Issue 08............January 2021
The Lake Jackson Historical Association provides Education relative to the
History and Culture of Lake Jackson, Texas.
Happy New Year!
The History Museum and Plantation Site
continue to mix the OLD with the NEW
Look What's Happening!
What is so important about this diminutive white and wood-frame structure nestled within Carriage Square behind Third Coast Bank? It is here that Alden B. Dow, architect and son of the founder of Dow Chemical Company, designed Lake Jackson’s first buildings and mapped out its first streets. Constructed in 1943, it not only housed Mr. Dow’s architectural office but also Lake Jackson’s first city hall and post office.

Mr. Dow’s office on the north end of the structure exhibits unique features. For example, it is shaped like a pentagon. It is observably more than one foot shorter/lower than the rest of the building behind it. The east and west walls slant outward. Its 7 x 7 ½ foot front window brings the outside in. Like his mentor, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mr. Dow consciously tried to incorporate Nature into his designs. 
The edifice exemplifies a number of principles that Mr. Dow used in other commercial buildings and residences that one can see throughout Lake Jackson. They include: a light and easily constructed frame, elongated eaves, open trellises, and long porches. (Notice that the lines of the eaves belonging to the recently erected pavilion in Carriage Square were purposefully matched to the design of those in Mr. Dow’s office.)

In 2006, the owner of the structure donated it to the Lake Jackson Historical Association (LJHA) with the stipulation that one of its functions be a museum. In 2010, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2021, the LJHA board of directors plans to reopen the building for public education and enjoyment. Watch for ways that you might help.
Aerial Photograph of the Jackson Plantation
CURIOUS COLLECTION..................
A Green Wedding Dress??
donated by Mr. & Mrs. Charles O. Tilbury, Jr.
When it comes to weddings, people usually picture the bride walking down the aisle in a white dress. Brides, however, have not always worn white. Prior to the mid-1800's, bright colors such as yellow, blue, and red were common choices for brides because these dresses were to be worn again at future social events. When the United Kingdom's Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she elected to wear a lacy, white silk-satin dress which she herself had designed.  

Wearing white subsequently grew in popularity among the elite and wealthy in both the United States and Europe as accounts of Queen Victoria's wedding spread. The trend, however, did not take hold within the middle class until after WWII. Since then, the white wedding dress has become entrenched in Western culture. The History Museum has in its collection a beautiful, green silk wedding dress, exemplifying the early 1900's style. Its creator has several dresses on display in its Treasures from the Vault exhibition.
OLDIE, but Goodie.....
Nowlin Jewelry Store
If you became engaged to be married in Lake Jackson, TX in the 1960‘s through the 1990’s, your first order of business was to head to Nowlin Jewelry Store to make your selections of china, flatware, and crystal for all your friends and family to purchase for your bridal showers and wedding gifts. We were very fortunate that in 1951, Jack and Electa “Dicky” Nowlin decided to move from Bay City to Lake Jackson and purchase a jewelry store on North Parking Way. Jack handled the jewelry and watchmaking, while Dicky soon became part of the business as bridal consultant and bookkeeper.
Jack and Dicky’s two children, John and Cherie, who were in their early teens when they moved to Lake Jackson, also helped out at the store – Cherie remembers being paid 25 cents per hour to wrap gifts! The store grew rapidly, and they moved a few doors down to a location twice as large. John joined the family business in 1972, changing careers from being a chemical engineer to becoming a certified gemologist. John would travel the world to select the most beautiful diamonds and other stones and bring them back to Lake Jackson for lucky customers to have custom-designed rings, necklaces, earrings, or bracelets.
In 1977, Nowlin Jewelry moved for the last time to an even larger location at 145 Oyster Creek Drive. John’s wife Marilyn soon joined the store and worked alongside the family until the store closed its doors in 2007.

Cherie and her husband, Glenn, both gifted artists, continue to operate a business called Duckie and the Grackle Gallery, located a few doors down from the former Nowlin location. Jewelry design is still part of their business, but it is also the largest wild bird art gallery on the Texas Gulf Coast due to Cherie’s extraordinary artistic talent.

Those of us who grew up in Lake Jackson during the years of Nowlin Jewelry Store were very blessed to have such a reputable jewelry store with which to do business. The Nowlins were known for their quality, expertise, service, and the special care and attention they gave to their customers.
A Word from David...
Hello and Happy New Year friends of the Lake Jackson Historical Association! I am excited to begin my tenure as the Executive Director and I know that this will be a great year for us all, as we work to put the COVID behind us and get back out into the world. For any who do not already know, the Historical Association oversees three separate sites; the museum, the Jackson Plantation and the Alden B. Dow Office Museum. The Alden B. Dow Office Museum presents a unique opportunity for the community to preserve and present a special chapter of Lake Jackson history. The city is very fortunate to have this cultural asset. Not many places are able to both point out who designed their city as well as the exact place and environment where it was done! Having studied architecture myself, I am thrilled to be part of protecting this heritage to ensure future generations can learn about their city’s founding. Be sure to follow the organization's website, and your favorite social media, for all the latest association developments.

Leave your lasting imprint AND support the LJHA at the same time.

Pave the walkway to the museum or the Jackson Plantation Historic Site with your personalized brick.Order a Brick here.
Trivia Answer:
Alden B. Dow studied under the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

New Trivia Question:
What business person donated the Alden Dow property to LJHA in 2006?
A Special Thank You to Our December Contributors
Kerry and Kelly Buell, Sally Carter, Ellen Clark, Jo and Mike Coburn, Gerald Roznovsky, Don and Sharon Suggs White
J and J Tree Service
Executive Director
David Thomas
Angela Villarreal

Call Us at 979-297-1570

Museum Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10AM - 4PM