Issue 10...........March 2021
The Lake Jackson Historical Association provides Education relative to the
History and Culture of Lake Jackson, Texas.
The History Museum and Plantation Site
continue to mix the OLD with the NEW
Bing Crosby
Remember BING CROSBY, the famous crooner of "White Christmas?" The History Museum possesses in its archival collection a thank you note which Crosby wrote in 1958 to Julia May, owner of the LaVelle Shop. The little boy to which he referred in the letter was Harry Lillis Crosby, III, affectionately known as "Tex." Tex was the first child born to Crosby and his second wife Kathryn Grandstaff, a native of West Columbia, Texas. In the mid 1970's, she hosted her own talk show on KPIX-TV in San Francisco. And, of course, Bing Crosby was one of the most popular musical artists of the 20th century, having recorded more than 1,600 songs.
The Jackson Plantation Historic Site (JPHS) received a facelift at the end of February. Approximately sixty members from Brazos Pointe Fellowship congregated on the plantation grounds as part of Servolution Sunday, the church's annual day of community service. The interdenominational church, located on Hwy 36, has sent volunteers to the JPHS for the past 14-15 years. Under the leadership of members Jim and Schelli Martin and site manager, David Landsborough, the multigenerational crew cleared brush from the lake front near the Enchanted Oak. They also pruned, raked, mulched, and planted new flowering shrubs along the red brick pathway. John Groves, owner of Evergreen Nursery, provided the colorful dwarf bottlebrush and loropetalum that now grace the entry. Thank you one and all!!! Open Saturday, April 3 from 10-6.
OLDIE, but Goodie...
First School in Lake Jackson! …Elisabet Ney Elementary
The streets of young Lake Jackson were starting to be paved in 1942, as Dow Chemical workers were beginning to move in and look for housing in this new Alden B. Dow-designed city. Along with the workers came their families, including children, who needed a school to attend. Every school has to start with a teacher, and this was no different for the first school in Lake Jackson!

The first teacher in Lake Jackson was a woman named Irene Jones. She and her husband, Raymond, had moved to Freeport from Buffalo, Texas. In 1942, a hurricane came ashore leaving 42 inches of water and silt in their Freeport home, driving them to want to move to the new neighboring town of Lake Jackson – barely beginning construction to house Dow employees.

Mrs. Jones wanted to live in one of the new duplex apartments, but was discouraged to learn there was a waiting list of over 1000 applicants. Her occupation as a teacher gave her preferential treatment and took her to the top of the list! She and her husband were fortunate to move into 123 Center Way.
In the fall of 1943, 200 students were attending school at a building located on Yaupon Street. In addition to teaching first grade, Mrs. Jones became the first principal. The City was still under construction, so there were muddy roads, and loud, noisy construction, making it difficult for the teachers to be heard, and causing recess to be held indoors.
The school grew rapidly, and necessitated using five surrounding houses, in addition to nearby churches to have makeshift classrooms to handle all the children. There were no cafeterias so students and teachers brought their lunches. However, they did have an Elementary band led by Jerry Bryan.

Some of the early teachers included Julia May (before beginning LaVelle Dress Shop), Iona Antill, Bess Brannen, Lorene Youngblood, Coach W.E. Day, and Anita Perry.
In the fall of 1948, Grady Rasco became principal, and Gladys Polk became Director of Elementary Education for all of Brazosport.

It was difficult to maintain teachers in the 1940’s, with many resigning when getting married or having babies.

In the early days of the school, there was a very active Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), with Mrs. S. W. Dunaway acting as the first president. Interesting items the organization purchased to assist the schools in those early days included playground equipment, record players for first and second grades, black out curtains to assist the visual aid programs, band uniforms, a public address system, a merry-go-round, stage curtains, and water fountains.

On March 20, 1951, a new twelve-room elementary building, called the Lake Jackson Primary School, was opened and acclaimed to be modern, beautiful, and functional.
In 1961, Brazosport school officials renamed Lake Jackson Primary School after an important early Texan and art pioneer, Elisabet Ney

NEW...........................BOARD MEETS THE PRESS
Photographer/reporter Chris Gracezyk recently captured the essence of Lake Jackson's early beginnings in a 2 1/2 minute segment for ABC-13+. His piece outlining Lake Jackson's history was part of a five-day special series featuring our town. It aired locally on Monday, March 1. Chris interviewed LJHA Board President, Susan Buell in front of the Alden B. Dow Office Museum (soon to be renovated and reopened). He filmed Carl Wolfe, Board Vice President, at the History Museum. Thank you, Chris and producer Laura Taglavore, for touting the merits of LJ living to a Houston television audience!!
Leave your lasting imprint AND support the LJHA at the same time. Honor a friend. Memorialize a relative.

Pave the walkway to the museum or the Jackson Plantation Historic Site with a personalized brick.Order a Brick here.
A Word from the Executive Director
Hello Friends of the Lake Jackson Historical Association! I am sure you are all aware that spring is fast upon us, finally. I took advantage of one of our recent days beautiful weather and visited the Jackson Plantation Site. You can see me and the Keebler Tree in the photo. It is a truly wonderful place to be outside and enjoy nature, besides the great history. If you have not seen it recently, or even if you have, I want to encourage you to come on out before the summer heat arrives. Open the first Saturday of the month, 10-6. It is the perfect opportunity to introduce friends and family to Lake Jackson history and show off our magnificent trees! The Association is very fortunate to have had David Landsborough and the Brazos Pointe Fellowship volunteers do cleanup work and prepare the site for the new growth of spring. I hope you will all join me in thanking them, whenever you can. 

David Thomas
LJHA Executive Director
Trivia Answer:
The person who inspired the naming of This Way and That Way was
Alden B. Dow's Assistant Secretary, Mrs. E.D. Collerain.

New Trivia Question:
What was the size of the Abner Jackson Plantation in the mid-1800's?
A Special Thank You to Our January Contributors
 Herb Ross, Jr., Estate of Mac & Cleo Pruitt, Susan Buell, Alan Kolodny and Joe Moreno
David Thomas
Executive Director
Angela Villarreal

Deborah Duty
Marketing Coordinator
Call Us at 979-297-1570