Monday, December 30, 2013

Photographic Ode to Bill Lightfoot


Bill Lightfoot by Ginger Sisco Cook
I had no idea when I decided to photograph the buildings Bill Lightfoot designed over the years that it would lead into the discovery of how his family is inextricably linked with the history and settlement of North East Texas and particularly Lamar County, Texas beginning about 1839.  You see, the Lightfoot family is what we call in northeast Texas to be “well connected”.  Just to do a little name dropping and to illustrate just how connected they are, some of the direct and auxiliary family names include Clairborne Chism, Sam Bell Maxey, Epps Gibbons, J.M. Campbell, Dr. J. F. Campbell, Young Burgher, William Bell, James Mallory, Frank Drake (F. D.) Mallory, Ewing Trousdale and Tom Howeth, and a family friend and neighbor, Sam Houston, just to name a few. 
Bill Lightfoot was one of the humblest men I have known.  You would never know his family were some of the original settlers, movers and shakers in and around Lamar County.  Bill's "aw shucks" reply when you tried to quiz him on his connections to Sam Bell Maxey and Sam Houston would leave you amazed at his down playing of his family's history and the connections to Lamar County. When I first began photographing the structures he designed, I thought I might write a book some day about all the connections between people and buildings but I doubt that will ever happen.  

Will Lightfoot
I would like to share with you a few bits of information about Bill's father, Will Henry Lightfoot. He was born in 1892 in Paris. His parents were Judge Henry William Lightfoot and Etta Wooten Lightfoot. Will attended Austin schools while his father served as Chief Justice. Will was a member of the first graduating class of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas in 1914.  He then attended Harvard for his graduate work in architecture in 1915.  In 1916, he came back to Paris to help rebuild after the Great Fire that devastated downtown Paris. Corneil Curtis and Thomas Broad also came back to work with Will. 

They left their mark of beauty and elegance on the landscape of Paris. One of their finest examples of work is the Paris City Hall and Fire Station designed in 1920.
Paris City Hall and Fire Station by Ginger Sisco Cook
I might add that Bill's mother was also a great influence on his life and education.   Hattie Bell Mallory Lightfoot was the first female board member for the Paris Independent School District.

Bill graduated from The University of Texas with a Master of Architecture degree on August 27, 1953.  After graduating, Bill returned home to Paris and joined his father's firm, The Will H. Lightfoot & Associates, Architects, of Paris, Texas, where he worked until he retired in 2006.  The firm was responsible for the design and restoration of almost 1,000 public buildings, commercial businesses, health centers, churches, and residences in Paris and the surrounding area, dating from 1916 to 2006.

A few of the firm's accomplishments over the ninety years of practice include the original structures of: Paris City Hall and Fire Station, Paris Junior College, St. Joseph's Hospital, McCuistion Hospital, UARCO Inc. Printing Plant, Holiday Inn, North Lamar ISD campus, A. M. Aiken Elementary School, Aerofit Fitness Center, Ruth Hall of Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Calvary United Methodist Church and the restoration of the Paris Community Theater, rennovation of the Lamar County Courthouse District Courtroom, the Paris Public Library addition, and Our Lady of the Lake  Catholic Church addition. I must also mention the Lamar County Courthouse District Courtroom renovation after it burned, the Market Square, the Paris Public Library addition, the Our Lake of the Lake Catholic Church addition and the Region VIII Service Center in Mt. Pleasant.
For Bill's retirement, I put together an exhibit of my photography of his work on Saturday, December 2, 2006.  The exhibit was at the Lightfoot Building at 12 First Street NE, Paris, Texas.  It was one of the  most fun and gratifying projects I have ever undertaken.  Bill and I would drive around Paris and he would point out the buildings and tell me stories about how they each came about.  We laughed a lot.  I should have recorded it and taken more notes. You never know when you will not have the chance to do something again.
Below are just a few of the images I have taken of the Lightfoot architectual firm's efforts.  

George Sunkel Home in Clarksville, Texas by Ginger Cook
Fry Gibbs Funeral Home Addition by Ginger Cook
Holiday Inn, Paris, Texas by Ginger Cook
Calvary UMC by Ginger Cook
A. M. Aiken Elementary by Ginger Cook
Aerofit Fitness Center by Ginger Cook

Ruth Hall, Holy Cross Episcopal Church by Ginger Cook

 Paris Community Theater Rennovation by Ginger Cook

Paris Public Library Addition 
I have a lot more images but I think I'll stop here.  What an amazing legacy to leave behind. Well done Bill Lightfoot.  Well done.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The poetry of Dee Martin and Tommy Stone

Isn't it wonderful that artists can inspire, admire and support one another?  Poetress and friend, Dee Martin, has recently written two poems and placed them on Facebook by an image I shared. It feels like Christmas when you open up Facebook and find a poem by Dee waiting for you to read. 
She also credits inspiration from Tommy Stone for lines he has written on Facebook alongside the photographs for her poems.  How wonderful we can share our work and our inspirations as we each find our way as artists.  Thank you Dee.  Thank you Tommy.

Taken with my cell phone: Moon rising 16 Dec 2013
Throw a log on top and
bank the coals
to keep the fire
for dark is coming soon
and watch though
it is barely there
the sweetness at
the bottom of the moon
the smallest detail lined in blue
just shadow, barely seen
reminds us that
in light and dark
the earth would stand between
so we must stand from sun to moon
when pain and sorrow fall
and cast a shadow on the land
be light and hope for all"

Paris Ice Storm: Dec 2013
the clouds are not
just in the sky
they're in my head
and in my eyes
and cold is living
in my heart
my bones about
to shake apart
frozen fields
and hardened ground
stinging air
frost makes a sound
a buzzing like
electric lines
while all that lives
lies still and pines
for warmth of sun
and light of day
but winter stays
and stays
and stays
Poem by Tommy Stone
fields of ice sabers
crunching under the tires
the cattle must be fed
and I am 10
and with my uncle
and it is fun

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Landscapes of Lamar County Texas

Hay on FM 1184
I love living in Lamar County. My son Travis came home from living in Italy one year and commented about how quaint and beautiful our area is to one visiting from far away.  His comment made me try to look at the landscape around me from a stranger's point of view. Below are a few of the images I've taken over the years as I traveled to and from work and school.

I've thought about putting them into a calendar or making some cards out of them but I never have had the time. 

Hope you enjoy seeing what I see when I drive the roads.

I'll add more to the collection as I find them on my hard drive.

Hickory Grove Cemetery
Hay meadow on HWY 137

Barn on FM 35400

Geese flying over Lake Gibbons

Ducks at sunset on Pat Mayse Lake

Fence on the edge of HWY 24 S

 A Summer's Day on FM 1184

 Sunset at Pat Mayse Lake
Sunset at Lake Gibbons

Lake Gibboons Pier
Sunset on FM 22900
North Sulphur River at the Camp Hut
Pond on HWY 824
Sunset at Sander's Cove
Scarecrow at Slabtown
Shelter on HWY 271 E
Sulphur River past Roxton
Heron flying on Lake Gibbons

Monday, December 9, 2013

Aftermath of the ice storm in Paris, Lamar County, Texas

It looks like Paris was hit with an ice bomb.  Streets have been blocked with downed trees and dangling power lines due to the ice storm that hit last Friday.  Men with big trucks descended upon Paris and have been working round the clock to get the utilities back in working order.  We still don't have power at our house yet.  I wore the same clothes for three days straight!  I'm not much of a photojournalistic type of photographer but here is what I saw as I drove the streets trying to stay warm in the car and charge my cell phone.




Sunday, December 8, 2013

More ice images

Rick and Patricia Browning's Lake on 195

Rick and Patricia Browning's Lake on 195

Old Building on North Main

Disfunctional Dinner

Copyrighted Pictures

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