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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Moments in Texas History ~ 6/29/2011


Sculptor Elisabet Ney dies
June 29, 1907
On this day in 1907, sculptor Elisabet Ney died in Austin. Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ney was born in M√ľnster, Westphalia, in 1833. She and her husband, Edmund D. Montgomery, moved to Texas in 1872 and purchased Liendo Plantation in Waller County. After visiting Austin in the 1880s, Ney decided to resume her artistic career. She built a studio (now the Elisabet Ney Museum) in the Hyde Park area of Austin in 1892 and began lobbying notable citizens and the state legislature for commissions. During the next fifteen years she completed a number of portrait busts as well as statues of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston, now in the state Capitol, and a memorial to Albert Sidney Johnston, in the State Cemetery. Copies of the Austin and Houston statues are also in the United States Capitol. In addition to her sculpting, Ney took an active role in artistic and civic activities in Austin. Four years after her death a number of her supporters founded the Texas Fine Arts Association in her honor.

Democratic convention ends as split party agonizes over Catholic nominee
June 29, 1928
On this day in 1928 the Democratic National Convention concluded in Houston. The convention, which nominated Catholic, anti-prohibition candidate Al Smith, was an important milestone in Texas politics. Brought to Houston at the instigation of civic leader Jesse Jones, the event was the first national convention held in a Southern state since the Civil War. Party officials saw the Houston convention as an opportunity to reconcile Protestant, prohibitionist Southern Democrats to a Smith ticket, but instead the Texas delegation showed great hostility towards his nomination.

Women's temperance groups and the local Baptist church held all-day and all-night prayer meetings near the convention hall and insisted that God would intervene to prevent the "catastrophe" of Smith's nomination. But inside the hall the majority of the party saw Smith as their only hope of victory over the Republicans in the fall. Smith's strong anti-prohibition acceptance speech on June 29 further alienated many Democrats who eventually joined forces with Republicans to elect Herbert Hoover in November 1928. In Texas the massive defection of Democrats was attributed both to Smith's antiprohibition views and his Catholicism. The state gave Hoover a majority, the first time in history that a Republican presidential candidate had carried Texas.

Residents of homestead community petition for incorporation
June 29, 1949
On this day in 1949, the residents of Dalworthington Gardens petitioned to have their community incorporated as a town. Dalworthington Gardens, one of the most unusual communities in Texas, is about twelve miles southeast of Fort Worth. It was established during the Great Depression as a subsistence homestead project under the authority of the National Industrial Recovery Act. The homestead program, administered by the Department of the Interior, was intended to help families through a combination of part-time industrial employment and subsistence agriculture. The idea was to locate homestead projects near large industrial centers where city workers could live, grow gardens, and raise farm animals to supplement their regular food supplies. Dalworthington Gardens (the name is an admixture of the names of the three interested cities, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington) was one of five such projects located in Texas and the only one still in existence today. The population of the community grew from 267 in 1950 to 2,186 in 2000.
posted by Jeff ~ 6.29.2011  The Texas State Historical Association

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