Community planning celebration

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Orange Grove Journal

The community of Orange Grove will celebrate its 100th year, its centennial, in the year 2008. Various activities will be sponsored by the Orange Grove Area Museum the City of Orange Grove, and by other groups, organizations and individuals from the community throughout the year.

The city council held its first meeting with the museum board concerning the centennial celebration this Tuesday at the Intermediate School cafeteria.

Nearly 50 people attended this week's meeting. Mayor Seale Brand said there was outstanding representation at this week's planning meeting, and that another will take place in February to further coordinate efforts.

The city will be seeking donations from businesses and individuals in the community to help defray the costs associated with the centennial celebration.

The history of the land where Orange Grove is now located and the surrounding areas can be traced to the original Spanish land grants.

Some of the early settlers were from the Reynolds, Miller, Smith and Wade families. In 1888, George Reynolds Sr. donated the right-of-way through his ranch to the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad Company. The railroad built loading and dipping pens for cattle which served the area ranches.

The necessities needed by a pioneer population started the businesses for a town. In 1908, George J. and Josephine Reynolds enlisted the help of Fennell Dibrell and Max Starke to survey and establish the town of Orange Grove. The town was laid out with 69 acres in the original site. Town lots were sold to citizens and given to people who established businesses.

From that time on, families arrived in Orange Grove from the surrounding countryside as well as Shiner, Hallettsville, Nordheim, New Braunfels and the Rio Grande Valley. These families and the families who lived on the adjoining farms and ranches formed the actual community of Orange Grove.

The City of Orange Grove was incorporated in 1935 with Adolph Wendt serving as the first mayor and August Hinze and Edmund V. Newmann serving as the town's first councilmen. In 1958, the members of the Orange Grove community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of Orange Grove.

"The community of Orange Grove is now 100 years old and the citizens deserve a celebration," said Ernest Henderson, president of the board of directors for the Orange Grove Area Museum.

The Orange Grove Centennial celebration will kick off on the weekend of April 18 and 19 with a "head & heeling" roping. The open roping event will be on the evening of Friday, April 18, at the Foster Arena located east of Orange Grove on FM 738.

The Orange Grove Area Museum will sponsor its annual Pioneer Days Festival in downtown Orange Grove on Saturday, April 19.

The event will feature a barbecue meal to be served in the Senior Citizens Center, vendor booths selling arts and crafts as well as food, pioneer demonstrations both inside of the museum and outside, a raffle, a baked goods contest, washer and horseshoe pitching and entertainment. Anyone wishing to rent a vendor booth, or participate in the festival in any way should call Betty Box at 384-1300 Wednesday through Saturday.

Frank Medrano, a graduate of Orange Grove High School who now lives in Florida, will be the featured speaker. Lupe Ramon, another graduate of Orange Grove High School, will provide some entertainment.

"We are very excited to have Frank Medrano and Lupe Ramon come back home to Orange Grove and speak with us about what it meant to grow up and attend school here in Orange Grove" said Betty Box, curator of Orange Grove Area Museum.

"We hope that the visitors will enjoy the entertainment, the pioneer demonstrations, and the good food," Box continued.

The City of Orange Grove will be sponsoring a parade and Biergarten on Saturday, April 19, to coincide with the Pioneer Days event.

"Everyone is invited to Downtown Orange Grove to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of our community's founding," according to Seale Brand, mayor of Orange Grove. The City of Orange Grove in collaboration with the Orange Grove Volunteer Fire Department will be sponsoring a cook-off of a variety of classes of meat. The city is also planning to sell a calendar and other commemorative items as well. Budweiser will sponsor the Biergarten and music for the event.

Gabe Rodriguez, proprietor of Premier Auto Collision Center in Orange Grove, will sponsor a Classic Car Show on Saturday, April 19. Restored automobiles from the past will be on display. Various contests and awards including a "Best in Show" will be presented.

This centennial celebration is for the citizens of the community of Orange Grove, both past and present.

The centennial will be recognized for the entire year of 2008. Civic and social organizations, churches, and etc. are welcome to participate in celebration of Orange Grove's centennial throughout 2008.