Dozens of people took time out of a picturesque fall afternoon to celebrate family and Texas history on Saturday.
For the eighth year in a row, the African American Historic Preservation Committee, a Texas City nonprofit organization, held a heritage celebration outside The 1887 Frank Sr. and Flavilla Bell home, on Bell Drive in Texas City.
The home is the centerpiece of the 1867 Settlement Historic District, one of Galveston County’s earliest occupied areas. The Settlement, a nearly 350-acre national historic district, was founded by four families — the Bells, Brittons, Caldwells and Hobgoods — who came to Texas and worked as cowboys on the Chisholm Trail after being freed from slavery following the Civil War.
Saturday’s event included musical performances, wagon rides and tours of the Bell home, which now is a small museum.
Many of the attendees at Saturday’s event could trace their families back to the original Settlement families, said Vera Bell-Gary, 92, the event’s organizer.
“Our mission is preservation and restoration,” said Bell-Gary. “We have a rich history and we’re proud of what we’ve worked hard for. We just want to keep it.”
Local conservationists began to organize restoration efforts around the Settlement in 2005. In 2010, the area was declared an official historic site by the Texas Historical Commissioner. In 2012, volunteers completed the renovation of the Bell House, the oldest standing structure in the city.