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Matagorda County Recorded
Texas Historic Landmark

 

Bay City Bandstand

 

2000 6th Street

2858 54.53N       955757.09W


 


 


Bandstand
February 24, 1967

The Bandstand is presently located in a small city park, 2000 Sixth Street on Cottonwood Creek, Bay City, Texas.

This wooden bandstand was originally constructed on the southeast corner of the Matagorda County Courthouse square in 1907, by popular subscriptions, when the citizens felt a need for a place where the musicians in the community could get together with their instruments and entertain the people when they came to town with the talent that had developed.

In the fall of 1912 the bandstand was moved to the southwest corner of the square, to make room for the Confederate Monument with a reflecting pool, that was to be erected on the southeast corner. The bandstand was roofless in all pictures made before 1912. The dedication for the Confederate Monument was held on January 17, 1913. This important event included the unveiling of the monument with the Confederate veterans parading around the square. Two conventions were held by the Confederate veterans in 1909 and 1912 in Bay City, with the Bandstand being the headquarters for both of those affairs.

In the days before levees and dams, the Colorado River would overflow into Bay City and surround the Courthouse. The young people would get into boats and row around through the streets. Many times the band members would bring their instruments to the bandstand and give concerts to those in their boots. This created a time of merriment, which otherwise would have been a time of gloom, under such disturbing conditions.

Two members of the original "Rice Growers' Band of Matagorda County," Mr. Bob Benge and Mr. Grover Coston, both of Bay City, have been the source of some of this information; recall that regular concerts were played on the bandstand, and every Saturday night the bandstand was the gathering place for an evening of enjoyment. The first high school band in Bay City, believed to have been among the first bands organized in the schools in Texas, played from this bandstand.

Mrs. Tenie Benge Porter, Bay City, a 1909 graduate of Bay City High School, remembers that the "Rice Growers Band" gave a concert for the graduation in the bandstand. She recalls that the bandstand was a gathering place through the years for the citizens of all ages. The bandstand was the scene for political speeches and patriotic rallies, that brought citizens to the square to hear many outstanding leaders, and the concerts held regularly were always enjoyed by everyone.

In 1963 Matagorda County voted to build a new courthouse. The Commissioners' Court advertised the bandstand for sale. The Matagorda County Historical Survey Committee asked that it be donated to them. The request was granted, and the City of Bay City cooperated by having it moved to its present location, granting the permission that it remain to be marked with a historical marker.

The new courthouse also needed the site of the Confederate Monument and pool, so the pool was demolished and the monument was moved to a place near the sidewalk in the center of the south side of the square.
 


Bandstand still located on the Courthouse grounds in June, 1963.
 

 

Copyright 2011 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Created
Sep. 5, 2011
Updated
Dec. 26, 2015
   

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