The Southlake Historical Society, a 501c3 organization, was founded in the early 1990s by Gary Fickes, a former mayor of Southlake and now a Tarrant County commissioner, who put an ad in the Grapevine Sun newspaper asking people interested in Southlake history to come together.
The society’s goal is to promote the preservation, understanding and appreciation of Southlake history.
2021-22 board members are Connie Cooley, president; Claire Johnson, secretary; Rebecca Utley, director of development; and Anita Robeson, historian. Tamara McMillan organizes our yearly Ghosts of Southlake Past cemetery tour.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 92825, Southlake TX 76092.
We have received many compliments and awards for our work, including the Texas Historical Commission’s 2021 Award of Excellence in Preserving History; the American Association for State and Local History’s 2021 Leadership in History Award; the AASLH’s 2013 Albert B. Corey Award, which recognizes volunteer organizations that best display vigor, scholarship and imagination; and an award from the Captain Molly Corbin Chapter of the DAR, Grapevine.
In 2021, Anita and Connie won the Tarrant County Historical Commission’s William E. Jary Jr. Memorial Award given in recognition of exceptional efforts in preserving and collecting the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.
The Southlake Historical Society has received project grants from the Meadows Fund via the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Summerlee Foundation.
This website was written by Anita and Connie.
Southlake Historical Society’s accomplishments include:
- Helping newcomers to Southlake – and “old-timers,” too — learn about our history and feel more at home.
- Promoting heritage tourism by participating in the Texas Heritage Trails Program and putting together fliers and web information for tourists.
- Working with the city to build and furnish the log house in Bicentennial Park.
- Conducting tours of the log house for Scouts, CISD students and the public.
- Writing two books, Images of America: Southlake, and Images of Sports: Southlake Carroll Dragon Football published by Arcadia Publishing. The books tell the history of our city and the history of the Carroll Dragon football program in words and photographs.
- Advocating for the preservation of the 1919 Carroll School.
- Appearing before the Southlake Executive Forum to tell members about the significance of the 1919 Carroll School and the importance of savng it.
- Receiving a grant from the Meadows Fund for Historic Schools through the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help pay for a structural assessment of the 1919 Carroll School.
- Developing a self-guided history tour of Southlake.
- Putting together and maintaining a website.
- Writing numerous articles for newspapers and magazines about Southlake history.
- Researching and writing Texas Historical Commission markers for the Dove Community and the 1919 Carroll School.
- Conducting history tours and giving talks on history to community groups, church groups and Realtors.
- Answering questions by Realtors and others about the history of various properties.
- Interviewing longtime residents for oral histories.
- Partnering with the Southlake Library to create a Local History section (next to the magazines) and programs for the library’s Summer Reading Club.
- Presenting programs that have included such topics as Dragon football, local fire and police, the Civil War, Bonnie and Clyde, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, antique appraisals, the Bob Jones family and the Jeroll Shivers family. A speakers’ series focused on mid- and late-century topics: “How Lake Grapevine Changed Southlake,” “How DFW Airport Got Off the Ground” and “The Making of Southlake Town Square.”
- Hosting a traveling photograph exhibit, arranged by the Texas Lakes Trail organization, about Comanche chief Quanah Parker and his mother, Cynthia Ann Parker. Honored guest at a program was Quanah Parker’s great-grandson. Doug Harman and Clara Ruddell of the Tarrant County Historical Association helped put together the exhibit and also spoke at the event. The photography exhibit and program were held in the lobby of Southlake Town Hall.
- Sponsoring Jack Cook Day to honor a man who was a living link to historical events in Southlake and Texas.
- Partnering with the Bob Jones Nature Center on an Antiques Appraisal Fair and other projects.
- Working with CISD teachers to create classroom material about local history.
Continuing and future goals for the Southlake Historical Society, and/or a Southlake Heritage Commission:
- Bring to the attention of the City Council and residents places of historic interest within the city.
- Give advice on how those places might fit into goals of protecting our heritage, giving residents a sense of place, preserving history for future generations, providing economic benefit to businesses, and enhancing tourism.
- Encourage tourism by highlighting heritage sites.
- Coordinate signage throughout the city that explains people and places of historical significance. Oversee production of a driving tour or a heritage app for tourists, residents.
- Publicize to property owners and the general public the need for and the benefits of protecting and preserving Southlake’s cultural and historic resources.
- Consult with and coordinate activities with other boards and commissions as well as local service and nonprofit groups to achieve common goals.
- Assist Southlake planners in the development and creation of those sections of the master plan, standards and regulations that address cultural and historic resources.
- Assist residents and businesses find the money (grants, etc.) to restore or preserve a building or site.
- Promote increased awareness of Southlake history within the community.
- Provide a way to raise money for projects through a nonprofit entity under the auspices of the city (a very successful example is the Grapevine Heritage Foundation).
- Give a larger number of residents the opportunity to become involved in Southlake history in a meaningful, productive way.
- Foster a wider variety of ideas on how to bring Southlake history alive for residents, visitors.
- Give a chance for citizens to weave history into community events.
- Alert businesses or residents of places of historical interest and help with research.