City honors 2016 class of Local Legends

Immortal Ten, Jon Sloan, James Carothers recognized for community contributions

The Historic Preservation Commission announced three Local Legend Award nominations at the City Council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 27.

James W. Carothers, Jon E. Sloan, and The Immortal Ten 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 Pamela Sue Anderson and Commissioner Sharon Whitaker presented the awards and highlighted some of the accomplishments of each of the award recipients.

jim-carothersJAMES W. CAROTHERS

Jim was hired as City Manager in 1968, when Round Rock’s population was approximately 2,000. Before coming to Round Rock, Jim had been a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He was a pilot in World War II and Korea, flew over 65 combat missions (including two on D-Day), and developed the signal beacon that pilots have on their parachutes for use in locating them if they have to eject from their aircraft.

As a small town Round Rock also had a small staff, so Jim was also responsible for the maintenance of the City swimming pool, a back-up driver for the city ambulance, and on call for the Police Department. Every morning, he went to the city sewage plant to check on the valves and set the switches, then came home, showered and went in to the office for his ‘regular’ City Manager duties. During his time as City Manager, the City passed its first zoning ordinance and entered a new phase of development after the Round Rock White Lime plant was closed.

Community Impact photoJON E. SLOAN

Jon Sloan is a Round Rock community force who provides his financial expertise, sound business judgement and leadership to a community that he respects and loves.  His behind the scenes influence earned him the title “the man in the back of the room”.  For 34 years he served as President of First Texas Bank, and has used his expertise in banking and finance to structure and promote bond packages for the City of Round Rock, RRISD, Austin Community College and Williamson County. He has been involved in almost every School Bond election in the last 30 years.

Under Sloan’s leadership, First Texas Bank became a generous contributor to community events and nonprofit efforts. He has been a leader or member of many, many nonprofit organizations, and is a relentless fundraiser for political, economic and social causes.

immortal-ten-statueTHE IMMORTAL TEN

On Jan. 22, 1927, a bus carrying the Baylor University basketball team to a game against the University of Texas was struck by a train at a crossing in Round Rock. Ten of the 22 people on the bus were killed, including half the basketball team. In its memorial announcement, the Waco Tribune-Herald dubbed the victims the Immortal Ten. The flag at the capitol was lowered to half-staff.

The Immortal Ten have come to represent the traditions and unifying spirit of the Baylor student body. Nationally, the accident prompted engineers and legislators to take a serious look at road and vehicle safety issues. In Round Rock, Texas’ first railroad overpass was built over the accident site. The City of Round Rock is in the process of making improvements to the overpass to commemorate the tragedy. In January, on the 90th anniversary of the accident, it will be dedicated as the Immortal Ten Bridge.

The Immortal Ten are: Jack Castellaw, Sam Dillow, Merle Dudley, Ivy Foster Jr., Bob Hailey, James Kelly, Robert Hannah, Willis Murray, James Walker and William Winchester.

The Local Legend Awards program was established in 1990. To date, 67 recipients have been honored. Award recipients in the past have included not only people, but organizations, places like Lone Star Bakery, 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, Jennifer Henderson, Rufus Honeycutt, Dale Ricklefs, Audrey Simmons and Tina Steiner. After reviewing nominations, the committee made its recommendation to the Round Rock Historic Preservation Commission in September.

Local Legend Award nominations are accepted throughout the year by the Planning and Development Services Department of the City of Round Rock. For more information, contact Joelle Jordan at 512-218-5422 or jjordan@roundrocktexas.gov. Additional information on this year’s recipients, past recipients and photos are available at roundrocktexas.gov/locallegends.

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