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Collegeport Articles


May, 1932


By Harry Austin Clapp


An eagle is a rare bird in this section, but one bright, sunny day, such a bird appeared circling over Collegeport. As near as one could observe, he was a true type of our national bird, a bald head eagle, known to science as Haliactus leococephalus. One could easily see his white head, neck and tail. A magnificent bird, with a length of at least forty inches and a wing spread close to ten feet. He was flying quite low and making great circles in the sky, his piercing eyes watching for his prey. As he flew in his majestic flight, one could not help but utter a prayer, that no bullet would find a resting place in his heart. Little going on earth escaped his gaze and at times he would flap his wings and become almost lost in the turquoise sky. One large swing took him across the bay over Palacios and this is what he saw:


A new three story building, fronting the bay, on the roof of which he saw "Palacios Hotel." A magnificent building of one hundred fifty rooms. Leading down a flower bordered walk was a pier and at the end a beautiful pagoda in the Japanese style of architecture the hotel's sea food cafe. Flowers bloomed, palm leaves waved in the breeze. A fountain with a jet, shot a ball in the air and laughing children watched, hoping it would fall. Swinging back again he observed a solid cement structure crossing the bay bearing an eighteen foot highway, each side protected with a fine balustrade. About in the center of the structure was a lock by which boats might pass up the river. On the west bank had been erected a two story brick building, the roof telling the flying world, that this was the Midcoast Fish Hatchery. The upper story was devoted to laboratory work while the lower floor was used for hatching. On the north side, our friend Eagle, found large ponds for the growing of fresh water fish and on the south side similar ponds for salt water fish.


The viaduct had raised the water back about four feet, forming a body of fresh water that extended into the country for thirty miles impounding sufficient water to irrigate the country. Wild rice had been planted on the shallows and along these stretches myriads of water fowl fed. Thus was formed the largest and finest sportsman paradise in the gulf country.


Among the many autos which were using the viaduct, he saw two slowly moving dots and he thought that it must be "I and the Miserable Wretch walking to service at St. John's Chapel." Close to the Collegeport end he saw a large million dollar building, which he knew at once to be the Collegeport Sanitarium. People thronged the spacious galleries, bathed from the extended bath house, played tennis or golf. The grounds were extensive and had been handled by a landscape man who understood the art of bringing beauty from nature's provisions. Many of those who came to the Sanitarium for health had improved and being reluctant to leave, had built fine homes near the sanitarium, which they used as winter homes, escaping the chilling blasts of the northern winter. Business houses had been erected, trees planted along the highway which had been widened to eighteen feet and extended east to Gulf and on close to the coast to Freeport where it joined the Houston highway. A true Hug-the-Cost paved road.


A glance at Van Wormer field found it thronged with school pupils at play. The field was fenced, the posts being painted white. Two large wings had been added to the brick schoolhouse and in the rooms were more than two hundred pupils being taught by twelve teachers. The bald-head eagle being a fish eater, swung over the bay and spying a fisher bird drop and rise with a fish in its beak quickly pursued and to escape the fish was dropped. Falling like a shot from the sky the eagle grabbed the fish in his talons as it neared the water and rising high in the sky flew away with his prey.


Each week I study a graph sent out by the U. S. department of commerce. It gives in a condensed form the high lights on business. The last one sounds an optimistic note which is comfortable. I find that bituminous coal production has increased 20 points, freight car loadings 20 points, buildings contracted 5 points, steel ingot production 10 points, lumber production 20 points, wheat receipts stand same as in December, cotton receipts 10 points lower, factory employment gained 20 points, bank debts outside New York declined 25 points, time money 5 points lower, bond prices gained 30 points.


To me this looks encouraging. How does it look to you? I find further encouragement that Texas stands second in domestic exports from the United States in value in 1931 being $506,083,298. Pretty good, says I.


Mamie Franzen spent last week-end in Houston and Galveston and had one real time. At Galveston she went a bathing and that accounts for the high tide last Sunday. Mamie is Gustave Franzen's anchor to windward and always dependable.


Mr. T. P. White, whose old car burned near Ashby some weeks ago, is now riding high in a new Chevy.


May 21 we are called upon to vote on two propositions that are very important to the Bay View Rural High School Consolidated District No. 26. One is to vote a dollar tax for school purposes and the other to equalize the bond issues of the various old school districts. Both should carry. Mrs. King has been an indefatigable worker for a better school and a unanimous vote on these propositions will be just one more jewel in her tiara. Hope the voters will stand by this good school worker.


It appears that the mail schedule for closing the mail is 12 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. A letter from Mr. Safford, executive vice president of the Missouri Pacific informs me that the new train schedule has resulted in substantial savings. I do not understand how it is much company and have not lost hopes of getting our old train back and with it those we miss.


This section was visited Friday with one of the heaviest rains for many months. It has put a fine season in the ground and farmers are now able to go ahead with their planting and assured of a real crop.


A brilliant electric display lasting twenty-four hours enlivened the downpour. Glad this did not happen while Mr. Boren was looking the county over for it would have interfered with his inspection of our community and county. The rain Friday put the dirt roads in such condition that my chauffeur, with my new Rolls Royce, failed to show up, so us Homecrofters staid at home, but anyway, we attended the banquet of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and had an enjoyable time.


Although the committee imported J. E. Stanford from the land of the "rozin chewers and hawg eaters" our local Will Rogers, F. O. Montague, told funnier stories and brought out much cheer as he acted as toastmaster in his droll and inimitable manner. One of the principle speakers was Mrs. Ruby Hawkins, her subject being, "why not elect me for life?"


Harris Milner spoke in an impressive manner which captivated the audience, his subject being "I'll soon have just one sweet girl." George Serrill surprised those present with a burst of words and a vocabulary that no one thought he possessed. His subject was "Insure now so we may have a banquet next year." Vance Porter, taking advantage of the immense crowd, tried to sell some of those C. P. & L. bonds and succeeded in selling one of five dollars to Mrs. Emma Lee Lewis Carleton. I am informed that this stunt was rehearsed in the office and that Vance told her if she did not buy, she would lose her job.


Charles Langham when called upon asked to be excused and said that he would not spend all the county money for personal use and agreed to turn a portion of it in. Carey Smith made a rousing talk on the subject of excessive taxes. This was well received by all members of the taxpayers league. Henry Rugeley advised those present to pay no attention to the tax collector and informed the audience that the office should be abolished and urged that the collector pass the hat when funds were needed. One of the most interesting talks was given by George Harrison, his subject being herpetology. The audience was impressed that the speaker was fully capable of handling the subject as he spoke from a long experience.


Mrs. Patricia Martyn, county health nurse, examined those present and with the aid of Dr. Scott, extracted one hundred and ten tonsils and did it without the aid of stimulant.


Judge McNabb, when called upon, delivered an entertaining address on the necessity of a viaduct connecting Palacios and Collegeport. He showed that he was master of the subject and had given it much thought. He said that in his opinion the building of this structure was necessary because it would enable Harry Austin and his Miserable Wretch to walk to service at St. John's chapel and to relieve George Harrison of driving over after them as he often does. The judge said that in his next campaign, his platform would contain a viaduct plank and on it he would rise or fall or get splinters in a portion of his anatomy.


The letter which accompanied our invitation promised "good music" and for this we waited impatiently but were well rewarded with a duet by Albert Wadsworth and Tom Ewing who sang that beautiful and touching ballad "We'll come back again." Our eyes glistened with tears and I saw many snake out a kerchief and silently sobbing as they dabbed their optics. Bert Carr, C. J. Steves, D. O. Dodd and J. R. Slone in trembling voices sang a quartette entitled "Wonder How Come." We were surprised to hear Carey Smith, Jr., in his well known sweet, soprano voice, sing his latest song:


"I was born full of mirth

It came to be at birth

I drank it in with mother's milk

That's the reason I'm slick as silk."


Flowers, flowers, everywhere at every table and plate. Pretty girls attended the service and sweet, gentle women and gallant men sat around the board. It was a night of play, of mirth, a getting together of congenial souls. Such gatherings do much towards cementing together in a solid, militant mass, the citizenship of the county. We changed the date on our invitations to 1933 and returned them with many thanks for the courtesy. Wonder if we will see them again. And so to bed.


The Daily Tribune, Tuesday, May 3, 1932



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article which Mrs. Clapp wrote as her report to the county health committee on the nurse convention held in San Antonio.]


Yes, sir! I confess that I am a thief. Stealing is an easy crime. To tell the truth I have not recovered from the promenade one Chester A. Boren led me and I feel lazy and the old brain appears to be diseased on both sides for it is difficult to get a spark, so seeing the report of the nurse convention held at San Antonio and written by friend wife, I simply watched and when she was not looking, I swiped it and here it is. This report was read at the meeting of the county health committee Friday to a small gathering, but using it in this column it will be read by hundreds of folk. So I'm a self confessed thief and can only hope for a suspended sentence. It is word by word as the Miserable Wretch wrote it.


[Report omitted.]


For ten days have been ill with what I thought was a very fashionable disease and I was quite puffed up over it, but the other day the doctor told me that it was quite common.


Wonder why some folks appear to have the pleasure taking the joy from other folks' lives?


Last week I wrote no copy, the first skip in six years. The way I feel now, there may be none next week.


The Gus Franzen family called on me Sunday and we had a pleasant visit. Gustave, Jr. brought new spuds, Alexander onions, James a cabbage, Emma brought golden wax beans. Made a handsome bouquet for which we give thanks. Gust reports that Wednesday night some rat or a miscreant raised his chicken house and took away one hundred young birds. Too much of this petty thieving going on. Wednesday night, under the direction of Mrs. Burton D. Hurd, local talent put on "School Days" for the benefit of the Woman's Club. I was not able to be present, but I am informed that it was a scream from the fellow who wore no trousers way up to the leading lady. Returns amounted to about $24.


Major and Mrs. Lincoln Putman left here last week for San Francisco, where they will embark for Manila, where the major is stationed for three years.


In the absence of S. W. Corse, Ben Mowery is rendering most excellent service as postmaster. Mr. Mowery has had years of experience in the post office service and is more than qualified.


The Daily Tribune, Franklin Theatre Section, Wednesday, May 18, 1932



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article about government follies and the depression.]


This week started off just about right with a severe electrical storm. Continuous flashes and unceasing roll of thunder followed by a very high wind and heavy rain. The barns and garage at Gus Franzens blown from foundations and several other light structures moved. About ten p. m Sunday the lightning struck a cow stake out in the yard of M. S. Holsworth. Jack had the cow only two days and is now out of the milk business.


School closed this week but in my opinion it was not a very dignified closing. The junior pupils put on a play Thursday night and the high school put on one Friday night. All very well and enjoyed by those present, but where was the annual commencement? Why was the girl who completed the course not honored?


One time we had one teacher, six pupils, housed in a tent, but when the year closed that teacher gave us a proper closing and we have had such an affair every year except this year. I am out here sitting "en Sol" and I wonder who is to blame, teachers or school board. In my opinion, when one student finished the prescribed course, that pupil should have public recognition and be properly honored. The girl who finished this year is a girl of charm, of intelligence, she is well bred, filled with ambition. She ran the course and won the race. Therefore, I am congratulating Frances Eisel on her success. She passed with a generous grade. I am telling the hundreds of Tribune readers that this year Bay View Consolidated Rural High School graduated Frances Eisel, that she finished the eleven grades and that Bay View and Collegeport are proud of her.


The faculty the coming year will consist of T. P. White, superintendent; Mr. Balusek, principal; Beryl Bell, Dorothy Franzen, Louise Walter, Marie Nestor, Vera Williams and Mrs. Balusek with North Cable as janitor.


Wednesday being the 25th of May, Collegeport will observe the town's birthday as has been the custom for twenty-four years. A community dinner at noon hour, games on Van Wormer Field and at night a dance at the warehouse. Music from Bay City and if Professor Dresser will paint on the top of his moving musical studio the words, "Dresser's Music Studio," the Eagle will no doubt see it and know that music is being enjoyed by the inhabitants.


Band Box got all het up after reading "What the Eagle Saw," because no mention was made of music, so I will remind Mr. Band Box that the Eagle was away up in the air, two or three thousand feet and saw only the roofs of houses and the roadway of the viaduct on which I and the Miserable Wretch hope to walk to service at St. John's Chapel. He only knew what the buildings were because of the inscription on each roof. He never flew low enough to peep into windows and see the orchestra from the city thirty miles from the sea.


Had he flown low enough to have heard, he would have observed that music is not only sound, but it is color. Color ranges from pale amber to passionate red and blaring yellows and greens. I do not know how much of an ear the eagle has for music but he has an eye for color and so had he peeped under the awnings he would have seen color and would have known that the band was playing:


"Oh it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' Tommy go away;

But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins" when the band begins to play.


O! Yes we have a few souls down here as the Band Box may find out if he will come down next Wednesday.


So long as people continue to move to Collegeport, the town is bound to grow and so I record with more than usual pleasure, delight, rapture, or to make it plain to all, satisfaction in the arrival of George Austin Chiles. He was given a hearty welcome although had his name been George Archie, it would have pleased some folks. George Austin arrived straight from heaven, where angels fashion sweet, loveable little babies and so he came to us in all his first sweetness and charm just a little piece of heaven's joy. He drinks milk now, but it will not be many months before he will be buying candy bars and drinking pop same as all the other kids. Kiddies just grow up fast. Emmitt and Molly may well be proud of this flower God has added to their bouquet.


For several years the Collegeport Industrial League gave prizes for the two boys and two girls who have for the school year made the highest average grades. The prize is the sum of ten dollars divided into four prizes. This year we find that Wanda Hill won first in girls division with a grade of 95.85 and Roberta Liggett second with a grade of 95.38. In the boys division Milford Liggett stands first with a grade of 95.38 and Delvin Harvey second with a grade of 92.87. Competition was keen this year and not until the bell rang down the year's curtain did the pupils know which were the winners.


An election was held Saturday in Bay View High School district No. 26 for the purpose of voting on two very important subjects. One being a dollar tax for school purposes and the other to equalize the bond issue so that it would cover the entire consolidated district. One voting box was located at Citrus Grove and the other at Collegeport. The Citrus Grove vote is not available at this time, but in this box the vote was 57 for each question and six against. This probably insures the adoption of each question and makes the final cementing of the five old one teacher districts into a consolidated district with a first class rural high school teaching eleven grades. Instead of five small one teacher schools teaching five or seven grades, we have eight teachers giving advanced instruction. The next thing to bring about is affiliation and that will no doubt come within a year. Much credit is due Mrs. Frank King for the advance already made. Of course she has been backed up by her associates on the board. This will be splendid news for those in the north who contemplate moving to the "Magic Bottle." Oh yes, we have music in our souls and we have an ambition for better educational advantages for our kiddies.


The Daily Tribune, Mary 24, 32




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