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2013-03-14

Frontier Times Museum celebrates stylish 'Ruby Jubilee'

Special to the Courier

As the kick-off to its 80th anniversary celebration, the Frontier Times Museum will hold its annual Spring Gala at a local home that played an important role in the museum's history. The former hilltop ranch house of Foster Baird Doane will be the glamorous setting for this year's fete, scheduled for Saturday, March 16.
Opened in 1933, the museum was owned by its founder J. Marvin Hunter. After Hunter's death in 1957, the museum was sold to wealthy businessman and inventor, Foster Doane. A native of Chicago, he fell in love with Texas when he moved to San Antonio to work for the military testing metal fatigue in aircrafts with a technique that he invented.
Settling down in his adopted state, Doane purchased a 3,000 acre ranch off Highway 16 four miles south of Bandera. He built a rock mansion on the top of a hill in 1947, complete with a courtyard, swimming pool and even a schoolhouse for the children of his ranch workers. Today, the home is owned by Michael and Mary Goodale, who have named it Hilltop Hacienda.
In 1960, Doane and his wife, Sandra, learned that the Frontier Times Museum might close. Recognizing the museum as a community treasure, Doane purchased it to save it from being dismantled. Though he died in 1964, his widow and the family's Doane Foundation continued to operate the museum until 1972 when they donated the museum to the residents of Bandera County.
"When Michael and Mary generously opened their home for the museum for our Ruby Jubilee Gala, it was a perfect fit," said Rebecca Norton, museum executive director. "Mr. and Mrs. Doane played a huge role in saving the museum and to gift the museum to the people of Bandera County was extraordinary. The Doane Foundation continues to help support the museum's operations each year, so we wanted to honor the family and the foundation. What better place to do it than in this beautiful home that was loved so much by Foster Doane?"
Doane was also a painter, and his studio sits next to the main ranch house. The Doane Foundation built the Doane Western Art Gallery wing to the museum in 1972, where a large collection of Doane's original artwork and more contemporary paintings by his daughter, Peggy Calvert, are displayed. A selection of his paintings will be brought to the home for display during the gala.
The evening's festivities will begin at 7 pm and will include a live jazz and blues band, raffle prizes and live auction. A special room of the house will be devoted to desserts and champagne.
"The home is really an important historic building in Bandera County. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the fireplace and the view of Bandera's hills is breathtaking. The house and its courtyard are an elegant setting for a cocktail party," said Gala Chairman Cindy Harrington.
A limited number of tickets are still available for the gala. Tickets are $80 and are available at the Frontier Times Museum, 510 13th Street, in Bandera or at the door the night of the event.
For more information, call 830-796-3864.

Pictured: The lovely Hilltop Hacienda, formerly the Doane Ranch, will be the site of the 80th anniversary celebration of the Frontier Times Museum during this year's Ruby Jubilee Spring Gala, Saturday, March 16.