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Evangeline Whorton

INTERVIEWEE: Evangeline Whorton (EW)
DATE: February 26, 2008
LOCATION: Eagle Lake, Texas
TRANSCRIBER: Marcia Stirman and Robin Johnson
REELS: 2412 and 2413

Please note that the recording includes roughly 60 seconds of color bars and sound tone for technical settings at the outset of the recordings. Time codes correlate with the VHS tape copy of the interview. “Misc.” refers to various off-camera conversation or background noise, unrelated to the interview.

DT: My name is David Todd. I’m here for the Conservation History Association of Texas. And it is February 26th, 2008. We’re in Eagle Lake, Texas and we’re at the home of Evangeline Loessin Whorton of—who’s been a—an activist on many fronts of—from historic preservation to aesthetic protection to wetland restoration and probably many more things that we’ll find out about this morning. And I wanted to thank the—this wonderful woman for taking time with us today.
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EW: Thank you David for having me.
DT: I thought that we might start—since a lot of your work has to do with the visual—with maybe your background and—and training as—as an artist and I was wondering if you could tell us when you first learned about art and—and how to paint and draw and…
DT: If you could go ahead and—and respond, that would be great.
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EW: Well I grew up in this county. My great grandmother came through the Port of Galveston in 1853. And interestingly enough, I am still here in Colorado County, although I’ve lived in Vermont and I have also lived in Oklahoma, following my husband as he went from one graduate school to another graduate school. In fact, I have to admit that our first little girl was eight years old before her father finally finished his last work at Stanford University. So—but to answer your question, when I was just a little girl in this house, I had a third grade teacher and she was only eighteen years old at the time. And she turned me on to art and then m—much later she became my aunt by marriage because my father’s brother married her. And that was when I was in the third grade. And much later, then art did take a active part in my life and I started studying at the—Oak—and I can’t even think of the…
DT: The Live Oak Art Center?
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EW: …the Live Oak Art Center at Columbus, Texas. They weren’t at the Brunson Building then, but—and they even had a circuit teacher who came out to Eagle Lake and I took from him here in Eagle Lake as well. So art has been a part of my life for a very long time. When my husband was in graduate school, or actually in the medical school at O.U., in Oklahoma City, and I was the director of the Oklahoma Museum of Art. So…
DT: Okay, we—we—we were just talking about your education in art and some of your experience in—in that field and maybe how that introduced you to an interest in environmental things.
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EW: Well I—I—I think—I went away from Eagle Lake High School here and went to Baylor University seeking out Frederick Mizen who was in inspiration in my life. He did a lot of railroad and Santa Fe—Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe rail paintings of the West and Indians and beautiful landscapes. And he influenced my life greatly. And I thought that’s exactly what I wanted to be all my life was just an artist. But it didn’t work out exactly like that. I’ve painted intermittently through the years but I’ve had family and I’ve been terribly active civically. And I have done a lot of different things.
DT: One of the other things it seems, part of your background is that you’ve lived in many different locations, one of which I think was—was Vermont. And—and I understand that you really grew to—to love the landscape there and—and its uncluttered nature that, you know, it’s something that was very different from what you saw when you—you later came to Galveston. I was hoping that you could talk about your exposure in Vermont and then what you saw when you came to Texas.
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EW: Exactly. In following my husband to the Univer—versity of Vermont Medical School where he was on the faculty there (train in background)…
DT: Maybe we can resume. You were telling us about your return from—from Vermont where your husband was—was on the faculty at the University of Vermont Medical School.
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EW: Well I did graduate school in art there. And we traveled all over New England. And I have to admit that there is no more beautiful state than the State of Vermont. It’s pastoral—the people are wonderful—they have an innate capacity to know what is right about their village square, about their cemeteries, about trees, about their built environment. And they just—I think one of the significant things that makes us want to go back as far as scenic quality—they have not had billboards since the ‘50’s. Every roadway is scenic. And anyone that cares about nature and scenic quality cannot help but just love and—just love Vermont. New Hampshire is equally as beautiful but it’s different. The White Mountains of New Hampshire are more rugged
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in—in the old Adirondack line of mountains. Vermont is more pastoral—it’s—the mountains are softer. The birches are more beautiful as they go up the mountainsides. The meadows are incredibly beautiful. And the roadways—and there’re not a lot of roadways—but the roadways seem to take the valley paths and you see big barns and wonderful cattle in the field and beautiful green grass. And now up the slopes, you see the birches. It is a place to live, it is a place to paint, it’s a place to have quality of living. And so we’ve been going back there for years and years and years. Unfortunately we left Vermont after only being there five years because I—I lost my father here at Eagle Lake in an unfortunate accident on the upper ridge. And I being the eldest daughter and feeling a need to be back in
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Texas—we’re a six generation Texas family—we decided to give up Vermont—just go back on vacations and the University of Texas Medical branch down at Galveston had originally, when Albert finished his doctoral degree at O.U., had offered him a job and we went to Vermont instead. And so we came back to Texas and he—and we went to Galveston, which was the port of our origination actually—at least the Loessin family came through the port of Galveston as I said earlier in 1853. And that’s an interesting story in itself but that’s another aside and another day. But, when I came to—to Galveston in 1972, it was really on a downslide. The buildings were all there—all historical architectural masterpieces were there—and I know I d—years later I did a tour of all the Nicholas Clayton structures and there were like 131
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Nicholas Clayton structures left in Galveston when I was so active with the Galveston Historical Foundation and I did a tour of just those—those structures. And he did—he did a drawing for the little Catholic Church here in Eagle Lake, Texas and did great ad—additive work to the Capitol Dome in Austin, Texas. And did a wonderful church as far away as Dallas, Texas. And so it was like a fig on a tree, ripe to fall—all there, very neglected, very run down and a lack of appreciation from the people who were there to save it. And so the town was incredibly dirty, the boulevards were not beautiful and billboards were coming in all over the city. And I thought this is the ugliest place I’ve ever been. Really, I just—you know, I was just horrified. And so rather than grieving about it, I planted a lot of hibiscus and a lot of
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different plants there because you have nine months of blooming things and so I took a great love of—of the Galveston Garden Club and work like that and enhancement to—to my own—my own home that I had there—bought there—a block and a half from the open Gulf of Mexico—and loved it. But I rolled up my sleeves and went to work for the city—not as a paid employee, mind you, but as a preservationist, as a conservationist—as someone who could see the visual delights of the architecture and the built environment there. And that started in 1973 just one year after I—I lived there. (inaudible)
DT: (inaudible) work with the Galveston Historical Foundation?
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EW: I helped restructure the Galveston Historical Fis—we were the oldest historical society in the state of Texas. And their only interest at that time was the little Samuel Williams house which a group of women had many years before had tried to restore and save. We restructured the Galveston Historical Foundation and I was on the original junta to—to employ Peter Brink—a we—a very well known Middletown, Massachusetts, Adams, Mass, attorney who helped turn that city around. And I helped bring him to Galveston. And they asked me to do the Strand Revolving Fund which was to instead of—I guess you would call it urban renewal, down in the Strand, the wharf district, the—Avenue A and Strand B and C. We went for a very large Moody—excuse me—a Moody and a Kempner Grant and did a revolving fund on saving the Strand Historical Landmark District.
DT: And these buildings along the Strand, how would you describe them?
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EW: Well I would describe them as some of the most beautiful Greek Revival buildings I’ve ever seen. Some of them were from before the Civil War. Some of them, in the line of buildings on the Strand and on Mechanic Street and on Avenue A, were built somewhat later. There were some Victorian buildings in, but generally it is—it was a very strong row—a whole landmark district of buildings pre-Civil War, Civil War and transitional Recon—Reconstruction-type buildings. I know I chair a house in Galveston and have since 1985, a very well known Greek Revival house. It was built in 1847. And Galveston—its first construction period was all Greek Revival. Great big white mansion houses with dark green shutters all over—8000 such structures—and that 1847 Powhatan House that I s—restored was restored was
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one—for the Galveston Garden Club—I didn’t restore it for myself—I restored it as a—a job—a pro bono job for the Galveston Garden Club—was a significant house but it was a survivor from the first construction period. There are only four houses left on the Island of that integrity from the Greek Revival period. When Abraham Lincoln was in the White House and the period of Victoriana swept across the country, then Galveston, all of its wonderful shoe-box houses, were torn down and the Victorian—because Galveston was such a banking center and such a port center and such a vibrant financial capital of Texas. The Galveston women and men were able to build the latest popular architectural style and that was the Victorian style. And so all those Greek houses were replaced with Victorian houses. The commercial
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districts and the merchant houses down in the Strand area and on Mechanic Street and on Avenue A—or we call it Water Street—however, are primarily Greek Revival to this very day. Embellished somewhat with Victorian amenities, but facades very Greek.
DT: Maybe you could tell us a little bit about how you first—it took money to restore these—these buildings and also I guess worked to pass ordinances so they be could be protected as well. Is that true?
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EW: That’s right. One of the first things we did was to go to the strong families there and develop a Strand Revolving Fund and…
DT: Maybe you can resume and tell us about the historic efforts that you had in downtown Galveston.
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EW: All right. After we raised the money for a Strand Revolving Fund, we—at about the same time, went to the city and—and went to the Texas Historical Commission and we developed a Strand Historical Landmark District. And that District primarily was Strand but it crept up over into the Mechanic Street area as well and into the port area as well. It was about fourteen city blocks at the initial time and they came to me—a group of people—some of the early organizers of the Historical Society and the junta reorganized the Historical Society into the Galveston Historical Foundation and with that impetus, we started off with an event called Pure Galveston. And it was a very large event where we studied all the archives at the wonderful Rosenberg Library. And I took all of the photographs that—historical photographs of the buildings and did a composite exhibit, if you will, in one of the early buildings down
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there. And we did pictures of how they were, how they’ve changed, where they we—what the planning was going to be for the Strand and for the whole Landmark District in this event. We brought in a national academician that I knew when I was in Vermont named Mario Cooper. He’s dead now but he did a—a painting, a watercolor of one of the buildings in the area and we auctioned it off and First Hutch—First Hutch and Sealy Bank—it’s no longer that now—it’s the Frost—no, it’s not even the Frost Bank—it is, Bank—Ameri—Bank of America now at the old Sealy- Hutchings Bank buildings which is probably five generations of—of banks that have better—that have been at that—from that original First Hutchings-Sealy Bank which
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was on Strand. On the corner of Twenty—Twenty-Fourth Street and Strand originally—the First Hutch—the First Hutching-Sealy Bank was. The Sealy Bank and the Hutchings Bank merged and became the First Hutching Sealy Bank. So that bank won Mario Cooper’s painting and that event was the hallmark beginnings of the Strand Historical Landmark District as an entity (?). It was safe and protected from there on from anymore urban renewal plans.
DT: And so I guess the first thing you did—you—you raised money to try to get this revolving fund going to restore buildings and (talking over each other.)
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EW: We hired Peter Brink—we hired Peter Brink…
DT: And—and I understand you also created some events to bring people down there and bring some interest—the—the Dickens on the Strand and then (talking over each other.) …Dickens on the Strand and maybe you can discuss that.
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EW: That was in 1973—we—we actually organ—reorganized the Historical Foundation in 1972 and ’73. And in ’73, it was Peter’s idea to bring more events. We had done this successful Strand Revolving Fund event and we should bring more events to this area that was dilapidated. The pigeons were in the building. The winos were on the streets. The buildings were there but it was very derelict. And we wanted community and citizens to come and see what the potential of this whole landmark district could be. And so they asked me to do an event and I came up with—because in my mind, the zenith of the Strand District was—and it was called the Strand—was the same time that Charles Dickens had left—1840’s, 1850, 1860—right through Queen Victoria. And about that time, of course, the storm hit
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Galveston in 1900 and we saw demise again of that whole district. Not—all the buildings were not taken away in The Great Storm of 1900 in Galveston, but again, there was the—the deepening of the channel to Houston and the storm put Galveston on its—on skids for a while there. And so back to what Peter and the Galveston Historical Foundation tried to do was bring people to the Strand, again in a neglected state in the ‘70s. And I did an event called Dickens’ Evening on the Strand and I did it because it was Strand and I did it because it was just exactly like one street removed from the great Strand in England. And not only that, Charles Dickens had been to Galveston. So it just all fell into place. And I did that event for
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ten years for the Historical Foundation as a pro bono vice president. I also, that next year, in 1974, created the annual home’s tours—the annual Historical Homes Tours. And in my years of being at—in Galveston on that event, I showed 63 different houses all either restored or in the flux of being restored. Sometimes I showed them as un-restored and then the next year showed them as completed houses. I did show some merchant Victorian structures that had been changed to lofts with small bit—businesses below. I showed some of them in renovation, I showed some of them as finished structures but primarily it was all historical houses—structures—neighborhoods—in neighborhoods all over Galveston. In that same period I did—I think I mentioned it earlier—a Nicholas Clayton tour of all the structures that I could identify that were still extant in Galveston. I showed them and did tours of those
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houses. At that same time, I developed a—a historical tour of structures that people that were coming into Galveston by busloads could pick up at the Galveston Historical Foundation and go and see. And I trained the guides for that and developed a series of tour manuals and we went all over Galveston—not just the Strand District but in neighborhoods and—I remember one of the legislator’s wives from Austin who came in on one of—rode one of our tour busses that day said, “I’ve been coming to”—and she was an elderly lady and I cannot tell you exactly who she was now it’s been many, many years ago—this was thirty years ago when I did this. She came in to Galveston and she said, “I’ve been coming to Galveston for years. I come down Broadway Boulevard, come across the Causeway, I come to Broadway
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Boulevard and we go to the beaches and we bathe,” and she said, “sometimes we get on the Inner Urban Queen and we come down and get on the rail and we go back to G—Houston, or then we’ll go to—my husband’s a legislator so we’ll go to Austin,” but she said, “I’ve never seen Galveston as you’ve shown it today—all of the houses—all of the structures.” She said, “We just always went straight down Broadway.” She said, “We had no idea there was such a treasury of structures here.” And that’s what we tried to show to all of the visitors who came to Galveston through that—through our historical bus tours.
DT: Maybe we can—we can jump to another sort of historical aspect to your work that is, in a sense, before some of these written records that—that you mined and—and developed into all these brochures and guides. I understand that you worked in the Eckert Bayou area of on what might have been both a—a native American site and a—I guess—a colonial site or a very early landing of one of the—the explorers. Can you—can you talk about that story?
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EW: I can. That was also in 1972. That first year that I was in Galveston I—I got extremely interested in historical sites in that whole area and I had some early friends there that, an architect, Charles Zwiener and Doug Zwiener, and—and Jack and Sally Wallace and other people—Bob Moore and others who firmly believed that Cabeza De Vaca had sh—shipwrecked on Isla (?) Culebras, which would have been “Snake Island” which was today, would be called the West End of Galveston Island. And so there were archeological digs planned by the Eastern Archeological Society in the early ‘70’s and I was in on two or three of them. And on one of them and I can’t remember the exact year, but I believe it was maybe ’74—I was and this was before
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Lafitte’s Cove and George Mitchell ever did any kind of residential community on Eckert’s Bayou or on the ridge of—of Eckert’s—of that whole area on the West End that went all the way to down to Lake Como, where Pirate’s Cove today is. There’s a natural ridge there. And in that field, south on the Gulf s—not on the Gulf side exactly, but on—I guess you would say on the Gulf side of Eckert’s Bayou and on the north side Eckert’s Bayou faced West Galveston Bay—in that area. The Houston Archaeological Society did a number of digs and not only was I convinced after digging with the group that it was the shipwrecked site of Cabeza De Vaca, I was a part of the group that found what was left of a pistol—a large pistol—with no wood on it anymore—a flint pistol—with a cock on the back of it lying in one of the areas we were digging in in the field just south of Eckert’s Bayou. And of course it was
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taken away, you know, as a resource—as a cultural resource—and it only proved to me that indeed it was the shipwreck site of Cabeza De Vaca. Not only that the three live oak trees that were described in his journals were there and the (?)—it was not only a historical Karankawa site, but it was a pre-historic site because the p—the dig that we did there proved not only historical villages there. I’m sure they were summer villages there—or excuse me—winter villages there when it was warmer in Galveston—it would have been more like summer for them. And in the Prado in Spain, the journals of Cabeza De Vaca are—I’ve read them. I have a book on them and it describes all of the, I guess geographical figures that—features of that West End as very much of the West End of Galveston Island. If it is true and we believe it to be, it is one of the most important North American historical sites that there is—that there could be. So I believe it is—not only that there was pre-historic sites
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there—there were historical Indian fights there. We found the (?) for both. I know when George Mitchell was trying to do Lafitte’s Cove there, we picked up pottery shards, we picked up all sorts of artifacts and we took them to the Texas Historical Commission. I was serving on the Historical Commission during that period of time.
DT: Well—well, let’s resume. And you were telling us about the excavations at Eckert’s Bayou and then some of the development pressures that soon started to be felt in that same area.
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EW: Right. Bob Moore—as I mentioned his name earlier was a good friend of mine. And he had been working for fourteen years, primarily pro bono to help save what we call now the West End of Galveston because he was one of the first people that signaled to me that it was the Cabeza De Vaca site and so I took him to the Texas Historical Commission with baskets of artifacts. And I really care a lot about George Mitchell—I really do—but I stood tall against his development of Lafitte’s Cove down there and Bob fought him for four year—fourteen years. And he’s done a great deal—George Mitchell has done a great deal of good work for Galveston—down in the Strand District and I was active with him down there and I respect him greatly—I
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just disagreed with his development of the West End for that particular subdivision. It could have been somewhere else perhaps and I wouldn’t have said a word. Maybe if it was on the Gulf side, I wouldn’t have said anything. I really didn’t say very much when he developed Pirate’s Beach or Pirate’s Cove even though it grieved me a bit because I know the ridge was being taken on the Bay’s side—the West Galveston Bay side. But this to me, I stood there as the dozers pulled channels through the Nottingham Lace Works that was on the site. And the prehistoric and the historic Indian villages, knowing fully well that it was a site that should be saved and it wasn’t. They exhumed fifty-three bodies of prehistoric Indian graves—from prehistoric Indian graves and the (?) around Eckert’s Bayou were pretty much saved
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because he did have a compassion for history. He’s a Galveston man, George Mitchell is, and his family goes back a while and he did have—even though he wanted to develop the West End because of its natural beauty and features—and he—so it was a wonderful thing at that time for him to think to do but it was taking cultural resources that he shouldn’t have taken. He did have the courage to set aside hundreds of acres of it and then later he sold it to another company and it’s like thirty acres left of the best birding sites, the best archaeological sites. Primarily it’s gone. Those sites are gone. I—I think today I grieve even more now than I did when I saw that initial first canal resort community go in because what is happening now in Galveston in 2008, and started two years ago, is that development
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has gone rampant for the last—oh, I would say—I was given the Steel Oleander Award in 2004 by the Galveston Historical Foundation. And I mentioned it in my public address that day that we must protect and save west—the West End of Galveston Island, not only for its natural beauty, its open spaces, its birding life, its aquatic life. It is a Z zone flood plain, it is subsided because it is a flood plain, not because industry has taken water—groundwater out—but because it is a flood plain. It is filled with wetlands—incredible wetlands and original prairies. And so 2004, I warned the community that this Syntex and all of these Anchor Bays and all these Marquettes and all these things that were proposed for out there would be the ruination—the urbanization of Galveston Island. And it just—that’s all—I—those
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names were not used—Anchor Bay was not used, Marquette was not used at the time but the rapid earlier developments that were proceeding from the tip of—of the West End of the Island all the way into the Sixty-ninth Street area and the Thirty—oh—oh—five [Farm to Market Road 3005] area of Galveston certainly was scarring, marring and forever changing the complexion of the West End. And then this last two years—the last 1058 acres was bought up—the Chapoton Ranch Land—was bought up by a Chicago investment land company known as Marquette. And they intended—they intend—they pr—they have proposed and it has been rezoned now by the City of Galveston for their proposal—to take the last 1058 acres between Eight-mile Road and Eleven-mile Road from the Gulf of Mexico to the West Galveston Bay side. Their proposal involves two beach hotels on the Gulf side…
(telephone rings)
DT: Let’s resume. We’re talking about Marquette and the beach to the bay reserve.
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EW: In June of this past year, we developed an organization known as Galveston Beach to the Bay Preserve with the hopes that we would stop the two hotels that were going to be developed on the beach front five to six, thirteen to fifteen-story condominiums in the middle of West End of Galveston Island, a marina on the West Galveston Bay side on the bay side, 800 boats, channel 160-feet wide, dragging through original prairies…(telephone ringing) And on the bay side, the marina was going to be 800 boats—a private marina for Marquette and probably the Anchor Bay which is adjacent across the channel and on Eckert’s Bayou I might add. And this—this will be—the water quality at Eckert’s Bayou will certainly be reduced by this 160-
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foot wide channel coming from West Galveston Bay and—and they’re going to dump into Eckert’s Bayou and then the city has also added another water facility or sanitary septic system. They’re putting 600 units—600,000 units of brown water into Eckert’s Bayou. All of this is part of the Marquette plan and the last thing, the most outrageous part of the whole proposal is that they are introducing, in an overburdened glut of housing on the West End now, 2000, excuse me—4200 individual houses, 10,000 people on the West End. So it will be South Florida or Waikiki Beach in the flesh and it’s the last 1058 acres. And in November, they had asked to be rezoned—Marquette had asked the city to rezone them and allow them
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with this—they call it “The Preserve”—and the West End Preserve—they were going to put in a golf course and that is the preserve flanking both sides of the major artery going out there, which that artery will be widened to facilitate this—the infrastructure. Galveston doesn’t have the infrastructure to have 10,000 houses out there. Sixty-first Street cannot handle that. Sixty-ninth Street cannot handle that. And so I think the gr—the most grievous part to me is we have hundreds of couples of Sandhill Cranes that are out there and coyotes that are out there and all sorts of wildlife and aquatics that are out there. And they’re going to reco—conteur between Eight-mile and Eleven-mile Beach to Bay—all of that land to put in that kind of urbanization. And so my organization that I created back in 1992—3, Scenic
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Galveston has entered as a plaintiff along with the Beach to Bay Preserve coalition—organization, as well as the National Sierra Club, as well as the Cabeza De Vaca Society and their discussion of several others. I know the Galveston Bay Foundation has considered entering as plaintiffs so has the Galveston Bay Conservation and Preservation Association as well as the Houston Audubon Society. So I have a very strong board in Scenic Galveston that’s made up of a lot of people, not just birders, not just people who save wetlands, not just people who save original prairies, but people who care about water quality and the Bays and West Galveston Bay and I got
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a very strong mandate from Scenic Galveston to enter as plaintiffs and we are plaintiffs with it. We may not win ultimately because what we’ve asked for is a CEIS—a Cumulative Environmental Impact Statement because what the Corps of Engineers has been doing in Galveston through—from 2004 and before when I warned the city about—about the rampant over-development that was going on down on the West End—they knew it—but I mean, you know, you just have to hear it from public places to make the citizenry really understand. But what I was going to say there is we warned about infrastructure. The city cannot handle that. We warned—we warned about lately—and what we’ve tried to tell the corps in this cumulative environmental impact statement is—they’ve taken these different
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components of these canal resort communities and they’ve evaluated them and given them a permit on just them individually. They have never taken the whole complex—com—picture of the compounding of all of these different canal resort communities out there on the West End of the Island. And what it will do—it will completely displace all wildlife. They say it won’t. Well I don’t know if wildlife is going to live in the golf course. I don’t know that the last remaining oyster reef (?) Karankawa in the West Galveston Bay—the only one left now in West Galveston Bay. I don’t know that the aquatics and the marine life can be sustained when the water quality is going to be, I think certainly derailed, high-jacked, diminished, whatever
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you want to call it and so that is the reason we’re fighting this West End development. It has to do with safety too. I’ll go back a way. I know during Carla—which was an early terrific hurricane, I was a—an illustrator in Dallas, Texas at the time and I was driving a little Austin Healey and I remember that the tail end of that hurricane came through Dallas ten days after Carla hit Galveston Island. And it blew my little st—car right off the road on my way to work one morning. And when I moved to Galveston, I really got interested in Carla, just—I just wanted to see what it had done to the Island. The Rosenberg Library photographs and other photographs that I was able to collect showed—better cut it off…
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I found that the Carla photographs showed the West End of the Island, seventeen feet under water. The surface of Galveston Island was nine feet under water and it wasn’t even a real wet storm. It was, but not—at least it was drier but it wasn’t like The Great Storm of 1900 and it wasn’t like Kra—Katrina at all. So what I think the greatest grievance I have about the West End development—not only living—losing open spaces and original prairies and wetlands, but the swells and the ridges and the natural tributaries and the coastal edges, but particularly the wetlands are sponges. It’s a Z zone flood plain and they protect Galveston Island. This excavation and all this pond taking and all of this digging for sand out there to put on the coastline—all these things are irreparable to that sponge-like quality out there that saves that
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barrier reef island. It’s safety that I’m most concerned about. You don’t put ten thousand people out there. It is inevitable that a storm is going to hit Galveston again. Maybe not a Carla, maybe not a Katrina, maybe not The Great Storm of 1900, even a tropical storm in one day takes all Jerry Patterson’s beach sand away from the Gulf Coast. The seas are rising. It’s a Z zone flood plain, it is absolute madness. It is foolhardy to put that sort of development on the West End of Galveston Island. We shouldn’t even be living on the barrier reef Island at all! We are behind a seawall but the seawall is not out there.
DT: You’ve told us a little bit about Galveston Island proper—the East End of Galveston where you did all this historic work and later some archaeological work and then the—the development along the West End. Maybe you could tell us now about some of your work in the approach to Galveston Island as it—as it follows Interstate 45 and some of the work you’ve done to protect and restore wetlands along that area.
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EW: I have been—my father was a conservationist. I remember as a child, he wouldn’t hunt geese. He said, “Oh, they mate for life.” And the skies would be black with the Lesser Canadian Geese coming to Eagle Lake—to the prairies here at Eagle Lake. And I don’t know—I remember one of the first game wardens of the state, a good friend of my father’s would be in this—in this living room with my dad and I as a kid would eavesdrop and I heard him say—Tom Waddell was his name—he would say, “Oh those hunters. They come out here to the prairies and they shoot the Atwater Prairie Chicken and pile their bodies to rot eight feet tall in the sun.” And
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so, I think that must have grabbed me as a child or discussions like that that I heard my dad talk about—his own feelings. Oh he went to West Texas to Marfa and shot deer but he never killed a goose and it’s just little things. I think you grow up as a child and you hear things. He loved animals, he loved dogs, he loved horses. Maybe that was his Prussian roots—his family—his six—his great-grandfather—great grand-godfather and all of those sons came with the widows of Texas and they were all in—they were all military people. They all—they were farmers but military conscription was mandatory there and they came to Texas when she became widowed because she lost her husband in war and so maybe it’s the Prussian roots that made my dad
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love all these creatures of the world. I don’t know but, when I finished the Texas Historical Commission, Mark White, the governor, appointed me in 1983 to the Texas Historical Commission and I—I left my work with the Galveston Historical Foundation in—and turned my head to statewide work and then I—during my years at the Historical Foundation, I brought quite a few people as speakers to Galveston—Leopold Adler from Savannah, Arthur Skolnick from I can’t remember where and I can’t even remember all—I brought ten different ones in the ten years I served with the Historical Foundation as a volunteer. I brought ten different noted speakers that had done good preservation work in their cities—Seattle, Washington—Skolnick and different places. And every single one of them—I brought Moon Landrieu from New Orleans but Lee Adler I brought twice because he was so good and he twice told
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me—St. Claire Wright, also from Annapolis was one that told me—you need to do something about that estuary leading into Galveston. Broadway looks terrible. It has billboards on it. You’ve got all of this glitzy stuff that entryways to cities have, but you’ve got it built in the middle of an estuary. Do something about it. So I went to a Livable Communities seminar or workshop in Austin, Texas in 1992 and Peter Brink was there. He had left Galveston and he—he had—he was with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and he was there and we talked a little bit about it and he said, “I understand that you’re trying to do something with the Gateway to Galveston,” and I said, “Yes, I am, I really am.” And I said, “I’m here today to jus—just, you know, hear and listen and observe and just see what we could do.” And so in 1993, we went to the drawing boards and we developed a scheme—Richard Kirkpatrick and myself—do you want to cut it off? (dogs barking)
DT: You were talking about the approach to Galveston, your efforts to protect it…
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EW: Yes, I came back that Livable Communities Workshop and—and immediately we went to the drawing boards—a small group of people—and we decided we were going to buy the land in the—in the estuary between Bayou Vista, West Galveston Bay on the west and the rail—the original GH&H, but then later the Southern Pacific and now the Union Pacific and the Causeway Bridge—not quite to the Causeway Bridge, just almost to the entrance to Tiki Island because it was being filled with landfills. There were 29 billboards out there—a cabaret—oh, litter, garbage, you name it, convenience stores, all the things you don’t want in your city’s gateway and
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here was a naturally productive, pretty stable—pretty, pretty stable—oh yes, we—there was some degraded areas—landfill degraded areas—great ones. We’ve—we’ve restored ninety of that nine hundred acres of degraded areas. I mean one was 14.5 feet high levy walls, containment deposited with Tiki Island’s spoil dredge. It took us over $650,000 to restore that one. We went to court over that one but backing up, we wanted to do something about it and we started in ’93 approaching—we went—approached John O’Quinn and John O’Quinn gave us matching funds—$450,000 to a “NAWC”—North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant. And with that, we started buying the Wetlands on both sides of I-45—the Gateway to Galveston. The first one we bought was Joe Tamborine’s levy walled—half-mile long, fourteen and a
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half foot levied wall failed with spoil dredge. And we then raised funds with the Natural Resources Damages Assessment—we call it “NRDA”—they helped us with another $400,000 or $350,000. That’s what we thought we could restore it. We couldn’t. We did it and then we went Intrex—we hired Intrex to help us with it and I suppose they put in another $250,000 or maybe $350,000 and we took it to Wetlands, back to Wetlands original channeled Wetlands. And in ten hours after we opened the channels back to the tide, there were red fish in there this long. So now we have bought all of both sides of I-45—every bit of it except for one parcel of 16.7 acres. And that is two cabarets that we’ve not been able to get our hands on, even though we had a million dollar promised pledge to buy it because the county
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commissioners in 2001 exempt it, grandfathered those clubs with their not having to conform to six of the twenty point items on a new sexually oriented business ordinance that they ran—wr—wrote and drafted. We fought that, but that night on Chris Adams’ television show, I think it’s—I think it’s thirteen—I don’t know that Chris Adams is even a newsman anymore there—but that night I was interviewed because we fought like heck in the county commissioner’s court trying to stop them from passing this ordinance. I mean it was a huge delegation of people there—citizens there—and to stop the ordinance—but it was passed and that night Chris Adams said as he interviewed Demetrius Manectus—the owner of the clubs—he said, “Well, what do you think about this?” he said, “My business worth just rose to seven to ten million dollars.” So that’s the reason we don’t own that 16.7 acres. I will and
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I’ll retire as chairman of Scenic Galveston—I’ve been its—I’ve been the chairman—I was the organizing chairman in ’93—I will retire when we buy Demetrius Manectus and we—always from the beginning of time that we’ve been out there decided that Reitan Point, the best view of the West Marsh, which we now have as Reitan Point—and we’re building a pavilion there—a beautiful arts and crafts sh—simple open air shelter so people can weather in the rain or see the marshes in the cold north winds or whatever—that we have a lot of activities out there so it’ll be as the focal visitor’s point. It has been since ’93 for us in our cleansing and our different events that we do out there. It’s—it’s our meeting place and many, many—it’s a turn off from the—on that side of the I-45—people traveling thousands—we have millions I guess—a million visitors to that West of Reitan Point every year. But always from the
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beginning we planned to have a turnout there and on the other side, we intended to have the turnout facing the east which the land we own now because we own the whole peninsula—Virginia Point Peninsula—and I’ll describe that in a minute—but we had intended to have a turnout for travelers for the East Marsh there at Demetrius Manectus. Recycle all the concrete and land filled he’s put in, take it down to marsh and leave a small little path for people to turn out there and see the East Marshes. In 2004, we grant applied again to buy the University of Texas lands—another 1493 acres, across the railroad tracks, across from the GH&H, across from the Northern Pacific—what is remaining of the Virginia Point Peninsula. That whole peninsula is a—for thousands of years was penins—it was a peninsula—it was being built up by
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sediments. In 1957, the first development on the peninsula was placed out there at the Tap End Egress of Campbell’s Bayou coming from the mainland across Loop 197—under Loop 197 and it emptied its bowels of water into Swan Lake, which is Galveston Bay. And since then it has stopped. The sediments have stopped. Oh there’s still meanders of—our historical photographs show the meanders of the bayous going across Virginia Point Peninsula but the sheet flow has been changed. And one other entity—a clean entity also has been built called the Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority but everything else out there—the rest of the 1490 acres has not been touched. Only one time in its history that we know of has it been touched and that is when Judge William Jefferson Jones, a retired judge from Columbus, Texas
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and Colorado County retired to the seaside, built a wonderful Greek Revival house on Virginia Point, built two wonderful brick cisterns that are under water and in—when the tide’s out, they’re out of water—the walls are gone. And during the Civil War before he came—he came there in 1852 and lived there during—with—his house was there in 1852—during the Civil War there was a fort built right on the rail and on Virginia Point—a 400 acre fort called Fort Herbert and it straddled the then highway—it would of—would have been I guess state highway 75—now its I-45—but it straddled the highway and there were 4000 troops there and that is on Virginia Point as well. And his graves and his family’s graves and he farmed—the only time
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the plow broke the ground there was 300 acres of sea island cotton that he won the Atlanta Exposition with that cotton and he put across and you see it today on the—if you look at the map—he built two ditches and it’s a—almost a perfect “x” across the shoreline—he planted tamarisk in that to break the salt air from his sea island cotton. Those are the kind of historical features that are there.
[End of Reel 2412]
DT: When we were talking earlier, we—we’re visiting about some of the historical values of—of Virginia Point and particularly Fort Herbert and I was hoping that you could explain more about that.
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EW: Yes, Fort Herbert on the night of December the 31st, 1862—you’ve read in history books about the Neptune—you’ve read about the battle of Galveston—the retaking of the City of Galveston from the Union occupation back to the Confederacy. Fort Herbert was where those cotton clad steamers that went out into the bay and where that horrible battle occurred where the son Lay was killed and his father held him—one was on the Union side, one was on the Confederate side and all—that whole battle transpired—was originated from Fort Herbert that Scenic Galveston now owns there on Virginia Point Peninsula. So it is a terrific—im—terrifically important historical site and when the copper smelter was proposed for Virginia Point Peninsula when you—Virginia—when U.T. owned Virginia Point—a cultural resources was
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written about a Texas copper company and it said in that—and I know Barto Arnold who was head of the state archaeological landmark when I served as a commissioner on the Historical Commission—came down and did an evaluation of it and he was told that the fort was under water—that the house of Judge William Jefferson Jones was under water. That’s what the Texas copper smelter’s report said—it was written by the Texas copper smelter. Well it’s not under water. It’s not anything—it had eleven crenulated points, it had major ammunition and cannons there that were rolled out on tarmac and you can see them in aerial photographs in the winter when the—the shrubbery is all down—you can still see the tarmacs going out to the points. And it—it’s a very significant—its on—it’s a pending national register site. And what
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I was going to say about the copper smelter—that—that was g—planned a Texas City company coming in and putting a Texas copper smelter there—right on West Gal—on Galveston Bay, not West Galveston Bay—at that site—at that whole Virginia Point Peninsula site that we own now. And interestingly enough, we got this—what is known as a CIAP grant in 2004—I think I alluded to it earlier but I didn’t finish the story—in 2004 to buy that to save it from 300 tank farms that were going to be put upon—on Virginia Point Peninsula. Before that, it was a copper smelter in ’89 and as recently as 2004, it was going to be developed for tank farms. And so that CIAP grant which is—stands for Coastal Impact Assistance Program—it came about for us to be able to get that two million dollars because NOAA—National Oceanic…
DT: (inaudible)
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EW: …uh-huh, Atmospheric Administration—has piers and docks and offshore oil rigs and all that kind of thing and they get revenues. This is not taxpayer’s money that Scenic Galveston is using. It is revenues that come to federal agencies. They cannot buy land. They appropriate it to Congress. We then grant apply for those funds and we were able to get two million dollars and we bought (?) University of Texas’ lands to save Virginia Point from any more industrial petrochemical industry.
DT: Well you told us a good deal about how you’ve—you’ve managed through grants to—to both buy up wetlands a—along Virginia Point and also to explore them. But I understand you’ve also had to work with a state agency—Texas Department of Transportation—to try to limit some of the billboards that have been constructed along there. And I was hoping that you could talk about your experience in working with TXDOT, both on billboards but also on some of the other projects that they’ve been pursuing including the Grand Parkway and most recently the Trans Texas Corridor. And—and I guess just today—later today the Sunset Advisory Review of—of—of the whole agency.
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EW: Yes, I’ll be attending that Sunset Advisory Commission this afternoon. Because we own along this major transportation corridor, we’ve had to deal with TXDOT. And it’s not been a good—it’s not been a good neighborly kind of thing. Yes, the La Marque office of TXDOT has been good to Scenic Galveston. They’ve helped us with cleaning and putting up metal railing and all that kind of thing, but the district twelve office in Houston has not been a good neighbor at all. We started that project out there and we had 31 billboards—both sides. We’re down to eleven billboards. We’ve done it because we’ve either fazed them out, we’ve bought the license, we’ve bought the land and just persevered—found in some illegal activity going on—hired an attorney. I know one time there was a billboard they were trying to put a second face on, we went all the way to New Orleans and got it down. We have had five billboards taken down by the New Or—finally by the final appeal process in New Orleans. So we
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have only eleven now. But it’s not just billboards. It’s other things that TXDOT has done. In evaluating a billboard that has been there as long as I have been in Galveston and let me back up and say one thing—the billboards in our estuary—on both sides of I-45—are wa—as since 1983—are classified as—categorically they’re called non-conforming billboards. That means when you don’t have—under the Texas Litter Abatement Act of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, you had to have one business within 800 feet of a billboard to have it be a legal billboard. In 1983, the last business blew away out there and that—those billboards became non-conforming during that period of time. And the Barbeque Hut blew away and the billboards blew away. One billboard very close there wou—is—and he still advertises on this
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billboard—is called Mario’s—we call it billboard number one. And that billboard just south of Bayou Vista, Viacom put a second face on it. Well if you read the Texas Administrative Code, TXDOT cannot put any substantial changes to billboards when they’re non-conforming. And here is this second face going on the backside of this billboard! So we appealed and they said in the real estate division of TXDOT that the original permit of 1985 had permission for a second face. 1985 billboards became non-conforming in 1983 and TXDOT cannot issue a permit for a non-conforming billboard. So Mario’s is an illegal replacement billboard. Juliet Stout, the billboard person who put them all up out there—Jules Love Junior Incorporated—you’ve heard of it—they started putting billboards up in our estuary in 1938. Well she gave an
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affidavit that said there was a business at the old blown away Barbeque Hut. We found out it was a module. It wasn’t open thirty hours a week, it didn’t have heat, it did have a telephone for one year and it was a bulk cutting storage facility. A lie! An illegal permit. We went to TXDOT. They refused to take it down. Another one built in 1993—a storm came through and built it down and they replaced it—Jules Love Junior replaced it with a six-poled multi-pole. You can’t replace—that’s a substantial change—you cannot replace a wooden six-pole multi-pole with a metal multi-pole billboard and they did. We went to TXDOT. They refused to take it down. Three billboards we did get down in this 1995 hearing—of administrative hearing in Austin. We did get two billboards down but that one didn’t get on the docket. We
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have gone back and forth to TXDOT to get that billboard down, get it back on the docket. They refused to take it down. It’s going to court. Last one—three—we have three illegal billboards. Charles Heald, who was the head of TXDOT some years back denied a permit…
DT: So we were talking about billboard number three. Can you tell us the tale about that?
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EW: The executor director of TXDOT—a good man, now retired—denied Demetrius Manectus having a billboard because the measurement wasn’t correct—we owned the carrying tower land underneath the carrying towers and it wasn’t spaced right and there weren’t two businesses. There’s just one business. And you have to have—under the Texas Administrative Code—not the old Litter Texas Abet—Abatement Act—which is defunct and has been replaced by the Texas Administrative Code—you have to have two businesses. There are two businesses on that site. They’re the same sexually oriented business and they are owned by the same person. And this new head of TXDOT permitted in 2003 a billboard—a giant mono-pole, dove-winged billboard to go up in the middle of Demetrius Manectus—three
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illegal permits. Okay? That’s three things we have against them. And we’re going to court. Tim Beatny is going to take all three of them along with Margaret Lloyd who is helping him in Scenic Texas—of which I’m a board member of—we’ve had several meetings and we’re going to prove them wrong all—on all three counts. We’ll win every one of them. So we’ll go from eleven to eight I hope. The other thing: I had a good working re—relationship with Jose Ramirez of the La Marque TXDOT office. And we came back three or so Christmases ago and we noticed huge foundations as big around almost as this room—huge, huge, huge foundations—and I had been promised by Pat Henry some years back that they were going to never put any high mast cluster lights in our sanctuary—in our preserves—in our parkland—because we have nocturnal species and we have threatened and endangered species out there and these cluster lights are the latest fad with TXDOT. They’re a hundred
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and—I—seventy-three feet tall and there have—all these huge clusters of lights on them. And they are in a four acre orb produce light twenty-four hours a day that is one hundred times more intense than the full moon. One hundred times more intense. So you know what that does to our Black Rails—you know what that does to our Mottled Ducks. You know what it does to all the species that we have out there. So Jose Ramirez said—I know we met with him several times. He said, “I know,” he said—“But we’ll do something with those lights. We needed those lights there at the Causeway entrance.” Even though Pat Henry had promised me they would never be placed in our estuary preserve lands. So the TXDOT twelve came out and they worked out a plan where they would put baffles on all these lights. And if it—if they displaced—Jose Ramirez told me—now he’s retired and Bob—Bill
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Babbington is there now as the La Marque office director—he said, “If they displace your birds, we’ll choose alternative lighting.” Try to prove that they’ve displaced our birds. We’ll have to go to court over it. So that’s another thing. Then the other thing is they were not supposed to widen—we did a comprehensive study—we didn’t; TXDOT did—back in the ‘90’s—late ‘90’s—the south part of I-45 and they all agreed that it was a preserve and it did not need to be widened. Now then, they’re talking about widening it. They’re going to take wetlands on both sides of the I-45. So yes, do we have grievances against TXDOT? You better believe we do. Do we have grievances on billboards? You better believe we do. Do we have grievances on the Bolivar Bridge, which we finally just fought back? Yeah, they’re not going to build it now for another thirty years. They’ve decided not to build it. Do we have
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grievances about the Grand Parkway? You better believe we do. The Katy Prairie is just as important as our prairies on Virginia Point Peninsula. They’re habitat. The Grand Parkway does nothing more than to build a 5.2 billion dollar road around Houston that is going to take the hinterlands and will lead the developers right out there to virgin new land for developments. Why doesn’t TXDOT fix the existing roads that we have, amplify them, expand them, not make another grid system? That Grand Parkway is going to take 400 acres of the Katy Prairie.
DT: You were talking about Trans Texas Corridor when we just left off…
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EW: Yes we actually were talking about the Grand Parkway and the—the lack of TXDOT’s understanding that habitat is essential to Texas. And they’re just taking more and more and more until not only are our scenic roadways not protected from billboards, but we have digitized billboards coming in now on roadways—Clear Channel is pushing like mad. In fact there’s a vote on Thursday whether or not TXDOT is going to indeed agree to permit these all over. And they will—they will do it. The only light at the end of the tunnel is perhaps John Corona. He is not one of the commissioners with TXDOT. He is a Legislative Transportation Committee Chair for the legislature. And I went to Austin, maybe last spring—last summer, I can’t even remember—to oppose the Trans Texas Corridor and there were thousands of
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people there. I was in an anteroom. I couldn’t even speak because I was away. I was just watching it by video. But I heard John Corona say; “It is time for the big power of TXDOT to stop. It is time for us to rein in TXDOT. I am going to see about further stays on billboards and about this Trans Texas Corridor.” Those were not his exact words, but that’s what he said. And so there is great citizenry opposition to Trans Texas Corridor. We don’t need more new toll roads in Texas that go from Mexico to Canada. We don’t need all these entrances and exits off 59 to join up with I-69 across this country. There’s no habitat left. We’re dividing ranches and farms that have been in—generations of ranching families. We don’t need that to trans—
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have transports coming from the port in Mexico to go to Canada. We don’t need any more disturbance or taking of Texas lands.
DT: Maybe we can sort of switch from land to water.
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EW: Okay to water.
DT: We’re here right now in—in Eagle Lake in Colorado County and you’ve been involved in protecting the groundwater here that has been threatened from—from over pumping and I was hoping you could tell us about the PureTex opposition and also about the effort to get a conservation district.
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EW: Okay. I have lived in Galveston for—since 1972. But I grew up in this little cottage that you’re sitting in taking this video today. And it is—my home is on the edge of the Breaking Prairie and we have the wonderful sands in Colorado County that very few other counties have. And we’ve had attempts through the years to take—I know there—a few years back there was a—a ploy to build—or drill 200 wells on the Atwater’s Prairie Chicken Refuge, which is just eight miles east of me. And U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service beat—beat it back. But lately, there has been another attempt to take our valuable resource—our groundwater here. And that was done by a private company and the commissioners of this county endorsed it, mind you, even though the professionals that came in said ‘don’t do it.’ And the arrangement
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was, PureTex—four miles from my front door here on Old Gonzales Road—originally 90, now called Farm to Market Road 102 that goes to our county seat—Columbus, Texas—right up on Ramsey Road was negotiating to buy land from a owner here in Eagle Lake and put a PureTex water bottling company, taking our water, using the beads to build plastic bottles there at that plant and shipping our water to China. Well, many, many, many, many people from Colorado County protested with the county commissioners and finally it came to the point where PureTex either gave up or the—I guess the economics of it changed—I do not know what. The land deal fell through and we beat it back. And in the meantime, we still have the problem of
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wells being dug, ponds being built in this county by the lower Colorado River authority to ship our water to San Antonio. And it may be all right. We’ve been studying it now and have the possibility of—for a few more years of study—they had proposed channel dams before and we beat that back. And now they s—tell us that they’re not going to drill wells. They’re going to take storm water or flood water and store that water in ponds and that’s what they’ll ship to San Antonio. And perhaps that is feasible. I do not know but right now I sit on the edge of my chair worrying about our good groundwater because there is I think a certain number of wells that will be tapped if we don’t have water in the ponds—shipping it to San Antonio with that contract. I’m not sure. One thing we have done in this county is even though
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we rejected twice a groundwater commission, we have now passed it. And we elect those people that will be sitting on that ground water commission and we will have control over the taking of anymore water by PureTex or LCRA or anybody else to take the water out from underneath us here.
DT: Mrs. Whorton, I—you’ve been active in historic preservation, wetland protection, scenic issues with billboards, the water issues that you just talked about—why do these things matter to you and I guess secondly, why should they matter to a new generation coming up?
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EW: I grew up—and I go back to this again—on the Breaking edge of the prairie. Our oak trees in this county are 600 years old. I have one in my pasture that’s 250 years old. I grew up crawling up the limbs of that tree. Texas is very diverse. It has scenery that is comparable with any place in America—beautiful. But there’s something in the Texas composition—the characteristics—I call it “razzmatazz”—they just cannot understand and value the premier things that they see every day and understand. They take it for granted so. We give this corporation the ability to do that. We give TXDOT the ability to put grid highways all over our state. Taxpayers paid for roadways. Why is Clear Channel—why is Reagan, why is Lamar, why is RTM, why are all these companies given the subsidy of using our roadways to
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garbage scenic thoroughfares across this beautiful, glorious state? I do not understand that. Call it my conservation upbringings by my father—I don’t know—or looking out my window every morning and seeing this Breaking Prairie and my live oak trees? Maybe that’s what it is? I just don’t want Texas to be ruined. I’ve gone back to Vermont for the last 35 years. It is incredibly beautiful. It’s spectacular. Texas can equal it if it will just quit meddling with it. I just feel like it has nothing to do with politics partic—per se. It has to do with the citizenry taking for granted God-given resources and then not protecting it by the political hierarchy and the parties that value the environment. And that I have to blame on the citizenry. If we’re crazy enough to build a pipeline to the National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and we’re
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crazy enough to put ten thousand people on the West End of Galveston Island so it looks like southern Florida, there’s something wrong with the citizenry. Either they’re don’t care, they don’t want to be involved or they don’t love it as much as I do. I cannot st—bear to lose it. It’s just—it’s like I said earlier, there’s an innate capacity in the ability of Vermonters to know what is right about their country. We Texans need to learn it.
DT: And how would you teach that to a young person who’s growing up?
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EW: I taught it to both my own children. My daughter, Elise Mason, grew up with this kind of atmosphere and this kind of educational background from her family and from Dartmouth and from Rice and from learning about landscape and art and all those things. And now she works side by side with me. Sometimes embattled we are, but she works right beside me. She’s restored every single track that we’ve restored out there in the estuary. She learned by seeing and experiencing and doing. And my Anna, my younger daughter, the same thing. She loves horses, she loves wildlife, she loves the mountains, she loves the Guadalupe River, she loves—you know, what can I say? You do—you teach your children, you teach the younger generations. We put out things like this. I don’t know if you can read it or not. It’s the mission statement of Scenic Galveston. “It is generally recognized that acre for
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acre, wetlands constitute the most ecologically productive community our planet has to offer.” That’s what it’s all about. We ought to seize that, whether it be original prairies—our children need to learn it and we do it by putting out this kind of information in our schools, in the newspaper, in the media—just as we’re doing today.
DT: Well thank you for helping us get this message recorded and passed on. I’m—I greatly appreciate it.
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EW: I don’t know if I answered your question quite right.
DT: I think you did. Thank you.
[End of Reel 2413]
[End of Evangeline Whorton Interview]