Minutes of Meeting

Coppell Historical Society

March 8,  2014


Present:  Pete Wilson, Jackie Parrish, Pat Lambert, Don Carter, Jan Lorrain, Barbara Lee, Betsy Wilcox, Judy Conger


President Don Carter called the meeting in the Kirkland House to order at 1:09 p.m.


The minutes of the last meeting were approved.  Moved by Jackie Parrish; seconded by Barbara Lee.


The treasurer’s report by Jan Lorrain showed the following:

               City Grant Fund:

                              No income since last month

                              Expenses since last month, $289.30

                              Balance of City Grant Fund, $7.59


               General Fund:

                              Income since last month, $80.00

                              Expenses since last month, $46.82

                              Balance of General Fund, $11,491.53


               CD Account:

                              Current value, $20,326.47


                              Total of all accounts, $31,825.59


The treasurer’s report was approved.  Moved by Pete Wilson; seconded by Jackie Parrish.


Pete Wilson moved that the Society send a $100 contribution to the Tyler Cotton Belt Railroad Museum as a thank-you for their lending items to us for our April display.  Pat Lambert seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.


Pete Wilson requested reimbursement for $32.41 in expenses for photo supplies for our historic photo collection.  Pat Lambert moved; Jan Lorrain seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.


It was decided that Jan Lorrain will send out an email to members, reminding them to pay their annual dues.


Standing Committee Reports:


Archives Committee.  Pete Wilson reported for Dave Murph that the committee has met three times and is making substantial progress in categorizing the Society’s many historical documents.


Heritage Park Committee.  Pete Wilson reported for Pat Quinlan that the city has participated with her in a walk-through of Heritage Park to identify areas which still need the city’s attention.  Pete has noticed that traffic cones and unused signs have been removed, and new grass has been placed where the city had to dig up a faulty water line.


Historical Marker Committee.  Pete Wilson presented a modified proposal to purchase six historical markers for the following locations: (1) The site of the original Coppell Schools, (2) the Amcat building (former city hall, jail, and fire station), (3) the Harwell house and barbershop, (4) the water tank, (5) the site of the original railroad depot, and (6) Pinkerton Elementary School (the original Coppell Grade School).  Permission to place the markers has been received from all parties, including the city, with the exception of Pinkerton Elementary School.  Pete has given all details of the marker installation to the school district and has requested permission to place the marker at the school.  He expects to receive word from the school district shortly.


Pete mentioned that when a marker is to be installed onto private property instead of in the city right-of-way, it has been made clear that the city will maintain ownership of the marker and that if the building is ever remodeled or removed, the city and Society will have the right to replace or remove the marker.


The estimated cost of the markers is $750 each, for a total of $4500 plus shipping.  This proposal is considerably less than the original proposal because the original included more markers and required the purchase of additional site medallions and poles.  In its first order, the Society purchased ten medallions and five poles, of which only one medallion and one pole have been used.  In the next stage of purchasing markers, the Society will need to purchase these additional items.  At least five more sites have been selected for designation in the future:  (1) the current Coppell House of Style (a former general store), (2) the site of the original post office, (3) the W. O. Harrison home (across from the Kirkland House), (4) the site of Bethel School and Bethel Church, and (5) the reconstructed stone columns that will be placed at the S. Coppell Road entrance to Grapevine Springs Park.


The markers will be purchased from the city grant fund, and, although that fund is currently almost exhausted, the city has approved this year’s grant of $10,000, and it should be received by the end of March.  Until then, there is cash in the general fund to cover the expense.


Pat Lambert moved that the proposal to purchase the six plaques be approved and that the plaques be ordered as soon as permission from the Coppell school district has been received.  Barbara Lee seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.


Education Committee.  Pat Lambert reported for Jean Murph that she, Jean Murph, and Pat Quinlan attended the Park Board meeting in February, where they encouraged the board to rewrite the current tree ordinance and asked that the city consider designating certain trees “witness trees,” so that they could never be removed.  The members also asked to be included on the agenda for the March meeting.  At the March meeting, the board agreed to appoint a committee to look at these suggestions.


Pat Lambert moved that the next Witness Tree Search be scheduled for April 26 at 9:00 a.m.  Richard Leonard, arborist, will be present.  Jan Lorrain seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.


Pete Wilson reported for Jean Murph that the Campsite Oak in Grapevine Springs Park which has been designated as a Famous Texas Tree will be officially recognized on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, at 9:00 a.m.  The city is hosting the ceremony, which will start with the tree ceremony and then continue at the new Nature Park facility at 10:00 a.m.


Pete Wilson reported that Jean Murph has proposed that the Society create a marker for the Campsite Oak.  Unfortunately, there isn’t time to get the marker made in time for the April 22 ceremony, but the Southwell Company, which is making our historical markers and will make the tree marker, will supply a foam board replica of the marker that we can display at the ceremony.  The actual metal marker can be installed later.  It will be installed on a rock at the base of the tree.


Working with Jean Murph, Pete Wilson created a sketch of the tree marker which is approximately 12” square, of black and silver aluminum like the standard Texas Historical Markers.  It will have a graphic of the state of Texas surrounded by “Famous Tree of Texas, 2013.”  (The official state designation actually took place last year.)  Below that, will be the text:

“In 1845, Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, and fellow travelers camped under this and other oak trees at these springs and met with local Indian tribes, attempting to negotiate a peace treaty.  The treaty, signed several months later, promoted settlement and trade throughout the area.”


Pete estimated that the plaque will cost a maximum of $550, since it is made of aluminum, unlike our historical markers, which are made of bronze.  The cost could be considerably smaller than that.  The Southwell Company will make the required vector artwork for a cost of $40, which Pete will handle by credit card and get reimbursed.  The foam board replica will cost $75, and shipping will be added.  The company will start the process and send us a copy for proofreading.  At that time, the actual cost will be reported to us, and we will be required to pay half in advance.


Jean Murph will handle finding a rock to have placed at the site before the final marker is delivered.


Betsy Wilcox moved that the tree marker proposal be approved as presented.  Judy Conger seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.


Pat Lambert reported that our lecture on George Coppell, to be presented by Pete Wilson at the senior center, will be held on May 12.


Betsy Wilcox reported that two docents are prepared to host the regular tours at Heritage Park on March 15.  There will be no open house in April due to the Easter weekend.  Due to low attendance for the monthly tours so far, it was suggested that we should consider holding the tours in the winter only when the Farmers Market is open at the same time.  It was also discussed that we should utilize, in addition to The Citizen’s Advocate, any online publicity available to invite more to attend the tours.


Old Business:


Pete Wilson reported that the Society’s historical photo collection is being updated tomorrow by Jackie Parrish, Barbara Lee, Betsy Wilcox, and himself.  All of the historic photos acquired recently, including those from Barbara Lee and the Brooks family, are ready to be included.  The collection now numbers approximately 1200.


Jean Murph provided notice that the city is starting to reconstruct the stone columns that will mark the S. Coppell Road entrance to Grapevine Springs Park.  The Society has confirmed that the columns should look exactly like the originals which still stand at the north entrance to the park.


New Business:


Barbara Lee suggested that we contact Juanita Strong to acquire information about historic papers that Juanita supplied to the Society.  Barbara has left phone messages for Juanita, and Barbara will also send her an email.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:22 p.m.



Wheelice (Pete) Wilson, Jr.

Secretary, Coppell Historical Society

972-741-3894 (cell)



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