The Architecture of Life: Mountaineer Heritage Park

The Architecture of Life - Christopher K. Travis

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mountaineer Heritage Park

I have to brag about a project our architecture firm is currently undertaking that involves several Texas landmark historic buildings.

It is newly called the Mountaineer Heritage Park - and involves a large compound in Mineral Wells, Texas that will become a local historical district in the near future and is being submitted to the national registry.

My career began over 30 years ago as a restoration builder. I was a lead designer for historic projects long before I began to design other projects simply because my mother - who is a historian - dragged me around with her to historic properties as a child. When I went into construction and design - I gravitated to old structures long before I began to design homes and other structures.

This current project is something really special. Mineral Wells has been through many ups and downs in its storied history so this new community center could be the spark that causes a wave of revitalization and pride for the entire community.

This particular site involves three buildings - a historic high school, the first "school house" built in the county in the 1800's and the first stand alone home economics building built in Texas.

It also includes - of all things - an amazing WPA outdoor stone amphitheater like those built in many state and national parks. This is the first time I have ever seen one on a school campus.

The old Mineral Wells High School building sports a unique indoor auditorium with a free standing curved balcony unlike anything I have ever seen - which will soon host plays, concerts and school activities.

Another unique thing about this particular non-profit project is that it is being sponsored by a really unique non-profit. It is called the 50 Year Club and to be a member you had to have graduated from Mineral Wells High School at least 50 years ago!

How about that! This is a group of "can do" senior citizens that are not satisfied lazing away the last decades of their lives - and are out to create a legacy. A very impressive group!

We used a variety of the adapted Truehome programming methods we employ when doing projects for organizations not only to inform the design - but to help them create a development campaign.

We also created an identity design plan to "brand" the project that fits who they are as an organization and a community. It is designed to empower and inspire them and the Mineral Wells community.

The whole thing has been a great experience. Congratulations to the 50 Year Club and Mineral Wells, Texas for having the courage to take on a new community center and unique historic venue. They are raising money right now and we encourage anyone with ties to that community to support their effort with enthusiasm!


Judith Richards Shubert said...

I am very excited about this project and the fantastic job you have done with the plans for our beloved Old High School complex. As a graduate of Mineral Wells High School in 1962, I will become a member of that enthusiastic group known as the 50-Year Club in two years. I look forward to that and the completion of this great forward-looking project.