The donation was by Mrs. Smyth’s children, Joseph P. Smyth, Mary Katherine Smyth Basquin, Virginia Smyth Low, and the First National Bank of Huntsville. The Gathering Place will be exactly what the name implies, a place where people come together near the front of the library and will be a focal point in our new space. Virginia Gibbs Smyth was the eldest child of Dr. James Philip Gibbs and Mary McAshan Gibbs. She was the great granddaughter of Sam Houston State College’s (now SHSU) second president, H.H. Smith.
During her long and generous life, Mrs. Smyth made many contributions to educational and children’s programs in Huntsville. She furnished the children’s reading room in the original public library in memory of her sister Sarah and gave a valuable ornithology collection to the library in memory of her father. SHSU has several scholarships within the College of Criminal Justice, the English department, and Journalism division given by Mrs. Smyth in memory of her parents and brother James Philip Gibbs Jr. An endowment in the Library Sciences division was established in her name by her son. In spite of the many years she spent in New York City, Mrs. Smyth never forgot her heritage in Huntsville. The Huntsville Public Library Friends are thrilled to be able to place the name of Virginia Gibbs Smyth in a central place within the library and the city which meant so much to her thanks to her children and the First National Bank of Huntsville’s gift of $20,000.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The Huntsville Item reports the funding of "The Gathering Place" at the renovated and expanded Huntsville public library in memory of Virginia Gibbs Smyth:
A revision of plans for a proposed building near Bowers Stadium was among the items approved by the...Board of Regents....
The building was originally designated as an alumni center. However, upon programming phase completion in October, it was changed to an event center when the need for an on-campus facility to accommodate university events, athletics sales and marketing, learning enhancement, and alumni relations was documented. The project will now go into the design phase.
The regents also approved adding a new Continuing Education and Small Business Center to the list of projects in SHSU’s capital improvements program. The facility will be located on university property at 13th Street in Huntsville.
Tuition will increase from $163 to $171 per semester credit hour, effective fall 2011. The increase was proposed to provide funds for the increasing costs of salaries and benefits for faculty promotion and tenure adjustments. In addition, the increase will help fund new nursing and allied health program costs, criminal justice growth, the new College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication, and general engineering initiatives.
Sam Houston State University Distinguished Alumnus Charlie Amato of San Antonio was named chairman of the TSUS Board of Regents. Amato has served as vice chairman of the board during the past year. He replaces Ron Blatchley of Bryan, also an SHSU graduate, who completed his term.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
The Item reports on the building that recently was transported 40 miles to take up permanent residence on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum grounds:
Bear Bend is the name given to the old hunting cabin which was moved from Montgomery County where it has resided in two separate locations since at least the 1840s.
Patrick Nolan, director of the museum, said the cabin is an impressive part of Sam Houston’s history. “In the 1840s and 1850s, Sam Houston would go bear hunting here...that’s the legend. We found a quote in a book that said there was a bend in the creek near the cabin and they would drive bears into that bend." The cabin’s construction is unlike any other period structure available for viewing on the museum grounds. "It’s a two-story double pen log cabin. There are four rooms in two segments to the building connected by a breezeway."
For moving purposes, the cabin’s roof, chimneys and porches were taken off and moved separately. Over the next few months, inmates from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will work to restore the cabin to its original form.
Originally, the cabin was located in Montgomery County near the Walker County line near a U-shaped bend in Atkins Creek. A couple named Carroll and Mae Tharp began collecting old structures and moving them onto a property they called “Fern Land.” This cabin was moved from its original site to Fern Land, along with two other cabins, a frame house and a blacksmith shop. The entire grouping was later donated to Sam Houston State University. All total, the property had buildings moved from Montgomery, Walker and Angelina counties.
“Over 40 years, they had developed these structures into a grouping in the woods that had a pioneer feel to it,” Nolan explained. “The university spent a number of years trying to figure out how to best deal with the issue (of the five buildings).
“It was 40 miles away. There was no infrastructure on the grounds and no parking,” he added. “To make it publicly available would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. A number of people in the city of Montgomery began working a deal where the university would lease the cabins to the people in Montgomery and they would be moved to a different site.”
In return for four of the buildings remaining in Montgomery County, the city of Montgomery paid to have “Bear Bend” moved to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.