Linden Heritage Foundation Holds Annual Meeting of the Membership

The Linden Heritage Foundation met on January 12, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. at the Linden Garden Club in Linden, Texas.  President,  Joe B. Lovelace, called the meeting to order.

The first agenda item was the report of the Nominating Committee comprised of Lanita Williams, Wanda Burns, and Sandra Skoog.  Ms. Skoog proposed the committee’s selection of four names as a slate to replace the expired terms of four directors.  Mr. Lovelace asked for additional nominations from the floor and, upon receiving none, the quorum present unanimously elected for three (3) year terms to the Linden Heritage Foundation Board of Directors:  Pat Rountree, Jo Anna Duncan, Becky Wilbanks, and Brenda Deming.

2019 Linden Heritage Foundation Directors. From bottom left: Jo Anna Duncan, Barbara Teachey, Gail Dorgan, Lanita Williams, Brenda Deming, Joe B. Lovelace, Pat Rountree, Jana Bounds, Sandra Skoog, Wanda Burns, and Becky Wilbanks. Not shown; John Knapp. Photo courtesy of Neil Abeles.

Following the election, Jana Bounds presented the financial report for the Foundation.  The Foundation began FY2018 with a fund balance of $35,650.69. At the end of FY2018 the fund balance was $40,756.72, with $2,514.47 being restricted for the Firehouse Project.

Mr. Lovelace then gave a report on the 1939 Old Linden Firehouse.

Linden was the beneficiary of a number of New Deal era projects beginning with assistance in the reconstruction of the Cass County Courthouse after a 1933 fire.  For some time afterward, Linden reeled from the futility of having faced a devastating fire with little means but bucket brigades to bring it under control.

Photo of 1933 Courthouse fire from the Collection of Charline Wiley Morris

The following year, 1934, a grant/loan opportunity was made available by the Public Works Administration to finance the first Linden Waterworks – a municipal sanitary water and sewer system that included the 1934 Water Tower now standing at the corner of Rush and Taylor Streets. In 1935, the Linden Volunteer Fire Department was organized and men were properly trained and certified, allowing fire insurance rates to be affordable to the town.

The “Old Linden Firehouse” built in 1939 with funds and material donated by its citizens is a remarkably simple structure.  It served its initial purpose until the City had need for more room for its firefighting equipment.  In 1949, a second floor was added to the 1939 building and a north addition was built.

The Old Firehouse remained in operation until 1962 when a new fire station was completed. The older building afterward had various uses until being abandoned.  It fell into serious disrepair in recent decades, during which water infiltration and damage accelerated to the point of serious endangerment of the structure.

Collapsed roof of the 1949 north addition is on the left. The roof of the 1939 structure is on the right. Aerial photo courtesy of Kerry Wells (January 2016).

In January 2016 the City of Linden conveyed the Old Firehouse to the Linden Heritage Foundation.

The Foundation adopted a Rescue Plan for the 1939 Firehouse to. . .

. . . restore the Firehouse to the Secretary of Interior Standards,
. . . formalize the site’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places,
. . . give the building a use that will further Linden’s revitalization goals, and
. . . create a heritage asset out of the present eyesore on this important block of downtown Linden.

In November 2016, the Linden Heritage Foundation received a Texas Preservation Trust Fund grant from the Texas Historical Commission for a Historic Structure Report (HSR) for the Old Linden Firehouse.  In July 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded preservation funds for Plans & Specifications (P&S).

Reports from preservation experts established the structural elements from 1939-1949 to be not only historically significant but also to be of fair to good integrity.

This was not true for the structural elements dating post-1949.  The 1949 addition was of sub-standard materials and poor design/workmanship.

Ground floor of 1939 structure looking north to collapsed steps to 2nd floor 1949 addition. 2016 photo courtesy of Sam Higdon.
Second floor 1949 addition, south view. 2016 photo courtesy Sam Higdon.

The Linden Heritage Foundation conducted four Firehouse Clean-Up Days and added a supportive roof covering the 1939 structure.

Ground floor 1939 structure looking north (2018) after Clean-Up Days. Photo courtesy Jo Anna Duncan.
New roof covering and protective paneling over windows. Aerial photo courtesy of Kerry Wells (December 2018).

The Historic Structure Report team established a Period of Significance (POS) 1939-1962 not 1939-1949 as requested by the Foundation.  The longer POS attached to the building by that finding led to a functionally challenged, fragmented, and compartmentalized structure – more than 2/3 of which would not meet legal occupancy requirements.

The original use plan specified by the Foundation was commercial/retail.  However, as applied to the POS 1939-1962 structure it proved to be a substantially more expensive project – involving rehabilitation of 1,738 sq ft, with only 487 sq ft meeting commercial occupancy codes.

Mark Thacker of Tyler was retained as a preservation architect to prepare Plans & Specifications (P&S).   After extensive review of the building and its limitations, Mr. Thacker prepared Plans & Specifications for rehabilitating the building for residential use, a more viable preservation approach than commercial.

“Old Linden Firehouse” – Residential Use – 2018 Plans & Specifications – Mark Thacker, Architect

The Texas Historical Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, having provided funding for the HSR and P&S, approved the change.

Rendering of Rehabilitated “Old Linden Firehouse.” Courtesy of Lucas Allen, Le Tourneau University, Longview – 2016

At its Board Meeting in April, the Linden Heritage Foundation directors will decide the next steps to take with the Old Linden Firehouse.





Linden Heritage Foundation Annual Membership Meeting – January 12, 2019

The Annual Meeting of the Membership of the Linden Heritage Foundation will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2019, at the Linden Garden Club (300 East Houston St in Linden) starting at 2 pm.

On the Agenda are a review of the Old Linden Firehouse Project and Election of Directors.

A historical presentation will be given by George Frost, Jr (teacher, coach & historian) of Maud, Texas.  Author of “The Writings of J. H. Frost”, Mr. Frost is a member of the Cass County Genealogical Society. He traces the time of the “Populist” movement in Cass County through the use of newspaper columns of the Cass County Sun (Linden Standard) and letters of his great-grandfather J. H. “Jim” Frost.

1889 to 1904 was a dynamic political period for Cass County that included a Special Election to cede 176 sq. miles of west Cass County to Morris County, and move the county seat from Linden to Atlanta.

Politics runs deep in the Frost family – J. H. “Jim” Frost ran unsuccessfully for Cass County state representative and county judge.  Two grandsons would be elected to public office – Joseph Frost to the city council of Texarkana and city mayor – Berry Frost as county commissioner in Cass County & great-great-grandson Stephen Frost as state representative.

A reception will follow.

All interested in Cass County history are invited to attend.

For more information on the Linden Heritage Foundation


One of a Kind Knife Donated to T-Bone Walker Day Auction

Heath Stone is a craftsman with skill and tradition running deep within his veins.  A native of Baytown, he lives and works his trade designing and building one of a kind knives for collectors and outdoorsman.

Heath’s business -Stone Knifeworks – is located in Commerce City, Colorado.









Heath’s family is rooted in Linden history.  His mother – Brenda Chamblee Stone and father – Roy Stone were raised in Linden.  Brenda graduated from Linden-Kildare High in 1965 and Roy in 1964. In his youth, Heath spent much of his time in his parents’ hometown.

Desiring to assist historical work being conducted by the Linden Heritage Foundation, Heath donated a customized knife, with case, for Foundation fundraising.

Readily recognized as engraved on the knife handle and case is the Iconic 1934 Linden Water Tower


A member of the Linden Heritage Foundation has made a generous donation for the knife and placed ownership back to the Foundation on condition the knife be placed into the silent auction to be held as part of the fundraising for the T-Bone Walker Day at Music City Texas, Saturday, October 20th.

More information about the Linden Heritage Foundation can be found


T-Bone Walker Day information can be found







Linden Well Represented At Preservation Texas Summit

The Linden Heritage Foundation, Linden Main Street, Pleasant Hill Quilting Group, and Linden Macedonia Church were well represented on August 8 and 9 at the recent Preservation Texas Summer Summit in Nacogdoches.  Founded in 1985, Preservation Texas is Texas’ principal member-supported advocate for historic resources in Texas.

Linden resident Sue Lazara is currently secretary of the state organization.  Other participants were JoAnna Duncan, Judy Simons Gunn, Allie Anderson, Flo Stevenson, Ether Blaylock, Bennie Rodgers, Suzanne Richey Morehead, and Sandra Westbrook Skoog.  The event brought people from as far as Brownsville and San Angelo for three days of historic preservation education and touring of special historic sites in East Texas.

Back row L-R: Flo Stevenson, Sue Lazara, Ether Blaylock, Sandra Westbrook Skoog – Front row L-R: JoAnna Duncan, Judy Simons Gunn, Allie Anderson

Day 1 a tour of historic sites included the Halfway Inn in Chireno; in San Augustine – 1885 William Lewis Railroad Hotel: 1927 San Augustine County Court House; 1919 Jail; 1930’s Knight Parker Building, and 1839 Matthew Cartwright House; in Center the 1885 Shelby County Court House, and “Big Momma’s Dogtrot,” a restored early 1920’s farm house in Arcadia.

Preservation Education was the focus of Day 2 with many speakers presenting topics such as Preservation Planning, National Register of Historic Places, National Trust’s HOPE Crew, and grant funding for local projects.  Presentations also included Most Endangered Building Case Studies, including Endangered School Houses of Texas.  The day ended with a networking reception in the 1859 Old Nacogdoches University Building.

Day 3 consisted of a walking tour of the Zion Historic District, including the historic Oak Grove Cemetery and two African American local heritage restoration projects in Nacogdoches — Zion Hill Baptist Church and the Clay House.

Each year, Preservation Texas announces the Most Endangered Places list that includes a range of historic structures that merit the attention of Texas statewide.  At the local level, grassroots organizations (such as the Linden Heritage Foundation) are working to save specific resources that, if lost, would diminish their communities.  Preservation Texas believes that the protection of at-risk historic places, large and small, ensures that architectural, historic, and cultural landmarks endure amidst an ever-changing landscape, enriching our quality of life.  The historic 1939 Linden Fire House was named the Most Endangered List in 2016.

For more information, please reference the Linden Heritage Foundation and Preservation Texas Facebook page or their websites: and

“A Gift for Giving”

Give Linden a gift that gives back!  Summer will soon be coming to an end, then autumn will be upon us, and we all know what comes after that!  While others are having an end-of-summer sale, we’re offering you “a gift for giving”.

1934 Linden Historic Water Tower
Cover of Don Henley’s Album “Cass County”

With just a $20 minimum donation to Linden Heritage Foundation, you can receive one of these beautiful ornaments that replicates the landmark 1934 water tower that stands in Linden today and is seen on the cover of Don Henley’s “Cass County” album.

To get ahead on your holiday shopping, make your donation at

Be sure to fill in your name and mailing address so you can receive your “gift” with free shipping included.

All donations go directly to Linden Heritage Foundation and are tax deductible. Don’t delay!

* This offer is good while supplies last *