“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Grapevine in Tarrant County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

The Founders Building

Dedicated on Texas Independence Day - March 2, 1999

The Founders Building Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Thomas Smith, March 6, 2022
1. The Founders Building Marker

This Founders Building, while itself not historic in age, is a tribute to Grapevine citizens both past and present who possessed a vision for this community and a desire to develop and share its potential. These individuals are the "Founders” of the community. Whether their acts were in the 1800s or 1900s...the spirit which inspired their faith, generosity and unselfish commitment lives on and is honored at this site.

The Grape Vine Prairie drew to itself men of stature and fortitude. Among the early settlers was the Rev. E. Nathan Hudgins who came to Texas from Belfant, Alabama, in 1854 with his wife, Sarah Proctor. Nine children were born into this family before Sarah's death. Rev. Hudgins married Susan Baker, and to them were born ten more children. Rev. Hudgins homestead was a large tract of land in Grapevine located on both the east and west sides of Main Street. He provided 20 acres to each of his children when they married. He also gave tracts of land for the Methodist Church, a public school and a tract for the right of way for the Cotton Belt Railroad.

Rev. Hudgins had a vision for Grapevine. After the
The Founders Building and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Thomas Smith, March 6, 2022
2. The Founders Building and Marker
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Civil War, he and many other businessmen and farmers earnestly sought a railroad to link Grapevine to the outside world. At that time, the only method of transporting the abundance of crops produced on the Grape Vine Prairie was by ox cart, horses or mules. Transportation difficulties severely limited the availability of consumer goods and building materials. The coming of the railroad transformed the community, and isolation became a thing of the past. The ability to widely market agricultural products brought a degree of prosperity. New and stylish commercial buildings on Main Street soon replaced the earlier wooden structures.

Other business was spawned by the railroad, including hotels for travelers and salesmen who came in by train to call on potential customers. New families employed by the railroad joined the community and adde their talents, skills and energies to the founding families of Grapevine, some of whom were named Foster, Leonard, Dunn, Minter, Hall, Hood, Gibson, Throop, Hallford, Medlin, Cate and Easter. To these founding families, and the many others, who endured hardship and whose vision prepared the way for the future, this Founders Building is dedicated.

This property has been the site of several commercial ventures including Estill's Lumberyard and the Donnie Chair Company (which burned). In December 1964, Wm. Cameron
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& Co. opened a new retail establishment here, moving its operation from 120 East Worth Street. Following Wm. Cameron & Co., several building supply companies occupied this building including National Building Centers, Lowe's and Malco. In 1991, a spirited group of visionary citizens purchased the property. They were the Grapevine Heritage Foundation.

The tap-root of the Foundation extended deep. It sprouted from various committees organized by Grapevine business leaders including the Downtown Association and the Main Street Program. With a heart for the past and an eye for the future, in 1990 Grapevine's City Council blended these committees into one organization and called it the Grapevine Historic Preservation and Cultural Resources Foundation. Non-profit status was obtained, and goals were set to preserve Grapevine's rich heritage and promote the community to the world. Members of Grapevine City Council who organized the Foundation, and to whom we dedicate this building, were: Mayor Wm. D. Tate · Shane Wilbanks · Sharron Spencer · Will Wickman · Jery Pittman · Ted Ware · Gill Traverse

In 1991 the Foundation's name was changed to "The Grapevine Heritage Foundation.” Founding board members stepped out in faith several times, pledging their personal financial commitment to bank notes to acquire needed property including this site. These founding Foundation
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board members, to whom we dedicate this building were: Paul W. McCallum, Chairman · Marion Brekken · Jess Daniel · Burl Gilliam · Hugh D. Reed · Ted Willhoite · Will Wickman, Council Liaison · Carla Bandera, Foundation Director

After the building was purchased and a plan established to transform it into a Heritage Artisans Center, volunteers were needed to renovate and staff the facility. Proceeds from Main Street Days and GrapeFest provided the capital for supplies. The result validated the hours of volunteer labor which made the project a success. To those volunteers we dedicate this Founders Building

After five years of operation, in 1998 the Heritage Artisans Center became the Visitor Information Center. Artisans were relocated to the Cotton Belt Railroad Section Foreman's House, and work began to develop a first-class Visitor Information Center. Through funding provided by the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau, many changes were made including the installation of beautiful wall murals which tell the story of Grapevine. To the visionary 1997-98 Advisory Board of the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau who supported this transformation, we dedicate this building: They were Don Bigbie, Chairman · Colin Ankersen · Gary Blagg · Bill Brink · Phillip Cloud · Gayle Hall · Kathee Livengood · Phil Parker · Steve Trent · Jerry Pittman, Council Liaison · Paul W. McCallum, Executive Director

In the 1800s, the desire to be connected to the outside world prompted the generosity of Rev. E. Nathan Hudgins. Today Grapevine is at the crossroads of the world, and its generous citizens still extend the hand of friendship.

"If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands but a continent that joins to them." Francis Bacon

In the late 1800s, Rev. E. Nathan Hudgins, founder of the Methodist Church in Grapevine, donated a tract of land for the right of way for the railroad, thereby linking Grapevine to the world.

In 1990, Grapevine City Council created the Grapevine Historic Preservation & Cultural Resources Foundation, later raenamed the Grapevine Heritage Foundation. Charter Board Members were: (l to r) Paul W. McCallum, Carla Bandera (Foundation Director), W. D. (Ted) Willholte, Burl Gilliam, Marion Brekken, Jess Daniel, Hugh D. Reed and Will Wickman (City Council Liaison).

In 1997, the Heritage Artisans Center is transformed into the Visitors Information Center. On March 2, 1999, the building is dedicated as the Founders Building in honor of those individuals whose generosity make Grapevine a unique place to live and visit.
Erected 1999.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1800.
Location. 32° 56.053′ N, 97° 4.694′ W. Marker is in Grapevine, Texas, in Tarrant County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street and East Hudgins Street, on the left when traveling south on South Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Grapevine TX 76051, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Courage, Sacrifice (here, next to this marker); Willy Majors (a few steps from this marker); Nat Barrett (a few steps from this marker); The Grapevine Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); The Cotton Belt Railroad Depot (within shouting distance of this marker); Land Patent Office (within shouting distance of this marker); Grapevine Dairy Producers Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Cotton Belt Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grapevine.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 3, 2022, by Thomas Smith of Waterloo, Ill. This page has been viewed 164 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 3, 2022, by Thomas Smith of Waterloo, Ill. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 30, 2023