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Rep. Louie Gohmert Helps Mark Bullard Well's Recognition

Tyler Paper

EAST TEXAS, September 28, 2010 | Kate Thompson ((202)225-3035)
Tags: General
Officials hope a historic well will remind people of where Bullard has been and how far it has come.
By KELLY GOOCH
Officials hope a historic well will remind people of where Bullard has been and how far it has come.

The well was dedicated Monday at Ra-K's Meat Market & Deli downtown.
City officials, dignitaries and area residents came together for the occasion, which included the presentation of the colors, patriotic songs, prayers and a keynote address from U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert.

Bullard Councilman Rodger Johnson, who owns the building that houses Ra-K's, said the well was originally dug to provide a sustainable water supply and was also a social gathering spot.
More than 125 years later, the city is still trying to maintain the American values and Christian principles that it was founded on, he said.

Gohmert said it is rare to have a community such as Bullard that is still growing after more than 100 years.

He said the city has been prosperous because its founders had a vision.
"On the site of the first well, people took a stand and did things God said would make them blessed, and (more than) 125 years later are the results," he said, adding that blessings are expected to continue in Bullard.

Gohmert's comments came just before a historical marker was unveiled.
A marker is the highest honor the state can bestow on a historic structure, and it is awarded to structures "deemed worthy of preservation for their historical associations and architectural significance," according to the Texas Historical Commission.

Johnson has said he and others began to inquire about the well's origin after it was found under an old barber shop.

The well's "been covered up for probably 50 years there. When we remodeled (the building), we found it," he said this summer, adding that the building once housed a bank, ice house and drugstore, among other businesses.

Research showed that the well dates to 1883 and was originally an aquifer that served Bullard residents.

Johnson said the well was also used by horses that drew stagecoaches.
According to the marker inscription, in 1883, the Kansas and Gulf Short Line Railroad extended tracks from Tyler to Lufkin, and the town of Bullard, named for Postmaster John Henry Bullard, sprung up and replaced the towns of Etna and Hewsville.

The marker also states that this well and others use the Carrizo-Wilcox Major and Queen City Minor aquifers, and water can be drawn with pumps, windmills or buckets.
It goes on to describe the well as "a reliable public water source (that) helped Bullard to grow and thrive."

These days, residents can stop by Ra-K's and look down into the well, which was estimated at 14 to 15 feet deep.

Bob Brinkman, coordinator of the Texas Historical Commission Historical Markers Program, has said the commission receives about 300 new marker applications each year.
However, as a subject, he has said, wells are not too common.

"I think (this well's) one of the few (markers) or first one in Bullard, so we're excited about that," Brinkman said this summer. "It's something special. It will hopefully inform the citizens and visitors about the special history there."