The First Year by Linda Sutton

Who would have thought ten years ago, that the spark of an idea between three friends would today end up illuminating 100 years of Frisco’s history.

I owned and published Frisco Style Magazine ten years ago and was fortunate enough to have Bob Warren and Sharon Weinberg on my board. The board met at La Hacienda restaurant one fall day in 1997, and we three friends stayed to chat after everyone else left. Bob had been authoring his Now and Then column for a while and reminded us that the restaurant was actually in the town of Lebanon – the town the railroad passed by. Across Preston Road were still a few homes and some old buildings that were going to be torn down. The little white Lebanon Baptist Church soon would be the only reminder that an entire community had existed there since the early 1800’s.

How sad, we remarked and shook our heads. We wondered what would be left of Frisco’s history since it had been declared the fastest growing city in Texas. Daily, the dozers were digging, old homes and buildings were being torn down, pastures were being paved over faster than anyone could have imagined. Frisco’s history was fading. And, as Sharon who worked for the local newspaper reminded us, records of Frisco’s history were being lost as older people passed away and photos and documents left town with their children.

I asked Bob if the city was making any plans toward Frisco’s 100-year birthday in 2002. After all, a 100-year birthday party required several years of advanced planning. He said he hadn’t heard anything about it.

We three let all this information and regret gel in our brains and hearts…then, the spark of an idea flew between us. We believed Frisco’s history was worth saving and celebrating, and we were going to see if other’s felt the same way!

We put together a list of names for a steering committee and met at the office of Frisco Style. It takes much more than a spark to get a good flame, and I would like to acknowledge those of you in the audience who attended the early meetings. Some are no longer with us: Ruth Borchardt, Callie Morgan, Ruby Nichols, Clara Baccus and Dr. Pink. They, along with those you see standing, are the ones who fanned that spark into the flame that resulted in the Heritage Association of Frisco. Thank you!

The steering committee was excited with the idea of saving Frisco’s history. Callie and Ruth, in their 80s and 90s, made every meeting rain or shine. And it rained a lot that winter.

Sharon and I were relative newcomers to Frisco, but people like Lois Cates, Sammy Vaughn and Joanne McSpedden thanked us on a regular basis and let us know how glad they were that we now called Frisco home.

Early in 1998, the steering committee voted to reorganize as a separate entity from the old Bicentennial Committee that researched and published the 1976 “blue” history book. The old group had been dissolved by the state and few members were still alive. Harold and Clara Baccus had been keeping up with the money from the occasional sale of the blue book. Those funds – about $5,000 – were transferred to the new organization. Later in the year, we received another cash donation of funds left over from a city bond election. We had operating capital!

Clara became the new Heritage Association’s first treasurer. Other officers elected in early 1998 were Dr. Pink, President; Bob Warren, 1st VP; Sharon Weinberg, 2nd VP; Ruby Nichols, Recording Secty; and Linda Sutton, Corresponding Secty. Audie Adkins from the Chamber of Commerce and Paul Johnson of the City were liaisons with their organizations.

I think everyone will agree that the smartest thing the steering committee did was to get Dr. and Mrs. Pink involved. Elisabeth had 25 years experience in historic preservation, and Dr. Pink was…well, talk about fanning the flames! He had the vision for this organization to be what it is today. From the beginning, he talked about having a museum, and in one early interview with the local newspaper he said, “I’m a doer and I’m gonna get it done!” God bless you Elisabeth and Dr. Pink.

Much of the work that was done that first year involved the nuts and bolts of establishing the Heritage Association as a viable organization:

  • First, we had to have a name.
  • Then we developed our mission and goals.
  • Larry Daste, a nationally known illustrator and Frisco resident donated his expertise in designing our logo. If you look at the red bars, you will see the capital letters H, A and F.
  • We developed our stationery and business forms.
  • Membership dues were established and cards printed.
  • Through Dr. and Mrs. Pink’s dedication, we received our non-profit status from the state and got our Tax ID number. Elisabeth actually rented a typewriter while they were on vacation in Taos, N.M. to complete the application and get it mailed by the deadline!
  • We received a generous donation of office space along with a telephone from the City. Lois Cates, Sammy Vaughn and Vivian McCallum took turns retrieving messages three days a week at the office.
  • We furnished the office with donated furniture and bought a computer, printer and scanner with our operating capital.
  • Another donation came from Exxon in the form of a fireproof file cabinet where we stored the precious photos we were collecting. Many of them were unclaimed photos from the old blue history book and had been stored by Elisabeth Pink for 20 years.
  • We began planning fundraising activities that included a calendar, cookbook, and coffee table book celebrating 100 years of history.
  • Special committees were established to begin research on all things Frisco. Research by these special committees provided the facts and anecdotes for all our subsequent publications.
  • We worked on a long- range strategic plan.
  • Bob Warren and Dr. Pink began collecting audio/video histories using Bob’s cassette recorder for the first interview with Otis and Allie B. Newman. We later purchased a video recorder.
  • We held our first community-wide meeting on May 26, 1998 where we signed up 35 new members and collected $400 in donations.
  • By the end of that first year, we had about $12,000 in the bank.

Sounds like we had a fire lit under us, doesn’t it? We did, but that’s not all. That first year, we began a major campaign to collect old photos and documents that enlarged the current collection. This was Sharon’s passion, and through her efforts, much of Frisco’s visual history was saved.