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Mopac House

Mopac House & Library
Courtesy of G. W. Franzen

Mopac House & Library - April, 2008
Courtesy of G. W. Franzen


Courtesy of Palacios Area Historical Association Museum

Mopac Depot Pictures

Opening Day Register -
May 4, 1935

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3


History of the Mopac House Foundation
By G. W. Franzen


The town of Collegeport was founded on May 25, 1908. It was so named for the COLLEGE established in the town, and for the proposed PORT that never developed. A group of citizens met to form an organization to promote the welfare of the town on April 30, 1909. This organization was named Collegeport Industrial League.  Among its accomplishments:

  • The organization of a school for the community’s children. Subsequently it organized School District No.17 and encouraged the consolidation of smaller districts into the Bay View Consolidated School District No. 25.

  • Promoted construction of bridges and culverts and the grading of roads in the area.

  • Before the establishment of a Post Office, the League arranged for local mail service at no cost to those served.

  • Aided in securing the establishment of a Post Office.

  • Encouraged and aided in the organization of the Collegeport State Bank.

  • Recognized May 25 as the birthday of the town and sponsored this observance each year in association with the Woman’s Club.

  • Instrumental in petitioning railroad officials to bring rail service to the community. 

  • Secured title to the community cemetery.

  • Collegeport Industrial League incorporated in 1923, enabling it to own property.    

  • Purchased Lot 12, Block 105 for the Collegeport Public Library.

  • Purchased and moved Library building to this property which was operated by the Woman’s Club.

  • Acquired Lots 1-11, Block 105.

  • Secured a gift of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad Depot for use as a community center for the town. The rail line was decommissioned with the advent of improved roads in the area.

The local economy failed in 1914, the college (Gulf Coast University of Industrial Arts) closed in 1915 and the proposed port never opened. Continued efforts of the Industrial League to initiate development of businesses failed, but the community finally prospered as an agricultural producer. By the 1930’s all but a handful of the Industrial League’s near 100 original members had either moved away or had died. After securing the gift of the depot from the Railroad for the community, workers dismantled the building and rebuilt it as Mopac House, adjacent to the Collegeport Library.


In January, 1935, the Mopac House Foundation was organized and incorporated (Charter #067306-1, filed April 23, 1935) to accept by gift from the Collegeport Industrial League, Lots 1-12 of Block 105 of the Townsite of Collegeport for the benefit of the people of Collegeport and for the administration of said property for the benefit of the community. This included the newly constructed Mopac House and the Collegeport Library which was operated and under the charge of the Woman’s Club of Collegeport. 


There are no salaries paid to officers, and all service is voluntary. Through the years, the Woman’s Club, in association with the Mopac House Foundation has maintained the building, secured insurance and paid utilities through the gifts of residents and friends of the community. The Mopac House is used as a meeting place for civic organizations, a polling place for school, county, state and national elections, and is available for use by the residents of the community, and for community gatherings including the annual homecoming held each year in May. 


In the past, it has been used as the public school lunchroom and the Library was utilized by the school children on a regular basis in conjunction with the school.  In 1961, Mopac House and the Library were used as a Red Cross kitchen and shelter following the Hurricane Carla disaster that devastated the area. Two families lived there while their homes were rebuilt or repaired.


The Mopac House Foundation has maintained its pledge to serve the community and has administered the property in the best interest of the residents of Collegeport.


On February 2, 1965, the Collegeport Area Volunteer Fire Department was organized.  On June 32, 1965, the Mopac House Foundation leased at no cost to the organization, Lot 7, Block 105 on which to build its Fire Station for as long as it is used as such.  On September 29, 1992, the Mopac House Foundation leased at no cost to the County of Matagorda, Lot 8, Block 105 on which to construct an addition to the Fire House for as long as it is used as such.


On September 20, 1985, the Mopac House Foundation granted an easement to the General Telephone Company a portion of Lot 1, Block 105 on which to construct an equipment hut to provide improved telephone service to the community, the easement to continue for as long as it is used for such. 


In 1997, the Mopac House Foundation initiated a project to place a Pioneer Memorial on the Mopac House grounds in memory of those who settled the area and to record noteworthy events in the community’s history. This project was funded through gifts of residents and friends of the community. This marker was dedicated in May 29, 2004 with a special ceremony on the 96th anniversary of the founding of the town.


The Mopac House and Library are the only historical public buildings left in this small, rural community that connect us with our past.  The community center is a local landmark and continues a vital function in our community. Years have taken their toll on the building.  Extensive repairs to the floor and sills are needed to keep this building safe and functional. Donors are willing to participate in the restoration of this landmark if we can attain the tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status needed to apply for matching grants available for such community improvement projects.


Recently a site for a proposed nuclear power plant located just south of the Collegeport Community was announced. If this project develops, it will bring an influx of workers and create many jobs for the area--all the more need for a viable and improved community center.  


Mopac House Foundation Charter

April 23, 1935

STATE of TEXAS                     |                         CHARTER

That we, Hugo Kundinger, Harry Austin Clapp, Seth W. Corse, Mrs. Dena Hurd, and Mrs. Agnes Liggett, all citizens of the County of Matagorda and State of Texas, under and by virtue of the laws of said State, do hereby voluntarily associate ourselves together for the purpose of forming a private corporation under  the terms and conditions hereinafter set forth:


The name of this corporation is “THE MOPAC HOUSE FOUNDATION.”


The objects and purposes for which this corporation  is formed to acquire by purchase or gift a certain property known and described as Lots One (1) to Twelve (12), inclusive, of Block One Hundred and Five (105), of the Collegeport Townsite, as shown by the plat of the same, as recorded in the office of the County Clerk of Matagorda County, State of Texas, and to hold the same with their successors as trustees, in trust for the benefit of the people of Collegeport; for the support of any literary undertaking; for the promotion of painting, music and fine arts; for the administration of said property, for the benefit of the community, in order that the people may have a place for wholesome amusement; for meetings and gatherings of civic organizations and for such other purposes as a community house is used for.


The place where the business of the corporation is to be transacted is at Collegeport, Matagorda County, and State of Texas.


The term for which it is to exist is fifty years.


The corporation has no capital stock, and is not organized for profit. It does not own any property.

THE STATE OF TEXAS          |       Know all Men by These Presents:

That the Collegeport Industrial League, a corporation organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of Texas, by Seth W. Corse, its vice-President and H. A. Clapp, its Secretary under authority given by resolution passed at a meeting of the members held on the 31st day of January 1935 of the County of Matagorda and State of Texas, for and in consideration of the sum of One $ and other valuable considerations to it in hand paid by The Mopac House Foundation a corporation organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Texas of the County of Matagorda, the receipts of which is hereby acknowledged, do, by these presents, BARGAIN, SELL, RELEASE, AND FOREVER QUIT CLAIM unto the said THE MOPAC HOUSE FOUNDATION its successor assigns, all its right, title and interest in and to a certain tract or parcel of land lying in the County of Matagorda and State of Texas, described as follows, to-wit: Lots 1-12 in Block One Hundred and five (105) of the townsite of Collegeport, Matagorda County, Texas.

WITNESS our hand at Collegeport, Texas this
29th day of April A. D. 1935


Signed Seth W. Corse, vice President
             H. A. Clapp, Secretary

Minutes of the Mopac House Foundation

A meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Mopac House Foundation was held in the home of Hugo Kundinger at two o’clock in the afternoon on Tuesday, the 19th day of February, 1935 there being present trustees Hugo Kundinger, Dena Hurd, Agnes Liggett and Harry Austin Clapp. The following business was transacted: there being no formal organization, Mrs. Dena Hurd took the chair and Mrs. Agnes Liggett assumed the duties of secretary. Mr. Clapp presented a tentative draft of a Constitution and By-Laws.

I. Name. – Mopac House Foundation

II. Purpose – To acquire gift of Mopac House and Block 105, a place for entertainment, luncheons, civic organizations and religious organizations, etc.

III. Membership shall have five (5) Trustees – At annual meeting each year one trustee to be elected for term of 5 years – Fiscal year shall end on 31st of March when annual meeting is to be held.

Seth W. Corse – Chairman
H. A. Clapp – Manager
Mrs. Dena D. Hurd – Vice-Manager
Mrs. Agnes Liggett – Secretary
Hugo Kundinger – Treasurer

The Mopac House Foundation committee had rules drawn up for the use of the building. Reservations must be made a week in advance with the Secretary of the Board.

(1936) Expressed appreciation to Commissioner G. A. Harrison for the kind offer in helping with the material for the Mopac House floor.

From 1938 to 1954 we have no record of the meetings.

In 1944 the Woman’s Club was given custody of the building with Ethel Holsworth as committeewoman. Repairs were made to the building and it was used as the School Lunchroom. We are still using the Lunchroom kitchen stove.

June 17, 1954 – Called meeting, Ben Mowery in the chair – Appointed five (5) trustees: L. A. Duffy – President; V. L. Bowers – Secretary; W. L. Ellis – Treasurer; Dean Merck and C. J. Williams

Ben R. Mowery tendered his resignation.

1954 Project – Ladies and Men’s restrooms added to the north side of the Library building.

The Palacios ISD gave the Mopac house Foundation the school bus garage and the Teacherage (the former DeMoss School house which had been moved to Collegeport School after consolidation in the 1930’s). August 10, 1960 J. E. Cockburn’s bid of $625.00 for the Teacherage was accepted and received rent on the bus garage.

October 2, 1960 the Trustees gave John Bohuslar a contract to put a roof on the Mopac.

1961 – Following Hurricane Carla the Mopac House was used as a Red Cross Kitchen for two weeks while local residents were salvaging their possessions in their homes which were destroyed or flooded. The Library was the home of two families – Rob and Ruby Wells and Miss Hattie (Mrs. Hugo Kundinger).

October 1961 voted to lock the buildings.

1963 County helped with expenses to repair exterior as building used for national, state and county elections, etc. Contract let to Ellis Jensen to put asbestos shingles on the exterior walls; men of the community paneled the interior walls and put asbestos in the ceiling; put in florescent lights in the dining area, etc.

The Holsworth Family had Collegeport area pictures framed. One can learn the history of the town viewing the many scenes hanging on the main hall walls.

1964 – Dean Merck was elected chairman of Mopac House Foundation Board.

June 23, 1965 – Board leased Lot 7, Block 105 to Collegeport Area VFD for as long as it is used by the Collegeport Area VFD. Lease to terminate anytime it ceases to be used as such.

May 1972 – Added concrete patio for tables and repaired the foundation.

1978 – Let contract to Home Lbr. Co. of El Campo to reroof the Mopac and Library, add trim and paint same. A THANK YOU was sent to Re. L. Corporon, chairman of the Citrus Grove Community Center, for the gift of $2,000.00 given to the Mopac Foundation following the sale of their Community House in Citrus Grove.

1980 – After all these years, Fire & Storm Insurance Policy was written by RVOS of Palacios.

GIFTS – Mr. and Mrs. U. S. McMillan gave an electric Hot Water Heater and Frigidaire Refrigerator for the Mopac Kitchen. Mrs. A. R. Matthes gave ceiling fans which were hung in the dining area in memory of her daughter Margaret Ruth and husband, A. R. Matthes. John Maurice Merck had a Barbecue Pit and Shed built at the Mopac in loving memory of his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. B. V. Merck and his father, John Merck. In 1983 he gave a ceiling fan to the Library in memory of his mother, Hazel Merck and Jack Martin.

1983 – Trustees Dean Merck, chairman; U. S. McMillan, Assistant Manager; Dorothy Merck, Secretary; G. W. Franzen, Treasurer; Ethel Holsworth and Chester Corporon.

1983 – Renewed the Charter – No. 067306-1 – August 11, 1983
Received letter from State that shows that we are a tax-exempt organization.
Received Employment Identification No. – 74-2293149.

1986 – The MHF has charge of the maintenance of the Library and Mopac House – Floors were torn out of the Library and Kitchen – Nemec Construction poured concrete floors – also added new concrete porch floor to the Library. Board members and community folk did extensive repairs and painting. The exterior of the Mopac and Library were painted.





Through the untiring efforts of Mr. H. A. Clapp, secretary of the Men's Industrial League of this place, the Missouri Pacific station has been secured as a community house.


Two months ago negotiations were started with the company hoping the building could be purchased. The officials informed him that the building was not for sale as all the buildings were to be used as repairs for other buildings on different lines.


Undaunted by their refusal, Mr. Clapp then resumed correspondence suggesting this time that a gift of the building as a memorial would be most generous and as the passing of the railway would soon be a memory, the building would be known as the Missouri Pacific Memorial House.


Time passed. Mr. Clapp began to think his efforts had been in vain. When without any warning and after some weeks of silence, he was most pleasantly surprised to greet three officials of the Missouri Pacific who announced their intention of making a survey of the conditions here. Mr. Clapp showed to the gentlemen the library and pointed out their dire need of a community house that would be near the library and could enlarge the building. He talked so convincingly that they too agreed with his plan, whereupon they then turned over the building to Mr. Clapp.


Plans are now being made to move the building on the property of the Industrial League west of the library and will in all probability open into that building.


It will be known as the "Mopac House," that being the suggested name by his visitors and a grand house warming will be held to celebrate its completion.


Mr. Clapp has enjoyed a warm friendship for many years with some of the railway officials and we feel all credit is due him for his interest in the community welfare, as it is through him that the negotiations were made.


The Daily Tribune, Thursday, December 28, 1933





What can be done in any community provided that community has one individual possessed with quick thinking and a clear vision has been demonstrated in Collegeport.


Upon order of the government, in the latter months of 1933, the Missouri Pacific was granted a permission to abandon its branch extending from Buckeye to Collegeport and a few weeks later work of tearing up tracks was begun.


At Collegeport, the depot, a splendid structure was doomed for the onslaughts of the wreckng crews, whereupon a vision came to one of the town's first citizens, H. A. Clapp, who immediately went into action.


Mr. Clapp could not see any good reason for destroying a whole building and upon the conclusion of several debates with himself, started upon a campaign to salvage the building for the benefit of the town of Collegeport.


This campaign was very satisfactory. The Missouri Pacific was saved the expense of razing the building and the town of Collegeport has made the happy recipient of a splendid building all because one man kept his eyes open and his thinking machine going.


The following letter shows the result:


Missouri Pacific Lines

Kingsville, Texas


                                                                                                                                            January 13, 1934.


Mr. H. A. Clapp

Collegeport, Texas


Dear Sir:


Your letter of January 2 to Division Engineer McCord, regarding the railroad company turning over to you our old station building in Collegeport.


We have handled the matter with the management regarding this and they are agreeable to turning the building over to you as outlined by Mr. McCord, and this letter is to serve as confirmation of the agreement worked out by you and Mr. McCord.


Hoping that this letter will be of service to you in securing funds to carry out plans for remodeling the building, I am.


Yours very truly,


G. C. Kennedy, Supt.


Matagorda County Tribune, January?, 1934, Harry Austin Scrapbook 3, p. 41

More About The Collegeport Depot


It seems that Mr. H. A. Clapp was very successful in his recent effort to have the Missouri-Pacific donate some valuable property to Collegeport, as is evidence by the following letter from the executive vice-president of the road:


Missouri-Pacific Lines

Office of Executive Vice-President

Houston , Texas


                                                                                                                                               Jan. 17th, 1934


Mr. H. A. Clapp

Collegeport , Texas


Dear Mr. Clapp:


Acknowledging receipt of your letter of January 16th in regard to stock pens and depot at Collegeport.


Messrs. Kenneth and McCord have advised me of the understanding reached by you and the other good people of Collegeport. I am indeed glad that it was possible for us to take care of the situation in a mutually satisfactory manner,


Yours very truly,


H. R. Safford

Executive Vice-President

M. P. Lines in Texas and Louisiana


Matagorda County Tribune, January, 1934


By Harry Austin Clapp

Several have asked why we call our new community house MOPAC HOUSE and from where did we get the name. Mopac is the nickname of the Missouri Pacific Railway Company just as the Katy is nickname for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas. The Missouri Railway Company gave the old depot and freight station to the Collegeport Community in December 1933. The building has been wrecked, the material moved to a block of ground owned by the Collegeport Industrial League and erected into a fine community house. This houses the Woman's Club Library, provides a reception room, a kitchen and an auditorium. It is a well and strongly constructed building not one 2x4 timber being used every rafter and studding being 2x6. Mopac House will be opened Saturday, May 4th, 1935 at one o'clock in the afternoon with a luncheon which will be served by the Woman's Club at fifty cents. The proceeds to be used for the purchase of new books for the library. A splendid speaking program is being arranged with Mr. Roy Miller of Houston, A. D. Jackson of the Texas A. & M. College and others as principal speakers. It is hoped that Palacios will be well represented with a speaker who will take up the causeway project. Preparations are being made to serve 150 at the luncheon. At night a dance will be held to which the people of the county are invited. We hope the parents will attend and enjoy the dancing along with the young folk. MOPAC HOUSE will be open house May 4th.

The Palacios Beacon?, April 1935, Harry Austin Clapp Scrapbook 3

Thoughts About Mopac House


By Harry Austin Clapp


No person is able to realize the scheming, planning, devising ways, the miles of travel, the countless conferences, telegrams, telephones that has brought about the erection of Mopac House. No one but George A. Harrison, who is commissioner of precinct three, address Palacios, but lives in every corner of Matagorda County and a large section of Texas. His contacts and his smiling, easy-going methods, brought results.


Many appear to give me credit, but I was only the Marcelina who held the end of the rope. I picked up a few stakes, but George Harrison tied the ropes and drove the stakes. Don't let any one forget that this is the truth. Without that man block 105 would still contain only the little white library building.


Well, anyway, Mopac House is here for the pleasure and profit of the community. The beautiful Kundinger sign swings merrily in the breeze and all appears to be just about Jake or maybe Bill. Saturday, May 4 at one o'clock in the p.m. the house will open with a luncheon served by the Woman's Club at fifty cents per. Proceeds to be used for the purchase of new books for the library. This day for the first time I had a peep at the menu and it looks as though Old Man Depress had a can tied to his tail and he might be seen scooting down the country road. Here it is: Shrimp cocktail a la Carlton with Juliana sauce; embossed crackers with Kraft-Phenix Old English cheese, meat loaf with Creole sauce, fresh stringless beans with sour dressing, potato chips, hot finger rolls with butter, variety pickles, jellies, gelatin fruit plate with whipped cream, angel food cake, coffee admire. Tables will be beautifully decorated with flowers and streaming vines.


Mr. Riddle, general manager Kraft-Phenix Cheese Corporation writes me "I shall be very glad to send you some Old English cheese to be served at the opening of Mopac House. We want you to say that you know cheese when you ask for Kraft Creamed Old English. I am writing Mr. Gallimore our store manager at Victoria suggesting that if possible he attend the opening and join in the festivities." I am informing your folk that if Old English was the only item on the bill it would be worth the visit just to take a nibble. Well, all right for that which came from Coon Island up the river. We have so many head liners on the program that I hesitate to name any one first. E. O. Taulbee will do the roasting and then follows a string of glittering, scintillating talks by such as George Harrison, Roy Miller, James Gartrell, Reverend George Gillespie, A. D. Jackson, R. W. Persons, E. C. Baker, A. B. Duke, Missouri Pacific Lines, Judge Oscar Barber, Eugene Wilson, Mrs. Burton D. Hurd. Mrs. Hurd permits Burton to speak about a minute giving welcome.


Reverend Paul Engle asks the blessing of God on those present, on the community and the house.


Impossible to write personal invitations but every one is invited to come that 4th day of May. At night from 8 to 12 we will dance away all care and trouble and be happy skipping about the floor. The price of entrance will be twenty-five cents for each male person with the girl friend. Of course the other girls are invited and they will be made welcome by the very attractive hostess. Just remember that although it is 32.6 miles from Palacios that a hard road runs from that place to the door of the Mopac House and the same situation exists from Matagorda and Bay City so fill up the gas tank, use plenty of lube, and supply water and roll on rubber to Collegeport and help the community to have a happy, joyous day, a day which is the culmination of years of dreaming.


Saturday the Girl Reserves with chaperons, mamas and teachers journeyed in the Joe Frank school bus to Freeport for a play day of the district. They returned tired but happy and report a perfectly marvelous time. That is some thing that may always be had at Freeport. It is a real play place.


Friday in spite of the heavy rains, the library let out thirty books and twenty guests registered. Bay City from reading Mirth, has a job getting money for a library. No trouble raising funds for baseball, football, softball any other ball. For the library the tenth part of a cent. For play, big round dollars. Wonder why?


Mr. and Mrs. Fred Law (Beryl Bell) were visitors in Collegeport last week end and received greeting from their many friends. Mrs. Law says as between living near Alvin and at Collegeport, she prefers the latter place as there is something here that makes one wish to return. Mrs. Manford Foster when she left here shed tears of regret for said she "there is nothing much in Collegeport but still there is something that makes me sorry to leave and I would enjoy coming back to Collegeport." Nearly every person who lives here feels this something that attracts, allures and charms. It is the same thing that gives a person what is called "It." Most people have a desire to return and drink again from the waters that flow from our deep wells. Mrs. Barbara Hale is home and with her parents for a short time and I regret to inform the reader that this fine girl is enduring much suffering. All her friends pray that she may soon have some permanent relief.



Missouri Pacific Lines

Houston, Texas

                                                                                                                                                 April 19th.


Mr. H. A. Clapp

Collegeport, Texas


Dear Sir:


In connection with your celebration on the 4th our magazine editors are very much interested in having a picture of "Mopac House" and it occurred to them that if you have a photographer in that section in advance of May 4th, they would appreciate it if you would arrange to have the necessary photographs taken so that they could be used in a story subsequent to your celebration.


Yours very truly,


D. P. Pace

Industrial Commissioner


I read with interest the article by Mr. Clarence Ousley which appeared in Thursday's Tribune. It stated that oleomargarine was a fine spread for those who could not afford butter. This is not fair to oleo, for it puts it in the poor man's class. Oleo is a pure, clean, nutricious food, for the rich man as well as the poor man. It is easily digested and a good builder. It should be used more, not because it is cheap, but because of its food value. When I lived in Chicago, I used considerable of this product. With each pound came a capsule of coloring matter and I worked the oleo over into golden blocks. Clarence Ousley is one of our best informed men and a brilliant writer and I know him well. I knew C. O. Moser, when. But that is another tale. I have traveled with him, used same room, eaten with him, spoken on same platform and he is all Mr. Ousley says that he is. Texas may be proud of these two men.


Mary Louise attended Easter service at St. Mark's, San Antonio and reports that there was neither sitting or standing room. There is no depression in San Antonio judging by the number of Easter hats. She says "if the churches would put on a good show every Sunday there would be no complaint about attendance."


Two well rigs are being erected south and west of town. One derrick is 125 feet high and the other 135 feet. Both of steel. Friday twenty-eight truck loads of material arrived and stacked on the ground. About twenty-five men are at work clearing up the ground and getting sump pits dug and foundations ready. One truck brought in many large steel girders about fifteen inches wide on which floors will be laid.


Friday we enjoyed a heavy rain fall which was needed but none of us enjoyed the brilliant electrical discharges and heavy thunder detonations which accompanied it. About two inches of rain fell during the forenoon and now as my friend Andy says "if the farmers do not make a crop it will be their own fault."


The Matagorda County Tribune, April, 1935




Harry Austin Clapp Sees Dream Come True With Community House Completed


Ed. Taulbee Is Toastmaster For Occasion


Harry Austin Clapp and his dreams were rewarded Saturday when Mopac House was dedicated and formally opened to the community of Collegeport. It was a great day in the lives of those who have built the town of Collegeport and a great day for the people of Matagorda County to know that such people who put service of community above self make up this fertile county.


Mopac House was planned, visioned, and materialized through the untiring efforts of the author of "Thoughts," none other than the inimitable Harry Austin Clapp. This thought and deed, none of the many speakers present Saturday at the banquet failed to mention. The name Mopac House comes from Missouri Pacific. The material in the house was donated by the Missouri Pacific railroad when the railroad was abandoned and the tracks to Collegeport removed. Labor was furnished by the relief administration and others who gave of their time and work. The Mopac house has been built to adjoin the library and give to the people of Collegeport a community place suitable for most any occasion. A new reading room adjoins the library, a large banquet room, new and clean, concrete floor is so arranged that dances, entertainments, bridge games, most any sort entertainment can be held.


E. O. Taulbee of Bay City acted as toastmaster.


The banquet, served by the ladies of the city, began at 1 o'clock :


Harry Austin Clapp opened the meeting by asking Rev. Paul Engle of Bay City to deliver thanks that through His help the Mopac House had been completed.


A word of welcome to the more than one hundred present was delivered by Mr. Burton D. Hurd, the founder of Collegeport and a man who believes that this section of the state will some day come true. Mr. Hurd gave a few remarks relative to the history of Collegeport, the depression beginning there immediately following the war, the removal of the railroad, the hotel's abandonment and removal. He paid a great compliment to his friend and fellow townsman, Harry Austin Clapp and stated that he believed the construction of Mopac House would be the upturn in the history of Collegeport.


Mr. Taulbee spoke at length lauding the work of Mr. Clapp and he also introduced the group of Bay City people who were present. The Bay City visitors included Judge Oscar Barber, Mrs. Barber and daughter, Miss Marjorie, Reverend Paul Engle and wife, J. S. Mansfield, Bob Bevers, John Reynolds, Eugene Wilson, G. A. Taylor, J. W. Gartrell, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hale, Carey Smith. Several from Palacios and Matagorda were also present.


Toastmaster Taulbee, called George Harrison, Jim Gartrell, Ed Baker, Judge Barber, Eugene Wilson, Jack Barnett, S. A. Gillimore of Victoria , Reverend Gillespie of Palacios for talks.


Addresses of welcome and words filled with a spirit of optimism were given by Mrs. Harry Austin Clapp and Mrs. Burton D. Hurd. These ladies who have lived in Collegeport since its beginning, they who have worked for the cultural advancement of the little city, bubbled with pride that a new home was now theirs in which various accomplishments may be attained.


Mr. A. B. Duke, personal representative of Mr. H. R. Stafford of the Missouri Pacific railroad expressed his appreciation at being present and stated that he felt a great pride in that the company he represented had been honored by having the community house named "Mopac" and that they were glad to have donated the material that came from the depot, torn down when the railroad was abandoned.


Mr. R. W. Persons, first county agent in Matagorda County gave many accounts of the county and its people he knew 19 years ago.


Mr. A. D. Jackson of A. & M. College was generous in his praise of this section of the state and felt some day that the great resources of this county would be developed.


The high lights of the meeting came when H. A. Clapp, himself spoke. One could feel that he was walking on air that what he had so long worked for had been accomplished. Mr. Clapp gave credit to the completion of the Mopac House to Mr. G. A. Harrison and he gave sketches of the difficulties that arose before the community house was finally completed. Mr. Clapp read letters from any others he had invited to attend the opening but were unable to be present.


Following the banquet the floor was cleared for a big dance that night to complete the celebration.


Matagorda County Tribune, May, 1935, Harry Austin Clapp Scrapbook 3

Collegeport's Mopac House Has Opening




The heart of Harry Austin Clapp of Collegeport was made glad last Saturday afternoon when Mopac House was dedicated and opened. Over 100 guests from Collegeport and the surrounding district were present at 1 o'clock to partake of the banquet which was served by the Collegeport ladies. These good women know how to serve a banquet. They have done it often before, and it is needless to say that the appointments were in excellent taste.


There were many visitors from Bay City and the surrounding towns. Those present from Palacios were Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Barnett, Carlton Crawford, John Fox, G. A. Harrison, daughter Miss Marian, Dr. and Mrs. J. R. Wagner, Rev. G. F. Gillespie, E. A. J. Seddon, Dr. John Fewkes and Mrs. J. W. Dismukes.


Rev. Paul Engle of Bay City gave the invocation and dedication prayer. Mr. Harry Austin Clapp took the Chair and read apologies for absence. Mr. E. Taulbee was Toastmaster. The building was at one time the Missouri Pacific depot at Collegeport. When the Railroad ceased to operate the depot was donated by the Missouri Pacific Railroad for a community house. The idea of moving it and using it as a community center originated with Mr. Harry Austin Clapp. He it was who asked for the building from the Railroad Company. He it was who worked unceasingly through all the months to have it moved beside the High School. It is now a handsome and commodious building consisting of a banquet room with concrete floor suitable for public meetings and dances; a library; and a kitchen--waiting only for paint which has already been donated. Part of the labor was donated by the Relief Administration largely through the good offices of Mr. George Harrison, County Commissioner , to whom Mr. Clapp gave much praise for the untiring interest he showed. The address of welcome was given by Mr. Burton D. Hurd. The toastmaster called on Mr. A. B. Duke, representative of Mr. H. R. Safford of the Missouri Pacific railroad. Mr. Duke told us that Mr. Safford was very glad to donate the building and expressed pleasure on behalf of the Railroad Company that the building had been named Mopac. Mr. George Harrison then addressed the meeting and expressed his gratitude to the people of Collegeport for their support throughout the years and his delight that he had been in a position to help in this community effort. He looked forward to the time when there would be a Causeway joining Collegeport and Palacios, thus bringing the two towns close together, and expressed his determination to work wholeheartedly for it. Mr. Ed Baker, County Commissioner from the town of Matagorda , also looked forward to the time when this link in the Hug-the-Coast road from Palacios to Orange would be completed via Collegeport, Matagorda and Freeport . He too would be glad to devote all his efforts to the consummation of this project. Mr. A. D. Jackson of A. & M. College addressed the meeting, spoke in high praise of the possibilities of the district, and looked forward to the time when Collegeport would be the center of a thriving agricultural section. Addresses were also made by Judge Barber, Jim Gartrell and Eugene Wilson of Bay City ; S. A. Gallimore of Victoria ; and J. F. Barnett and George F. Gillespie of Palacios.


Mrs. Burton D. Hurd and Mrs. Harry Austin Clapp spoke on behalf of the ladies of Collegeport, and were no whit behind the men in their ability and fluency as speakers. Last of all, Harry Austin Clapp, addressed the meeting. He was received by the audience standing as a mark of appreciation. He read letters of apology from those who were unable to be present. In giving an account of the initiation and carrying to completion of the Community House he called himself a visionary. Communities like Collegeport and Palacios need visionaries like Harry Austin Clapp, men who possess not only vision but also energy and enterprise to make their vision real. "Where there is no vision the people perish," and the result of one man's vision was seen on Saturday in the Mopac Community House.


Mr. Clapp himself would not wish to take all or much of the credit, and so he expressed in glowing terms his gratitude to all who had helped. They visitors from Palacios came away glad that one more link had been forged in the friendship between the two towns, and looking forward to the time when the Causeway would reduce the distance between the two towns from 32.6 miles to 3 miles.   Reporter


The Palacios Beacon, May, 1935, Harry Austin Scrapbook 3

Thoughts About The Flop

By Harry Austin Clapp


The other day one of the local faculty while in the library speaking of Mopac Day said, "It is too bad it is such a flop." "What do you mean?" asked Mrs. Liggett and the reply was "O, no one will be here tomorrow and Mopac House will be a flop."


Now this good soul did not know what the word flop meant. It means much, for it just simply means "to turn over suddenly; to throw oneself over." And in writing about Mopac House I adopt the word and it was a complete flop for on that day we sure turned suddenly over. Never in the history of Collegeport has there been such a demonstration of hearty good will, such brotherly spirit, such enthusiasm for what comes next, such friendly, joyous intercourse, such intelligent, instructive talks by such brilliant men and women. Gathered about the beautifully decorated tables were beautiful women and gallant men, representing the bone and sinew of the Midcoast, the folk who eternally stand for forward movement. The Mopac colors being green and white those colors predominated in the table decorations.


Spread with a fair cloth with green stripe running down the center, green sherbet, green vases displaying beautiful flowers with streamers of fernlike greens the vision of what was to come served but to whet the appetite in anticipation of gustatorial delights. No organization any where could possibly hope to better serve guests in beauty of decorative efforts and abundance of food fit for either royalty of the gods or supply the table service as did the splendid women of the Collegeport Woman's Club, assisted by the local Girl Reserves who were well trained for the service they rendered. I doff my sombrero to them for they were sweet, charming and attentive. Back in the kitchen invisible but potent in their part were Mesdames King, Nelson, Guyere, Crane, Kundinger and several others all willing and ready to help. Mrs. Liggett assisted by Mrs. Vern Batchelder had charge of the table and the service and they rendered their service in a beautiful, charming, satisfying manner. These fine, more than splendid women stood by. To them I give most hearty thanks. My feeble words fail to describe my gratitude. My acts in the future must better serve. A score of mighty speakers sat at the head table surrounding Seth W. Corse, chairman of the board of the Mopac House Foundation and the ubiquitous toastmaster, E. O. Taulbee.


Roy Miller who was to be the principal speaker, detained in Washington by most important business by long distance phone sent his regrets with a hearty word of greeting, Mr. A. B. Duke, the personal representative of Mr. H. R. Safford, executive vice president Missouri Pacific Lines was promoted to the position and Mr. Safford may well be proud that the executive department of the Missouri Pacific enjoys the talents of such a splendid gentleman. His words though quiet carried to every part of the room and expressed to his audience the fact that the company he presents is interested in the progress and welfare of the community. A gentleman--a man of charm--a man to be loved. With him were Mr. Malory McDonald, publicity department and Mr. W. L. Andrews, field editor Missouri Pacific Magazine, both of whom reflected credit on their organization.


Boy, was I happy to have such a fine group of men from the Mopac? Spell it again and here I hope those boys will visit with us on some other similar occasion.


Mr. Gallimore representing the Kraft-Phenix cheese corporation told us of the possibilities of his industry in the midcoast in most delightful manner. The Kraft Cheese corporation thanks to the old sea skipper Imogene Powell of Chicago and A. J. Riddle, manager of the Kraft company sent us as a gift sufficient Old English cheese to serve twice the number present. With the cheese which came wrapped in sweetly wrapped half pound bricks was a letter telling of their willingness to serve us at any time.


Talk about cheese. I have eaten cheese from the seven seas and fifty lands but not until I first stuffed myself with Old English did I realize cheese. Soft as an angel's breast and that means little to some of the pirates who sat about the board it is supreme in concocting a rarebit for it melts down into a rare smooth, golden glow and assisted by a foaming tankard slips down one's gullet and produces a reaction that simply shouts for more Old English.


Seated by Mr. Gallimore's side was his splendid wife. Her visit was all too brief. Then came that undefeated gallant old charger, George A. Harrison the man who did the impossible. Most everyone knows Uncle Archie. Those who do not should form his acquaintance right soon for from him flows a never ending stream of fine things for our county. George spoke in his usual convincing manner. He wants for us all good things and he desires no evil. He is one of us, for us, always ready, always willing to serve our people. My personal belief is that when George fails us that for us all fails. There followed such speakers as that grand old boy Ed Baker from Matagorda, a soft spoken, easy, go-getter--a dependable and responsible servant of his folk; James Gartrell with his smile of charm. What would we have done without Jimmy and his successor, Glenn Taylor. God save us. He did and so thanks God for working in the souls of these boys.


Eugene Wilson the pet of the ladies and the sweetheart of the men. He is our baby county officer. We who have watched him grow from baby days to this time when he is a potent influence for good feel a special delight when ever, we have the pleasure of hearing his words.


I knew Oscar Barber when as secretary of the business league of Bay City he drew no salary and paid his own postage. Now he stands before us and with his never absent smile told us of his willingness and readiness to render service in bringing about the construction of the causeway. So long as Oscar our county judge feels that way he shall have my three votes. What a fine friend he has been for lo, these twenty-five years. Reverend Paul Engle, rector St. Mark's, Bay City, in eloquent words asked God to bless the guests, the people of the community and to dedicate Mopac House to the comfort, peace and enjoyment of our people. God heard the words. God grants requests made in humble prayer. Banish fear good people. God is with us and by keeping close to Him all is well for the humblest of us.


Rev. George Gillespie, representing the Palacios Chamber of Commerce spoke in his usual effective manner. He is a wheel horse. Not all preachers serve communities as does this man. I have only two things against him and they count small. He is a Presbyterian and he should be an Episcopalian; he is a Democrat and would make a real fine Republican with this change he would be the perfect Christian but even with this handicap I love him.


Jack Barnett a man who has given his strength almost to the breaking point, his money freely, his time for the betterment of our folk. Jack Barnett, is one of the Grand Old Pirates who standing together boards all craft that threatens us and quickly pulls down their flag. May God preserve such men as Jack.


The Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College where more than three thousand boys are learning what service means spoke in encouraging words in eloquent language the message from that splendid institution. Their presence filled my bowl of happiness to overflow. Good old substantial friends of many, many years, never failing founts of inspiration. I have often asked and they always give. Their names? A. D. Jackson, chief of publications, experiment station and R. W. Person, district agent extension department. Mrs. Burton D. Hurd, president Woman's Club in her always charming manner and well modulated voice spoke for her organization and briefly told of the beginning of our fine library. Mrs. Hurd has been so long the backbone of every civic endeavor that she no longer is able to bend favorable towards any destructive effort. The miserable wretch. What an aid for me during these forty years of association with a pal who has never failed. She delivered a most delightful small talk in a most convincing manner. She may be a wretch but she is far from being miserable. Burton D. Hurd, the man with the tongue of gold, the man who is responsible for Collegeport, the man of vision and the ability to bring visions into breathtaking life gave the welcome to the guests. Then followed the writer of Thoughts. Not necessary to say much about this old dog except that from the first day he landed on these shores he has been active in community life. The ovation started by Mrs. Hurd and given the writer filled a hungry soul with comfort. I might write on but Carey Smith probably would draw out his blue pencil and execute.


If I have neglected any one it is because my heart is so full this morning that Thoughts came slow. There is so much to be thankful for. Carey Smith Jr. had a pencil and sheaf of copy paper and wrote many things which Mirth will record. Carey is a swell speaker and Glenn Taylor in brief address promises to furnish paint for the building. Was that not fine of that Taylor boy?


The weather was all that one might desire. Palacios turned out its finest folk in grand numbers as did Bay City, Blessing and other parts of the county. Many drove two hundred miles starting at five in the morning that they might be present. Why did they do this? Give your own reply. One hundred people sat at the hospitable board. Good cheer, friendly talk, happy quips, wholesome joshing, joyous greetings. That night with music by Merton Smith's Midnight Ramblers they danced the hours away. Sixty couples paid admission and with the many extra girls about two hundred men must have attended. The function started with a grand march led by Vernon King Hurd and Mary Louise Clapp then followed Mr. and Mrs. Harry Austin Clapp, then Mr. and Mrs. Burton D. Hurd and others. Soon the march dissolved into a dreamy waltz which staggered some of the old boys but on went the dance with beautiful gowned girls, well dressed men and all was gay with pleasure and happiness. Palacios and Bay City turned out again in most numerous numbers, the silk of both burgs in sweet women and gallant men. Mrs. Hurd, assisted by Mrs. Gueyer and Mrs. Prunty and that never failing maker of those famous Carrie Nelson Noodles served delicious punch, sandwiches and the food that angels live on. Was I tired? From Saturday at five a.m. until Sunday at nine p.m. I never got a gob of shut eye in other words sleep was just not. Without any doubt this was the grandest occasion of my life. I never was happier and I thank every person present or who contributed in the smallest way.


As days pass--days of review--days of reminiscence--days when I indulge in happy retrospection I shall remember some whom I have forgotten in this account. From them I ask pardon. Forgive for the old brain palpitates feebly. The wooden leg needs lubrication. My thoughts chase from the Chicago river where my sweetheart Imogene fishes for more Thoughts to St. Louis where Frank Ives makes steel to the Rio Grande where dwells George Duckworth. For two thousand miles my thoughts wander. Just take it from me good old friends that you have made two folk very happy and they this day dedicate their few remaining years to further effort for community good. Can I write more? Can I say more? God go with every good pirate in this community and may God give relief to my fine old time friend Judge Holman who had he been present would have spoken words of encouragement.


Words of Regret.


Harry Hines, chairman State Highway Commission.

G. C. Kennedy, superintendent Missouri Pacific Lines

Edgar B. Davis, North and South Oil Company.

T. J. Holbrook, state senator.

T. C. McCord, division engineer Missouri Pacific Lines.

Dr. T. O. Walton, president Texas A. & M. College.

H. R. Safford, executive vice president Missouri Pacific Lines.

A. J. Riddle, general manager Kraft-Phenix Cheese Corporation.

Roy Miller, director public relations, Gulf Sulphur Company.

Judd Mortimer Lewis (Uncle Jud) The Houston Post.


The end of a perfect day.

Mopac To Hold Big Get-To-Gether Night Friday, February 14

You are cordially invited to a night of fun and fellowship at the Mopac, in Collegeport, on Friday, February 14, at 7:30 p. m. Bring your dominoes, cards and friends. Refreshments will be served by the Woman's Club.

This will be a good opportunity to see what can be done when the community works as a unit. On Jan. 27, the Mopac trustees, the Woman's Club and others met to discuss ways and means to redecorate the interior. It was suggested that if the men and women of the community did the work that perhaps the money could be raised to pay for the material. Collegeport can well be proud of the men and women who have given so freely of their time and resources.

If you wish to make a contribution by check, please make it payable to The Mopac Foundation, %W. L. Ellis, treasurer, Collegeport, Texas.

Remember to come Friday night, February 14, 7:30 p. m. for a good old-fashioned Get-to-Gether.

Palacios Beacon, February 13, 1964


Copyright 2005 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Apr. 26, 2005
May 6, 2008