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The Bell Plaza

Hillsboro Reporter-Thursday May 22, 2003 page 1

BELL PLAZA

The new bell plaza on the south side of the Hill County Courthouse will be dedicated Saturday morning, May 24, as part of the county’s sesquicentennial celebration.

The ceremony is scheduled to get underway at 11 a. m. after the parade.

Dinah Weable, district manager for state Representative Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, will bring greeting from the representative who is currently participating in the 78th session of the Texas Legislature in Austin.

A Texas flag that flew over the state Capitol on May 14, 2003, 150 years to the day after the founding of the county, will be presented to local officials.

The bell, which was damaged in the January 1, 1993 fire that nearly destroyed the courthouse, has remained in storage at the courthouse annex.

Through work by the Hill County Historical Commission, permission was received from the Texas Historical Commission (THC) to construct the plaza to display the bell.

Through a generous donation from the George G. and Alva Hudson Smith Foundation, the project has become a reality.

The rock used in the plaza matches that of the Hill County Courthouse and came from the oldest building in the town site of Abbott.

The rock was quarried south of Abbott. The earliest known use of the building was a shoe cobbling business owned by T. K. McDonald in 1896.

It was later used as a telephone office with the operator and her husband living on the premises.

Juanita Boyse purchased the building in 1982 with plans to preserve it, but an errant driver and ground soaking rains caused the structure to collapse.

The rock was stored on property owned by Johnny Krenek before it was donated for the plaza.

The THC approved a proposal to place panels on each side of the plaza, three of which tell the history of the courthouse, the fire and the building’s restoration.

Featured on the fourth plaque are the elected officials who served at the time of the fire, the architect and contractors on the project and the members of the board of directors of the Smith Foundation.

The public is invited to attend.