New Kerr County History Book Available!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

A new “Pop-Up” Museum display

Pop-Up Museum display, December 2020: Kerr County Leaders
on display now at Pint & Plow Brewing Company, 332 Clay Street, Kerrville
Click on any image to enlarge

As I study local history, I come across hundreds of stories about people who worked hard to make our community a better place. Some are people you’ve probably heard of before, but most are folks few remember.
From time to time I put up a history display at Pint & Plow Brewing Company, in their coffee shop, thanks to the generosity of the Walther family who make a wall there available to me. I call these displays a “Pop-Up” Museum, because they’re temporary and come and go without notice.
Hopefully our community will someday have a history museum, and I’ve been encouraged by the progress being made by the Heart of the Hills Heritage Center and the City of Kerrville, who are working together to create a museum in the old A. C. and Myrta Schreiner home next to the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library.
For many years places around town have displayed items from my collection of historic items from Kerrville and Kerr County. I’ve put on displays and exhibits at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, the Museum of Western Art, Grape Juice, Starbucks, and what was then called Hastings. The display at Pint & Plow is different: the owners have kindly provided a wall there for history displays, and for several years I’ve displayed items on that wall. I’ve shown old Kerrville maps and photographs; a collection of photographs by the pioneer photographer Starr Bryden; and most recently, an illustrated guide to making cypress shingles. (Kerrville was founded by a group of men who made shingles from the beautiful cypress trees along the Guadalupe, back in the late 1840s.)
This week I put up a new display at Pint & Plow: “Kerr County Leaders.”
Gentle Reader, I’ve never claimed to be unbiased. There are some characters in our community’s story I like more than other characters. In fact, some of the folks I’ve learned about are now heroes of mine, and in many of those cases I wish I could time travel and visit with them.
This new display features six of my favorites. Five of the six have passed away, and the sixth has moved away from our community to be closer to family.

Here are the six:

Florence Butt, entrepreneur. Butt started a grocery company on Kerrville’s Main Street over 100 years ago. That’s not why she is included in the display; plenty of folks have started businesses here. She’s in the display because of her faith, her generosity and her exceptional grit.
Camilla Salter, publisher. At age 35 she was widowed. She had a young son to raise alone. And suddenly she had a newspaper to run, the Kerrville Mountain Sun. During the Great Depression. Salter worked for decades to make our community a better place to live. Some of the projects she championed are still benefitting us today.
Itasco Wilson, teacher. Wilson and her husband arrived in Kerrville in 1940 to lead Kerrville’s school for African-American students. Together they made the segregated school a center for learning and community, teaching lessons of dignity and excellence to the children our community chose to separate from others. After segregation finally ended, in the mid-1960s, Wilson continued to teach these same lessons to all of her students.
Zelma Hardy, mayor. In the mid-1970s, after a long career in public education, Hardy ran for a seat on the Kerrville City Council, and won. Later the council chose her to serve as Kerrville’s mayor from 1973 to 1974.
Clarabelle Snodgrass, historian. Snodgrass worked for decades recording and preserving our community’s history, through books, talks, and a newspaper column. She helped save the Tivy School building and the Union Church building.
Susan Sander, naturalist. When Sander arrived in Kerrville in the 1980s, she noticed an abandoned pioneer’s home on Water Street which was surrounded by wildflowers. The name of the old home was “Riverside,” and there she had the idea to make a community-based nature preserve in downtown Kerrville. Which she did.
I hope you’ll stop by to see the display. Pint & Plow Brewing Company is located at 332 Clay Street in beautiful downtown Kerrville. Admission is free, but get a beverage and some food while you’re there. Tell them Joe sent you.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who collects historic items from Kerrville and Kerr County. If you have an item you’d care to share with him, it would make him very happy. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times December 5, 2020.

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