The Round Rock Historic Preservation Commission announced four Local Legend Award honorees at the City Council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 23. Lambert Peterson, Sharon Prete, Sheriff James Milton Tucker, and Texas Baptist Children’s Home were honored for their contributions to the culture, development, and history of the community.
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.
Historic Preservation Commission Chair Jerry Hodges presented the awards and highlighted some of the accomplishments of each of the award recipients.
Lambert is honored for his long service to the community, and particularly for sharing recollections and photos (from his own life and from his Swedish pioneer grandparents), which have been an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Round Rock’s history and the personalities that shaped it. Lambert himself grew up speaking Swedish, and is currently the oldest living (male) member of Palm Valley Lutheran Church. He is the oldest living graduate of Round Rock High School (class of 1934), where he lettered in football. He worked at the famous Round Rock Cheese Factory during the depression, and later for Round Rock schools, Trinity Lutheran home, and was instrumental in establishing the Senior Center. Sixteen days shy of their 74th wedding anniversary, Lambert’s beloved wife Margaret passed away. He continues to honor her memory by sharing their experiences so we may learn more about Round Rock’s historical journey.
Mr. Peterson was present to accept the award.
Sharon Prete (1943-2013)
The City’s award-winning parks system and recreation programs have been largely shaped by Sharon Prete during her 25 years as Director of the City of Round Rock Parks & Recreation Department. Sharon was instrumental in the acquisition of several hundred acres to create what we now know as Old Settlers Park at Palm Valley, the crown jewel of the parks system she helped create. All who worked in the Department respected Sharon as a trusted, passionate leader. Upon her retirement, Sharon founded the People and Parks Foundation as a way to continue giving to the community and parks system that she loved. In recognition of her leadership and service, in 2012 the new downtown plaza was dedicated in her name as the “Sharon Hart Prete Main Street Plaza.”
Ms. Prete’s award was accepted by her husband Richard and their children Tony and Heather.
Sheriff James Milton Tucker (1843-1907)
James Milton Tucker was a Williamson County Sheriff and is credited with apprehending the famous outlaw Sam Bass in 1878. Bass had attempted to rob a bank in Round Rock, killing Deputy A.W. Grimes in the process. Although Bass had been wounded, local lawmen did not immediately pursue him because they were not sure whether other members of his gang might be waiting in ambush. The next day Deputy Tucker joined a company of Texas Rangers and followed Bass’ trail into the woods, where he and another searcher noticed a man propped against a tree. Tucker approached the man, who identified himself as Sam Bass, surrendered, and handed over his gun. Bass died of his wounds shortly thereafter. Tucker later served as Williamson County Sheriff from 1881 to 1884, and was known as a fair and friendly man with a kind word for all.
The award was accepted by Sheriff Tucker’s great-great-grandnephew Scott Mitchell and his wife Sharon.
Texas Baptist Children’s Home
Over its 64-year history, Texas Baptist Children’s Home has provided care for tens of thousands of local children and families. It was founded in 1950 with a donation of land and five buildings from Louis and Billie Sue Henna. Building, furnishing and staffing the cottages was a community project, and the campus dedication was so big that the Chamber of Commerce voted to close their businesses so that all their employees could attend.
Ideas about child welfare were shifting away from institutional orphanages, and the campus was one of the first to be designed as a cluster of cottages, each with a pair of house parents. The cottages are grouped around the Hankamer-Fleming Chapel, a prominent landmark at the intersection of Mays and Palm Valley Boulevard.
Today the Home’s ministry includes both residential and non-residential programs, serving 1,956 people in 2013 alone. Up to 40 children stay in five Campus Life cottages, where they live in a family-like setting with married house parents, attend public school, and participate in extracurricular activities. The Family Care program provides residential care for about 40 mothers and their children while the mothers work to improve their job skills and/or continue their educations. The non-residential HOPE Services program reaches out to children and families at their homes in local apartment complexes. Through these programs the Home and its community partner organizations provide vital support to Round Rock’s most vulnerable children, helping them and their families to reach their full potential.
The award was accepted by Amanda Keeter, Director of Development for Texas Baptist Children’s Home.
The Local Legend Awards program was established in 1990. To date, 62 recipients have been honored. Award recipients in the past have included not only people, but organizations, places like Round Rock Donuts, and a book, “Historical Round Rock Texas”, written by local authors.
Award recipients 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.
This year’s nomination and selection process was assisted by a citizen volunteer committee that included Kami Barron, Martha Chavez, Jesus Franco, Cathy Kincaid, Dana Oglesby, Dora Owens, Dale Ricklefs and Rufus Honeycutt. 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.
Local Legend Award nominations are accepted throughout the year by the Planning and Development Services Department. For more information, contact Joelle Jordan at (512) 218-5422.