Fannin Co. landmark to get a makeover

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BONHAM, TX -- A Bonham landmark could soon get a makeover, but only if residents can help foot the bill.

Back in 1936, during Texas' Centennial, the centennial committee chose Fannin County as one of the recipients of a statue commemorating state heroes and events. That statue, a 19th-century Texas soldier who died at the Battle of the Alamo. His name, James Butler Bonham.

"It was a tribute to Fannin County in 1936. It's still a tribute to Fannin County but sometimes we forget over time," Chairman of the Fannin Co. Historical Commission, Tom Thornton said.

"I've lived here since 1981, and it's been a big part of my life just driving around the square and looking at James Butler Bonham," Jacqueline White said.

The statue has been standing in Bonham's downtown square for nearly 75 years. The Fannin County Historical Commission says the statue needs a complete make over.

"There are no grants for restoration of statues in the state, or even in the national preservation budget," Thornton said.

When it was sculpted, a protective coating covered it, but after 75 years that's worn away. The plan is to re-do the covering and add a brand new stainless steel base.

"And that just takes a lot of time and money," Thornton said.

$20,000 to be exact. So far, $10,000 has been raised.

"Most of the money so far has come from people in Bonham, ex- students or people who used to live here, and some of the businesses here. And our push for the second half is going to call on the other county towns to participate," Thornton said.

"I've been here a long time, and we need to keep it alive," Mary Wrenn said.

"I know that it's a wonderful statue and it does need restoration," White said.

Tom Thornton hopes to have the fundraising complete by May, just in time for the statue's 75th anniversary.

If you'd like to contribute, you can send your donation to:
"Fannin County Statue Restoration"
Fannin County Treasurer
101 E. Sam Rayburn Dr. Suite 302
Bonham, Texas 75418

Donations are tax deductible.

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