Former ETBU Instructor Dr. Lucile Estell Reviving Texas Historyby Mike Midkiff
MARSHALL, Texas (6/24/13) – A former East Texas Baptist University instructor and graduate has been the driving force behind Milam County, Texas to receive the first National Park Service signage to mark the national historic trail, El Camino Real del los Tejas. Dr. Lucile Estell of Rockdale was honored with the Historic Preservation Medal by the Texas Daughters of the American Revolution this past March in Houston for her efforts.
She has been very productive in preserving history since retiring in 1994 after 43 years in education and moving to Rockdale where she lived as a child. Besides her work with the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association she is a member of numerous organizations and a published author writing historical books on Rockdale and Marshall. In 2009, she received the John Ben Sheppard Award from the Texas Historical Commission for her leadership in historic preservation.
"Although I was an administrator in the public schools for many years, I was always involved in history. When I retired, I realized that I did not want to just sit and do nothing. So, I became involved in historic preservation,” shared Dr. Estell.
"I worked closely with the Texas Historical Commission in Austin and thus put on a Task Force to help the trail become a reality,” said Dr. Estell, board member and current president of the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historical Trail Association.
The historic trail was originally established to connect a series of missions and post between Monclova, Mexico and Los Adaes, the first capital of the province of Texas (in which what is now northwestern Louisiana). The series of trails were primarily the only overland route from the Rio Grande to Louisiana during the Spanish Colonial Period from 1690-1821.
"There is absolutely no doubt that the development of this historic treasure will revitalize and in many ways reshape Spanish Colonial History. It is more than just a road, it’s a spirit. We are one of the longest and newest of the 19 national historic trails in the United States,” said Dr. Estell.
Dr. Estell graduated from East Texas Baptist College in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History. Her parents wanted her to attend a small college for two years and then transfer to Baylor University.
"I was investigating Louisiana College when my best friend and classmate, Dora Ann Vann, asked me to go with her to Marshall to visit this college that had just become a four year institution,” recalled Dr. Estell. "We both loved what we saw and spent four happy years at ETBC. There was no way I would have transferred.”
"I know and appreciate the fact that my education at East Texas Baptist College has always been an advantage for me. I had skills in graduate school that many of the students there had not even heard of, much less learned,” said Dr. Estell.
She credits being prepared because of teachers like Arthur Tyson, Dorothy Nell Rogers, Ross Phares, T.J. Mattern, as well as others. "It was not until I was in graduate school that I realized how wonderful my education was on that campus,” she said strongly.
Dr. Estell earned her Master of Arts in History degree from North Texas State University in 1958. In 1988, she earned her doctorate in Educational Administration from East Texas State University. She taught in public schools in Mission and Marshall. Dr. Estell retired after spending 26 years with the Region VII Education Service Center in Kilgore. She also taught at ETBU for several years.
"I felt quite honored to receive the Historic Preservation Medal,” said Dr. Estell. "We all know that freedom is not free. Freedom must be earned by each generation. How can we expect a generation to defend a heritage for which they have neither knowledge nor appreciation? This commitment by the Daughters of the American Revolution to preservation is a positive, bright star.”
To travel through trail history, visit the El Camino Real de los Tejas website, www.elcaminorealdelostejas.org.
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