The Cass County Sun (Vol. 141 No. 10) published an article on Linden 2025 in the March 9, 2016 edition of the paper. Sam Higdon, President of the Linden Heritage Foundation, spoke in support of the plan at a public forum held on March 3rd. Ruth Halleck and Catherine Knapp officially represented the Foundation on the Linden 2025 Committee. Other members of the Foundation who served on the Committee were Carla Surratt, Jeanie Stevens, and Kay Stephens.
The Cass County Sun and Atlanta Citizen’s Journal published an article by Erin Wells on February 24, 2016 announcing the decision by PreservationTexas.org to include the Old Linden Firehouse in their 2016 Texas’ Most Endangered Places list in the category of local public buildings. The article is available at http://goo.gl/fzG73a.
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 PreservationTexas.org.
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.
The Linden Heritage Foundation held its First Annual Meeting of the Membership on January 23, 2016, at 2:00 pm at the Linden Garden Club building in Linden, Texas. Thirty-seven members were present, along with three members attending via Skype, for a total of 40 members in attendance as of the call to order by President Sam L. Higdon. The first agenda item was the report of the Nominating Committee comprised of Jeanie Stevens, Wanda Burns, and Sandra Skoog. Mrs. Skoog proposed the committee’s selections of 13 names as a slate of Directors. President Higdon asked for additional nominations from the floor, and upon receiving none, the quorum present voted. Unanimously elected to the Linden Heritage Foundation Board of Directors were: Anna Barber, Jana Clinkscales Bounds, Ron Calhoun, Gail Dorgan, Sam L. Higdon, James S. (Jim) Jacob, John Knapp, Sue Morris Lazara, Joe B. Lovelace, Kay Temple Stephens, Barbara Teachey, Kerry Wells, and Susan Brown Whatley.
Following the nomination of the Board, Jana Bounds presented the financial report of the Foundation. Total revenues since September 1, 2015, were $24,210.01 plus interest of $1.85. Expenditures to date were $5,047.99, leaving a balance of $19,163.87 as of January 22, 2016.
Upon acceptance of the financial report, President Higdon called upon Sue Lazara to report on the progress of the Request for Proposals (RFP) on the Linden Water Tower and Firehouse and the finding of the Foundation’s Research Committee. The RFP draft, the result a joint resolution seeking appropriate development and preservation projects around the Water Tower and Firehouse, was approved by the Linden City Council on January 11, 2016. The Research Committee, chaired by Lazara and composed of Gail Dorgan, Catherine Knapp, and Kay Temple Stephens, transcribed city and county records, as well as historic press archives of the 1930s with emphasis on Public Works Administration improvements in downtown Linden. The research documents historic and architectural credentials which were included in the January 4, 2016, request for Determination of Eligibility (DOE) for the 1934 Water Tower and the 1939 Firehouse to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On January 8, 2016, Lazara received a reply from Gregory Smith, National Register Coordinator of the History Programs Division of the Texas Historical Commission, stating that both the Water Tower and the Firehouse were eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Smith recommended that instead of listing the two properties individually, to consider a larger downtown historic district, centered on Linden’s Courthouse Square. The favorable DOE ruling makes the properties eligible for major tax advantages. Lazara reported that the Deed of Conveyance from the City of Linden to the Foundation has been executed and duly recorded; and that the Foundation had secured the window openings and exposed wood of the Firehouse to protect it from further deterioration. The Firehouse was nominated by the Foundation to be placed on the 2016 Texas’ Most Endangered Places List. An announcement on the ruling will be made on February 18, 2016 at the Preservation Texas Summit in Austin to which the Foundation has been invited to attend and network with other historic preservation professionals. Lazara’s final report concerned the grant application to the Texas Preservation Trust Fund, which will submitted no later than January 29, 2016. This proposal is a request for funding that carries a 1:1 match requirement if approved.
Founding Director Joe B. Lovelace then took the floor to discuss the purpose and timing of the RFP which is expected to be issued in the Spring of 2016. He next introduced Bob Swisher, Linden City Administrator, who was invited to speak. Mr. Swisher thanked the Foundation for its work and reported on the formation of the City of Linden’s 2025 Committee, which includes several Foundation members. Lovelace next introduced Emily Henderson, Executive Director of Linden Economic Development Council, who made brief remarks in support of the efforts of the various groups to promote Linden. Lovelace then introduced Mary Dowd who explained previous efforts of the City of Linden to be designated as a Texas Main Street City, for which Linden qualified, but lacked the budget of approximately $30,000 and the assignment of present city staff to serve as a Main Street Manager. This issue will be revisited at a later date by the 2025 Committee.
A reception was held for all members in attendance at the close of the Annual Membership Meeting, followed by short business meeting for the new Board of Directors.
The Foundation thanks Gail Dorgan for preparing this summary of the meeting based on the recorded minutes. Official minutes will be posted on our Documents Page after their approval.
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:
- 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;
- 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 PreservationTexas.org 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.