Tell us about yourself:
Ronnie Richards. I’m the President of the League City Historical Society. In my work life, I’m semi-retired and work as a consultant.
How did your story with the League City Historical Society begin?
I have always been interested in our history and that interest was piqued when my wife Nancy and I began working to open our event venue Butler’s Courtyard. The Butler Building has been a cornerstone of the area’s history and connection to the past in many ways.
The One Room Schoolhouse Program is a highlight of the League City Historical Society. Tell us about it.
West Bay Common School Children’s Museum is located in League City’s Historic District nestled among the oaks and historic homes. It is a free museum with a collection of League City artifacts and education memorabilia. It also acts as a classroom for public, private, and home schools, seniors, scouts, and others. The half-day program allows visitors to experience school in the 1890s. Over 100,000 children have been through the program in its 25-year history.
When you register for an 1898 Schoolhouse Session program it includes a pen & ink lesson, math, Spelling and history lessons on lap slates plus a spelling bee. The group then goes to our Historic Bus Barn to learn about outhouses, play games of the 1890s and explore the life and times of this town through a display of artifacts and exhibits. The cost for the half-day schoolhouse program is minimal. Information is available at www.OneRoomSchoolHouse.org or by contacting us at 281-554-2994 or email OneRoomSchoolhouseLC@gmail.com.
Can you tell us about the Landmark Medallion Program?
The League City Landmark designation is awarded to structures and sites over 60 years of age deemed worthy of preservation for their architectural and/or historical associations. Ideally, the structure should maintain much of its original appearance and should be an exemplary model of preservation. More information is available on our web site at www.LeagueCityHistory.org.
Can you tell us about the Live Oak Tree Registry and the tree rating system?
The League City Historical Society created a registry of live oak trees with the help of a start-up grant from the Texas Forest Service. This registry is especially appropriate for our community since the live oak is the symbol of League City and many of our trees are more than a century old. We have registered more than 300 trees! A book was published with beautiful photos of the larger trees and the names the owners had assigned to them. More information can be found on our web site.
What are some exciting events the Historical Society participates in?
In 2019 the annual 4th of July Teddy Bear Parade for children was held and set a new record for entrants from 0 – 12 years of age. The kids decorate their bikes, wagons, scooters, and strollers in a patriotic theme to compete for prizes in each age group.
Another super interesting and entertaining event is the Annual Living History Dinner. At the dinner, an actor portrays a historical character. We’ve enjoyed internationally recognized actors portraying George Washington, Jean Lafitte, Sam Houston and others. Information on events are available to the public in our monthly newsletter, our Facebook page and web site.
Any additional general background info on the organization that you would like to provide?
This year we have partnered with the City’s Library History Club. We meet at the Helen Hall Library at 7:15 p.m. on the last Thursday of the month to hear an interesting speaker presenting information on history. The meeting schedule and speaker topic can be found on the City web site in the library section. It’s free and open to the public.
Would you like to share anything about your family life or other hobbies?
I’m very blessed to have my three daughters and their families all living here in League City! My wife and I get to see my eight grandchildren ranging in age from two to 14 almost anytime we want and sometimes more than we want. They all love the City and our schools.
What is your favorite thing about League City?
My favorite thing about the City is its small-town feel. I think this feeling will be reinforced with the redevelopment going on in the old part of town around League Park. This should give our citizens a sense of place and be the “heart” of our City. I want to thank our Mayor, Council and City Staff for their support and hard work on this issue.
What is the best part about having your non-profit in League City?
Being a non-profit in League City is rewarding but challenging. When I moved to League City in 1962 the population was 5280. Now it’s surpassed that by more than 100,000 residents. Few of our citizens realize our deep rich history. Our outreach efforts and those of the Butler Longhorn Museum to enrich our citizens with an understanding of our local history and be relevant in today’s cultural context is a challenge. Funding for museums is difficult. We raise funds through membership sales, fundraisers and grants and have a very small conservative budget. Unfortunately, at this juncture we don’t have the resources to hire paid staff to allow us to keep the museum open daily so currently, we are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday and by appointment.
What is your favorite place to eat in League City?
That’s a hard question with all the new options. I guess it would be Rustika for breakfast, Red River for lunch, and Opus for dinner. I also enjoy Esteban’s.
How can locals become a member of the society?
The best way to support the League City Historical Society is to visit our web site at www.LeagueCityHistory.org and become a member and Like our Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/LeagueCityHistory/ and www.facebook.com/WestBayOneRoomSchool/. We also need volunteers to support our projects.