LCRA, City of Smithville award $15,920 grant to update historical museum building - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community LCRA, City of Smithville award $15,920 grant to update historical museum building - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community

LCRA, City of Smithville award $15,920 grant to update historical museum building

Smithville Heritage Society will paint, spruce up 115-year-old Heritage House

May 11, 2023

Representatives from LCRA and the City of Smithville present a $15,920 grant to the Smithville Heritage Society for repairs to the Heritage House. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured from left to right, in the front row, are: Rick Arnic, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; Robert Tamble, city manager; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; and LeRoy Behrens, society president. Back row, from left: Micah Oliver, Smithville Chamber of Commerce board member; Elizabeth Koch, Smithville Garden Club member; David Harrington, society board member; Sarah O’Brien, Smithville Historic Preservation and Design Standards chair; Judy Bergeron, Smithville Public Library director; Jimmy Jenkins, city council member-elect; Debra Ziebold, society board member; and Faith Franklin, society board secretary.

SMITHVILLE, Texas – A $15,920 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and the City of Smithville will help the Smithville Heritage Society paint and make needed exterior repairs to the 115-year-old house that is home to the organization’s historical museum. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $3,979 in matching funds from the heritage society, will pay for replacing sections of wooden siding and other repairs to the exterior of the Heritage House, also known as the Cox-Hyson house. The house was built in 1908 and was donated to the society in the late 1970s by Floyd R. “Skip” and Lucille Hyson. It holds exhibits, artifacts, collectibles and furnishings with historical ties to Smithville and Bastrop County. “Without this grant, our ability to safely preserve these antiquities would be severely hampered,” said LeRoy Behrens, president of the Smithville Heritage Society. “We’re trying to get the house fixed up so it’s back to being the crown jewel in the center of the city. We’re going to get it painted gleaming white, just like it was in 1908.” An example of late Victorian architecture, the two-story house sits in the Smithville residential district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Behrens said the museum’s collection has “a little bit of everything,” ranging from documents associated with an 1831 land grant to Stephen F. Austin to farming and ranching tools dating to the late 1800s to a wooden canteen from the Civil War era. A stand-alone, climate-controlled metal building in the backyard holds archival documents and photographs plus other historical items that are available to researchers. As concerns about the pandemic have faded, the museum has begun welcoming more visitors and has resumed tours for area students. The building also is available for gatherings of civic groups.  Behrens said repairing and repainting the stately structure helps preserve its historical allure and furthers the society’s goal of educating people about Smithville and Bastrop County’s history. “We’re trying to get that mission back on track,” he said. “Everyone was really excited to get this grant and carry out this project.” The community grant is one of 34 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. The City of Smithville is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program. Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in July. More information is available at

About LCRA
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit

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