Heath Mayor’s Message: Exploring our city’s history

Heath Mayor Lorne Liechty

(HEATH-May 10, 2013) While we spend a great deal of time in the City of Heath planning for the future, there is tremendous interest in our past.  That was confirmed to me last month when my column about Heath’s history resulted in many positive comments and requests for more information from citizens.

Therefore I thought it would be fun to follow that article up with another on the same subject.  A picture really is worth a thousand words, so I’d like to follow up with a few photos that illustrate our history.

Below is a photo taken in the early 1900’s in front of Heath’s school.

Residents formed the Heath Independent School District in 1902, and the school building was constructed on what is now the Heath City Hall complex.  The Heath school was a focal point of activity for the busy community.  Besides six large classrooms for 10 grades of students, there was an auditorium and stage where many meetings and gatherings were held.

After 10th grade, students could continue at Rockwall High School, but many had to drop out and work full-time on the family farm.  Cotton really was king in the 20’s and 30’s, and Heath had its’ own cotton gin owned by John Vaughn.  This was another busy place during the fall ginning season.  According to his daughter, Addie Faye Vaughn Edwards, the facility served other purposes in the off-season including a giant roller-skating rink and tennis courts.

However, time for recreation was short in Heath’s early years for farming families, such as the Goleman’s (shown to the left), and the Pickens, Smirl’s and Cullin’s.

Other families ran bustling enterprises, such as the Isbell’s General Merchandise and Grocery Store, the Laurence’s Drug Store and the McCoulskey-Bourn Hardware Company, purchased by the Darr’s.

The legacy of these families and others is preserved in Heath’s Cemetery.  This cemetery has been maintained by multiple generations of Heath families. In fact, Heath Department of Public Safety Chief Terry Garrett helped his father, Charles Terry, tend the grounds as a boy.

The Heath Cemetery is located next to First Baptist Church of Heath, 224 FM 1140. If you’re looking for a place to learn more about our City’s heritage, I encourage you to visit. It’s an intriguing and educational glimpse into our past!


Heath Mayor’s Message: Learn from the past, plan for the future