, and opened on the courthouse square in 1890. Prior to the opening of First National Bank, people left their money either in sacks under loose floor boards behind the counter of Captain A.C. Jones’ store on the east side of the Public Square, or in kegs under that same counter. The increase in population and trade volume brought on by the arrival of SA&AP, and the Gulf, Western & Pacific Railroads in the late 1880’s made the establishment of a bank necessary. Note the electrical lines along Washington Street. Electrical lights went on in Beeville on November 30, 1896.
This postcard, sent in 1907, shows a horse drawn buggy crossing the St. Mary’s Street Bridge over Poesta Creek. In the 1870’s the county provided roads with plowed furrow on each side of a clearing in the direction of Refugio, Goliad, San Patricio, Oakville, Saint Mary’s, and Helena. In 1888, a bond issue called for four bridges. Eight wrought iron bridges were reported at the turn of the century.
Photograph of loads of cotton piled onto mule-drawn wagons outside of Wimmer Store in Oakville,located in Live Oak County, Texas. The wagon driver is Lee Crawford. Similiar scenes took place across Bee County in the early 1900's.
1906 photograph of veterans of the Texas Revolution. Pictured are W. P. Zuber of Austin, J. W. Darlington of Taylor, Aca C. Hill of Oakville, S. F. Sparks of Rockport, L. T. Lawlor of Florence, and Alfonso Steel of Mexia. "We'll rally 'round the flag boys, we'll rally once more". The Texas Veterans Association, an organization of those who had served prior to, during, and immediately after the Texas Revolution, held its first convention in Houston on May 13–15, 1873, with about seventy-five veterans present. After 1876 the annual meetings, held in some seventeen different Texas cities, always took place in the week including April 21, San Jacinto Day. At the Goliad meeting in 1906 only six of the last ten known survivors of the Army of the Republic of Texas were present: William P. Zuber, Alfonso Steele, John W. Darlington, Asa C. Hill, S. F. Sparks, and L. T. Lawlor. The association dissolved in Austin on April 19, 1907, during its thirty-fifth annual convention. With its dissolution its work was taken over by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The stories of some of these men can be found in the Handbook of Texas.
Photograph of John Cook's Victorian style home. Built by John Cook, who was born in 1846 in a Texas-bound wagon train; at 17 he was in the Civil War; in 1866 he married Frances Miller. They first lived in rock house near this site. With his son, R.J., John Cook contributed much to area cattle industry, he raised fine registered Herefords. The house was erected 1897 of select long-leaf pine placed to catch Gulf breezes. Each room opens on a porch. It has 4 fireplaces, with mantels of mahogany, maple, oak. The architecture is Victorian. It was later owned by the Dugat and Warner Families. The house was recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1966
Photograph of the inside of the McKinney Brothers Store located in downtown Beeville. According to local legend, a KKK boycott forced Frank McKinney to close the store after he refused to boycott their Catholic customers.
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.
The intersection of Washington and Corpus Christi Streets in Beeville on a Saturday in 1892. Located at this intersection is the three story Ellis Hotel. A small portion of the courthouse lawn is visible in the lower right corner of the picture. . Captain A.C. Jones, who owned property surrounding the Public Square, offered to donate a building site to anyone who would build a first-class hotel. Francis M. Ellis offered to move his hotel in St. Mary’s to Beeville. His hotel was dismantled with every board numbered, brought in large freight wagons, pulled by eight and ten-horse teams, and rebuilt at this intersection in Beeville. In the 1890’s a third story was added.
Photograph of the Thompson Building located on 108 West Corpus Christi Street across from the courthouse. The Thompson Building built in 1892 in the Victorian style, was the first brick building in Beeville. The building was built by grocer, J.C. Thompson (1836-1905) of brick from the Calavaros kiln near Elmendorf. Upstairs in 1892 was the law office of Lon C. Hill, who later founded Harlingen. The “Beeville Light Guard” was later housed on the second floor. Acquired in 1910 by Eureka Telephone Company, the building was Beeville’s communications headquarters from 1912 to 1920 for Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company, and then for Southwestern Bell until 1957. In 1957 it was restored for the law offices of John N. Barnhart. Facing the courthouse, the proud old building displays a historical marker, and at the top of the facade, the date “1892”
This picture is of G.W. McClanahan’s first house in Beeville. George W. McClanahan was born in Craig County, Virginia in 1824. He graduated from Emory and Henry College in 1853, and came to Texas where he became the principal of Paine Female Institute in Goliad. In 1858 he resigned that position and moved his family to Beeville in 1859. He established a mercantile business on two blocks of land in the vicinity of present Klipstein Park. His son, William, born in January 1861, was the first Anglo child born in Beeville. When the county seat was moved from the Medio to Maryville (Beeville) Mr. McClanahan purchased some lots around the Public Square. In 1866 he moved his family to Corpus Christi where his wife died during a yellow fever epidemic in 1867. After his wife’s death, Mr. McClanahan moved back to Beeville with his four children, Mary, William, George, and James. He opened another store which he operated until his death in 1874. Mr. McClanahan and his wife taught school in his first store for children who lived in Beeville in 1860. Mr. McClanahan was a storekeeper, farmer and gardener, deputy clerk in the county clerk’s office, postmaster, land owner, and had a few head of cattle. He is known as the first merchant in Beeville. His store, built by Viggo Kohler, is preserved and maintained by the Beeville Historical Society, and is now located in the 200 block of Corpus Christi St. The inscription at the bottom of the picture says, "1st house built in Beeville by G. W. McClanahan. Storeroom built first and dwelling house later."
Photograph of the R. W. Linke home located on 1011 North Avenue C. Originally designed in 1913-14 by F.W. Heldenfels, who was one of the architects of the Bee County Courthouse. Their daughter, Gertrude later lived there.
Photograph of the parlor and entry way inside of the McClanahan house. The two story building was the first store erected in Beeville. George W. McClanahan operated a general merchandise store in the 1860's. He was one of the pioneer settlers in Beeville. The building was purchased by the Bee County Historical Society, moved to the 200 block of East Corpus Christi, restored,and is now known as the McClanahan House, home of the Historical Society.
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 the "Front of Rialto Theater, Beeville" as stated at the bottom of the photograph. 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. The first radio station in Beeville was located in the threatre's second story. KFRB took to the airways in December, 1924. Local and neighboring town's talent entertained listeners as far away as Oklahoma City. Months later, interest died, and the station ended its broadcasting.
Photograph of the interior 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. John Eberson (1875-1964) was a Romanian born American architect best known for movie palace designs in the atmospheric theatre fashion. Eberson attained national and even international acclaim for his atmospheric theatres, many of them executed in exotic revival styles, including Italian Renaissance, Morrish Revival, and others. He specialized in depicting outdoor settings with no formal walls, and made the whole auditorium a gigantic stage set that enveloped the whole audience. He became renown in 1923, when he designed the Holblitzelle’s Majestic Theatre in Houston, the world’s first “atmospheric theatre”.
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 Paul Bauer's home located on East Milam. Bauer and Son was an established saddler which existed in Oakville, Goliad, Yorktown and Beeville. The founder of the Bauer Saddle Shop, Frederick Bauer, a renowned saddler in Germany arrived in Galveston in 1855 and opened his first saddler in Yorktown. The Bauer’s made their famous Bauer saddles for over one hundred years, and worked in several Texas towns before settling permanently in Beeville. Paul Bauer was listed as a saddler in the 1910 City Directory, and his son, Fred, was listed in later directories through 1948. Fred’s saddle shop was located at 328 North Washington St. The last Bauer saddle was made by Fred in 1950, the year he died.
Photograph of Al Marsden's home located on 211 East Jones. The home was bought from W.S. Gaddy, Baptist Minister, and moved from the center to the side of the block. It was later owned by Mrs. Eldridge Adair and the R.M. Royals.
Photograph two women standing on either side of a portrait of Berkley Klipstein. B. W. Klipstein was a Beeville banker who served on the committee to expand the railroad to Eagle Pass and the Valley. In 1893, he boarded the train in Beeville to visit the world's fair, the Columbian Exposition in chicago.
Photograph of W. E. Maddera's, superintendent of Beeville's school system, home. As superintendent of the Beeville school system for 34 years, William Eldridge Madderra (1870-1936) was responsible for much of the development of the town's early educational programs. Madderra, for whom a local school building is named, purchased this house in 1907, three years after its construction, and lived here with his wife, Donna (Irwin), until his death. The house features late Victorian detailing and a three sided-bay to the right of the porch. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1983.
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.
Shown in the picture are Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Kimbrough in front of the Kimbrough Jewelry Store and New south Land Co. Soon after 1900, Claude L. and Beatrice Menier Kimbrough left their home in Mississippi and came to Texas for relief of Mr. Kimbrough’s asthma and emphysema. They arrived in Beeville in 1905 and opened a jewelry store on the corner of Washington and Bowie streets. The Kimbrough’s and their children, “Bee” Kimbrough and Claude L., Jr., “Skeeter”, remained in Beeville for the rest of their lives. Bee’s husband was oil man, Marion Young.
The marker for the railroad in Bee County is on the site of the old depot on West Bowie and North Madison Streets. 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 SA&AP by Southern Pacific in 1925, the depot became a Southern Pacific 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 Marys on the coast.
McClanahan/L.F. Roberts Dry Goods. Now located at 206 E Corpus Christi Street, 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. McClanahan was Beeville’s first merchant; he was among the first to buy auctioned lots in the newly formed town of Beeville in 1859. McClanahan also served as schoolteacher, postmaster, county clerk, innkeeper, and Sunday school superintendent. After McClanahan’s death, L.F. Roberts purchased and operated the store for many years. 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.
Photograph of Mrs. Lymas Langley, Jr. standing beside the dedication marker of her husband Lymas Langley Jr. The marker says "Beeville Volunteer Ambulance Service Building Erected 1971 Dedicated in Memory of Lymas Langley, Jr."
Postcard of school children standing in front Pettus school. In 1892 this one-room schoolhouse, 18’ by 24’, was built in Pettus. It had two windows on the north side and two windows on the south. The boards on the inside of the east end were painted black to be used for a blackboard. The only door was to the west. The benches were home-made and the children brought their own lunches and water to drink. Miss Evelyn Hardeman was the first teacher and she had 13 students in grades first through fourth. As the community continued to grow the school was classified as a third-class high school in 1912. In 1917 or 1918, a stucco school building was erected
Photograph of a group of men of the Swan Store in Normanna. Mr. and Mrs. C.I. Swan and family moved from Illinois to Normanna in 1889. For many years they were leaders in the community, and he is known as the “father of Normanna”. Mr. Swan served as county commissioner of Precinct Two for several years. Mrs. Swan taught in the Normanna Public School. She also organized the Normanna Country Woman’s Club, the first country club to federated in Texas. He died in 1918, and she in 1935. The store in the picture was owned by John Swan. Pictured from left to right are Dayton Roberts, James W. Robinson, Jim Sheive, Jim Moore, Sam Bridge, Dolph Garner, Henry Nutt, John Swan, Kay Smith, Mr. Lawrence, and Llywelyn Roberts (barefoot boy).
Photograph of the corner of Patricio and Fourth Street in Skidmore in the early 1900's. Some of the stores along the right side of the street are the Magnolia Saloon, U. S. Post Office, and the Confectionery and Ice Cream Parlor. Fires in 1900, 1916, 1918 and a devastating fire in 1919 destroyed most of the businesses in Skidmore.
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.
Photograph of the Leverman House after a snowfall. In the 1920’s, Fritz Leverman, owner of the Ideal Meat Market, and Jim Ballard were natural comedians who lifted their customer’s spirits with their stories. Mr. Leverman also served as Fire Chief.
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.
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.
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.
Document of a hand-drawn map showing where the first four schools in Pettus were located. The first school appears to be behind John Pettus' home, the namesake for Pettus. Aside from the Pettus homestead, the map is a bird's eye view of a grid consisting of thirty-six different blocks. The third school is in block thirty-one, the second school is in block seventeen, and the fourth school is outside of the grid, close to block fifteen. There are two thin lines that are drawn halfway down and across the page that represent a railway.
Photograph of three men standing inside of the Bauer Saddle Shop located at 328 N Washington St. The founder of the Bauer Saddle Shop, Frederick Bauer, a renowned saddler in Germany arrived in Galveston in 1855 and opened his first saddler in Yorktown. The Bauer’s made their famous Bauer saddles for over one hundred years, and worked in several Texas towns before settling permanently in Beeville. Paul Bauer was listed as a saddler in the 1910 City Directory, and his son, Fred, was listed in later directories through 1948. The last Bauer saddle was made by Fred in 1950, the year he died.
Postcard showing the Skidmore High School in 1929. This modern seven-classroom school was built with a large auditorium and library after the old high school was condemmed in the late 1920's. Professor R.J. Gladney was superintnedent then. This high school was used until the present one was built in 1953, when a larger high school became necessary.
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