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Trinity Standard - Local News

Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company

City council marks 100th year
Trinity Standard -

TRINITY – A Power Point show, refreshments and strolls down memory lane were on the agenda Monday night when the Trinity City Council gathered to mark the 100th anniversary of incorporation of the City of Trinity. While the voters of the community approved the incorporation in November 1910, it wasn’t until Jan. 3, 1911 that the first meeting of the Trinity City Council was held. City Manager Buddy Drake noted that while their had been a thriving community here since about 1872, it wasn’t until 1910 that the city was formally organized and a mayor and city council selected. During Monday night’s observance, Drake read the minutes of the first council meeting, noting that the book containing that record was discovered some year ago. “It’s a miracle that this book has survived for 100 years,” Drake noted and recommended that the city look into ways to preserve those early council records for the future. During the first meeting of the council, Mayor George Waller and council members W.A. Bell, E.C. Arledge, J.H. McLaughlin and Ed Trow named R.D. Crow Jr. as the city secretary and agreed to pay him $1 per meeting. It was also decided that the mayor and council members would serve without pay. While Drake joked that the council would like to keep the salary of the city secretary (now called city manager) at $1 a meeting, he noted that the city’s elected officials continue to this day to serve without pay. During the first city council meeting, a tax rate of 25 cents per $100 in assessed value was enacted. Drake noted that while a 25-cent tax rate in 1911 might seem high compared to the current rate of 76.99 cents, he noted the city was starting from nothing and faced with implementing improvements such as a water system. “And I doubt that we had a house in Trinity that was valued at more than a few hundred dollars in 1911,” he noted. Drake noted that when the city was organized, Trinity had no paved streets and the only water system were individual wells located on each homeowner’s property. There also was no central sewage treatment system and no fire department. The lack of a fire department was corrected in 1915 when the Trinity Volunteer Fire Department was organized and a fire truck was purchased. Drake noted that first fire truck is currently owned by the Price family but is on loan to and displayed by the TVFD. In his presentation, Drake noted that Trinity has had 24 mayors in its history and that the current mayor, Lyle Stubbs, now holds the record for the most years of service. He said Stubbs has held the office for the past 16 years and the second longest serving mayor, C.J. Shields, held the office for 14 years from 1930-1944. Third on the list was Dr. Sam Barnes with 10 years from 1982-1992 followed by Joe Chandler’s eight years from 1972-1980. “I’d like to say a word of thanks to all the mayors, aldermen and council members who have served this city for the past 100 years,” Drake added. “I’d really like to know what many of those early officials would think if they could see our town today,” he said. Following Drake’s presentation, each of the current city councilmen were given an opportunity to speak and all expressed their gratitude for being selected by Trinity voters to serve. Councilman Clegg DeWalt noted that this past weekend he and his wife drove around the area and he was impressed with the general appearance of the city today. “The ditches were all cleaned out, we have new streets and everything just looked beautiful,” he said. “I am very proud of the work that is being done. “ Councilman Wayne Huffman is the longest serving elected official now on the city council. He was first elected in 1970 and served for a time as mayor before returned to his seat on the council. “I’ve served with a lot of good people on this council over the years, but I have to say that right now we’ve got about as good a group serving as I have seen.” Councilman Neal Smith recalled that when he was born in the Mill Town area of Trinity, that area was not yet a part of the city. “I was 11 years old when they annexed that area with my family fighting it all the way,” he recalled with a smile. He recalled the changes that have been made over the years and said he has always been proud to call Trinity home. “One of the things we have been working on is getting another grocery store for our city,” Smith said. “We have worked very diligently toward that goal and I hope to be here when we finally see it happen.” Councilman Billy Joe Slaughter also noted he was born in Mill Town and has witnesses a number of improvements to the city and its services. “I enjoy doing what I can to make this a better town,” he said. In his remarks, Stubbs noted that he also is a “Mill Town boy” and recalled the operation of the Texas Longleaf Lumber Co. operation in Trinity, which at the time was the largest sawmill in Texas. “Unusually on Saturdays, we get to go to town and to me, it was just like going to a circus,” Stubbs said. “It was exciting and every building had a business in it.” Then after the mill shut down, Stubbs said the city almost died as people moved away to find work. “When (Lake Livingston) came in, we started coming back and we’ve been coming back strong,” he said. “I’m proud of the people of Trinity and grateful they have allowed me to be their servant. I want to be a servant, first to God and second to man and it has been an honor to be a part of this. As part of the special meeting, Keith Johnson and Wade Tidwell made a Power Point presentation showing photos of what Trinity now has to offer. “A lot of the things we have her in Trinity and things you don’t often think about until you start looking,” Johnson said. He pointed to an first-rate fire department, a growing hospital, a modern library and the major recreational aspects offered by Lake Livingston. Johnson noted that while the Power Point presentation currently does not depict scenes from Trinity’s past, those photos will be added in the future as they become available. He asked that anyone with old photos of the town to loan them to him so they can be scanned into a computer and preserved.


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