Bob Swisher’s “Linden Update” for June 2016

Linden City Administrator, Bob Swisher, gave the Linden Heritage Foundation permission to republish his June 2016 Linden Update.  Information which may be of special interest to Foundation members has been highlighted.

“Linden has made some strides in May!  First of all the City Council unanimously passed the resolution to apply for the “Texas Main Street” program.  The program is designed to revitalize the historic downtown commercial area.  We will put together a first rate package and hope that the Texas Historical Commission sees what a gem Linden really is.  You will hear rumors about mandates and requirements, this is a voluntary program for downtown business owners.  It comes with free architectural and design assistance for the front of the building.  The person that will manage the program will also help with events and event planning.

“LINDEN 2025” is the 10 year plan for the City of Linden. It touches on everything from child care to sewer, water and streets. There will soon be a copy on the Linden Texas Facebook page and the Linden website for you to read. We are already engaging in areas that the LINDEN 2025 plan recommended. We have a new police station opening the first of June and are having fiber optic cable brought to the City Hall and new Police station. Fiber optic lines will transmit data at the speed of light,
much faster than copper wire and are buried to ensure function. As Linden businesses grow, they will demand this level of internet capability and we will be ready.

With a great amount of assistance from the Linden Heritage Foundation the City council approved a package to be sent out to request proposals to use the water tower and old fire station for commercial ventures. They are both historic and could lend themselves to an economic enterprise of some sort.  We will wait to see what kind of proposals we get. Expect to hear more on this in the fall.

We are asking people to please monitor the amounts of grease you allow to go into the sewer. Most of our sewer blockages are caused by household cooking grease building up in sewer pipes. Often it will collect on small roots or debris and cause backups. Several people commented on how many blockages there are during the holidays, when we are cooking turkeys and large meals. Please pour the grease in a container let it cool and place it in the garbage. We could reduce man hours by 10% to 20% if we could get more cooperation from residents on this one item.

Last, but not least, the Linden Volunteer Fire Department has started the process to place on this Novembers Ballot an initiative to create an Emergency Services District. This would mean that everyone within the response district would be taxed to help upgrade the Fire Department. The plus side of this would be that all would share the cost of the Fire Department and the additional funds  would be used for upgrades to equipment that would save you money on your home insurance. We are currently an ISO 7, Atlanta is an ISO 3. If we can get to an ISO 3 it would save a homeowner with a $100,000 house approximately $200 a year. The new tax would only be $100 on that house. More importantly we would have an increased capability when it came to saving lives and fighting wild fires, which we all know is one of our major threats.

Bob Swisher, Linden City Administrator”


Barbara Teachey – Foundation Board Member Recalls 2014 Walden Woods Global Environmental Awards

Barbara Teachey was elected to the Linden Heritage Foundation’s Board of Directors in January 2016 for a 2-year term.  With encouragement from Joe B. Lovelace, she agreed to share an exciting time in her life after entering the “Don Henley Walden Woods Sweepstakes” sponsored by in 2014.  Barbara won a prize package consisting of a two-day trip to Boston to attend the Walden Woods 2014 Global Environmental Awards dinner/reception, a “meet and greet” with Don Henley, awards presentation, and a benefit concert by the Eagles. The event took place on September 16, 2014 at the Wang Theater.  Her memories of the event follow.

The Walden Woods Project is a nonprofit organization founded by Don Henley that is committed to “preserving the land, literature, and legacy of Henry David Thoreau through conservation, education, research and advocacy.”  The Project uses the land it has protected in Walden Woods to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility, both cornerstones of Thoreau’s philosophy.

Robert Redford, Jerry and Barbara Teachey, and Don Henley (2014)
Robert Redford, Jerry and Barbara Teachey, and Don Henley (2014)

In 2014 my husband, Jerry, and I had the honor of attending the Walden Woods Global Environmental Awards dinner/reception at which Mr. Robert Redford received the Global Leadership Award.  He is an ardent conservationist and environmentalist; and a man who stands for social responsibility and political involvement, as well as an artist and businessman who is a staunch supporter of uncompromised creative expression.  Mr. Redford’s life-long passion for nature and issues of justice has resulted in him being widely acknowledged as a highly effective and dedicated political and environmental activist.

I have been an Eagles fan for many years; and found from my experience with the Walden Woods Project, that Don had a high school teacher, Margaret Lovelace, in Linden, Texas who introduced him to the writings of Thoreau and Emerson.  He developed an early appreciation for the natural world that evolved into a lifelong commitment to the preservation of open space and wetlands, and environmental advocacy on a wide range of issues.

In 1989, while watching the news on CNN, Don learned of two major commercial development threats to historic Walden Woods.  He immediately offered support to a local grassroots organization in Concord, MA that was coordinating the opposition to a proposed office park and condominiums in Walden Woods.  Mr. Henley founded the Walden Woods Project in 1992; and is also the Founder and Chairman of the Caddo Lake Institute in Northeast Texas.   The Institute is a nonprofit scientific and educational corporation with the mission of “protecting the ecological, cultural and economic integrity of Caddo Lake, its associated wetlands and watershed.”

Barbara and Jerry Teachey live in Richmond, Virginia.  Barbara visited Linden in September of 2015 with several other members of the Don Henley Appreciation Group.  She is planning a return trip for June of 2016.


Linden’s 1939 Firehouse on Preservation Texas’ Most Endangered Places List

Aerial photo of 1939 Linden Firehouse by Kerry and Erin Wells.
Aerial photo of 1939 Linden Firehouse by Kerry and Erin Wells.

Linden’s 1939 Firehouse has been chosen by Preservation Texas for its 2016 Texas’ Most Endangered Places list in the local public building category.  The fourteen sites being added to the 2016 list will be announced formally at Wooldridge Park in Austin on Thursday afternoon as part of Preservation Texas 2016 Summit.  The following statement was posted on

Preservation Texas posted the following information on their website on 18 February 2016.

“The sites on the 2016 list represent cultural, architectural and historic places that are at risk, and represent the types of sites that are endangered across Texas. Local grassroots organizations have been working tirelessly in support of these sites.  By including them on the list, Preservation Texas hopes to rally Texans statewide to step up and save them. Historic preservation has a $4.6 billion economic impact in Texas. Historic sites named to the list of Texas’ Most Endangered Places represent some of the best opportunities to make a positive economic impact on local communities through preservation, particularly through the use of the new state historic preservation tax credit.”

Preservation Texas supports sites on its Most Endangered Places List providing advocacy support, publicity and assistance and assistance in fostering and building community partnerships.

Representatives of the Linden Heritage Foundation are attending the awards ceremony in Austin.


Linden City Council Approves Water Tower and Firehouse Activities

At its meeting on 11 January 2016, the Linden City Council received a report from the Linden Heritage Foundation.

Two prior resolutions were reviewed briefly so that updates could be given on their fulfilment:

  1. 13th day of October, 2015 – Resolution by Linden City Council to encourage the Foundation, by December 31, 2015, to submit a plan to materially stimulate future private development of the Water Tower and Firehouse and also to submit a plan to determine the eligibility of both sites to be registered historic landmarks;
  2. 9th day of November, 2015 – Resolution to convey the Firehouse to the Linden Heritage Foundation, subject to the terms and conditions in the resolution.

In response to these Resolutions, the Foundation respectfully reported the following actions:

On 14 November, 2015, Sue Lazara, member of Preservation Texas, nominated the 1939 Old Linden Firehouse to to be placed on the 2016 Most Endangered Places List.

On 31 December, 2015, the Foundation submitted to the City Council a Draft Request for Proposal intended to solicit commercial development of the two properties with specific investment incentives and requirements explained therein.

On 4 January, 2016, the Linden Heritage Foundation submitted to the Texas Historical Commission a request for Determination of Eligibility to the National Register. This request covered historical and architectural details on the Firehouse and Water Tower plus generalized information on eighteen (18) other Linden properties that might constitute and support a potential downtown Linden Historic District.

On 8 January, 2016, the City of Linden conveyed to the Linden Heritage Foundation the West 26’ of Lot 5, Block 2, Linden Old Townsite, being the same land described in Warranty Deed 2016000127, recorded in the Deed Records of Cass County, Texas.  This being the Firehouse lot.

On 11 January, 2016, the City Council unanimously approved the Draft Request for Proposal subject to the attachment of the Warranty Deed from the City of Linden to the Linden Heritage Foundation and a current description and accurate plat of the City’s remaining interest in Lot 5, Block 2, of the Linden Old Townsite.


200th Charter Member is Linden Native Kerry Wells

Family photo courtesy of Kerry and Erin Wells
Family photo courtesy of Kerry and Erin Wells

Cass County roots run deep. For Kerry Wells, the 200th Charter Member of the Linden Heritage Foundation, his local origin dates back to the 1800s when his great-great grandfather made the trek to the area and settled in on a place he deemed the Ray Mountain in the Concord Community.  He instituted a saw mill which aided in the family’s survival on through the Great Depression.  Having weathered the storms of the era, Kerry’s great uncle Louie Ray later acquired the Foster Skating Rink which served up happier times for area occupants.  Those firmly grounded beginnings produced an impeccable setting for Kerry to flourish:

“Growing up nestled in the Piney Woods was a privilege.  I spent most of my time working in or exploring the unique aspects of our area.  When I wasn’t in the woods I could be found playing baseball until dark at Crow Heath Park. There were gatherings at the Pickle Shed and you could always find out what was going on after a drive by The Country Store.  My mother would regularly send my brother and me up to Allen Brothers to be outfitted head to toe.  I would receive two minute alterations with biggest pair of scissors I’d ever seen.  Downtown was bustling.  Every building had one of the best mom and pop spots anywhere around.  We looked forward to the Wildflower Trails where I was determined to champion the Treasure Hunt each year.  While this never happened I was the proud winner of the Piggly Wiggly “Let’s Go to the Races” scratch off which made up for it.  There were always fascinating stories swirling around town like the time a deer ran through the streets and jumped through several store front windows, “last seen headed North.”  I had so many great times growing up in Linden but mostly I remember a community involved together for the greater good.“

Kerry is a proud graduate of Linden Kildare High School and went on to obtain a degree at Texas A&M University.  The bit of magic in the soil here brought him back to his roots and today he puts his lifelong experiences to use by enhancing and promoting the local landscape as a real estate professional with Century 21 Platinum Partners.  He resides with his wife Erin, also a Charter Member who foster an eagerness for serving the people of Cass County, and their three children; Asher Stone, Alayna Linae, and Breckin Sloan who attend Linden Kildare Elementary and are making their parents proud as next generation Linden Tigers.

Both Kerry and Erin encourage you to join in the noble work being done by the Linden Heritage Foundation to preserve local legacies while creating a thriving home town atmosphere for present and future generations.