Tag Archives: Department of History

Faculty: Kenneth H. Margerison

History professor rewarded for his dedication and service to teaching

By Mindy Green

Photo of Kenneth H. Margerison

Kenneth H. Margerison is the 20th Piper Professor from Texas State University.

Faculty member Kenneth H. Margerison is fascinated by the past and the way that people in earlier time periods dealt with the opportunities and problems they faced. Convinced that we have much to learn from the experiences of previous eras, he provides the opportunity for his students to gain insight and respect for history.

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Spotlight: Price Seniors Center

Retired Texas State professor, drama teacher devoted to the community

Ron and Marie Jager

Ron and Marie Jager

By Catherine Harper

For retired Texas State University professor Dr. Ron Jager and his wife Marie, life has been full of “little coincidences” that have kept them serving the San Marcos community for over 30 years. With a passion to help others, the Jagers have always found a helping hand to keep them motoring onward.

“We’ve always come into what we needed in some way or another,” Ron says. “We’ve been full of little coincidences that have taken place here [in San Marcos]. Something happens that’s connected with people and other places that come here to roost.” Continue reading

Around Campus: Center for Public History

New Center for Texas Public History
helps with research, interpretation

Faculty and students in front of LBJ's Texas White House

Texas State professor Dan Utley, left, with public history graduate students in front of the "Texas White House" at the LBJ National Historical Park.

By Ann Friou

When the National Park Service needed help researching the history of a former Secret Service command outpost at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park at Stonewall, it turned to public history professors Lynn Denton and Dan Utley in the Department of History at Texas State University.

Under Denton and Utley’s guidance, graduate students in public history undertook the project, researching a wide variety of records to complete a detailed analysis of the nationally significant historic site. The students also recommended ways to interpret the building’s historic significance to park visitors.

“The students collected many stories from Secret Service agents and others who served at the LBJ Ranch during Johnson’s presidency,” said Utley. “The stories show LBJ’s personal side and his family’s interaction with the Secret Service. Now, the Park Service will be able to relate these stories to the public through that little Secret Service building near the ‘Texas White House.’”

Requests for help with historical research and interpretation come regularly to Texas State’s History Department, enough that Denton created a new research center, the Center for Texas Public History, to respond to the requests. Denton directs the Center and Utley serves as the Center’s chief historian. Continue reading

Spotlight: 2011 Distinguished Professors

President Trauth Announces
2011 Distinguished Professors

Dr. Frank de la Teja

Denise Trauth, president of Texas State University, announced the recipients of the 2011 University Distinguished Professor award on July 12.

Dr. Frank de la Teja, a professor in the Department of History, and Dr. Robert Gorman, a professor in the Department of Political Science, were selected for the award. Continue reading

Cheatham Street Warehouse: Part 3

Texas State alum, professor is ‘Godfather of Texas Songwriters’

By Christian Wallace ‘10

Kent Finlay, the owner of Cheatham Street Warehouse and “Godfather of Texas Songwriters,” was born in Brady, Texas in 1938. The oldest of James and Grace Short Finlay’s five children, he was raised on a farm north of Brady in McCulloch County near the small community known as Fife.

Music was an integral part of Finlay’s upbringing. His earliest memories of music are, as a three-year old, listening to KNEL, a 250-watt radio station out of Brady. The Finlay home was often filled with the music of relatives, who played in bands throughout the area. Music was a staple of family gatherings and was the main event of many nights spent under the West Texas stars.

At the conclusion of a vacation bible school one summer, the seven-year old Finlay, along with three other boys, performed the traditional gospel song, “Do Lord,” to a whopping crowd of seven or eight people. It was after this performance that the music bug bit him.

“People said it was good, and, man, I was hooked,” Finlay recalls.
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Cheatham Street Warehouse: Part 2

San Marcos venue launched many Texas stars to national fame

By Christian Wallace ‘10

At the time of Cheatham Street’s opening in 1974, a certain musical phenomenon was taking place throughout the Central Texas area. In the early 1970s, Austin became the epicenter of what would later be called the Progressive Country movement.

This movement was the result of a unique blending of various genres including rock’n’roll, traditional country, R&B, blues, zydeco and others. The musicians and fans promoting Progressive Country were equally eclectic – hippies, cowboys, bikers and students – coming together at such venues as the Broken Spoke, the Split Rail, Soap Creek Saloon, Threadgill’s, the Skyline Club, Antone’s and the Armadillo World Headquarters.

With such an atmosphere of excitement and unique music existing only 25 miles up the interstate from San Marcos, it took no time for Kent Finlay, the owner of Cheatham Street, to start booking the area’s top acts. The artists who played his little stage during the 1970s reads like a list of Progressive Country all-stars: Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez, Gatemouth Brown, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kinky Friedman, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Joe Ely, Townes Van Zandt, Dough Sahm, Augie Meyers, Joe Bob’s Bar and Grill Band, Ponty Bone, Joe “King” Carrasco and many others.

Among the bands playing at Cheatham Street during the peak of the Progressive Country era was the Ace in the Hole Band. The band’s lead singer was a Southwest Texas student named George Strait. Continue reading

Cheatham Street Warehouse: Part 1

San Marcos venue’s roots go deep into Texas music history

By Christian Wallace ‘10

Photo courtesy Cheatham Street Warehouse

Since its opening in 1974 by Kent Finlay, the “Godfather of Texas Songwriters,” Cheatham Street Warehouse has been an ideal place to watch the history of Texas music evolve. Within those tin walls, history is made nightly on the well-worn stage and also in the crowd where artists both famous and unknown mingle while drinking beer from mason jars.

George Strait and the Ace in the Hole Band had their first gig ever in the venue and continued to play weekly until Finlay and Strait took an old van to Nashville to find a record deal (more on that story later). A young guitarist, Stevie Vaughan, used to play the blues in Cheatham before he became internationally renowned as Stevie Ray Vaughan. Other artists such as, Charlie Sexton, Bruce Robinson, Todd Snider, Teri Hendrix and Randy Rogers grew their musical abilities in the fertile soil of the Cheatham Street stage. Continue reading