Minutes of Meeting

Coppell Historical Society

March 14, 2015

Present:  Dave Murph, Jan Lorrain, Don Carter, Cliff Long, Barbara Lee, Fran Richardson, Pat Lambert, Phil LaBerge, Jean Murph, Shawn Jex, Joyce Webb, Lloyd Webb, Pat Quinlan, Judy Conger, Pete Wilson, Maureen Cochran

At 1:04 p.m., Don Carter, President, called the meeting in the Kirkland House to order.

Program:  Progress on Witness Trees and Coppell’s Tree Ordinance, presented by Pat Lambert and Jean Murph.

The Committee has singled out eight large trees that should be designated “Witness Trees”:

                Houston Campsite Oak

                Honky Tonk Tree

Old Town Domino Oak

Trinity River Cottonwood

Denton Creek Bur Oak

Bethel Community Oak

                plus two others that have not yet been finalized

These trees are to be presented to the membership, then to the Park Board for designation, after which the Park Board will pass along its recommendation to the City Council.

The Park Board has heard the committee’s recommendations for modifying the City’s Tree Ordinance, and the following changes will be presented to the City Council:

1.      Added the definition of a historic tree as one that is at least 40” drh or at least 100 years old.

2.      Added the definition of a specimen tree as one that is at least 24” drh.

3.      Added the definition of a protected tree as one that is at least 10” drh.  A protected tree can be removed at will by a developer, but the mitigation fee has been doubled, to $200 per caliper inch.  If a developer decides after the initial plans are approved to remove a protected tree, the mitigation fee will be $400 per caliper inch.

Pat Lambert commented that the City has had a long-standing tree ordinance, but it was seldom followed completely and its mitigation fees were so low, developers were not deterred from careless destruction of trees. She pointed out that the current goal of the Park Board is to make the preservation of trees a priority of the City, to be addressed at the first stages of City consideration of a developer’s plans.  Jean Murph commented that the revisions to the Tree Ordinance were proposed due to the widespread destruction of trees by recent development.  

Jean thanked Pat Lambert for all her work on the tree project and, in particular, for producing a book that has pictures and descriptions of all the Witness Trees.  She also thanked Maureen Cochran, a member of the Park Board, for supporting the Society’s efforts regarding the Tree Ordinance.

Maureen Cochran concurred with Pat’s observation that the City has a renewed interest in giving weight to the Tree Ordinance and to preventing wholesale destruction of important trees.

Jean also reported that the latest book, Famous Trees of Texas, which includes Coppell’s Houston Campsite Oak, is now being published and will have limited availability.  Information about purchasing the book will follow soon.  A suggestion was made to be sure that the Society and the library have copies.  

Business Meeting (begun at 1:39 p.m.):

The minutes of the last meeting were approved unanimously.  Moved by Jean Murph; seconded by Jan Lorrain.

The treasurer’s report by Jan Lorrain showed:

                City Grant Fund Account:

                                Income:  None


$1414.40, Southwell Company, 50% payment for two historical plaques

                currently being made.

                                $426.56, reimbursement for supplies for Educational Events such as

Christmas party, Valentine party, etc.

                                Current balance:  $10,199.52

                General Fund:

                                Income:  $30.00, membership dues


                                                $40.00, post office box fee (for 2 rental periods)

                                Current balance:  $10,746.40

                CD Reserve:

                                Approximate current balance:  $41,272.39

The treasurer’s report was approved unanimously.  Moved by Pete Wilson; seconded by Pat Quinlan.

Committee Reports:

Archives.  Dave Murph reported that members of the committee reorganized some items in both the Kirkland House and the library.  He reported that the library will move essentially everything to another building or storage in the month of August or September for at least a year to accommodate renovations in the library.  He noted that committee members will consult the library staff to find out where the Society’s items will be moved and will be sure that those items are safe.

Heritage Park.  Pat Quinlan reported that the wallpaper for recovering the ceiling in the Kirkland House dining room will be turned over after March to Mindi Hurley for installation.

The committee is considering wallpapering the kitchen but leaving an area exposed so the original boards can be seen.  There was discussion about this decision.  The committee was given approval to look into the matter, particularly the cost.

It was approved unanimously that a housekeeper be employed to clean the Kirkland House once per month at a cost of $100 per month (assuming that the City will routinely clean the restrooms).  Pat Quinlan moved; Jean Murph seconded.  Cliff Long suggested that a detailed list of duties be prepared and given to the housekeeper and that the housekeeper be bonded.

Historical Markers.  Pete Wilson reported that the two most recently-approved plaques are being made by the Southwell Company.  He expects a final proof of the plaques very shortly, at which time the Society will pay the balance due, and delivery will be made.  The City should be able to install them shortly thereafter.

The sign for the front yard of the Kirkland House is to be finished by late Wednesday.  Pete is settling whether the sign company or the City will install the sign.  The original plan was for the City to do the work.  There is still a chance that the City may elect to delay the installation if there is a chance that the sign could be damaged by reconstruction of W. Bethel Road.  Since this delay could be a long one, he is hoping that the sign will be installed immediately.

Don Carter mentioned that there is a mistake on the plaque that is in the Bullock Cemetery.  It states that W. T. (Bill) Cozby was the first Coppell Mayor; he was not.  R. M Johnson was the first mayor.  There was some discussion about what to do to fix the problem.  The consensus was that since the plaque was not purchased or installed by the Society or City and is now part of the family cemetery, nothing should be done except to counteract the mistake by being certain that the Society always publishes the correct information.

Don also reminded the Society that Gracepoint Church has volunteered to turn over historical documents. However, nothing has been received yet.

Education.  Jean Murph reported that recent educational activities by the Society include:

                Kids’ summer camp

                Halloween pumpkin decorating

                Halloween trick or treating

                Door decoration contest entry

                Kids’ Christmas starch decoration construction

                Christmas party

                Docents’ brunch

                Valentine’s tea

                Archeological dig

                Witness Tree searches

                School historical presentations

                Programs at the Senior Citizens’ Center

                Mounting exhibits in the Senior Citizens’ Center display case

                Open Houses at Heritage Park

                                (There have been 162 visitors who have signed in at the Kirkland House, 26

                                                workers and docents, and 3 junior docents.)

Before today’s meeting a brainstorming session regarding educational activities was most successful.  Ideas for future activities include:

                Spring garden

                Parlor games


                Canning demonstrations

                Christmas decoration construction, including knitting and sewing

                Christmas party with live music

The committee is planning one major activity per month, coinciding with each monthly open house.

There is still a chance that the Rotary Club will hold a future business meeting in the Kirkland House, which would introduce Heritage Park to more citizens.

It was unanimously approved that the Society’s open houses be rescheduled to occur on the same Saturday of the month on which the business meetings take place, and only during the months that the Farmers’ Market is open, beginning after this April.  Jean Murph moved; Pat Lambert seconded.

Pete Wilson will reprint the simple brochures that are available at the Farmers’ Market, making the change in open house dates.  Pat Lambert will help deliver the new brochures to the Farmers’ Market after the Society’s April open house.

It was unanimously approved to designate the eight Witness Trees as listed during the program before the business meeting; the list will be given to the Park Board for consideration and delivery to the City Council.  Jean Murph moved; Pat Lambert seconded.

There was no old business or new business.

In the open forum, Cliff Long, the Society’s liaison to the City Council, was thanked for all his help and support.  Don Carter thanked Phil LaBerge for providing new historical information to him.

Phil LaBerge commented on a book, Empire of Cotton, which presents interesting connections to the history of Texas. Mention was also made of information about the Cross Timbers region, which is a part of Coppell.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.

Wheelice (Pete) Wilson, Jr.

Secretary, Coppell Historical Society

972-741-3894 (cell)

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