The Fate City Council’s project to preserve the town’s history is taking shape, and despite still being in the early stages of planning, has garnered interest and support from local elected officials.
In November 2018, the council appointed Fate Councilwoman Tamara Fisher to spearhead the effort to preserve items that the city had gotten hold of with the help of the “Fate Girls.”
The local organization is made of some of the oldest residents in town who have been working to preserve the city’s history.
All of the Fate Girls were born and raised in the town, and five are still alive today.
The remaining members of the group, Doris Cullins, Ruth Holt, Jo Lenard, Katherine Stevener and Billie Stevenson provided the city with almost 190 documents that it thought would be important for current and future city leaders to preserve.
With that duty in mind, City Council started brainstorming what would be needed for the project, including an idea to start a commission to oversee the preservation of historical items.
Last week, the city added a new page on its website titled, “Historic Fate.”
Deputy City Secretary Jessica Larson on Monday provided council members with details on how the project will be handled.
“The Fate Girls are credited for maintaining our history because through their work, we were able to learn the city’s story,” Larson said.
Larson told the Royse City Herald-Banner that an official commission has not yet been formed, and said city staff is working with the Fate Girls on the project. Fisher is the only elected official who is participating in the group.
Fate resident Sarah Keeney, who has a master’s degree in heritage management from Texas Tech University, also helped Larson develop plans and procedures for storing items at city hall.
Though she has not done any work with cities in the past, Keeney said she welcomes to challenge of putting together the town’s history.
“There are not a lot of original structures, which makes it even more important to preserve what you have,” Keeney said. “Knowing what you don’t have helps you appreciate what you do have.”
Larson worked with the Rockwall County Historic Foundation to gather genealogy data, and is still gathering more history on the town. She said the city hopes to find more people who have items they would like to contribute to the collection.
Larson presented council members with five priorities that, according to her presentation, would cost the city $33,475, about $12,000 of which would be used this year.
The largest cost that the historic preservation team presented was related to two display cases that would be placed on each end of city hall, located 1900 CD Boren Pkwy.
According to Larson’s presentation, the total cost for the cases would be $22,000.
The group also proposed spending $5,000 on a video that would feature the Fate Girls and a history of the town.
One of the more immediate items on the list was a wall-mounted case for a quilt that was made in the 1930s. The case for the quilt is estimated to cost $4,475.
“The residents did a fundraiser back in 1930 where they paid 50 cents and they got their name hand stitched on this quilt,” Larson said.
No action was taken on preservation project at the Monday meeting, but several council members asked questions and made suggestions after Larson’s presentation.
Councilman Steve Hermann, Place 6, asked how items that are not placed in display cases will be maintained.
Larson told the City Council that the historical preservation group has discussed the possibility of putting items in rotation so each can have some time on display. Larson said copies of photos and other interesting documents will also be posted on the city website.
Councilman David Billings, Place 5, said he wants to know the full cost of maintaining all items.
“I don’t think keeping things in the back will be the best to preserve things, honestly,” Billings said. “We need to think about what it’s going to cost to preserve all of the items.”
Billings said he wanted to know the full scope of the project and added that he was not being critical of preservation plans.
Fisher thanked Larson and members of the historic preservation group for their work.
“I think sometimes people forget that Fate has been around here for quite some time,” Fisher said. “And we really do have a rich history.”