The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

March 8, 2013

Sign goes up in Old Town

PALESTINE —  

The Old Town Creek Revitalization organization has recently announced the completion of a sign located at the corner of Crawford Street and Old Town Creek erected to inform visitors of the significance of the area.

The sign, in the form of a timeline, was created by Colorado artist Dale Montagne, who sculpted the recently erected “Forging History” statue in downtown Palestine.

The text plaque was a contribution of the Coffield unit’s metal fabrication facility, and includes a design combination of rusty metal, wagon wheels, gears and cattle with an etched stainless text panel.

“(The location of the sign) is one of the most significant spots in our town,” Old Town Creek Revitalization member Mary Jean Mollard said. “As one of the crossroads of the community, it grew from the commerce of the Trinity River steamboats to the railroad and the highways.”

This sculpture/sign project was made possible by a community grant from the Palestine Junior Service League, with the purpose of offering a permanent information plaque for the area.

The purpose of the Old Town Palestine Revitalization Fund (a subfund of the Texas Area Fund) is for the improvement of the area, which has included the creek clean-up, bridges and signs.

This non-profit organization was formed in 2000 to develop three blocks of the Old Town Creek from Lacy Street to Avenue A by Jean and Norman Mollard, Steve Sussdorf and several other property owners on the creek.

“Grants and in-kind work from the city, county and prison system as well as many volunteers changed the area from an eyesore to a destination,” Mollard said. “Local artist and welder Terry Vogler, the late Norman Mollard and Steve Sussdorf put in many hours on metal bridges, dams, plans and signs. Contributions from local businesses both in funds and goods and services made it happen.”

 The organization also developed the 30-foot wide creek area which was donated by the property owners as an easement to the City of Palestine. Later, Norman Mollard created the Sawmill Hollow Park, a private park for the enjoyment of visitors and as a stage venue for festivals.

“The park continues to attract early morning walkers and daytime viewers who use the walkway along the creek and the open area of the park to enjoy the tranquility of the area,” Mollard said. “The private park area is now owned by David and Becky Wolfe of Oxbow Bakery.”

All of the buildings in Old Town continue to offer food (four food sites), gifts, antiques and entertainment (private club).

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Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com

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