Bee County Historical Commission - Browse

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American Legion Orchestra

Description: Photograph of seven members of Beeville's American Legion Post 274 Orchestra. R. Frank O'Reilly was the director of the orchestra. The Bee County American Legion Post was organized in 1921.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

American Legion Post 818 and Lymas Langley, Jr.

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Anniversary Club Annual Banquet in 1905

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Barnard E Bee and wife, Anne

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Bee County Courthouse 1912

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Bee County Courthouse, 1912

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Postcard

Bee County Courthouse After a Snow

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Bee County Courthouse and World War I Cannon

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Bee County Courthouse Drawing

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Bee County Courthouse: Early View from the Houston Highway

Description: 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.
Date: 1912
Item Type: Photograph

Bee County Courthouse's Lady Justice Lowered for Repairs, 2001

Description: 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.
Date: 2001
Item Type: Photograph

Bee County Jail, 1893

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Postcard

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 High School Building 1912

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Beeville Main Street 1909

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Postcard

Beeville Main Street 1914

Description: 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.
Date: September 29, 1914
Item Type: Postcard

Beeville Opera House

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
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

Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church Historical Marker

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Boarding the Train in 1914

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph

Buelow House

Description: 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.
Date: unknown
Item Type: Photograph