Livery Stable Mural Unveiling, MHS Flag Day Event in Montgomery

By: Ruben Borjas, Jr., Columnist, Montgomery County News
| Published 06/19/2024


MONTGOMERY, TX -- If you happened to be passing by the north side wall of the Texas & Beyond Mini Plaza, located at 14259 Liberty Street in Montgomery, you might have caught a glimpse at a new 10 ft tall x 20 ft wide mural that was officially dedicated this past Saturday. The mural, depicting life from the early days of Montgomery which was chartered in 1837, perhaps to the 1850’s, when the livery stable is thought to have been in business. Metal detectorists Billy Ray Duncan, and his brother Donald, found livery stable tokens on the land in the 1990’s, and after changing hands from owner to owner, the tokens, stamped with numbers 4, 18, and 19, were donated to the Montgomery Historical Society, by current plaza owners Anthony and Rebecca Noreiga. Subsequently, they came up with the idea to immortalize the livery stable with a mural painted on the wall signifying that the land was its home, over 170 years ago.

Local artist Amy McCain, was chosen for the project, and did a wonderful job in portraying life around the livery stable an era ago. Locals were invited to leave their initials on the mural last month, to take a little ownership in the project. The project was underwritten by the City of Montgomery, Brenham National Bank, The Comire Family, and North Houston Art Gallery, which is part of the Texas & Beyond Mini Plaza.

“Art is a vision that you can personalize,” said Rebecca Noreiga, speaking of the public’s input into the project. She went on to laud McCain for her work in her ability to create such a beautiful work of art that will represent Montgomery for decades to come.

Larry Foerster, chair of the Montgomery County Historical Commission, has researched the City of Montgomery. He noted the vision of W.W. Shepherd and making the town accessible to travelers from Huntsville to Houston, where people would have ridden horses or taken stagecoaches, where they would have stopped in Montgomery to refresh for the next part of the journey.

“General Sam Houston, some call him President Sam, who would have passed through Montgomery on his way to Houston,” said Foester. “And this livery stable was part of that.”

Foerster’s research revealed that the first courthouse was located near where the wastewater treatment plant just below the townsite today, then the third courthouse was moved to the community building site in Historic Montgomery in the 1850’s to further avoid mosquitos. He noted the logical location of a livery stable on the cross section between Huntsville and Houston, and from Washington on the Brazos to points east of Montgomery on the way to the Trinity River.

New Montgomery Mayor Sara Countryman, dedicated the mural to the public on behalf of the underwriters, and praised the Noreiga’s for their art gallery, and their commitment to bringing and preserving art in the community.

“When we have proprietors that invest in Our Town, and keeps the roots of Our History here,” said Sara. “This is what makes Montgomery so special, and brings us the charm.”

The Montgomery Historical Society held a Flag Day Ceremony that morning at the Community Building in Montgomery. Organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, the United Daughters of the Confederacy all had booths and welcomed interactions with event goers. Historical Society Member Jack Shepherd portrayed Charles B. Stewart, the designer of the Texas Flag, and resident of early Montgomery. He, along with Society President Billy Ray Duncan, who portrayed Texas President and General Sam Houston, informed the crowd on the lives and backgrounds of their characters.

“I enjoy portraying Sam Houston,” said Duncan. “I get the same enjoyment whether it is a group of selection, a group of school children, a Chamber of Commerce group, or attendees at today’s event.”

Shepherd and Duncan were not the only ones in costume. The DAR, UDC, SCV, and SAR all had members in period dress, many of the selections they themselves made. SAR member Charles Lano, who was in Revolutionary War soldiers dress, is part of a group, Freedom Chapter 38, that covers Conroe, The Woodlands, & Other North Houston areas.

“Today’s Flag Day event was nicely done,” said Lano. “This is the type of citizen activity where America is at its greatest. It warms your heart and makes you proud of being an American."