Minutes of Meeting

Coppell Historical Society

September 14, 2013


Present:  Pete Wilson, Betsy Wilcox, Sue Miller, Jet Emmons, Pat Quinlan, Jackie Parrish, Barbara Lee, Ed Darling, David Murph, Pat Lambert, Don Carter, Jean Murph, Bill Wescoat, Dave Murph


The meeting was held in the home of Janis Arthur due to air conditioning problems in the Kirkland House.


President Don Carter called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m.


Bill Wescoat made an official presentation to the Society of an antique shotgun which was owned by his family since the end of World War II.  It is a Remington double-barreled gun manufactured in May of 1935.  Don accepted the gift on behalf of the Society.


The minutes of the last meeting were approved.  Jean Murph moved; Pat Lambert seconded.


The treasurer’s report by Dave Murph showed no income for the general operating account and expenses of $273.94.  The city grant fund account had income of $150 for sale of historical photos and expenses of $775.00, primarily for items related to the April 13th dedication ceremony.


Committee reports:


Kirkland House Committee.  Pat Quinlan reported that the wallpaper in the Kirkland House is finished except for some repairs in the dining room.  The shelves in the storage room are to be added soon.  The city is working to repair the air conditioning and a water leak outside.


Historical Marker Committee.  Pete Wilson reported that the following property owners have given initial consent to have historical markers placed on or near their buildings:  Amcat (former city hall, jail, and fire station), the small barbershop, Coppell Home Décor, Coppell House of Style, and the house across from the Kirkland House on Bethel Road.  The first marker will be for the Amcat building.  Pete will write something for the plaque to accompany the marker and present it at the next meeting.  The other markers will be processed after that.


Acquisitions Committee.  Pat Quinlan reported no new acquisitions other than the shotgun just given by Bill Wescoat.  Jan and Paul Lorrain have been diligently cataloguing the items in the Minyard Store.


Education Committee.  Jean Murph suggested that the Society consider changing the historical display at the senior center occasionally.  The next display could center on Coppell Schools or the railroad.


The city has approved an archeological dig on its North Lake property.  There is a possibility that Indian mounds were located there.


The city has agreed to a procedure used by its staff that will assure that when new development is proposed, historical considerations will be addressed at the outset, before any approval is given, just as fire, traffic, and zoning matters are addressed.  Hopefully, this will eliminate any oversights by the city, such as the destruction of large trees along S. Coppell Road and some of the problems faced with the Bullock Cemetery and the Grapevine Springs Park entrance pillars.


Jean suggested that our next archeological dig take place at the house at 400 S. Coppell Road.  (This house is often referred to as the Grace House, owned many years by Virgil and Mabel Grace.  It was probably built before 1935.)  That house is scheduled to be torn down, and the owners, as required by the city, have notified the Society and are cooperating to allow a dig there.  (This notification is the first result of the city’s new plan to scrutinize developers’ proposals for historical considerations before approval for demolition is given.)


Pat Lambert moved and Pete Wilson seconded a motion that our next archeological dig be at the Grace house at 400 S. Coppell Road on Saturday, October 12, at 9:00 a.m.  The dig will replace our regular monthly meeting.  If there are items that need to be addressed, a business meeting will follow the dig.  The motion carried unanimously.


Jean reported that the “Sam Houston Campsite Oak,” one of the oldest trees in Grapevine Springs Park, has been nominated to be named one of Texas’ Famous Trees.


The Society’s Witness Tree project will take place later in the year, when the weather is cool.


The first activity of the Speakers’ Bureau will be to record a future historical presentation given by Pete Wilson and Barbara Lee so that other members can participate in the program.  At the moment, the Society has received requests from at least two organizations wanting historical lectures.


Other proposed future activities of the Education Committee include making a tour map of the historical sites in Coppell and making a historical video for children.


Cemetery Committee.  Pat Lambert reported no new activity by the committee.


Old Town Task Force.  Jean Murph reviewed activities that have taken place in the Old Town area of Coppell or are the result of actions that developed from those activities:

An effort was made to save more trees along S. Coppell Road before development of additional townhomes; unfortunately, the move was unsuccessful.

An attempt was made to prevent the demolition of all or part of the Coppell Deli; the attempt was unsuccessful.

The city refused to allow a change in the setback requirements from 10 feet to 5 feet along the north edge of the development near the Bullock Cemetery.

Pat Quinlan initiated the salvation of additional stones from the original entrance pillars to Grapevine Springs Park that were located along S. Coppell Road.  Once notified that the stones were about to be covered by the developer, the city provided manpower and machinery to salvage the stones.

The developer of the additional townhomes along S. Coppell Road has indicated a desire to locate the facsimile stone pillars (being built by the city to compensate for the accidental loss of the originals) at the front of his townhomes, very close to S. Coppell Road, so that visitors will be aware of the trail that will lead to Grapevine Springs Park.  The location will be S. Coppell Road and Houston Street.

A city council member has volunteered to be a liaison to the Society, as requested by the Society.  However, since the council had previously eliminated council liaisons, the council will have to review the proposal.

The replica gasoline pumps will soon be installed at the business located on W. Bethel Road, probably within a month.

Pat Lambert, who was on the city committee which drafted the original tree ordinance for Coppell, has suggested that the ordinance needs to be revised.  The present ordinance, which sets a price which the developer must pay when trees are removed, is no longer discouraging developers from removing trees.  The cost is looked upon as just a standard expense for new development.  The city manager has agreed that the ordinance possibly needs revision.


Docent Troupe.  Betsy Wilcox reported for Martha-Allison Blewer.  Martha-Allison is making the following suggestions:

Volunteers should be scheduled to conduct tours of the Kirkland House and Minyard Store one Saturday per month.

A minimum of two guides should be provided for each building.

Female guides should dress in the aprons used at the dedication ceremony; male guides should be marshals.

Betsy Wilcox has taken charge of scheduling volunteers for each month.  There are volunteers signed up for the month of January and after.  Additional volunteers are needed for tours before that month.

Any Society member can serve as a guide; a method of educating new guides should be provided.  Present guides should be provided reviews of the material to keep the tours accurate.

New ideas for tours should be accepted from members, but all ideas should be historically accurate.

Betsy Wilcox and Suzanne Williams, two of the present members of the Troupe, will be allowed to play music on the piano in the Kirkland House.

Special exhibits should be planned for the Kirkland House.

Signs need to be made to facilitate the tours.

Publicity for tours and special events should be handled by the Society.


Jean Murph moved and Pat Quinlan seconded a motion that the first tour be postponed until October, due to the lack of volunteers ready to serve and because of the broken air conditioning.  The motion carried unanimously.


Old business.  There was no old business.


New business:


A new slate of officers was proposed as follows:


President:  Don Carter

1st Vice-President:  Pat Lambert

2nd Vice-President:  Pat Quinlan

Recording Secretary:  Pete Wilson

Treasurer:  Barbara Lee


Pete Wilson moved and Jean Murph seconded that the officers be elected by acclamation.  The motion carried unanimously.


Don Carter explained that the Society’s standing committees needed to be reorganized and renamed.  He presented the following list:


Education Committee (including publicity, displays and exhibits, videos, archeological digs, etc.)

Archive Committee (to organize the Society’s many documents into files)

Heritage Park Committee (to assume the duties of the former Kirkland House committee and

include the Minyard Store, acquisitions, and the Docents Troupe)

Historical Marker Committee

Historical Preservation (to include the activities of the Old Town Task Force, addressing issues

such as preserving trees, monitoring cemeteries, etc.)


Jean Murph moved and Pat Quinlan seconded that the new committee structure be accepted.  The motion carried unanimously.


New members signed up to be on the various committees as follows:


Education – Sue Miller (especially interested in the archeological digs)

Archive – Pat Quinlan, Barbara Lee

Heritage Park – Betsy Wilcox, Pat Quinlan

Historical Marker – no new members.  (Current members are Pete Wilson, Barbara Lee, Pat Quinlan,

 Jean Murph, and Judy Conger.)

Historical Preservation – Pat Lambert, Pat Quinlan, Sue Miller, Jackie Parrish


The meeting was adjourned at 2:41 p.m.


Wheelice (Pete) Wilson, Jr.

Secretary, Coppell Historical Society

972-741-3894 (cell)


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