Blucher Park Deed Allows Birdbaths-Not a City Hall
The faint suggestion has been made that Blucher Park be used as the site for a new City Hall since the location by the new courthouse seems to be out. It has been hinted that the land is hardly used as a park and is a repository for the wino brotherhood and beer bottles. It doesn’t have swings and seesaws like a real park should.
Forget it, the Blucher family covered most possibilities when they deeded the property to the city.
To start with, anything built there would be in much the same trouble the courthouse was when it was built. They had a basement full of water, “George Blucher said.
As a matter of fact, the courthouse was built astride a tributary to the Blucher Arroyo and it was only after the concrete was ripped up and new drainage supplied that the new courthouse was spared further flooding.
The arroyo was called Chatham’s Ravine before the old Felix Von Blucher’s bought the property from Col. H.L. Kinney after the Mexican War. I’ve done a lot of looking, but I haven’t found out who Chatham was. Blucher Street was also formerly Chatham Street.
In the early days, the ravine was dammed, forming a small lake which was the water supply for Kinney’s Rancho. Water from it was used in vegetable gardens. Eventually, it became too polluted for human consumption, and water was drawn from cisterns or freighted in tank carts.
When the Blucher family deeded the property to the city in 1942 in memory of Charles Frederick Harvey Von Blucher, it imposed these conditions.
The property shall be used to provide a wooded park of natural beauty for the conservation of native shrubs, trees, and plants; to provide a bird sanctuary where birds may find refuge and thrive; and to provide a place where city dwellers may commune with nature in an atmosphere of quiet and relaxation.
The name shall be and always remain Blucher Park.
“In general, landscaping of the area shall follow the natural topography of the land, avoiding artificially or formality of design…and in further plantings, especial attention shall be given to the cultivation of native plants and wild flowers. Provision shall be made for a place where birds may drink and bathe. Benches and resting places may be provided.”
Other provisions are that the city will maintain the storm sewer and surrounding roads, light the park and discourage disorderly conduct. Forbidden are auditoriums, lecture platforms, buildings of any sort(except a service structure), cold-drink stands, play-ground equipment, shuffle board courts, horseshoe pitching, and or contests except as may be related to the park. There will be no picnic facilities, no zoo or snake garden, no campers and no use of the park as an amphitheater for large public gatherings.
Violation of any term of the deed provisions would revert ownership of the park to the Blucher family.
Without a speaking platform, you certainly couldn’t have a city hall.
And the birds aren’t stupid either. They know where there is shelter when they fly through in the fall and spring. There are berries, trees, bushes, water and birdwatchers.
Several years ago, a birdwatcher showed me how to look for birds, and I was amazed at the variety of birds in the sunken recesses of Blucher Park.
The park is bounded by Tancahua, Blucher, Carrizo streets. With the old railroad trestle, arroyo, trees and slopes, the park is good exploring ground for kids.
But all in all, Blucher park is for the birds.
Bill Walraven. Bill Walraven was born July 1, 1925 in Dallas, shortly before the death of his father. He spent his early years in Kingsville before going to live and attend school at the Masonic Home in Fort Worth. He served in World War II on a PT boat in the Pacific and afterward returned to Kingsville, working at the Celanese plant that had just opened near Bishop. Before long, he decided to take up engineering at what was then Texas A&I University. However, his engineering drawing book mysteriously disappeared, and he soon discovered that he was much stronger in English than in Math. He graduated in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism and a minor in history. While there he met and soon married Marjorie Kathryn Yeager, or Ricky, as she was known at A&I. And so began their almost 65-year partnership in journalism, writing, and publishing. Bill began his career at the Caller-Times covering the oil desk, police beat, and other assignments until he got his dream job — writing a personal column five days a week. He was a columnist for 15 years, writing about anything and just about everything that came to his mind or that he observed. The job also provided an outlet for his interest in local and Texas history. Marjorie was born November 5, 1929, in San Antonio. She graduated from A&I with a bachelor’s in journalism in 1950 and a master’s in history in 1966. She spent 29 years teaching at Carroll High School in Corpus Christi, at first teaching English, history, and yearbook and then moving to journalism, newspaper, and yearbook. For much of that time, she also worked as a copy editor for the Caller-Times . Upon retirement, the Walravens began their second careers as authors, editors, and publishers. Their books showcased humor (Real Texans Don’t Drink Scotch with Their Dr. Pepper), the wit and wisdom of Will Rogers (All I Know is What’s on TV), Corpus Christi (Gift of the Wind: The Corpus Christi Bayfront, El Rincon: A History of Corpus Christi Beach), World War II (The General Said “Nuts”), and of course, Texas history (The Magnificent Barbarians, Empresarios’ Children, and Wooden Rigs, Iron Men). Their history books were written to engage readers with a journalistic take on historic events. They published many of their books through their own company, Javelina Press. Bill and Marjorie had three children, Valerie, Wilson, and Joe. Bill died in December 2013 and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus by Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2014.