Minutes of Meeting

Coppell Historical Society

January 11, 2014

Present:  Pete Wilson, Naomi Marchand, Jet Emmons, Judy Conger, David Murph, Jan Lorrain, Jean Murph, Rex Gourley, Linda Els, Barbara Lee, Fran Richardson, Pat Lambert, Pat Quinlan, Don Carter, Patti Carpenter

President Don Carter called the meeting in the Kirkland House to order at 1:05 p.m.

The minutes of the last meeting were approved.  Jean Murph moved; Jan Lorrain seconded.

The treasurer’s report by Jan Lorrain was accepted.  For the general fund, it showed expenses of $273.74 (postage, printing of the newsletter, signs, supplies, and bank fees) and income of $60.00 (refund of bank fees).  The balance in the general fund is $11,814.20.  (The general fund is divided into two parts:  [1] funds that are received from the city and are earmarked for certain expenditures and [2] funds collected from other sources such as dues, which can be used without restriction). The reserve fund remains unchanged with a balance of $20,000 plus minor interest earned.  Despite being told otherwise by the bank, the Society is still being charged service fees.  Jan will attempt to correct that problem.

Reports from Committees:

Archive Committee.  Dave Murph reported that the committee has had its organizational meeting and is planning a work session shortly.  Its goal is to collect and organize the many documents and other items that relate to Coppell history and store them in the Society’s cabinet at the library.

Heritage Park Committee.  Pat Quinlan reported continued progress on finishing the Kirkland House.  Fran Richardson, a new member, has donated an antique clock from her grandfather’s house which, by coincidence, was constructed in the same year, 1904, as the Kirkland House.

Pat is looking for a gun rack so that the rifle can be mounted over the kitchen door.  Judy Conger will also look into acquiring a rack.

Historical Marker Committee.  Pete Wilson reported that the committee’s scheduled meetings have been interrupted over the holidays, but the committee is planning to meet within the next two weeks to finalize its proposal about ordering the next set of plaques.  He reported that several of the potential sites are posing some problems because even a minimal amount of historical data has not been located in order to compose the text for the markers.  However, there are as many as seven sites which are being considered for immediate designation.  The city has given its approval to mount markers in the city’s right-of-ways.

Cemeteries Committee.  Pat Lambert’s report centered on progress she has made dealing with the city’s tree protection ordinance.  She has met with city representatives and discussed the fact that the present ordinance has not been revised for many years and now seems to be inadequate to encourage developers to conserve important trees.  The fee that the developers pay now is usually just looked upon as a business expense rather than a deterrent to removing trees.  Pat also mentioned her concern that the fees collected, which go into a reforest fund and can be used to maintain any trees that are saved, will dwindle as development in Coppell slows down, thereby reducing the amount of funds available for maintenance of existing trees.  Pat will also request an annual report of how the fund is used.  The city recommended that the Society present its concerns to the Park Board, whose responsibility it is to address the issue first.  Pat plans to attend the Park Board’s next meeting on February 4 to speak to the issue.  Other members are encouraged to attend.

Don Carter reported that he received a question from a homeowner near the Strickland Cemetery regarding the number of additional burials that can take place there.  It is assumed that the homeowner was asking if the boundaries can ever be expanded.  All of Coppell’s historic cemeteries have definite boundaries, with development and streets around them, so it is unlikely that any of the cemeteries could ever increase in size.  Burials within those boundaries are controlled by family representatives for each cemetery.

Jean Murph suggested that the Society might write a letter to the city manager asking that the city council establish a standard ten foot easement around each cemetery, similar to the easement around the Bullock Cemetery.  She mentioned that the City Manager had suggested that to her.

Education Committee.  Jean Murph reported that the city manager is still anticipating a spring celebration to commemorate the designation of our Sam Houston Campsite Oak in Grapevine Springs.  The Society agreed to be a part of that and will cooperate with the city.

Jean suggested that our next Witness Tree Search be held at 9:00 a.m. on the second Saturday in February, with the Society’s regular monthly meeting to follow that at 11:00 a.m. in the Kirkland House.  Pete Wilson moved and Pat Quinlan seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.

Jean suggested that on the second Saturday in April, on the date of our regular meeting for that month, we host a public event that will include a presentation on George Coppell, with Pete Wilson leading the lecture.  It could be held at the library or at the senior center at Grapevine Springs.  Jean and Pete will work on the details.

Jean mentioned that the Society needs to watch as phase two of the Main Street project proceeds, to be sure that the stone columns at the entrance to the new Grapevine Springs trails are installed as promised.  The city is reconstructing the columns and the developer will be installing them along S. Coppell Road.

Work is being done on the historical tour map, which will identify certain historical sites within Coppell so that interested parties can go on self-guided tours.

The Docent Troupe is making sure that there are guides scheduled for each third Saturday of the month at Heritage Park.  Jean reminded everyone that the Education Committee is now officially in charge of coordinating the tours and guides, so anyone who needs information or wants to schedule a special tour should contact Jean Murph first.  She will coordinate with Betsy Wilcox, who is keeping the list of Docent volunteers, and Martha-Allison Blewer, who set up the Docent Troupe.

Old business:

Don Carter reported that he has concluded, in answer to Pete Wilson’s question from the last meeting, that more specific details from the financial report should be included in the minutes of each meeting.  Pete will include a summary of the expenses and income as well as the balances of each account.

Kevin Mote, who agreed to be the Society’s webmaster and who set up the initial website, is no longer able to be active with the Society.  Don Carter will take over the website’s administration as soon as Kevin has time to complete the transference.  

New business:

A local resident, Philip LaBerge, contacted the Society, saying that its website reference to explorer Luis de Moscoso Alvaredo may be in error.  Pete Wilson says that the reference was probably picked up from a county brochure or even from a textbook that was quoted.  It was agreed that our reference will be omitted as soon as Don takes control of the website.  Don will also ask Mr. LaBerge to attend a future meeting to address the group.

Pete Wilson was thanked for putting out the latest newsletter.  Jean Murph provided the articles.  Over 100 newsletters were mailed out to anyone whose mailing address we have on our contact list, plus city council members, some city staff, school board members, and some school staff.  Jean suggested that the Society might try to put out two newsletters per year.

Jean reported that two city council members are now liaisons to the Society:  Bob Mahalik and Marvin Franklin.  Pete will add them to the Society’s email list so that they receive copies of the minutes and notices of meetings.

Pete Wilson proposed that the Society consider helping the Local Diner to put up a display in its waiting area that presents Coppell history, including photos and text.  The owners of the restaurant, now located in the Main Street development, have already expressed a desire to do something similar.  Pete suggested that the Society waive any fees for providing the historical photos and, possibly, pay to have the entire display made, rather than just giving the Diner photographs in frames.  Jean Murph will talk to the owner about the idea.

The Docent Troupe has gained two new members.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:33 p.m.  Jean Murph moved; Pete Wilson seconded.

Wheelice (Pete) Wilson, Jr.

Secretary, Coppell Historical Society

972-741-3894 (cell)

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