Today I went to a joint DAR-Austin Women’s Club luncheon at the Bellevue Chateau, which has been the headquarters of the Austin Women’s Club since 1929. Because of the heavy rain there were many cancellations. I wish the weather had been sunny, or at least dry, but I didn’t want to miss the luncheon. It was the first time since joining DAR in 2012 that I had attended this annual affair.
The program was a slide presentation by Deb Fleming, President of Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc. [www.texasdancehall.org] It is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 to preserve historic dance/community halls in Texas. To qualify as historic for their purposes the hall must be at least 50 years old and must have admitted anyone to the dances regardless of age. Texas had many dance halls all over the state but the vast majority of the remaining ones are found in Central Texas. Most of them were built in the late 1800s through the early 1900s by German, Czech and Polish settlers.
Our DAR chapter regent is planning a Saturday bus trip for next spring to visit some of those halls and other nearby sites. I signed the list of interested people. It sounds like a lot of fun. I’m always ready for a day trip!
Our meal was very tasty, as usual. The menu included salad (grilled corn, tomatoes and feta cheese on a bed of fresh spinach), meatloaf (not exactly like the kind I used to make, mind you), asparagus, mashed potatoes and strawberry shortcake. I was the only DAR member at my table; I enjoyed visiting with the members of the Austin Women’s Club. I was definitely outclassed by several of them, with their huge diamonds and expensive clothes!
I was the first one to arrive, so I took time to go upstairs to the third floor to explore and take some photographs. As many times as I’ve attended DAR meetings here, I had never seen that part of the historic home. It was built by Harvey and Catherine North in 1874. In 1892 Major Ira Evans bought it and turned the home into a castle with the help of Texas architect, Alfred Giles. The ballroom was added in 1960. The mansion is beautiful and has been well preserved.