Issue 27.........December 2022

The Lake Jackson Historical Association provides education relative to the
history and culture of Lake Jackson, Texas.

From the Executive Director

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!! Despite the warm weather outside, the calendar confirms that the holiday season is upon us. I always used to think that a successful season meant having my shopping done by Thanksgiving, all the decorations up the day after, and enough time and energy to enjoy every Christmas activity possible. Of course I've never actually done any of that as planned.

Over the years, though, I've learned that what's really important this time of year is to be surrounded by family, friends, and community. I'm thrilled to be spending my first Christmas in Lake Jackson! Downtown has already been decorated for weeks, which has really helped get me in the spirit (especially since I'm still only half decorated at home).

The LJHA staff and I have been busy preparing for an outstanding 2023, and we're so excited to tell you more about our plans very soon! Before this year is finished, though, we'll be opening up the Alden B. Dow Office Museum again (tomorrow!), will host Dr. Theresa Jach for our next Something to Chew On event, and we'll have activities for everyone on Christmas Eve. Have family in town and need to get them out of your hair? Send them to us!

What a wonderful year it has been, and I can't thank you all enough for making me feel so welcome. My parents will be coming to join us here for the holidays, and I'm eager to show them around our new hometown. I still have almost all of my shopping left to do, my house isn't quite "visitor ready" yet, and younger me would've focused on how "behind" I am. But current me has already enjoyed a slew of Christmas movies, lots of mugs of hot chocolate, and spent time with my loved ones reminiscing about past Christmases together. I think that's a successful season indeed. Wishing you and yours a beautiful and very merry Christmas!

Happy holidays!


Learn about Convict Leasing in Lake Jackson

Photo courtesy Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

This month, we will welcome Houston Community College history professor Dr. Theresa Jach as our December Something to Chew On guest speaker. On Thursday, Dec. 15, Dr. Jach will give a presentation titled “Convict Leasing and Prison Farms in Texas,” a topic that is very relevant to the origin story of Lake Jackson. 

Often called “slavery by another name,” convict leasing began after the Civil War ended and enslaved African-Americans were freed. Ratified in 1865, the 13th Amendment reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” This clause legalizes forced labor of convicted criminals. 

Because plantation owners and businessmen in the South lost their low-cost labor force of enslaved people, they turned to the prison population for forced labor instead. Beginning in 1867, the Texas state government signed lease agreements with private companies; these agreements allowed the lessees “use of all prison facilities and property, including inmates. The prisoners could be placed at whatever labor the lessees directed, subject to minimal state regulation and control.” This lack of state oversight often resulted in mistreatment and abuse of inmates, who were majority African-American. 

Convicts were often leased to private plantation farms in southeast Texas, including the Lake Jackson Plantation. In September 1874, an inspector for the State Penitentiary named J.K.P. Campbell noted “sixty-five sick convicts” with “no medical attention.” In 1876, another inspector reported that “three men had died at the Lake Jackson Plantation: one while being punished in the stocks, one in an escape attempt, and one from natural causes.” The last known lease of convicts to the Lake Jackson Plantation was in November 1884 and included 33 men. 

“Texas officially abolished its convict leasing system in 1910; however, convict labor has continued in some form up to the present day, most notably in southern states.”

Come out to Something to Chew On on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 12 PM to learn more from Dr. Theresa Jach! Admission is free with an option to buy a boxed lunch in advance for $12. Get your tickets here!

Alden B. Dow Office Museum

Open this Saturday!

Don't miss your next chance to see where Lake Jackson was born!

Alden B. Dow Office Museum

101 S. Parking Place

Open Saturday, Dec. 10

10 AM- 4 PM

If you haven't seen the recently restored Alden B. Dow Office Museum, be sure to come out tomorrow between 10 AM and 4 PM. The Lake Jackson Farmer's Market will also be happening just outside our doors. Can't make it this month? It's open the second Saturday of every month!

2022 Festival of Lights Recap

In November, our beloved Breakfast with Santa event returned to Lake Jackson’s annual Festival of Lights! On the cold morning of Saturday, Nov. 19th, excited families lined up outside the museum bright and early to meet Santa Claus and enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast, generously provided by Whataburger. From 8 to 10 AM, we welcomed nearly 200 guests donned in Christmas pajamas and festive ‘fits who enjoyed games, crafts, Christmas music, and quality time with Saint Nick! 

After Breakfast with Santa, we kept the festivities going with our inaugural Holidays Around the World program! From 10 AM - 5 PM, visitors picked up special passports that they used to travel around the museum to activity booths representing winter holidays celebrated by a diverse array of cultures. These holidays included: 

  • The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah
  • The African-American cultural celebration of Kwanzaa
  • The Hindu festival of Diwali
  • The winter solstice ceremony of Soyal, celebrated by Native American Hopi people
  • The Christmas tradition of St. Lucia’s Day, celebrated in Sweden, Finland, and Norway

Whether creating sand rangoli for Diwali or lighted wreath crowns for St. Lucia’s Day, visitors of all ages enjoyed making crafts and expanding their understanding of diverse cultures and their celebrations. We sincerely appreciate The Facts coming out to photograph and report on the event; check out their article and photo gallery here! 

If you missed Holidays Around the World, no worries! Visit our research center (located upstairs at the museum) to read books about the holidays we highlighted at the event, and several other interesting celebrations that we didn’t get to talk about!

We know the cold and rain was quite a nuisance, so we really appreciate everyone who braved the frightful weather to visit and support us. We look forward to participating in Festival of Lights for many years to come!

2022 Commemorative Ornament

LJHA is excited to announce our 2022 special edition Christmas ornament!

We wanted to commemorate the

re-opening of the Alden B. Dow Office Museum earlier this year with these limited edition gold ornaments, available only for the 2022 holiday season. They will make excellent gifts for the local Lake Jackson history lover in your life.

We only have a limited number, so act fast! They are available in the museum gift shop, open from 10 AM - 4 PM. Buy one in person or order on our website.

Ornaments are $20 each. All proceeds will benefit LJHA. Your support will help us bring you even more exciting exhibits, programs & events next year!

Honor Someone You Love
Pave the walkway to the museum or the Jackson Plantation Historic Site with a personalized brickOrder a brick here.

Upcoming Events

Christmas Cinema Series

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in December through December 24

Location: Lake Jackson Historical Museum

Admission: Donation

Read more

Alden B. Dow Office Museum Open

Saturday, December 10, 10am-4pm

Location: 101 S. Parking Place, Lake Jackson

Admission: Donation

Read more

Something to Chew On with Theresa Jach

Saturday, December 15, 12pm-1pm

Location: Lake Jackson Historical Museum

Admission: Free (can preorder lunch for $12)

Reserve your seat and order lunch

Future Aldens: Build with Snapology

Saturday, December 24, 1-3 pm

Location: Lake Jackson Historical Museum

Admission: Free

Read more

Lindsay Scovil

Executive Director

[email protected]

Angela Villarreal


[email protected]

Katelyn Landry 

Program/Education Coordinator

[email protected]

Deborah Duty

Marketing Coordinator

[email protected]

Call Us at 979-297-1570
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Funding has been provided to LJHA by Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Federal ARP Act.
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