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2011 Local Legend Award winners honored

The Round Rock Historic Preservation Commission announced four Local Legend Award nominations at the City Council meeting on Thursday night. Louis Henna, Sr., Oliver Leppin, Robert L. "Buck" Egger, and Jacob Harrell were honored for their contributions to the culture, development, and history of the community.

Historic Preservation Commission Chair Jerry Hodges presented the awards to the recipients’ families and highlighted some of the accomplishments of each of the award winners. 

Louis Henna (1914-1990) was born in Round Rock.  By 1936, the 22-year old was operating an independent garage and filling station.  He later became part of the Chevrolet automobile franchise.  Louis Henna started the Henna Motor Company, still operating today as a family owned and operated business, Henna Chevrolet. 

On September 5, 1950, Louis and Billie Sue Henna's original gift of 112 acres of land and 5 buildings was deeded to the Baptist General Convention of Texas and what we now know as the Texas Baptist Children's Home.  In the 55 years since it began, more than 20,000 children and their families have been served in residential and non-residential programs.  This legacy will continue to reach thousands of children and families in crisis for years to come.

Louis Henna, Sr. served on the Round Rock City Council and was the Mayor of Round rock from 1952-1956.  Louis Henna Boulevard (SH45) in Round Rock bears his name. 

Oliver Leppin, Sr. (1917-1993), with wife Imogene and family, moved to Main Street, Round Rock in 1948 and quickly made it his home town. Oliver had served in WWII as an NCO with the Army Air Corps in Italy, North Africa and the Persian Gulf.

He had earned his engineering degree from the University of Texas and then was employed by Austin White Lime until he founded his own company, Leppin Engineering.

According to his family, the word 'volunteer' best sums up Mr. Leppin's attitude toward the responsibilities of a good citizen. For many years he selflessly gave of his time to the Round Rock Volunteer Fire Department, serving as secretary, president, and City Fire Marshal. He responded at a moment's notice to the fire alarm, often running the two blocks from his home to the fire station where he was the first responder.

Oliver also donated many hours to the Round Rock High School Band Boosters, serving on the board and working many Friday nights in the concession stand. He was active in the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and, as president, was instrumental in establishing the tradition of Frontier Days which is still an integral part of this community.

Robert L. "Buck" Egger (1896-1973) moved to Round Rock with his mother and father and ten brothers and sisters, when he was just 6 weeks old. They settled on the north bank of Brushy Creek in a rock house that still stands at 910 Heritage Center Circle. It looks much like it did over 100 years ago and has a State Historical Marker. As Mr. Egger grew up, so did Round Rock. He married Stella Baker in 1917, and they had one daughter, Willie Mae. They acquired land both northeast and south of "Old Town" long before there was a Hwy. 79, IH-35, or South Mays. In their early married years, the Eggers began a local dairy, delivering fresh milk to the door steps of Round Rock residents. Then in the late 1930's, Buck and Stella started their own business, Egger's Tavern, next to their home on South Mays. They served food and drinks and had live entertainment, attracting the servicemen from Fort Hood, travelers on old US 81, and local residents.

Mr. Egger was actively involved in the Round Rock Community - serving as a volunteer fire fighter for many years, as a director of Farmer's State Bank, and on the city's business planning committee which was instrumental in bringing the Westinghouse plant to Round Rock. Mr. Egger started developing some of his land in 1955 for Round Rock's first subdivision, Egger's Acres. During the early 1950s, in the spirit of serving the community, he gave land to the city for its first little league ball field - Buck Egger Park, at 900 South Mays. Mr. Egger sold or developed most of his land as I-35 came through his property on South Mays, and as Egger's Acres expanded.

Jacob M. Harrell (1804-1853) was one of the first settlers of what was to become Old Town Round Rock. Jacob and Mary McCutcheon Harrell came to Texas from Tennessee with Robertson's Nashville Colony in 1833. Jacob's brother and sister-in-law James G. and Catherine Harrell and other family members soon followed. The Harrell families were among the first to settle in the area later called Waterloo (Austin). Jacob Harrell sold his homestead to state agents for the site of the state capitol. Jacob was elected mayor of Austin in 1847. He served as host to General Mirabeau Lamar on a hunting trip that ultimately led to the selection of Austin as the capital.

Harrell was Austin's first blacksmith, but he chose to move his shop and house to his land grant on the north bank of Brushy Creek in the spring of 1848. The family cemetery that he established can be viewed today at the intersection of Bowman Road and Interstate 35.

On August 7, 1848, Jacob Harrell and Washington Anderson of the Round Rock area were elected as two of the first four county commissioners.  Jacob Harrell died on August 23, 1853 and is buried in the Harrell Cemetery along with other family members.

The Local Legend Awards program was established in 1990. To date, 49 individuals, groups or organizations have been honored. Award winners are selected based on the following criteria: importance to the City’s founding or growth; association with an historic place or event; legacy of service to the community; and/or personal achievements that have brought honor and distinction to the nominee and the City of Round Rock.

This year’s nomination and selection process was assisted by a volunteer committee that included Kami Barron, Jesus Franco, Cathy Kincaid, and Rufus Honeycutt. After reviewing nominations, the committee made its recommendation to the Round Rock Historic Preservation Commission in August.

The selected winners were honored by the City Council at their October 27th meeting.  As in the past, Local Legend Award winners received a certificate of recognition. Recipients are also recognized on a plaque that lists all winners since the program’s inception.

Local Legend Award nominations are accepted throughout the year by the Planning and Development Services Department of the City of Round Rock. 

For more information, contact Joelle Jordan at 512-218-5422 or jjordan@round-rock.tx.us or visit: www.roundrocktexas.gov/locallegends.         

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011

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