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Minutes of Meeting

Coppell Historical Society

September 13, 2014

Present:  Don Carter, Jackie Parrish, Jan Lorrain, Jet Emmons, Pat Lambert, Patti Carpenter, Dave Murph, Jean Murph, Shaun Jex, Sue Miller, Cecil Dobecka, Barbara Lee, Kelvin Ekberg, Nita Strong, Betsy Wilcox, Cliff Long, Chris Long, Lloyd Webb, Joyce Ledbetter Webb, Pete Wilson, Pat Quinlan, Martha-Allison Blewer.

The meeting in the Kirkland House was called to order by President Don Carter at 1:08 p.m.

Due to the presence of new members, docents, and other guests, the usual order of business was varied somewhat.

Pete Wilson, chairperson of the Historical Marker Committee, reported that during the summer, three new historical markers had been installed by the Society:  (1) on the Amcat building (former fire station and city hall); (2) between the small barbershop and the Home Décor building (former Harwell home); (3) on Pinkerton Elementary School (Coppell’s only school building from 1928 until about 1967).  A fourth marker was installed at the site of the first two school buildings from the early 1880s, but the city had to remove the marker and has suggested an alternate location due to the objections of a property owner.  The Marker Committee will recommend action on this marker at the next meeting.

The minutes of the last meeting were approved unanimously as emailed to members.  Jean Murph moved; Jackie Parrish seconded.

The treasurer’s report by Jan Lorrain:

               Grant Fund from the City of Coppell:

                              Beginning balance, $7,309.29

                              Expenses (including items purchased for the Kirkland House, rental of room at the Senior Center for the George Coppell presentation, postage, an artist’s fee for creation of the Famous Tree marker, the Famous Tree marker, supplies for display case and Kirkland House activities, and annual internet fee), $3,340.09

                              Ending balance, $3,969.20

               General Fund:

                              Beginning balance, $10,977.92

                              Income (membership fees), $40.00

                              Ending balance, $11,017.92

               CD Value, $20,326.47

                              Total of all accounts:  $35,313.59

The treasurer’s report was approved unanimously.  Moved by Betsy Wilcox; seconded by Sue Miller.


               Archives Committee.  Dave Murph, chairperson, reported that the committee has made much progress in categorizing its documents.  The goal is to file assorted pieces of historical documents so that they can be used conveniently in the future.  Currently, the files are located in the Kirkland House; digital photos and oral histories are kept by Pete Wilson.  Dave anticipates another meeting of the committee in October to continue the work.

Nita Strong mentioned that she once provided an original historic photo to someone writing some historical articles, but she did not receive it back.  Pete Wilson said that all the Society’s historic photos are digitized, and if the original is lost, he can provide a high-quality copy.

               Kirkland House Committee.  Pat Quinlan, chairperson, mentioned that the committee and others met with a representative from Dallas’ Heritage Park, and he made suggestions about how to make the Kirkland House and Minyard Store more visible to residents.  As a result, a host of new ideas are being tried, some of which are being implemented by the Education Committee.

               Historical Preservation Committee.  Pat Lambert, chairperson, reported that the Society has mailed a letter to the city regarding perceived violations of the 10-foot easement around the Bullock Cemetery. At least one homeowner has built a spa and fence in the easement that the Society assumed was to preserve the integrity of the cemetery and, possibly, to protect unidentified graves outside the cemetery.

               Pat has continued to work with the city on re-writing its tree ordinance.

               Education Committee.  Jean Murph, chairperson, presented a calendar of upcoming events, as follows:

               September 20 – Open House at Heritage Park with old-fashioned clothes-washing for kids and to draw the attention of any citizens who may be in the area – at the Farmers Market, for instance.  Volunteers will be involved.

               October 11 – Regular meeting date, archeological dig at North Lake.  (Rain date, October 18)

               October 18 – Open house at Heritage Park with pumpkin-painting and candy for kids.  Volunteers will be involved.

               October 31 – 7:00 p.m. – Halloween Open House at the Kirkland House with trick or treating and ghost stories.

               November 8 – Regular meeting date, at the Senior Center, 1:00 p.m., Program on early Coppell Schools.  The display case at the Senior Center will house an exhibit about the early schools.  Presently, the case holds an exhibit about the Cotton Belt Railroad, with many artifacts loaned to the Society by the Cotton Belt Museum in Tyler.

November 15 – Open House at Heritage Park with old-fashioned bread- and butter-making with a Thanksgiving theme.  Volunteers will be helping.

December 13 – Regular meeting date.

December Christmas Open House in the evening – date to be decided.

An Old Town event will take place on October 25.  The Society’s participation will be decided.

Patti Carpenter suggested that volunteers might be stationed near the Farmers’ Market on days that Heritage Park is having its monthly Open House, to encourage citizens to attend.  

Jean reported that she has created a calendar in the Citizens’ Advocate for Society events.

Betsy Wilcox is in charge of maintaining the calendar for docents and volunteers at the Kirkland House Open Houses.  Next Saturday is the regular Open House at the Kirkland House. Jr. Docents will be helping.

The Docents of Heritage Park were thanked by Jean, and they were honored before this meeting at a brunch.

The city has asked for a formal presentation from the Society regarding the Witness Tree project.  The Society has already turned in a written proposal.  The Witness Tree project seeks to locate old trees that have “witnessed” major historical events in Coppell.  A number of these trees have already been identified, such as at the site of church baptisms in the Trinity River, along Sandy Lake Road where there were honky tonks, and in Grapevine Springs Park.

Old Business:


New Business:

Pete Wilson reported that annual dues are due in September and are good through the following August, according to the bylaws of the Society.  There was concern expressed that persons paying dues as late as the summer do not receive a full year’s membership.  It was decided unanimously that anyone who has paid dues within the calendar year before this September will be considered paid up until August of 2015.  Moved by Pete Wilson; seconded by Jean Murph.

Cliff Long, a member of the Coppell City Council, was introduced and welcomed.  He has requested that the Mayor appoint him liaison to the Society and has been approved for that position.  Cliff expressed his desire to be liaison to a local group, and the Society was his first choice.

Jean Murph, chairperson of the nominating committee, presented the following nominations for officers for the coming year:

President – Don Carter

First Vice-President – Pat Lambert

Second Vice-President – Patti Carpenter

Recording Secretary – Pete Wilson

Corresponding Secretary – Barbara Lee

Vice-Corresponding Secretary – Jackie Parrish

Treasurer – Jan Lorrain

There being no more nominations from the floor, the slate was approved unanimously.  Jean Murph moved; Martha-Allison Blewer seconded.

Don Carter thanked past and current officers and the committee chairs for their hard work.

Committee chairpersons include:

               Historical Preservation – Pat Lambert

               Heritage Park – Pat Quinlan (with Sue Miller acting as Vice-Chairperson)

               Historical Markers – Pete Wilson

               Education – Jean Murph

               Archives – Dave Murph

Shaun Jex reported that he is pursuing the idea of writing text for a book about Coppell history and about “Local Legends” (prominent citizens from the past and present).  He has approached a publisher who may be interested in the proposal.  Shaun wants the cooperation of the Society and needs some of its research materials and photos.

Don Carter approved turning the matter over to the Executive Committee to meet with Shaun to discuss the matter more fully.  A meeting date of September 18 was set at the Arts Center in Coppell, at 6:00 p.m.

Pete Wilson mentioned that Frank Brightwell, owner of the Local Diner in Old Town, has used some of the Society’s historic photos to decorate the wall of his waiting area, presenting and overview of Coppell history.  The Society has been invited to supply its brochures that can be available to anyone who is interested.

Sue Miller suggested that one new activity for the Kirkland House might be singers who perform and draw the attention of passersby.

Open Forum:

Nita Strong asked if the Society could do some sort of formal advertising to promote Heritage Park.

Sue Miller said that a political group to which she belongs uses door hangers to publicize their agenda, and that this might work for the Society.

The city is working on promoting businesses and activities in Old Town.

Jet Emmons asked about some of the artifacts in the Kirkland House.  A gun rack has been donated and will be installed to hold the antique shotgun that was previously donated.  The clock in the parlor was donated by Pat Quinlan; it was previously in her family.  The desk and many other items were purchased specifically for the house by the Society since the Kirkland family did not leave behind any of their original furnishings.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:11 p.m.  Moved by Sue Miller.

Wheelice (Pete) Wilson, Jr.

Secretary, Coppell Historical Society

972-741-3894 (cell)