Discovering Seadrift, by Jasmine Gordon……

Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 15 Nov 12 - 0 Comments

Madden’s Open House

Celebrating Seadrift

The past three years have come and gone in the blink of an eye; I’ve truly enjoyed interviewing and learning about the people that make up this coastal community. What seems even more difficult to believe is that the Centennial Celebration is now upon us. I can remember hearing about it two years ago thinking how far away the date was, alas, the time has come. By the time this paper begins circulation we will have only two weeks until the day is here. My mind was flooded with names, photos — I knew exactly who to call for the scoop.

I dialed the familiar 785 number and was greeted by the same hello I’ve always been welcomed with. Just as I suspected, Janie Waghorne quickly caught me up with latest news about the day’s events.

The Centennial Celebration will begin at the school in Seadrift with a 5K run and walk at 8:00 am and end with live music at 10:00 pm at the bayfront pavilion on Saturday, December 1st. The centennial committee has been working diligently and have multiple events planned throughout the day including: a historical tour, parade, dedications, historical exhibits, videos, fireworks and live music. Bands from Seadrift, Port O’Connor, Edna, and the Austin area will all be featured. There will also be demonstrations of various activities specific to the region: arrowhead making, medal engraving, oyster opening and net making. The civic center will have a General Store booth in which committee members will sell books, dvds, postcards, toys, t-shirts, etc. One very popular book which was produced for Texas sesquicentennial in 1986, Seadrift Memories, has been reproduced and will be available for purchase. It is a limited edition so make sure to get a copy! I know I’ll be first in line; much of the information I’ve been able to use in this column the past three years.

Amongst preparing the city for the centennial, Kathy Sayre has refurbished several murals around town. In addition a new mural which Robert Avery of Humble has painted a mural on the city hall building which incorporates Seadrift’s past and present.

The historical tour will include twenty-two markers of which four are permanent cast metal signs donated by various centennial supporters: First National Bank of Seadrift, Lilian Stubs; Seadrift Harbor, Juaniece and Lewis Ray Madden; Pavilion site, Formosa; Seadrift Depot, Dow and City of Seadrift (city hall) the Texas Historical Commission.

Our conversation of the day’s events led to the theater, fountain and Western Auto which were all owned by Lewis Ray and wife, Juaniece Madden in the 1950s. Janie and I continued to reminisce; I told her how it’s instances like these that inspire this column, finding out another piece of the puzzle and how they all fit. It makes me feel like Nancy Drew; she laughed and said she felt the same. It brings us all closer together — discovering information about Seadrift’s history, browsing through black and white photos and sharing stories about the original families, old depot, ice plant, harbor and pavilion. All of which are either gone, tattered or faded due to time or weather. I can still remember the first interviews; they often sparked a conversation with local residents. They were always eager to give me leads; I would always scramble to quickly scribbled names down and now I still find myself amazed at just how much history I’ve learned about Seadrift.

I am happy to report that the Seadrift Legacy Project will have the dvds featuring local fishermen for sale. Since meeting with videographer Ken Dvorack and Pam Booton, I’ve been waiting with anticipation to see the polished interviews. Each participant will receive their own interview, the ninety-minute dvd featuring over twelve interviewees will be on sale at the centennial.

I am eager to for the day to arrive; there are many people that have put countless hours and time towards this event’s success. Included in this article are just a couple of photos that you can view at the Centennial. Hope to see you there.

Till next time — Happy Birthday Seadrift, Texas.

One of Seadrift’s first street lights in about 1956-57 Back row L to R: Unknown teacher in Seadrift at the time, Bill Cook, E.B Sanders,W.G. Jordan, Bill Watkins. Front row L to R: CP&L rep, Mayor Lewis Ray Madden, CP&L rep.

Photo: Opening of Madden’s Fountain in the 1950’s.


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