The Kilgore Historical Preservation Foundation was chartered in January 1987 by organizing board members Mayor Mickey Smith, City Commissioner Rob Schleier and at-large member Ronnie Spradlin.
Soon thereafter Carolyn Fox-Hearne and Bob Florence joined the board, as well as Kilgore Chamber of Commerce executive director Jimmy Dike.
KHPF has been fortunate to include as officers, directors and members, many outstanding community leaders throughout the years. The goal throughout the years has always remained constant – to preserve, promote and protect the unique heritage of Kilgore, Texas.

 

STARTED BY A WHISPER

Main Street Organization meeting with City of Kilgore under Mayor Mickey Smith. Jack Elder, nudged by whisper from Winter, his wife, suggested the derricks of Kilgore needed to be restored.

 

1987

Mayor Smith, as part of new Main Street Program, led efforts to organize and charter Kilgore Historical Preservation Foundation with 3 original incorporating board members: Mayor Smith, Rob Schelier, Ronnie Spradlin.

First steel derrick restored in February by Kilgore First National Bank with a celebration that included Red Adair.

Main Street Resource Team visited Kilgore and suggested the reconstruction of 50 derricks would restore the historical Kilgore skyline. The City Commission, led by Mayor Smith, committed to restore 2 derricks, and the derrick restoration project was underway.

Christmas lights were added to restored derricks. Merry Christmas banner was added by co-sponsors KIBA & KHPF

 

1988

Received National Trust for Historic Preservation Planning Grant for Crim and Texan Theater restoration

First sites acquired on World’s Richest Acre and three derricks were restored, in the block with the original derrick on that site which was owned by Kilgore Improvement and Beautification Association.

 

1989

Five Derricks were dedicated at the World’s Richest Acre

Crim Benefit “Strike It Rich”

KHPF won the Anice Read Award for creative historic preservation

Crim/Texan planning study completed by Killis Almond, architect, and team from the League of Historic American Theatres

 

1990

Crim/Texan roofs replaced World’s Richest Acre Park created and design approved “Hooray for Hollywood” benefit

 

1991

Texas A&M University architectural students complete master plan for Crim/Texan Theaters

Crim/Texan Gala held

George Peppard benefit reception held

 

1992

Two additional derricks dedicated at World’s Richest Acre Park Shoji Tabuchi benefit concert held

Counselor’s Quartet fund raiser held

“Happy New Year” banner added to World’s Richest Acre Christmas Lighting

First “Christmas in the Patch” celebration with Derrick Lighting filmed by CNN

 

1993

Chamber of Commerce held a benefit golf tournament for KHPF

Gary P. Nunn, “From Austin City Limits to Kilgore City Limits,” fund raiser Dino Kartsonakis fund raising concert World’s Richest Acre Park bricks and pavers go on sale Crim/Texan environmental study completed

Crim/Texan clean-out accomplished

10′ scale miniature derricks on downtown street corners initiated – a realization of Mickey Smith’s statement “I wish we had a derrick on every corner” and A. P. Merritt’s inspiration from a line of Christmas trees at the Galleria in Houston

City designates portion of hotel/motel tax to theater restoration project

 

1994

Union Pacific Railroad donates use of downtown Commerce Street right-of-way executing long-term lease with KHPF for derrick restoration

Restrooms constructed on right-of-way Dino Kartsonakis encore fund raiser Blackwood Quartet fund raising event

Crim Theater 55th Birthday Party – Public invited.

Meadowbrook Addition designated an official historic neighborhood

 

1995

Five additional derricks dedicated “Always Patsy Cline” benefit performance

Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra benefit concert

Meadowbrook Addition historic marker signs initiated with over 40 homes

Construction begins on WRA Park

 

1996

Crim exterior renovation to rear of building completed

Crim Theater neon and upper façade completed

Four derricks dedicated on 66th anniversary day of Daisy Bradford discovery well

“Always Patsy Cline” return performance

Crim/Texan exteriors painted

Stage, pumpjack, pavers and bricks installed at World’s Richest Acre Park

 

1997

KHPF 10th Year Tenth Anniversary Celebration of KHPF

Ten derricks dedicated – a total of 37 new derricks constructed

Doug Supernaw benefit concert

“Holiday Happenings in Historic Homes” tour initiated in Meadowbrook Addition: Boswell-Linn, The Nanny’s House, Noyes-DeSantis, McMurrey.

 

1998

Amoco sign added to right-of-way

Additional derricks reconstructed

Holiday Happenings in Historic Homes: Anding-Almand- Leath, Brown-Russell-Renshaw, Goldman-McCubbin, Lucas- Crisman-Jones.

 

1999

US Postal Service removed & restored the Murals prior to moving to new facility

KHPF worked with USPS to locate murals at the East Texas Oil Museum temporarily

Worked with City of Kilgore to acquire original Post Office building

Acquired long-term lease of Post Office for future city museum, anchoring south end of historic downtown corridor

Began restoration of Post Office by getting building in the dry

Additional derricks constructed.

Holiday Happenings in Historic Homes: Almand-Witt, Herndon Gertz-Spinks, Landrum-Holland, Hold-Merritt Potato Barn.

 

2000

Descendents of W. N. and Eudora Crim donated the Dean- Keener-Crim (DKC) Home and land, anchoring north end of historic downtown corridor. Featured on holiday home tour.

Texan Theater restoration plan developed Christmas Tree Park planned for lot across from DKC home

Additional derricks constructed

Holiday Happenings in Historic Homes: Bean-Sadler-Simmons, Collins-Griffin, Frank Brown-Miller, Ballard-Steph.

 

2001

Two derricks, “Christmas trees” and historic oilfield equipment installed in first stage of Christmas Tree Park

Historic oil company sign installed in first stage of development of oilfield equipment display along Commerce St. downtown railroad right-of-way

DKC home restoration begun with leveling, and plumbing and wiring repairs

Trees planted at DKC home site by KIBA, make a difference day Six derricks dedicated.

Sounds of Swing fundraiser featuring Tara Watson, Miss Texas.

Heritage Holiday in Historic Homes: Crim-Kubiak, Dean- Keener-Crim, Weinberg-Day, Wills-Long

 

2002

Texan repairs begun “Echoes From Forgotten Streets” published

Post Office restoration fund established, funded by book sales

Privacy fence installed at Christmas Tree Park through Purchasea Picket fundraising solicitation

Additional derricks constructed

Trail of Lights kick-off Lighting Ceremony, under Crim Theater Marquee with fireworks show

Community Christmas tree installed at Heritage Square in Kilgore Street between Texan Theater and Old Post Office building which was used as Trail of Lights Marketplace.

Heritage Holiday in Historic Home: Brown-Adamson-Woodfin, Dean-Keener-Crim, Elder-Laird, Edmonds-Brian.

 

2003

Preservation study & master plan for restoration/development of DKC home completed TX Historic Commission grant

Six derricks dedicated

Swing with the Red, White & Blue Fund raiser featuring “Sounds of Swing”

Trail of Lights kick-off Lighting Ceremony, under Crim Theater Marquee with Laser show

Old Post Office building used as Trail of Lights Marketplace.

Heritage Holiday in Historic Homes: Masters-Crowley, McWilliams-Crouse, Bass-Cox, Wickham-Colley.

Release of “Echoes from Forgotten Streets” by Terry Stembridge & Caleb Pirtle

 

2004

Texan Theater exterior renovations completed Pipe fence finished, Christmas Tree Park

Dedication of Lufkin Pumping Unit and Christmas Tree Park held

Additional derricks constructed

Trail of Lights kick-off Lighting Ceremony, Post Office Interior (rain). Snowhill adjacent to World’s Richest Acre Park.

Heritage Holiday in Historic Homes: Meadowbrook Country Club, Stanley-Renshaw, Reynolds-Rosen, Leath-Stanton.

 

2005

Entrance sign added, Christmas Tree Park National Preservation Month activities.

Dr. Archie McDonald’s “History of Texas Through Music”

Participation in 75th Anniversary of East Texas Oilfield discovery

Additional derricks constructed, exceeding original goal of 50 derricks to restore the historic skyline.

Derrick dedicated for Mickey Smith Completion of environment study and painting of DKC home

New Merry Christmas banner purchased and installed.

Trail of Lights kick-off Lighting Ceremony, World’s Richest Acre, “Celebration.” Snowhill adjacent to World’s Richest Acre Park. Heritage Holiday in Historic Homes tour: Devonne Godfrey Petty, Thrash-Langley, Head-Bolton, Dickson L. Griffin

 

2006

Arbor Day kick-off for DKC home 130th Birthday year

National Preservation Month Activities

Vintage Fashion Benefit, DKC Home

Dr. Archie McDonald’s — “History of WWII through Music”

Jazz Under the Derricks

Dean-Keener-Crim House new picket fence installed

Trail of Lights kick-off Lighting Ceremony, World’s Richest Acre. “A Star Spangled Celebration.” SnowMountain
adjacent to World’s Richest Acre Park

Heritage Holiday in Historic Homes tour: Reinhart-Walker, Morton-Dupre, Jenkins-Beane, Potter Patton

 

2007

KHPF 20th Year

Main Street Kilgore commences (encore!)

National Preservation Month Activities

DKC survey completed

KHPF Website brought online

Happy New Year sign re-framed

Derrick Ornament designed and sold along with framed copies of Devall Christmas Scene card

Holiday Happenings in Historic Home Tour: Almand-Zwick, Laird-Kulak, Routon-Day, Holt-BryanJohnston

Dean-Keener-Crim House tour with Maude Laird Middle School Junior Historians as docents

Dean-Keener-Crim House Public Tours

Committee Sale of t-shirts with WRA photo on front

Jazz Under the Derricks

Picnic in the WRA Park

Environmental study update Crim/Texan Theaters

Publication of Vol. II- Kilgore History

Release of “Visions from Forgotten Streets” by Terry Stembridge & Caleb Pirtle

 

2008

BOOM! a musical history about us
written by Dr. Lottie Lipscomb Guttry, directed by Elizabeth Hedges
March 7,8 at KHS Auditorium

CRAZY ‘BOUT PATSY
Dodson Auditorium May 6 -7:30 pm
With Sherrill Douglas of Sweet Dreams Productions
Benefit performance to “Keep the Stars Shining”

Preservation Month Activities:

Jazz in the Park
with Jazz Professors
Free concert in park

Budddy and Beyond The Johnny Rogers Show
benefit concert
Dodson Auditorium

Shake, Rattle, and Roll
WRA Park
free concert

Re-work of Derrick Stars after storm of September

KHPF Winner of Texas Downtown Association
Best Downtown Partner Award 2008
Temple, Texas

Christmas in the Patch Lighting Ceremony
“Tis the Season directed by Deana Covin

Holiday Happenings in Historic Homes
Stroope – Thrower House
Palmer – McCarty – Crews House
Walkup – Simpson House
Kilgore Public Library

Interpretive Plaques set in World’s Richest Acre Park

Completed Handicapped sidewalk to KIBA gate on back side of replicas

Crim was re-roofed by the City

Book Signing of “Visions” in December with the authors, Terry Stembridge and Caleb Pirtle

Renovation of Old Post Office began with all interior and exterior windows refurbishment and painting of Postmaster’s Office and Lobby

Participated with Main Street with advertising in brochure for travel centers.

Contract with I20 Access on derricks.

Completed installation of pad and lighting for Roosth derrick

 

2009

Gateway Interstate 20 Hwy 42 Derrick donated by Roosth Foundation