September 12, 2018 - The William Carroll Crawford Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas held their Chapter Meeting on Saturday, September 8th with special guests of the Gateway to Texas Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and were given a unique opportunity to see the old Center Sanitarium.
With Gina Ferrer giving the tour dressed as a nurse in early 1900s attire, she gave the history of the house which she called the Calvin and Hazel Smith home. The Smiths bought the house in 1981 and moved it from Shelbyville Street not far from the Center downtown square to its current location just outside of Center.
The original part of the house was built in 1873 for James S. Stephenson and his new wife Fredonia Alice Rushing as a wedding gift from the bride's father, G.B.D. Rushing. It was added onto in 1919 by the then owner Judge Tom C. Davis. In 1927 the property was transferred to Bennie Watson by her husband J.R. Watson and she turned the home into a hospital. In 1928 Watson sold the property to Dr. T.L. Hurst and after his death in 1964 the house was boarded up. The property was sold in 1971 to A.L. Pinkston and then to Hazel Smith in 1981. Calvin and Hazel Smith spent countless hours restoring the home to its original grand beauty. In 2015 the home sold to City of Center Mayor David Chadwick.
Prior to the tour of the old Center Sanitarium, the William Carroll Crawford Chapter of the DRT held their business meeting in an old fashion style as the electricity was out.
Maggie Casto mentioned the chapter has two prospective new members along with two already approved members for a total of four. Maggie said she is planning a new members ceremony for DRT Founders Day in November. The chapter did receive the Growth Award at convention making the chapter a six star chapter. The DRT chapter had six new members last year as well as six new Children of the Republic of Texas (CRT) members.
She reminded attendees of upcoming events which are Texian Navy Day (Sept 15) and Texas Heroes Day (Sept 18) and encouraged DRT members to fly their Texas flag.
Merle Howard reported on financials which included funding five scholarships for the graduates who were awarded them in May, workshop outcome, donations to Shelby County Historical Commission and to the Republic of Texas History Center.
Merle highlighted the Workshop the group hosted in August saying, "We had 99 people at the workshop, 93 were participants, 2 guests, and 4 CRT and those were at the State level the CRT officers that attended. It was a good workshop." She did give thanks for the Center HS Culinary class who prepared and served the meal and with their attendance the workshop had over 100 attendees.
Merle added the $2,000 which the group had approved earlier in the year to go to the Shelby County Historical Commission for needed repairs to the windows of the Ladies building was paid in the summer. She advised the work will hopeful start later on in the fall. The chapter voted to approve the expense of a new window unit for the building after the renovations are completed.
Earlier the group voted to give $2,000 to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas for the Republic of Texas History Center (RTHC) project and Merle said the donation was given. The chapter did receive a very nice thank you letter from the RTHC group. Links - www.drtinfo.org, RTHC Building Newsletter for March 2018
Merle said, "We've got money in the bank and the bills are paid."