2015 Local Legend Awards announced
The Round Rock Historic Preservation Commission announced five Local Legend Award honorees at the City Council meeting on Thursday, October 8. Rufus Honeycutt, Bonnie Horowitz, St. William Catholic Church, Washington Anderson, and Vander Clyde Broadway (better known as Barbette) were honored for their contributions to the culture, development, and history of the community. Historic Preservation Commission Chair Jerry Hodges presented the awards and highlighted some of the accomplishments of each of the award recipients.
Rufus Honeycutt is recognized for a lifetime of service to country, church, and community. A Vietnam veteran, he later became a Troop Support Coordinator, and was commended for outstanding contributions to the armed services blood programs. He was later awarded the Commanding General’s Excellence Coin, and received a Presidential appointment to the Selective Service System Board.
Since moving to Round Rock he has served two terms on the City Council, led service organizations including Hope Alliance and Sertoma, and currently serves on the Williamson Central Appraisal District Board of Directors and the Round Rock Veterans Monument committee. He and his wife Margaret created the Arts Development Fund to promote the fine arts and cultural events to enhance the quality of life in Round Rock.
Mr. Honeycutt was present to accept the award.
Bonnie Horowitz is recognized as a Local Legend for her almost 30 years of service and advocacy in support of the library and literacy programs in Round Rock. She has volunteered at the library since 1987, organizing fundraisers with the Friends of the Round Rock Public Library in support of the library collection and summer reading program for children.
She has also volunteered thousands of hours to the Literacy Council of Williamson County, organizing fundraising events and serving on its Board of Directors, as well as working directly with clients to help them get a GED, find employment, learn English, become citizens, and solve a myriad of life issues. In just the last year she has volunteered 1,564 hours to the Literacy Council (averaging almost 30 hours per week), and worked with 30 different clients. Over the last 28 years she has helped hundreds of residents support their families and build a strong community.
Ms. Horowitz’s husband Norman accepted the award on her behalf.
Round Rock’s first Catholic congregation was organized in 1916 by recent immigrants who had fled the Mexican Revolution and found work at the Round Rock White Lime Company. Since building its first church 75 years ago, the church is now the largest parish in the Diocese of Austin. Because of its beauty, size, and location, Saint William is host to many major events, such as Bishop Ordinations and installations, Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations, and other community events.
Since then the church has rapidly outgrown campus after campus. Today, Saint William has over 6,000 registered families and 128 active ministries. A few of these services to the greater Round Rock community are the Annie’s Way Thanksgiving Dinner, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which in the last year has served over 5,500 of our neighbors in need, through intervention and counseling services, a food pantry, and over $300,000 in direct aid. Saint William is proud of the work their parishioners do to strengthen the community and its neighbors.
St. William’s Chief Operating Officer Anna Christina Gonzalez accepted the award.
Washington Anderson was one of Round Rock’s founding settlers; there are few events in its early history that he was not associated with. In 1841 Anderson claimed the quarter-league northwest of Kenney Fort that he’d earned for service in the Texas Revolution, where he was considered an unsung hero of the Battle of San Jacinto. He built the Milam District’s first saw and gristmill, and in 1848 he circulated and signed the petition to form Williamson County out of the Milam District, later becoming one of its first Commissioners. In 1868 he provided land for the Greenwood Masonic Institute, the first secondary school in the area.
During this time he built two houses that are now Registered Texas Historical Landmarks. The first was a seven-room stone home built from 1855-59 on the north bank of Brushy Creek to replace the original log cabin. The second house was built for his only daughter Chloe, who lived in Austin but brought the children to visit during the summer. This building is now the Family Life Center at the First united Methodist Church.
But his most significant contribution to the development of the community was selling 150 acres to the International and Great Northern Railroad in 1876 to bring a depot and establish what is now downtown Round Rock (which he had hoped would be named Andersonville). The railroad transformed the community from a frontier village to a bustling small town.
Mary Mann Killen, Jo Anne Pruitt and Julie Christopher, all great-great-great granddaughters of Mr. Anderson, accepted the award.
Barbette was the stage name of Vander Clyde Broadway, an aerialist and female impersonator of the 1920s and 30s. As a child in Round Rock he visited the circus and became fascinated with the high wire act. He began practicing on his mother’s clothesline, and (according to legend) on the steel bridge over Brushy Creek.
After graduating early from Round Rock High School, he went to San Antonio to audition for the aerialist act The Alfaretta Sisters. One of the sisters had died unexpectedly, and Vander was hired as her replacement when he agreed to perform as a woman. He later incorporated this impersonation into a solo act that made him famous, and by 1923 he was performing throughout Europe at such venues as the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergère in Paris.
While most aerialists of the day performed tricks, Barbette’s act was more theatrical. He would perform on the tightrope and trapeze in full drag, then pull off his wig and strike exaggerated manly poses. The provocative act made him the toast of the Parisian avant-garde; Jean Cocteau wrote that “I myself have seen no comparable display of artistry on the stage since Nijinsky.” Cocteau later wrote an influential essay on the nature and artifice of theater called Le Numero Barbette, which was illustrated with images of Barbette getting into costume taken by surrealist photographer Man Ray.
In the late 1930s Vander suffered an illness (probably polio) and became an aerial choreographer and trainer for several circuses and films. His work at Ringling Brothers was described as reinventing aerial ballet. Later he was hired to coach Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis on gender illusion for the film Some Like It Hot.
He spent his last months in Round Rock with his sister, and died in 1973. His life and work have also inspired more recent pieces, including the 1993 performance art piece Light Shall Lift Them and the 2002 play Barbette. The Texas Historical Commission has recently approved an historic marker about Barbette, to be placed at his gravesite in Round Rock Cemetery.
Mr. Broadway’s nephew Charles Loving and great-niece Chris Cahill accepted the award.
This year’s nomination and selection process was assisted by a citizen volunteer committee that included Kami Barron, Martha Chavez, Jesus Franco, Jen Henderson, Dana Oglesby, Dora Owens, Dale Ricklefs, and Audrey Simmons. After reviewing nominations, the committee made its recommendation to the Round Rock Historic Preservation Commission in August. The Library’s volunteer Genealogy Advisor, Jacqui Wilson, identified descendants of the deceased honorees.
As in the past, Local Legends were awarded a certificate of recognition. Recipients are also recognized on a plaque that lists all past honorees since the program’s inception.
The Local Legend Award recognizes individuals, families, businesses, groups, publications, or organizations that have had a positive and lasting impact on the culture, development, and history of Round Rock. Each year’s Legends receive a certificate and are honored by the City Council.
Local Legends are selected based on the following criteria:
- Importance to the City’s founding or growth;
- Association with an historic place or event;
- Impact of service to the community’s history, development or culture;
- Achievements that have brought honor and distinction to the City of Round Rock.
Local Legends are selected by a volunteer committee appointed by the HPC. The Committee is responsible for reviewing applications and assisting with the award processes. Appointments are made in early summer; please contact the Planning & Development Services Department at 512-218-5428 for a selection committee application.
Each year’s Local Legends are selected late summer, but nominations for future awards are accepted year-round. If you would like to nominate someone to be honored as a Local Legend, please complete a nomination form (formats: Word, pdf) and email to email@example.com, or print and mail to:
The Historic Preservation Commission
c/o Planning and Development Services Department
301 W. Bagdad Avenue, Suite 210
Round Rock, TX 78664
Rev. Freeman Smalley (1790-1881)
Dr. Thomas Kenney & Kenney Fort
Louis Henna (1914-1990)
Rose Marie “Posey” McClung
No awards 2007 & 2008
Thomas C. Oatts (1815-1885)
No awards between 2003-2005
Allen R. Baca (1921-2002)
No awards in 1999
Lone Star Bakery
Trinity Lutheran Home
Mrs. Tiny McNeese (1902-1998)
Joe Lee Johnson