"GAMBLER WITH HEART" by Mac Abel . . .


1973 - 1974

1973 opened with ice, sleet and snow. Reported to be the worst winter in 50 years, schools were closed, road s were icy and driving was treacherous. Texas Granite was forced to shut down operations as machinery was sheathed in ice. Colds, sniffles and allergies were having a "Hey-Day"…the latter being a Texas way of life. Like chili, it had it’s own variations, but the impact is the same.

But weather didn’t stop the Hurds! Norman and Clayton Nolen turned their energy toward reversing the existing dry county status of the Horseshoe Bay Area, and a new Justice of the Peace Precinct, including Horseshoe Bay, was formed. Area residents voted by an overwhelming majority for legalization of liquor consumption on and off premises. The new precinct included Horseshoe Bay, Deerhaven, Blue Lake, Sandy Harbor and Oak Ridge, the creation of the Justice of Peace District, set the state for a wet-dry election. Young Charlie Keiser of Horseshoe Bay was appointed by the commissioner’s court to serve as Justice of the Peach until the next general election.

The every popular lower floor of the Yacht Club continued to do a thriving business, presenting Dorothy Crockett’s, ladies specialty shop "Fancy Pants." Sharon Putt’s, men’s apparel and accessories, "The Wearhouse" and "Suds ‘n Stuff" where one obtained newspapers, magazines, tobacco, candy and ice. Of considerable interests was the display of Norman’s impressive collection of arrowheads found in this area, which included spear-point, bird-point, axe-head and many others. Considered to be one of the finest collections in the states, unfortunately it disappeared under unconventional circumstances.

From time to time, amusing items appeared in the local newspapers, "In the State of Colorado there is a poster and bumper sticker campaign which urges ‘Don’t Californicate Colorado’. It is being waged by citizens old and new who feel that ‘progress’ isn’t necessarily the best route. Many have lived in the northeast. Many have lived on the west coast. Many have seen and don’t like what Chambers of Commerce and ‘Gung-ho’ public officials are doing. Not to throw a damper on the good news of economic and population growth in our area, as depicted on the front pages of newspapers. But might it not be a good idea for some of the area citizenry to start getting out their own bumper stickers, reading ‘Don’t Californicate the Hill Country?’"

The saga of mail service in Horseshoe Bay began with postal service "Route 3", delivered to the left of the Nolen Building off Horseshoe Bay Boulevard, now Breedlow Building. Snuggled beneath boughs of protective oak, shrubs and greenery, rows of galvanized mailboxes lined like toy soldiers, protected their cargo. Packages, placed on a secluded shady shelf, lay protected and unclaimed. Mary, and her cute little ugly dog, were our mail carriers…if she had another name I never knew it for she was Mary to all. She never tailed her public who faithfully gathered daily awaiting her arrival while discussing other persons’ affairs.

Postmistress Shirley Circle and Debby Grieser catered to our every need with smiles and super mail service. Balloons would often grace mailboxes of birthday persons, with sicknesses remembered by cards of condolence. Beautiful Tiffany or Queen Elizabeth roses, compliments of Marg Roberts from her rose garden, often graced their window for all to share. New arrivals and visitors were always introduced at the post office where Charles Keiser allowed no one to leave before being reminded of "Bingo" or "P.O.A.’s Covered Dish" monthly buffets. On the porch, in season, one passed a box or two of freshly picked produce (yours for the taking) compliments of the successful Horseshoe Bay Community Garden Group, founded in 1983 by Bob Kidder and George Edgerton.

Charles Keiser, Jr. contracted for the mail service through his acquired Bay Realty Company, added more boxes, brought it up to a capacity of 1350 moving it to it’s present location at the Bay North Building on Highway 2147, administrated by dependable friendly, helpful Sally Williams. It is evident from Horseshoe Bay’s constant growth, the saga of the mail service will continually change.

By 1973 Norman and Wayne had completed the badly needed "Horseshoe Bay Inn" (now Hide-A-Way). "Cove West" Condos, 15001 Cove West were near completion by owners, Don Schautteet, Jim Henderson, Richard Smuts and Tom Adams. The "Hide-A-Ways" were the first condominiums listed on the books of the Llano County Clerk. Up to that time, there had been no need for a "Condominium" category, so an entire new set of books were set up to accommodate the listing.

Excitement was at an all time "high" with the opening of the "Slick Rock" golf course. Golf professional was the legendary Bob Putt. Greens Superintendent David Green with Jim Eagle who furnished the grass for the course.

Responsibility for N.R.C.’s success of sales were Ray Thomas, Al Mille and Tom Adams, which by 1973 had grown to 22 salesmen in Horseshoe Bay, with some 150 sales personnel located in Austin and throughout Texas with another 60 around the nation.

The first tennis tournament was held in 1973 at the popular Yacht Club Court with Tom Adams, on site manager of National Resort Community, a subsidiary of National Homes, winner of singles, and he and wife Jeanie winning doubles. Which brings to mind an interesting story.

Many will remember how Tom Adams cut up more than one pair of tennis shoes in his search for an athletic shoe combining comfort and performance on the court. It all began while he as a priest stationed in Milwaukee. Playing in a little tournament, his right shoelace broke…breaking in two equal parts. Hurriedly, he retied one strand in the two lower eyelets and retied the remaining strand in the upper eyelets. On that day, in 1962, Tom made a significant discovery. His right shoe, tied in that manner, was surprisingly more comfortable. From that moment he became obsessed with the foot in motion. Leaving the priesthood in 1966 for health reasons, he returned to the secular world, joined up with N.R.C. and practiced tennis on the club course daily with his "make shift" shoes.

By separating the tension across the instep from the tension across the ball of the foot, he developed and manufactured the popular split vamp, double lace shoe, the "Kaepa Sport Shoe."

The Adams were owners of "Highland Lakes Travel Service", Horseshoe Bay Realty" and the "Bottle Shop", purchased from original owners, Dave and Mary (Follis) Sawyer. Mikaela, the Adam’s daughter, was the first child born in Horseshoe Bay.

By late 1973, Wayne and Eileen had made their permanent move to Horseshoe Bay, the completion of their purposed new home on Highway 2147 was slated for 1974. Eileen would work in Wayne’s office and serve on the new P.O.A. Board as secretary, bookkeeper, treasurer and all and anything needed to assure it’s successful operation.

Long forgotten, the "Highlander’s" full page concerning the possibility the developers of Horseshoe Bay would not succeed. Based on previous real estate "wheeler dealers" they had witnessed in nearby areas whose promises had failed, the article included, "We’re going to need a lot of light from that new L.C.R.A. Granite Shoals Power Plant shed on us to enlighten some of our ‘We’re Doing Jokers’"…and continuing…"Hopefully ‘Rainmakers’" will have soon departed. Five years form now when the new $12,000,000 development is completed, let’s pray we can say, "Things do go better with Coke!’"

The early planning and development of Horseshoe Bay demanded long hours of commitments and decisions. Norman and Dorothy had been working 10 hours a day, seven days a week since the beginning,…all without pay. All amenities were virtually completed, including Slick Rock Golf Course. Five arduous years were now behind them.

As a point of interest, the Wirtz Dam, built in 1950, and originally known as Granite Shoals Dam, was named after the "father" of the LCRA, Alvin J. Wirtz in 1952. It is 118 feet height and 5,491 feet long; at its base, the dam is 80 feet thick and holds back 138,500 acre-feet of water. Wirtz, one of six LCRA dams along the Colorado River, provides the Hill Country with hydroelectricity capable of 52,000 kilowatts.

On a warm July 4th morning in 1975, George Marshall, accustomed to celebrating a former friends birthday each 4th, was restless. It just wouldn’t seem like the 4th without their usual celebration. He suggested to wife Jean they call their newly acquainted friends and have a picnic and parade. They called Jim and Pat Dippery, who called the Wallaces, who called the Gaylors and on and on it went. Each brought whatever food they had on hand to constitute a picnic lunch, meeting at the Yacht Club within an hour.

What a parade that was! Shirley Wallace and Marge Gaylor led the parade as color guards. Steve Karr rode a bicycle, or I’m told his inexperience indicated he "wrestled" it. Someone brought a horse, the John Waliors and Charlie Keisers decorated their golf carts, Frank Gaylor and Charlie Wallace dressed as "oil barons", Jim Dippery came as a ballerina and George Marshall was the "Grand Marshall"…a title he retained for his lifetime, and the Granite Shoals Fire Truck appeared complete with siren and ribbons!

And so was born the Horseshoe Bay’s first 4th of July Parade, a tradition that continues as an annual event, a tribute to the late George Marshall and wife Jean. Today, the July celebration is under the sponsorship of the Property Owners Association, with the Heritage Guild in charge of the land parade and founders George and Millie Moorman in charge of the water parade which skirts the waterfront lined with spectators eager to see their beautiful decorated boats. What was once 20 happy people lining the streets to see a parade, is now "Standing Room" only!

By 1975, Ron Mitchell had become a member of the Horseshoe Bay Country Club Corporate Staff, advancing in 1980 to his present position, Executive Vice President.

Many and varied are his impressive successful accomplishments. His ability reached far beyond the norm to accomplish the seemingly impossible. He is dedicated and respected, a necessity for the corporate responsibilities he handles so capably.

Ron’s merited explanation of his commitment in 1977. "I shall never forget that day in 1977 being called into Norman’s office and understanding for the first time what it was really about. That day, he told me, ‘first, there are no personal images to be created here…only success and beauty on my part and quality of product and service on your part and on the part of the management.’"

To this day he has lived up to his part and allowed management and staff to live up to theirs by supplying moral and financial commitment and support. We are a family with bedded respect and love for Horseshoe Bay.

It was with Ron, Norman teamed to reorganize the entire Horseshoe Bay system…increase the quality and increase the maintenance…he and Ron have been in complete control of the amenities ever since…and since 1980 have shown a profit, which has been put back into improvements and maintenance.

Ron has been the recipient of the Outstanding Citizen Award for the Marble Falls/Lake L.B.J. Region, served as president of the Marble Falls L.B.J. Regional Tri Commission of Economic Development, President of the Marble Falls/Lake L.B.J. Chamber of Commerce, board member of the Burnet County Appraisal District and Chairman for the Marble Falls Centennial Celebration.

Situated on top of the hill at Horseshoe Bay, J.W. Miller Aviation operates a fixed base station with field and aircraft parking. The runway, owned by Horseshoe Bay Country Club Resort is 60,000 feet wide and dressed to accommodate D.C. 9’s. They are one of the rare companies that can actually manufacture parts. Carl Oberholtzer, president of the company, is the manufacturing authority from the Federal Aviation Administration, enabling the parts to be installed anywhere in the world.

With a capacity to park 45 to 50 planes of assorted sizes, it makes use of the tie-down spots and the room in the hangar. It also has over-night parking and mechanics and controllers who are trained and licensed through F.A.A.

Owners, Horseshoe Bay Country Club and Conference Center, put into effect a graduated landing fee, proceeds of which are put back into maintenance of the strip. The largest in the Hill Country (other than Austin and San Antonio) it holds the distinction of being the largest private airport in the nation.

Table of Contents



Copyright 2001 by IQ Consulting, Horseshoe Bay, Texas - All rights reserved.
Revised: April 17, 2010

Visitors to this site