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2013 Local Legend Awards
The 2013 Local Legend Awards were presented at the Thursday, November 14 City Council Meeting. Historic Preservation Commission Chair Jerry Hodges gave a brief presentation on each Legend, and he and Mayor Alan McGraw presented award certificates to the honorees or their descendants.
Rev. Freeman Smalley (1790-1881)
Freeman Smalley was a Baptist minister who preached tirelessly to frontier settlements in the earliest days of Williamson County. He became a preacher after serving in the War of 1812, and followed his sons to Williamson County in 1847, settling near Kenney Fort. He preached wherever he could, and co-founded the Andice Baptist Church and the Anti-Slaveholding Union Baptist Church in the Palm Valley area of Round Rock.
Smalley had a difficult time holding a congregation together because he preached against slavery, and remained a staunch supporter of the Union through the Civil War. For this he was robbed and faced threats of retaliation. In 1866 he left Texas and sold his land to Captain Nelson Merrell, who later built his home there. The Anti-Slaveholding Union Baptist Church was never built, but its graveyard still sits off of A.W. Grimes Boulevard. It is often referred to as the Smalley Cemetery because of its association with the family.
Jack Jordan (1872-1959)
Jack Jordan was the first Mayor under the city‚Äôs 1912 incorporation, serving from 1913-1914, but was most influential in his 44 years as City Secretary. For most of that time he was its only paid employee, and he organized and performed most of the city‚Äôs administrative processes that are now the functions of the City Clerk, City Manager, tax assessor/collector, and Census-taker. He worked closely with Round Rock‚Äôs Congressman, Lyndon Baines Johnson, to secure WPA funds for the city‚Äôs first water system (the water tower) and the city hall and fire station that stood where the library is now. He retired in 1958 at age 86.
Bob Bennett was the City Manager of Round Rock between 1979 and 2002, when its population grew almost six fold from 12,000 to 71,000. He led the city to create a firm foundation for its growth by securing a long-term water supply, expanding city parks, services and facilities, and selectively recruiting major employers. During his tenure the City created a regional wastewater system, its credit rating improved from triple-B to double-A, the City opened its first golf course at Forest Creek, Dell Computers brought their headquarters to Round Rock, and the Round Rock Express began playing baseball at the Dell Diamond. He also created a supportive working culture at the City, and encouraged staff to expand their skills and leadership.
The Stagecoach Inn (built 1948-1953)
Built between 1848 and 1853 by John J. and Susie Anna Harris, is one of the three oldest surviving buildings in Round Rock. The Inn was built on the Old Military Road (Chisholm Trail) soon after regular stagecoach service was established, using limestone quarried from the slope below. The Inn was a place for travellers to eat and rest, for the drivers to change horse teams, and for locals to receive mail and packages. Townspeople would gather at the Inn when they heard the Harris' geese honking at the stagecoach's arrival. Overnight visitors were not as common, but notable guests include Texas Ranger Ira Aten, cattleman Print Olive, famous con artist Soapy Smith, and outlaws John Wesley Hardin and Sam Bass. After the railroad redirected most business activity to ‚ÄúNew Town,‚ÄĚ the Inn was used as a tavern, home, and later a restaurant. It has never been vacant, and currently houses the French Quarter restaurant. The future of the Inn is uncertain because it lies in the path of necessary improvements to RM 620.
The Historic Preservation Commission would like to thank the members of the Local Legend Selection Committee for their work on this project: Kami Barron, Jesus Franco, Kathy Kincaid, Dora Owns, Dale Ricklefs, and Rufus Honeycutt.
The Commission would also like to thank Jacqui Wilson, the Library's volunteer Genealogy Advisor, who used her research skills to help locate descendants of some of this year's Local Legends.
About the Local Legend Awards
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 distiction to the City of Round Rock.
Local Legends are selected by a volunteer committee appointed by the HPC. The Committee is responsible for reviewing allications and assisting with the award processes. Appointments are made in early summer; please contact the Planning & Development Services Department at 512-218-5428 for an 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 and send to the address below, or email to email@example.com.
The Historic Preservation Commission
c/o Planning and Development Services Department
301 W. Bagdad Avenue, Suite 210
Round Rock, TX 78664
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