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Gifts to the City

The House that Jill Built
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FROM the efforts of a handful of pioneer women, banded together for purposes more social than civic, grew the company that in 1921 turned over to the city of Beaumont the Temperance building property, valued at $150,000.

In the early 70's social life was at low ebb in the little sawmill town, 'and following a lecture by a Mr. Young, organizer for the United Friends of Temperance, a group of young women eagerly siezed on the plan suggested for organizing a branch of the society. The little band met at specified intervals and the growth of the society soon justified the building of a home. In the fall of 1874 these women held an ice-cream supper from which they netted $100 to buy the lot on the corner of Pearl and Bowie streets. By entertainments, concerts and dances they raised enough money to erect a frame two-story building.

The lower floor was rented to various companies, at one time was occupied by the Enterprise company, and the upper story was a hall which was open to the public and served a popular and useful function in providing a place of entertainment for the young people of the community. Hundreds of meetings were held in its hall and its doors were always open to public affairs.

In 1889 the two-story wooden structure was replaced by the three-story brick building which is now the property of the city of Beaumont, and a company was incorporated on May 1, 1889, known as the Temperance Hall company. When the crowd was assembled for the laying of the cornerstone of the building and all was in readiness for the formal ceremony, it was discovered that there was no cornerstone. The crowd waited while a diligent search was made, and finally the missing stone was discovered on top of what was from then on always known as the "Cornerstone Saloon," where some practical joker had placed it. Whereupon Mrs. George Craig remarked, "That shows that you can't keep the cause of temperance down", and the ceremony proceeded.

Signing the articles of incorporation of the Temperance Hall company were Joanna A. Curtis, Ellen P. O'Brien, George O'B. Millard, Anna Millard, Mrs. S. Weber, Mrs. R. N. Weber, R. N. Weber and Annie M. Bacon.

On April 17, 1921, the company transferred to the city of Beaumont the Temperance Hall building, then valued at 8150,000. The transfer was a notable civic benefaction, and one that reflected the idealism and community love of the surviving members of the organization. Time had taken its toll from the number and brought changed conditions, making the perpetuation of the trust as a private enterprise inadvisable. The surviving trustees gave to the city the task of utilizing the property and its proceeds for the furtherance of worthy objects. The transfer was made with the provision that one-tenth of the income be devoted to charity, one-tenth to a library fund, and one-tenth to temperance and benevolence. Otherwise the city of Beaumont is free to use the income as it sees fit. The three purposes specified as beneficiaries of the revenue provide a source for the supplying of funds for three needed and most worthy purposes, and suitably perpetuate the names and characters of the donors who have rendered so distinct a public service.

Fulfillment of the city's dream of a public library building was made possible through the philanthrophy of the late Captain W. C. Tyrrell, capitalist and public-spirited citizen, who on April 22, 1923, purchased the handsome First Baptist church edifice at Pearl and Forsythe streets and donated the building for library purposes to the people of Beaumont. Captain Tyrrell paid $70,000 for the property, and the city purchased 90 feet of additional Pearl street property at a cost of $ 30,000 to add to the library grounds.

What Capt. W. C. Tyrrell gave Beaumont
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The library is to be known as the Tyrrell Public library, and will be opened upon the completion of a new Baptist church building. The library is an imposing stone structure with a 90-foot front on Pearl street and extending 146 feet along Forsythe. The initial purchasing fund for books for the library is contained in a gift of another public-spirited Beaumonter, Colonel W. S. Davidson, who donated $5000 toward the library fund. The city library commission, composed of Mrs. J. L. Cunningham, Messrs. W. M. Crook and P. B. Doty are in charge of plans for the fitting and opening of the library.

Future generations of boys and girls in Beaumont will ever have kept alive in their thoughts the memory of Lynn W. Gilbert, son of the late Mr. John W. Gilbert and Mrs. Gilbert. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert donated to the city on December 8, 1922, a tract of land lying between Eleventh and Thirteenth streets in Calder avenue, which will be made into one of the most complete stadiums in the state. The athletic field which will be called the Lynn Gilbert Memorial stadium, will contain a foot ball field, a baseball diamond, a cinder track, swimming pool and wading pool, tennis courts, playgrounds, all of which will be enclosed and fitted with the finest equipment. The gift is a fitting memorial to the one whose name it bears, typifying as it does the spirit of sportsmanship and wholesome fun, and will fill a need felt more and more with the passing of years for recreation grounds for the high-school pupils and worthy the cause it serves.

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