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Historical commission outlines 2013 projects

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Bandera County Historical Commission (BCHC) Chairman Roy Dugosh recently updated commissioners on the group's proposed projects for 2013. Accompanying him to the Thursday, Jan. 24, meeting was Elenora Dugosh Goodley, who serves as commission co-chairman.
According to Dugosh, the estimated budget of $8,805 for fiscal year 2013 will include placing historical markers in Western Trail Heritage Park on Main Street; completing work on the historic black cemetery, located off Old Medina Highway; beginning the preservation and restoration process for the 1868 Bandera County Courthouse and 1881 Bandera County Jail; publishing four issues of the BCHC Historian; and allocating funds for website maintenance and payment for a post office box.
A bronze plaque honoring Bandera as the official Cowboy Capital of the World will be installed on a rock pedestal as a companion piece to the one explaining the city's unique contribution to the Western Trail. Another marker, also to be located in the small park along Main Street, will ostensibly outline the origin of the name of "Bandera." As yet, there is no information about where it will be placed.
The Hendrick Arnold-Bertha Tryon African American Cemetery is located between San Antonio and Houston Streets. Plans for its restoration, which have been in the works for nearly decade, are in the last stages of cleanup and location of graves.
Fencing to surround the approximately one-acre property will include a masonry stone entry and gate. Rock from the demolished 1937 jail, previously located in back of the courthouse complex, will be used in construction. Once identified, gravesites will be marked with installation of ground level cement headstones. The estimated costs of $3,500 include donations and a small grant allocated and approved by commissioners last year.
Eventually, the beauty and dignity of the black cemetery that was lost over the decades to trees, trash, vines and vandals will be restored.
Taking baby steps, members of the BCHC are collaborating with the Frontier Times Museum to preserve and restore the county's first courthouse and 1881 jail, located on 12th Street across Highway 16. Headed up by George Sharman, museum president, and Precinct 4 Commissioner Doug King, the "Friends of the Old Jail" committee has been asked to "come up with a workable plan" regarding the best uses for the historic complex. "The museum is excited about this project and will assist with the management of the buildings," Dugosh said. Because this project will likely remain in nascent stages for several years, no projected or estimated costs were factored into the budget.
The commission's publications, edited by Merry Langlinais are funded by the Bandera County Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as by individual donations for each publication. Estimated cost for four annual editions of The Bandera County Historical Society Historian is $2,000.
As the website manager and editor, Goodley told the court she needed approximately $50 for updated software. "The software I'm using now is so outdated it can no longer by supported," she explained. In addition, the annual fee for the BCHC post office box is $60.