Issue 07............December 2020
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
New.......................................Executive Director
Hello, everyone! My name is David Thomas. I am very pleased to be joining the Lake Jackson Historical Association as Executive Director in January. I anticipate great things for myself and the association. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a bit about myself as a way of introduction. 

I love history and believe it is the foundation of a complete education and a strong community. It is also my belief that people who know their history are engaged, concerned citizens, capable of critical thinking, willing to confront complex ideas and find solutions to difficult issues. Historical associations work to empower the future and inspire the present by telling the dynamic stories of our diverse past. This is essential work for an engaged, capable citizenry both proud of their personal history as well as our collective identity.
I have always had an abiding interest in History, both recent and ancient. While studying at the University of Houston, I was awarded a Fellowship to pursue some of my original ideas regarding the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean. As a result of my work, an archaeology professor from Rice University and the head of the UH classics department collaborated to create a new course offering, covering the material I developed. A much more recent example of history that interests me can be seen in the picture above. I am wearing a vintage tie from the iconic Houston store, Sakowitz, featuring images of a high-wheel bicycle in red. I am also wearing a vintage seersucker suit from the iconic Houston store, Battlestein’s. 

Another interest of mine is Architecture. I studied Architecture full time for 3 years. I also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, a CNP from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance at the UH Graduate School of Social Work, and did extensive post-graduate coursework in Public Administration. My career began with more than 20 years’ experience as a Fine Art Handler, working with museums and significant collections all over the country for truly unique experiences. I have delivered shipments of paintings worth hundreds of millions of dollars protected by police escort, taken the original penicillin mold in a metal briefcase complete with security chain to NASA, and driven a truck onto an aircraft carrier to deliver a scale model of the ship, and many more adventures. 
I am also an artist, primarily making figurative art in pastels, oils, mixed media and collage. Being in nature is another passion of mine, harkening back to my childhood growing up surrounded by national forests in the mountains of rural Arkansas. I love fishing, in particular kayak fishing, which may be my favorite activity. I also love to forage for wild foods and have been collecting mushrooms and other plants most of my life. I use the foods I forage in creative cooking and traditional preservation methods such as fermenting. Cooking takes a close second only to fishing as my favorite things. I love to cook new and interesting recipes.

I like to garden and work to maximize my small lot to grow all I can. I have fruit trees, including orange, pear, fig and Japanese plum. I live in a small historic cottage built in 1920 in Independence Heights with my lovely wife Sarah and my two Italian greyhounds. 
OLD, OLD..........."Keebler Tree"
The Jackson Plantation Historic Site features two named trees. It is not only home to the "Enchanted Oak," which inspired the city's logo, but also to a massive and sprawling live oak, dubbed "the Keebler tree." Though the origin of the nickname is unknown, the tree was a favorite gathering spot for teenagers in the 1980's. It grows adjacent to the lake, not too far from a 19th century cistern.

Jackson Plantation Historic Site December hours 12 to 5

Eye-Catching Sculpture
Has the intriguing sculpture at the north entrance of Carriage Square piqued your curiosity? Have you ever pondered: What does it represent?, or Why the colors? Several years ago, the landscape architectural firm, White Oak Studio in Houston, was charged with reimagining the space across from the Alden B. Dow Office Museum (known as Carriage Square). 

Mr. Dow, who planned the city of Lake Jackson, was an early proponent of the mid-Century modern look (MCM), which was popular during the post WWII era (circa 1945-1969). 
Rendering by Cheryl Quinn.

Therefore, the architects wanted to preserve the MCM theme in their project and, in doing so, create a feature that would capture the public's attention.  White Oak artist Cheryl Quinn became fascinated with an old photo of Mr. Dow's early 1940's office.  In one corner of it hung a ceiling to floor mobile. The piece exhibited characteristics of mid-Century modern art: simple lines, round discs, and balls. 

Inspired by the mobile, she incorporated its elements into the design of her Carriage Square sculpture. Ms. Quinn also intentionally selected the teal and yellow color scheme in keeping with the MCM penchant for bright colors. The prominent structure, which is made of aluminum and steel, was installed into the city landscape in May, 2018.


A hearty thank you to Modesto Mundo, city manager, and his city crew who installed new signage at the intersection of Oak Drive and Parking Way.
NEW.............................Craft for Kids
Hey, kids!!!

What does this Christmas tree need? Some decorations, right? 

During December, the museum is hosting a hands-on history activity. (COVID-19 protocols in place.) Come watch a short video about the history of Japanese origami. Come fold decorative paper into the shape of a crane. Add one to the museum's tree, and take another one home.
Creative recycling can be seen in these Christmas ornaments, which now belong in the museum's collection of artifacts. The three pieces pictured here were handmade from bended and curled metal, probably from tin cans. Upon close inspection, one can observe the manufacturer's code imprinted on the metal. The museum's curator estimates that these beautifully crafted ornaments date back to the1940's or 1950's.

The tradition of decorating trees during Christmas is thought to have originated in 16th-century Germany, where small evergreen trees were decorated with candles, apples, nuts, and berries. Over time, the tradition spread across Europe, and decorations became more diverse and ornate. Although homemade decorations such as hand-sewn snowflakes, painted eggshells, and gingerbread cookies were the norm, there were hand-cast lead and hand-blown glass decorations available through the German market.

German immigrants brought the practice of decorating trees to America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Manufactured code imprinted onto the metal.
Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and children at Windsor Castle featured in the Illustrated London News, 1848.

It did not immediately become popular until the late 1840's when a published depiction of Queen Victoria celebrating Christmas with her family around a decorated evergreen tree inspired many Americans to adopt the tradition.

Subsequently, in the 1880's several glass firms in Lauscha, Germany, began to see the potential for creating Christmas ornaments on a mass scale. These glass ornaments were an instant success. As a result, Germany proceeded to capture the world market in Christmas ornaments, and for a period of time was the major world source for glass ornaments.

It was also at this time in the 1880's that F.W. Woolworth, who established Woolworth stores in America, visited Germany and decided to import glass ornaments to sell in his stores.
Help us reach our goal of $1,000
The Lake Jackson Historical Association (LJHA) continues its efforts to raise funds for a new scanner to digitize its archival collection. Digitization allows for the preservation, protection, and public access to historic photographs, documents, and films related to the town of Lake Jackson,Texas.

Make history and donate today.

Funds in excess of $1,000 will be applied to the general operational budget.
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:
Lucille was the name of Dr. A.P. Beutel's horse.

New Trivia Question:
Under what famous architect did Alden. B. Dow study?
A Special Thank You to Our November Contributors
Linda Bartholome, Travis David, Anonymous
Executive Director
David Thomas
Angela Villarreal

Cecilia Abad
Digital Programming Specialist
Call Us at 979-297-1570