Queen City Of The Sand Flats
The Grapeland Community Council is an outgrowth of the effort by the Crockett Jaycees to boost the development of HoustonCounty.
The Grapeland Community Council is an outgrowth of the effort by the Crockett Jaycees to boost the development of HoustonCounty. The Chambers of Commerce of the area had become relatively inactive and upon hearing of a successful county development in Mississippi, a group from the Crockett Jaycees went to Mississippi to study their organization. From what they learned, the Houston County Development Foundation started. The Jaycees met with the business men in each community and they all agreed that they would work together to try to boost the county. Each community regardless of size was to have its own community council. These councils, in turn, supplied directors for the Houston County Development Foundation. The function of the foundation was to encourage this development by a broad program to improve local resources and to attract industry.
Each and every community of Houston County was to organize a council and all the people of the community were automatically members of the council. Each would elect its own local officers and then select its directors to serve on the Houston County Development Foundation.
The Grapeland Community Council was organized in 1960 and more than 100 people came to the first meeting. The elected officers were as follows: A. S. Clewis, president; Frank Dailey and W. A. Brown, vice-presidents; Merle Ray Brimberry, secretary; Otto Walling, M. E. Darsey Jr.,Ira Rials, directors.
The first and largest project of the council was securing a hospital for Grapeland. Several committees were appointed to work on this project and it became a reality in 1963 through the combined efforts of all the citizens of the Grapeland area. Every dollar spent was raised by local groups and the work was done primarily by volunteer labor. This was a tremendous undertaking for a community of this size.
During the years of the hospital's operation, the Community Council made donations to help meet the hospital's needs. Through the combined efforts of the Community Council and the Hospital Auxiliary committee the following equipment was purchased: emergency room equipment, hot water heater, and sterilizer, furniture for the nurse's lounge, positive pressure machine, air conditioners, and dishwasher. Cardiac monitor and defibrillator machine and croup tent. They purchased many other items of equipment and sponsored the replacement and upkeep of television sets for each room. In listing the contributions of the Community Council to the hospital, the writer of this article does not intend in any way to detract or take away from any other group or person the credit due them for their contribution to the hospital. This was truly a communitywide effort done in the spirit of Grapeland.
The Community Council became a member of the State Highway 19 Association and State Highway 287 Association in 1962. They have worked with these associations in their efforts to provide better highways in our area.
In 1961, the Council sponsored the Polio and Tetanus Drive to get maximum effectiveness in the effort to stamp out and eliminate these diseases.
Other projects during the 1960s were renewal of the local chapter of the boy scouts, contributions to the purchase of new band uniforms, purchase of Houston County Lake signs, purchase of welcome signs on both ends of town, provided litter barrels for the city, sponsored Christmas Lighting contests and the Christmas parade, sponsored Santa Claus, sponsored the walking blood bank for the hospital, sponsored a drive to raise 6500.00 for the preparation of the site for the Nuclear Corporation, set holidays each year for the town, and last but not least -sponsored the Peanut Festival.
During the 1970s the Community Council continued many of the above projects. In 1972 they sponsored a week-long centennial celebration of Grapeland's one-hundredth anniversary. At that time, they sponsored the publishing of the first edition of the history of Grapeland, 'Crossroads to Progress'. In 1977 the Community Council organized and operated a youth center called The Reck' which consisted of a game room and snack bar for the youth of our community. It filled a need for entertainment for our youth for about two years.
The next project of the Grapeland Council was done in cooperation with and at the instigation of the newly formed Grapeland Jaycees. Together they bought a ten acre track of land at a cost of $10000.00 to be used as a community park. A major interest of the Jaycees in acquiring the land was to build and provide a place for young people and adults to have rodeo-type activities. The original work on our rodeo arena was sponsored by the Jaycees. Since that time the local 4H and other riding clubs have continued to improve the arena. A concession stand was built for activities in this area of the park under the sponsorship of the 4-H club.
The major interest of the Community Council in acquiring the park was to provide a place to have the Peanut Festival and other outdoor community activities. The early day fairs and agricultural shows were held in an old frame building (used as a gym) located where the high school tennis courts are. In 1940, this building was torn down to make way for the new agriculture and band buildings built of local rock by the WPA. The fair activities of the Peanut Festival had been held on the railroad right of way in front of the downtown stores. The size of the crowd that attended the 1972 festival pointed up the need for more room to have booths and entertainment for our visitors.
In 1977 the Community Council built the pavilion with steel joists donated by Nucor. Most of the labor was volunteer labor. In 1978 they added much need bathroom facilities. These were expanded in the 1980s.
After the debt acquired in buying the park was paid off, the Grapeland Jaycees and the Community Council deeded the park to the City of Grapeland to become the Grapeland City Park. This park ownership was transferred to the city in 1984.
As in any project in Grapeland, the entire community cooperated in developing this park. For this reason, the city council appointed a park commission composed of members from various organizations and groups of the town who had worked to acquire the park. The purpose of the park commission is to help supervise its development, use and operation. By having representation of all of these groups, the city council hoped that through their input that the park would be used to serve the best interest of the community at large.
The latest large project at the park has been the building of a bandstand. The cost of this building was $17000.00 the money was raised by the citizens of Grapeland in less than two years. It was completed in 1985.
An ongoing project is the publication of an up-dated and expanded edition of the Grapeland history book.
The purpose of the community council is to serve its community. It has contributed to the projects and needs of many other organizations. It has helped the school with donations for different school needs, such as scholarships and sponsoring the selling of trade’s school homes. In conjunction with the Farm Bureau, the Community Council has sent a student to the State Seminar for leadership training each year. It has cooperated with the city in helping finance the ambulance service, the fire department, the Christmas decorations, and the Crime Stoppers program. All monies that are raised by the Community Council at the Peanut Festival go back into the community in some way.
The directors of the Community Council are your representatives. They are elected at the annual meeting in January. All citizens are invited to attend and vote for the new directors. At this meeting, the accomplishments and effort of the past year are reviewed and new goals are set. Your active participation is welcomed and needed by your community.
Grapeland Masonic Lodge
The Grapeland Masonic Lodge no. 473 was chartered on December 17, 1887, with James F. Martin, Worshipful Master, Sam Egbert, Senior Warden, and R. S. Pridgen, Junior Warden. The site of the first meeting was not determined since the lodge hall, records and paraphernalia were destroyed in the town fire of March, 1913. This lodge hall was located on the second floor of the Walling Buildingwhich occupied the present space of Grapeland Propane Gas Co.
Before the Walling building was built, the lodge held their meetings in the upper story of the school house (built in 1896) onCollege Street. The early day location of the hall is unknown. After the fire of 1913, the Masons erected a two story brick and plaster building across the street and north of the M. E. Darsey, Sr. home (corner of Oak & Maple). In 1958, this building was disposed of and a new and modern one-story brick and plaster building was erected on the old Goodson Hotel site.
Early day Grapeland Masons met `The first Saturday night on or before the first full moon of each month'. This enabled the Brothers to travel on foot or horseback in the light of the moon. Today, Grapeland Masons meet on the third Monday night of each month-- moonlight or not.
Order of the Eastern Star
Grapeland Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star No. 120 was organized July 11, 1910 with Mrs. Nozzle Kennedy, Worthy Matron and Mr. Ben H. Logan, Worthy Patron. On October 12, 1910 the following 20 members signed the Charter granted by the Grand Chapter of Texas, Order of the Eastern Star: Miss Cammie Boulton, Miss Anabel Davis, Mrs. Lula Davis, Mrs. Leila Fads, Odell Farris, Miss Blanche Kennedy, Mrs. Eleanor Kennedy, Mrs. Nezzie Kennedy, Sam Kennedy, B.H Logan, Miss Ellen Logan, Mrs. Nannie Logan, Miss Willie Logan, Mrs. Cattle Luker, Mrs. Sallie McCarty, Mrs. Leitha Owens, Mrs. Florence Richards, Mrs. Fannie Stafford, Miss Jewel Taylor, Mrs. Maud Woodard.
The present membership of 132 includes 11 fifty year members: Mrs. Fannye Bradshaw, Mrs. Willie B. Caskey, Mrs. Catherine Chiles, Mrs. Beulah Dailey, Mrs. Agnes Murray Darsey, Mrs. Bess Herod, Mrs. Bess Kennedy, Miss Ruth Kennedy, Miss Hazelle Mc- Carty, Mrs. Winnie Newman, Mrs. Louise Thomas; 20 married couples: Evalina and Franklin Ashley, Tanda and Jimmy Bartee, Arvada and Bennie F. Brimberry, Jim and Robyn Colley, Eva and Harold Cook, Edward and Christine Dancer, Ann and Charley Darsey, Harold and Patsy Fox, Alfred and Wanda Grayson, Carty and Dick Keen, Sandra and Weldon Kerby, Jo and Lavoy Lasiter, Margaret and Billy G. Meador, Wanda and Marian Nichols, Eleanor and Milo Pennington, Wanda and Edwin Pitts, Jane and Malcolm Quarles, Pansy and Wm. T. (Bill) Read, Cleola and J.C. Searcy, Betty and Max Smith; 10 mother daughter teams: Reba Berchey and Renee, Thelda Bartee and Karen, Sandra Coleman and Melynda, Hazel Dailey and Joyce Ann, Mollie Jones and Linda Fay, Ruth McClendon and Mollie, Wanda Nichols and Marleen, Joyce Murdock and Caron, Ruth Quarles and Jane, Louise Thomas and Sallie, also Nancy; two mother-son teams: Virginia and Jim Colley and Minnie Mae and Lavoy Lasiter; six pairs of sisters: Opal Chapman and Bonnie Russell, Ann Darsey and Betty Hart, Ruth Dailey and Helm and Irene Frazier, Edwina Long and Frances Pridgen, Sallie Scarborough and Nancy Langham, Hazelle McCarty and Louise Thomas; two sister-brother teams: Estelle Chaffin and Dick Keen, Sandra Coleman and Marian Nichols; one father-daughter team: Marian Nichols and Marleen Josey; and one instance of three generations: Ruth McLendon, Mollie Jones and Linda Fay Skidmore.
Presently on roll are 30 past matrons and 9 past patrons: Past Matrons are: Louise Thomas, Fannie Bradshaw, Ruth Kennedy, Bess Kennedy, Ruth E. Dailey Helm, Catherine Chiles, Hazel Dailey, Mollie Jones, Catherine Pridgen, Pete Rials, Edith Goodbread, Ava Mae Jordan, Grace Tompkins, Velma Lively, Thelda Bartee, Edwina Long, Elaine Walling, Maurice Walton, Juanita (Vicki) Brown, Dorothy Mosley, Carty Keen, Eleanor Penningon, Linda F. Skidmore, Sandra Kerby, Marleen Nichols Josey, Wanda Nichols, Violet Story, Lucille Bradley, Cleola Sercy, Robyn Colley. Affiliated Past Matrons: Evalina Ashley, Willie B. Caskey, Minnie Mae Lasiter, Winnie Newman, Pansy Read. Past Patrons are: Milo Pennington, Dick Keen, Weldon Kerby, Marian Nichols, Lavoy Lasiter, Harold Cook, J.C. Searcy, and Jim Colley. Affiliated Past Patrons are: Franklin Ashley, Wm. T. (Bill) Read. Three members hold dual membership: Pansy Read, Wm. T. ((Bill) Read and Minnie Mae Lasiter were initiated in Augusta Chapter but also hold membership in Grapeland Chapter.
Marleen Nichols (Josey) and Sheri Cherry requested a petition for degrees on the day of their 18th birthday. Four years after initiation Marleen was installed as a young Worthy Matron, having previously been active in Rainbow for girls.
Mr. W.D. Granberry served this Chapter as Worthy Patron 19 times (not consecutively), and Fred Thomas served 12 years (also not consecutively).
n 1942 the Worthy Matron, Ruth Ellen Dailey (Helm), answered Uncle Sam's call and became a W.A.S.P. (Women's Air Force Service Pilot). She received her training at Lubbock. Herbase was at Love Field, Dallas. Her duty was to deliver planes from the factory to different bases where they were transferred to the war zones. At the close of World War II her rating was that of captain.
The Chapter has been honored several times by having members receive appointments made by the Worthy Grand Matron ofTexas as officers of Grand Chapter of Texas.
Each year since 1968 this Chapter has been 100 percent in giving to support the Humanitarian projects of Grand Chapter (which means contributing $1.00 per member to support the projects of Grand Chapter).
Now, in the 76th year, we would like to remember those who had a dream and organized this chapter, and it is appropriate that we recall those who through the bonds of membership have woven their lives into ours in close relationships of Chapter life. We choose to believe that we have seen in them something that cannot be destroyed and for which we are thankful.
On June 21, 1986, Maridelle Shirley and Harold Cook were installed as Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron of Grapeland Chapter of the Eastern Star for the 1986-87 year.
Grapeland Garden Club
Gold Club Rating, District III 1940-1986
A number of Grapeland citizens realized that a civic club, properly organized and conducted, could mean a great deal to the community, and it was decided a garden club was the best answer to the need and plans began to shape up for the organization. On
October 1, 1940, twenty ladies met at the invitation of Mrs. M.G. Kennedy, Mrs. G.M. Chaffee, and Mrs. Jack Long to organize a garden club. Then later in October another meeting was held, adding twenty-two members. The adoption of a constitution and bylaws was presented and accepted. A year later the club became a Federated Club.
The second year World War II began and the club were taught a course in home nursing by Mrs. George E. Darsey, Jr., a registered nurse. Twenty ladies passed this course. The club had its own Red Cross room and folded surgical dressings, this being its contribution to the War effort.
In the years that followed, the club has sponsored Girl Scouts, a float each year for the Peanut Festival parade, has landscaped the Elementary, Junior High and High Schools and the Community Memorial Hospital grounds and Community Park on Main Street.
More recently, the club took on the project of designing and building the West and East entrances to the Community Park, It was a joint effort with the Community Council. A garden club member, Mrs. Ralph Walton, designed the entrances. Two brick pillars with curved brick planters extending from the pillars were built at both entrances. The club had the planters filled with soil and planted hedges in them. Outdoor lights were bought and added to the pillars.
Many improvements have been sponsored by the garden club: clean-up campaigns yearly, planted half whiskey barrels that they placed on Main Street and some side streets, gave awards for "yard of the seasons" and awards for Christmas decorated homes and business establishments.
Contributions have been made to many local causes, bandstand in the Community Park, Senior Citizens Center, Fire Department, to young people participating in speech contests, essay and posters, drapes to the Community Hospital, Book Fair at the school library, etc.
Past presidents and up to date have been Mrs. T.M. Chaffee, Mrs. G.W. Kennedy, Mrs. Julian Hayman, Mrs. J.W. Lively, Mrs. Glen Eason, Mrs. Herman Beazley, Mrs. Jack Spence, Mrs. T.V. Lewis, Mrs. Homer Jones, Mrs. Milton Dailey, Mrs. Merle Luker, Mrs. Ralph Walton, Mrs. Wesley Slack, Mrs. N.M. Long, Mrs. Jack Long, Mrs. Olan Davis, Mrs. J.H. Ryan, Mrs. Harry Pridgen, Mrs. E.C. Leeves, Mrs. Charles Gayle, Mrs. J.C. Schoultz (who has been the backbone and the main source of encouragement to keep the club going and her many other accomplishments with Zone, District, and State clubs and officers are too many to include in this article), Mrs. Wm. A. Smith, Mrs. Sam Kennedy, Jr., Mrs. M.Y. Holcomb, Mrs. O.H. Walston, Mrs. Boyd Howard, Mrs. Cleve Holt, Mrs. Troy Jones and currently, Miss Nettie Brown.
This is a brief summary of The Grapeland Garden Club. Its contribution to the town and community are too numerous to relate but everyone who lives here has profited because there is a Grapeland Garden Club.
Sandyland Garden Club
At the instigation of the Grapeland Garden Club, the Sandyland Garden Club was organized by Mrs. Guy Ed Brewton in 1976. It is a Green Hand club on a simple program. It began with eighteen members. Average membership has been twelve. Mary Sam Hallmark was the first president and Ruth Shaver, treasurer.
The meetings take place the first Tuesday afternoon of each month at 3:00 p.m. at the Community Center. Each member pays a small sum at each meeting to pay for the use of the building. At times, trips are taken to gardens of interest.
Two members are hostesses at each meeting. Refreshments are simple. The hostesses resent a program or secure an outside speaker.
Officers at present: Zelda Woodell, president, and Dorothy Brewton, treasurer. Members are: Lois Howard, Mary Banta, Ruth Shaver, Verna Spence, Carolyn Dailey, Edwina Long, Era Thetford, Dorothy Brewton, Nellie Mae Williams, Zelda Woodell, Sue Taylor, Mae Garrison, and Catherine Walters.
When Mark Bush was about four years old, some news event prompted a discussion of President Harry Truman. "Who is President Truman?" Mark inquired.
His mother, thinking to explain in terms a young mind could comprehend, replied, "He is the president of our country. He is over all of us." With a puzzled expression, Mark asked, "Is he the same as God?"
Good Neighbor Club
The Good Neighbor Club, the outgrowth of the local Home Demonstration Club, was organized in 1953 with the purpose of being of use to the people of the community. As the name indicates, it is a philanthropic club with the Golden Rule as its motto and 'Help Somebody Today,' its theme song. Money is raised by bake sales, quilting, and the sale of 'homemade' items at the Peanut Festival and cards of all kinds are kept in stock as are novelty items suitable for birthday and Christmas. One charter member, Mrs. C. D. Cheatham, is still active at the present time. At the first writing of Crossroads Mrs. C. D. Cheatham was serving as president and Mrs. W. W. Willis, as treasurer. The 1986 officers are as follows: Mrs. Callie M. Willis, president; Mrs. C. D. Cheatham, vice-president; Mrs. Ruby Parker, secretary; Mrs. Violet Story, treasurer; and Mrs. Bertie Matthews, card chairman. The club has fifteen members. The other active members at this time are Dorothy Brewton, Madge Dauphin, Dorothy Gentry, Hazel Kent, Eula Lois Mason, Birdie Mae Salmon, Lela Smith and Lorene Duitch.
At first, the money was used only for individual families, but early in the 1960s any extra money was saved for the new hospital, then in the planning stages. When the hospital opened, the Club was ready with furniture for the reception room. Later, plate covers and a steam table were donated.
Meanwhile the school came to their attention. The light on the parking lot at the elementary school was installed, and a substantial donation made toward the curtains for the Lorena Schoultz Auditorium. Twice, band uniforms have been bought, and money has been given for library books. The last fifteen years has seen other projects added to the work of the Good Neighbor Club. Help and contributions have been given to the Grapeland Fire Dept., the Grapeland Ambulance Service, the Grapeland Nursing Home, the Cancer Fund, Muscular Dystrophy Drive, Crime stoppers and the Grapeland Park.
The purpose of this club remains the same as it was when it was formed—to help the individual family--and most expenditures come in the 'under $25.00' bracket, but the Club stands ready to help in any worthwhile Civic project.
Beta Sigma Phi
Alpha Xi Alpha Chapter, No. 9665, Beta Sigma Phi, was formed in 1975 with 16 charter members listed on the charter received April 30, 1975. These included: Pat Caveness, Kathy Cheatham, Peggy Cook, Juanice Cunningham, Kay Daniels, Bertha Dunn, Carol Ann Flanagan, Carolyn Horton, Billie Sue Jackson, and Sandra Lang, Nancy Lively, Betty McLeod, Kathryn Morris, Mary Shaver, Linda Faye Skidmore, and Barbara Ullom.
The international organization means life, learning and friendship, and the Grapeland chapter has delved into life at its fullest, growing and learning through many activities which aid the community. The chapter has 'adopted' a family at Christmas and Thanksgiving and gives donations of food and clothing. Chapter members have worked on fund raising projects through the years for various campaigns: Heart Fund, Mother's March of Dimes, Cystic Fibrosis, Red Cross, American Cancer Society, MHMR Drive, and St. Jude's Children Fund. The chapter had sponsored a child to the MHMR camp and currently supports Cystic Fibrosis through the International Beta Sigma Phi campaign. We have given tray favors at Christmas to the Community Memorial Hospital, purchased a bird bath for the patio of the Grapeland Nursing Home along with providing refreshments and gifts for Christmas. We also provided gifts for each nursing home resident at a monthly birthday party. Funds have also gone to the Grapeland Elementary and Junior High School Book Fair and for improvements at the 10-acre community park. The chapter has always been active in all phases of the Annual Peanut Festival. We furnished birthday gifts at the monthly birthday for the Girls Youth Camp in Groveton.
Our major project each year is giving a scholarship to a graduating senior at Grapeland High School. Two scholar- ships have been given each year since the chapter was chartered and have gone to: Nancy Lang, Gayle Streetman, Renee Richardson, Kevin Minatrea, D.J. Fillippa, Margaret Leamons, Judy Musick, Marsha Skidmore, Darlene Catron, Lana Lively, Sherri Skidmore, Debora Pennington, Clare Sawyer, Annette Gaines, Natalie Ferrell, Sharon Yates, Linda Musick, Quention Shaver, Jr., Cindy Moore, Kim Platt, Judith Skidmore, and Sandy Shaver. There are various money making projects to help raise funds for this project.
Cultural enrichment comes from study of program books which come from the International Office and are on varied subjects as beauty, music, hobbies and self-analysis.
Present membership includes 12 active members; one original charter member is still active, Linda Faye Skidmore. Other members are: Teresa Bennett, Selena Cryer, Vickie Ellis, Kim Huff, JoLen Jeffus, Sherri Kendrick, Brenda Payne, Patricia Peterson, Cindy Richards, Julie Richie, and Debbi Warner. Honorary members are Neva Jones and Dorothy Dailey. Officers for 1986-87 are: Sherri Kendrick, president; Linda Faye Skidmore, vice-president; Patricia Peterson, recording secretary; Julie Richie, corresponding secretary; Teresa Bennett, treasurer; Selena Cryer, extension officer; Vickie Ellis, parliamentarian,
Order of Calanthe
The Order of Calanthe, a department of the Knights of Pythias, was organized in Grapeland on April 14, 1924. The charter members of this organization were: Laura Hart, Ridia Hart, Drucilla Beavers, Franklin B. Grant, Bettie Shivers, Claudie Williams, Novella Hart, Lithia Steil, Margaret Phillips, Lucy Trimble Fannie Cook, Mary L. Smith, Hilda Trimble and Edna Davis.
Senior Citizen Nutrition Center
It became a reality the day the doors opened for service. This was June 3, 1985.
Much work, persistence, determination and enthusiasm brought it about.
The Business and Professional Women's Club decided for their project, in the year 1984-85, to work on a Center for the older citizens of Grapeland. This Center was to provide a place for amusement, fellowship and nutritional meals.
After all, Grapeland is made up, predominantly, of citizens who have passed the forty age mark and it is ideally suited for retired citizens. Many people who went to the large cities during their working years came back to live out the rest of their lives in retirement in North Houston County. The soil and rainfall are ideal for truck farming. Flowers and trees flourish. Smog and pollution do not abound.
When the club started the "groundwork" of getting a Senior Citizen Center established, they were told by the people in the "know" that a meeting of the public should be called to see what the public's reaction would be to the project. Thus a meeting was called at the Community Center in Grapeland. The response was overwhelming. Even standing room was taken and the crowd stood outside on the walk.
Before a grant could be considered by DETCOG (Deep East Texas Council of Government) a survey had to be made of the township to determine if there were enough people over 60 years of age to qualify for a Senior Citizen Center. This called for volunteers to go from house to house. The survey definitely showed a need.
But the grant was not forthcoming. No more money was available for this.
This did not stop the people of Grapeland. They held sidewalk sales to raise money for needed supplies. Business people, organizations, churches gave or loaned furniture, kitchen supplies, appliances and every thing that was needed to get the place in readiness. A building (a former game room newly renovated on Front Street) was leased.
As a result, the doors were opened on June 3, 1985. Many people came that day and in the days that followed. The fellowship was good and the food was tasty.
The food is still prepared at the Crockett Center and brought to Grapeland in thermal containers which keeps it at the required temperature. Some foods such as rolls, Jell-O and cornbread are prepared at the local center. Volunteers do all the serving and cleaning in the kitchen.
From the beginning it was evident that there was a need for more space. There was talk of obtaining a larger building or constructing a new building. The idea of a new building was the one chosen by the general public.
With the help of an attorney, Cindy Garner, the plans for the building were drawn up. A Charter was written and the Senior Citizens were now a formal non-profit organization.
A board of directors, and officers (president, vice president, secretary and treasurer) were elected. A designated building fund was set up separately from the operational fund.
Donations began coming in. A site was chosen by the people. The site chosen was a lot consisting of over an acre of land across the street from the Grapeland Nursing Home. Since no help was forthcoming from federal funds, a matching grant was applied for from the Templeton Foundation, with the legal assistance of retired attorney Cliff Gray (who with his wife, Betty, is frequent guests at the center) the details of the application were worked out. After much waiting and anticipation the grant came through.
Groundbreaking for the building was held in July 1987. The slab foundation was poured the last of October, 1987, and the $100,000 building became a reality.
Calvin Skidmore, a local CPA, gives much needed assistance with the bookkeeping.
Grapeland Business and Professional Organization Chartered 1982
BPW/USA was founded in 1919 and today is the largest organization of working women in the world. BPW is an organization whose members come together for regular meetings and special programs so that they may learn from each other, share information, contacts, career strategies, and friendships and develop projects that will make BPW work for them. The membership of this organization includes all ages, races, religions, political persuasion and socio-economic background. These members come from all levels of the workforce and virtually every occupational area, but they share a common purpose as members of the organization. BPW/USA members know that women must work together as a group and with other major institutions in our society for economic security and professional development. The opportunities for development make BPW member’s better employees, co-workers, employees, homemakers, citizens and self-worth women.
The idea for organizing a Business and Professional Women's Organization in Grapeland originated with Nelda Johnson. She visited a meeting of the Crockett BPW and realized that the Grapeland business women might enjoy having a similar organization where they could share their ideas and help each grow in the working world of women. She organized a meeting of all interested women and soon the club was well on its way. The Crockett Club sponsored the Grapeland organization and was a great help in getting the Club started.
The Grapeland BPW was the first club to be chartered in 1982. The nineteen charter members were Barbara "Bobbie" Brown, May Black, Selena Jo Cryer, Linda Engler, Beatrice Franks, Maye Garrison, Charlotte Huff, Marilyn Jordon, Nelda Johnson, Doris Kennon, Patricia Mason, Teresa McCurley, Wanda Nichols, Della Newman, Brenda Payne, Jan Pennington, Virginia Rials, Jill Shaw, and Alicia Smart.
Nelda Johnson was elected the club's first president and she, with all the other members, had a great deal to learn, but learn they did. Three of the members attended the state conference at Fort Worth that year. In 1983, Nelda Johnson was reelected to serve another year as president of the club. The club got into full swing and took a six week Individual Development course taught by Cheryl Hinckley of the Crockett BPW.
In 1983, the club had two fund-raising projects. It had a hot-dog booth at the Peanut Festival and sold chances on a "Tub of Groceries". This enabled the BPW to give their first high school senior scholarship to a senior girl. The club also made donations to the M. D. Anderson Cancer Research Center. The members accomplished their goals and had a lot of fun in 1983.
In 1984 with Doris Kennon as the president, they had some outstanding speakers, and very good programs. They held a style show and sponsored another booth at the Peanut Festival as fund-raising projects. They gave another scholarshp to a senior girl and a sizeable donation to the community Park restroom fund.
Doris Kennon served a second term as president of the club in 1985. This was a very exciting year. An open community-wide meeting was held to see if there was enough interest in the community to start a Senior Citizen Nutrition Center. There was an overflow crowd at the meeting and the response was overwhelming. Grapeland senior citizens were very interested in having this center and there were many other people who volunteered to help work toward getting a center for Grapeland. The BPW members along with others and many senior citizens worked very hard. They knocked on doors conducting a local survey, wrote letters, attended meetings, contacted senators, state representatives, commissioners, and lawyers in an effort to further this goal. After several meetings with the County Court, permission to open a Center in Grapeland was granted. Several carloads of citizens went toLufkin for a hearing on the program. Finally all the hard work paid off, and a very active Senior Citizen Center was in operation. At present, they are occupying a rented building, but through continuing efforts of their own the senior citizens are well on their way toward building their own center. They have a fast growing building fund and have already bought the land on which to build the Center. This has been a source of pride for the BPW members. The BPW was given a Special Recognition Award by the Community Council for its outstanding contribution to the community as a result of its efforts on behalf of the senior citizens.
As a part of the Houston County Sesquicentennial Celebration, the Grapeland BPW gave a "One Woman Art Show" for Mamie Barton. Mrs. Barton is very talented and has been invited to show her work in the National Women's Art Museum in Washington, D. C. The BPW also held a reception for a visitor, Irna Franklin, a representative for the Jubilee 150 years in Wudinna, LeHunte District (County), South Australia.
In 1985 the BPW also gave another $200.00 scholarship and donated $100.00 to the Bandstand project for the GrapelandCommunity Park. Going into the fifth year, the BPW has set new goals for the good of the club and the community. They are very proud of their accomplishments so far. The officers for the 1986-1987 year are: Jill Shaw, president; Wanda Nichols, 1st vice-president; Shirley Bridges, 2nd vice-president; Nelda Johnson, secretary; Beatrice Franks, treasurer; Flo Lawrence, parliamentarian.
Murdock Murchison complimented several boy friends Sunday with an excellent dinner at his home, one mile south of town, the occasion being his eighteenth birthday.
`Tump' as he is familiarly known by his friends, treated his guests royally and his mother had prepared a dinner `fit for a king'. The good things to eat were too numerous to mention and the boys ate ravenously of the feast. Those enjoying the dinner were Messrs. Geo. E. Darsey, Jr., Arthur and Jno. R. Owens.