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.