McKenzie Evans poses with friends, buyers and her Grand Champion steer at the Burnet County Livestock Show’s premium sale last Saturday afternoon. Excellent participation, great crowds and beautiful weather all helped make the event a big success (see more pictures beginning on page 8, and even more on the “Highland Lakes Weekly” Facebook page). Llano County’s show is scheduled for this weekend (see “Upcoming Events,” beginning on page 2).
What a weekend! I used to consider January and February my “slow time,” and try to plan ahead for things to fill my schedule (and the pages of my paper). I really shouldn’t worry.
It’s partly John Hoover’s fault. He explained the importance of the county livestock shows to me more than seventeen years ago, when I was just starting as editor in Burnet, and actually paid my bosses for four extra pages to be filled with pictures of participants in 2001. I am still proud of that week’s paper, although I had to work most of Sunday and Monday nights scanning pictures at the office!
I didn’t do as well this year; I am limited to 16 pages total, and there were other things I wanted to include. I decided to settle for the Grand Champion winners and a few others. If possible, I’ll try to do at least that much for the Llano kids next week. Then the Chamber of Commerce banquets begin, and there is plenty of other activity in the meantime,
Actually, last weekend wouldn’t have been too busy if I hadn’t got so excited about publishing my Kingsland book. I had set a goal of finishing 80 pages by Monday morning, and I came pretty close. The writing is all done, but I have to choose pictures and tweak them to the printers’ specifications, then lay out the pages. I’m not as fast as I should be, but I’m getting into a routine, so I’m probably 40 percent done. That means I should have books near the beginning of February.
One of the factors contributing to Kingsland’s high profile in the 1960s was the presence of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s lake house just across the Llano River arm of Granite Shoals Lake. With his partner, Judge A.W. Moursund, Johnson had purchased land on both sides of the Llano, and the ranch on the south side had become one of his favorite spots for rest and relaxation. A front-page article on July 9 told how the president had enjoyed a July 4th weekend in Kingsland (his lake house was actually connected to Kingsland only by the ferry at the time), and had hosted a fish fry for guests including “Gov. and Mrs. John Connally.” The story included a report that President Johnson had “lost his cap” while boating on the lake that weekend. It was retrieved by a Secret Service man who dived into the water for it.
The Highlander’s headline that week said “Lyndon, Lady Bird relax on Granite Shoals During 4th,” but the big photo showed Mrs. William Matthews water-skiing with two dogs on her surfboard. She and her husband lived in San Antonio but came to their Lakewood Forest III vacation home almost every weekend to go water-skiing. Lady, a German Shepherd, and Mister, a Boston Bulldog, always wanted to go along.
A more mundane news item reported that the Kingsland post office was extending its hours, and would be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The mail from Austin arrived each morning at 7:30; the mail from Llano at 5 p.m.
Construction began in Marble Falls on July 6 to widen Hwy 1431 from two to four lanes. Stein Lumber was awarded the contract for the new shopping center in Kingsland. John Williams opened a riding stable just down the hill from Longhorn Cavern in Hoover Valley. Sales began well at Sherwood Shores III.
I had a wonderful week off between Christmas and New Year’s. Except for one trip to the library in Burnet, I didn’t go anywhere except the post office and H.E.B. I spent almost all my time working on my book (see page 15), and on Thursday night I finished the last chapter. I slept well each night, I lost a little weight (ounces, not pounds) and my blood sugar was lower than usual. It was great!
This week, I’ve had a little trouble getting back into my “newspaper” routine. I decided not to drive to Llano when the snow started falling on New Year’s Eve, and then the “First Day Hike” at Inks Lake State Park got canceled because of ice on the rocks. But I have lots of construction pictures from Kingsland and Marble Falls, and I wanted to share the last piece of my book (news from the first six months of 1964), so there shouldn’t be any big blank spots in this week’s paper.
There are a couple of things that should have been in last week’s paper (if I had published one). I just found out that the Burnet County Livestock Show is this weekend, and it will have started before this week’s paper gets printed. The other is a big multi-family “House-Cleaning Sale” at the Kingsland Community Center, also beginning this Thursday (but continuing through Friday and Saturday – 8:30 to 6 each day). They’ll have furniture, home décor, clothing, books and toys; credit cards will be accepted.
The LCRA has announced that it would begin lowering Inks Lake on January 2, for a six-week, eight-foot drawdown that will allow lakeside property owners to repair and maintain docks, retaining walls and other shoreline property. The drawdown also will aid in curbing the growth of nuisance aquatic vegetation. The refill will begin around February 10, and will be completed by February 13.
In the Highlander’s January 2 issue in 1964. Publisher Bob Bray rhapsodized about the “economic impact of Lyndon B. Johnson becoming president,” as reporters from all over the world came to central Texas. “Surely,” he wrote. “1964 will be the greatest year since the creation of the Highland Lakes. People who have investments in this area can congratulate themselves, for they will continue to increase in value.”
The first “Kingsland” news that made the Llano paper in 1964 was the birth of Gina Renee Sindorf. Her parents owned the River Oaks Lodge on Highway 1431 in Kingsland, and she was the first Llano County baby of 1964. The January 9 issue of The Llano News also reported that Commissioner Euel Moore, who had already been on the job in Precinct #3 for 14 years, had announced his run for re-election in 1964.
That week’s Highlander reported that the Kingsland Volunteer Fire Department had purchased a fire truck in Odessa, and that there would be a big celebration when it was delivered (within 60 days). A photo in the “Kingslander” section showed A.H. Daricek, of Daricek’s Lodges, holding his great-granddaughter, Ann Parker. The caption noted that her father was Henry Parker, “of Pearl Harbor.” Four generations spent their holidays at the lakeside resort.
Col. Art McGibney addressed the Kingsland Lions Club, exhorting members to “put their best foot forward” in welcoming “untold thousands who would visit the Highland Lakes” during the coming summer.
Since I still can’t afford Christmas cards for everyone (and because I won’t be publishing a paper next week), I’m using this week’s paper as a substitute card, and wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I believed something I read on the internet last week, and wrote that there would be a community Christmas dinner at the Red Barn in Buchanan Dam. From what I’ve heard since then, I think that was wrong. I know that Joel and Rose Deupree, who had done most of the work for the past fourteen years, announced their retirement last year. I don’t think anyone has been found to take their place; I haven’t seen the usual flyers put up around town, and I’ve heard third-hand from someone who is probably right that there is not a Christmas dinner this year.
There are probably other dinners planned somewhere around the Highland Lakes, but I have not heard; there IS a dinner planned at the VFW Hall in Burnet for 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve for active duty personnel, veterans and immediate family members. To RSVP or learn more, call or text 830-956-8786.
Speaking of Christmas dinners, I read somewhere that a researcher claims that “eating a salad every day could help keep your brain young.” I’m very sorry to say that I have conclusively disproved that theory; in fact, the many salads I have eaten did nothing at all to help my brain, which decided several years ago that it was too old to work full-time any longer.
That’s one reason why I decided to take a “staycation” next week; I think a break from my regular duties would be beneficial to my health. The other reason is that I think I may be able to get my Kingsland history book done if I take a week (when there’s not a whole lot of public events going on anyway) and focus completely on the long-overdue book.
Christmas (or Xmas) was a big deal in 1917 Llano, but the front pages of The Llano News were still dominated by news from the war in Europe. Headlines on December 13 announced “Wilson Proclaims War on Austria” and “Germans Prepare for Big Drive in West.” A little closer to home, a drive was announced to sign up 3,000,000 new Red Cross volunteers, and Llano was planning a “Big Mass Meeting” at the opera house to recruit “a large number” of local volunteers. Smaller meetings were planned at eight other locations around the county (Castell, Valley Spring, Oatman School House, Field Creek, Baby Head, Tow Valley, Oxford and Lone Grove).
A letter of thanks was received by the Llano Red Cross chapter, from “the boys of Battery B, of the 345thField Artillery at Camp Travis, who had just received their “Xmas packages.” They were: W.G. Alexander, of Tow; William Smith, of Click; G.A. Weaks, of Kingsland; and W.F. Bowman, of Llano.
The Culture Club announced that its presentation of “The Womanless Wedding” at the opera house (“one of the most delightful and altogether pleasing entertainments ever given in Llano”) had been a big success, attracting a capacity crowd (despite “most disagreeable” weather) and netting $62.50, all of which would be spent on wool for “the making of knit garments for the soldier boys.”
The Llano County Commissioners Court was considering the possibility of re-flooring the “river bridge,” and the City of Llano was installing “Another Culvert” at “the corner of Sandstone Street near the home of J.T. Simpson.” The article continued: “this is one of the last remaining ditches over which a concrete culvert had not been placed. It is a pleasant reflection to think just a short time back, when there was scarcely a piece of concrete in the city limits.”
There was more war news on the inside pages, but it was overshadowed by a good number of ads (at $12 per page, or $6 for a half-page). D.L. Carl (“The Quality Jeweler”) advertised “Gifts of Real Worth” to “Make Your Christmas Ideal.” He had all kinds of jewelry, silverware, cut glass, clocks, watches, knives, pens and more for sale.
Just write down exactly what you want to say (up to 25 words for $3 per week; up to 50 words for $5), then mail your ad with payment for however long you want it to run.
Make checks payable to:
Highland Lakes Weekly
P.O. Box 911
Kingsland, TX 78639