Society / Featured Parties

Texas’ Wild History Takes Centerstage as Houston’s Heritage Society Enjoys a River Oaks Moment

The Keepers of the Bayou City's Past

BY // 12.23.22
photography Priscilla Dickson

What: The Heritage Society’s Houston Heritage Luncheon 

Mise en Scène: The Briar Club in River Oaks 

The Heritage Society stayed true to its mission of sharing Houston and Texas history at its annual luncheon, the focus of which was a book by author Stephen Harrigan titled Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas.

The volume details the story of Texas from prehistory to the present: the natural disasters, wars invasions and, most importantly, the generations of people who shaped the state, including Spanish explorers, Comanche warriors, wildcatters and Tejano activists. The book also pays notable attention to marginalized groups in Texas history, particularly Native Americans and African Americans. 

Justice Ken Wise, creator of the podcast series “Wise About Texas,” interviewed the headliner onstage about his passion for Texas history. The Oklahoma City-born and Texas-raised Harrigan is a longtime writer for Texas Monthly and has penned 12 books, including the Gates of Alamo, a New York Times best seller. 

HeritageSociety.pdickson143_Small (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Donna Vallone, Kristina Somerville at the Houston Heritage Luncheon (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)

The evening also included a talk from KPRC chief meteorologist Frank Billingsley, who served as the master of ceremonies and spoke of his ancestor Captain Jesse Billingsley. Dating 11 generations back, Captain Billingsley most famously originated the battle cry “Remember the Alamo” while leading his men into the battle of San Jacinto. Heritage Society executive director Alison Bell presented accolades to the honoree — senior docent Gary White — for his 30 years of service at The Heritage Society. 

Let's Rodeo Houston!

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The Heritage Society is the official keeper of Houston’s built history, featuring a campus of 10 unique and meticulously preserved homes and a church, as well as a collection of more than 23,000 artifacts embodying the Bayou City’s transformation, spanning the early 1800s to the mid 1900s. 

PC Seen: Co-chairs Gwen and Ed Emmett, Angela and Will Cannady; board president Minnette Boesel; elected officials Council Members Robert Gallegos and David Robinson, and Judge Carolyn M. Johnson; Stewart Morris Jr., Kristina Somerville, Jo and Jim Furr, Donna Vallone, Stan Marek, Ginger Blanton, Jane Wise, Phoebe Tudor, Martha Whiting-Goddard, Mark Sullivan, Deborah Dunkum, C.C. and Duke Ensell, Katherine Warren, Jackie Bostic, and Nancy Willerson.

To learn more about The Heritage Society, click here

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