Weatherford Democrat

Aledo ExtrA

November 11, 2013

Courthouse brings builder out of the woodwork

A model life

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Weatherford native Don Huddleston, 77, stepped into the pages of Parker County’s history in 1994 when he unveiled a remarkable tribute to the Parker County Courthouse, an intricate replica built without benefit of blueprint or kit.

Dedicated to his mother, Lucy, whose final breath is recorded in the hands of the clock tower, the engaging miniature is a masterpiece crafted by a master tinkerer — from the authentic-looking rockwork at its base to the tiny owl perched at the top, frightening off the pigeons.

“I started with a board and worked up,” Huddleston said modestly of the 19 months of painstaking effort that will one day be his legacy. “I tried to put every detail into it.”

Initially displayed in the front window of First Citizens’ Bank, Huddleston’s model has been relegated to the Courthouse Annex for more than 20 years at the request of its maker, who worried that the present courthouse — erected in 1884 — might go the way of its predecessors — up in smoke.

“That was my stipulation,” Huddleston said. “The courthouse hadn’t been remodeled, and the wiring was old. I didn’t want the two of them together.

“If everything was gone, all we’d have left would be the pictures.”

As county officials prepared for courthouse tours this spring, however, they managed to wheedle Huddleston into temporarily giving the model center stage at the courthouse, where it now beckons visitors like a jewel in a crown.

Like the real courthouse, it will be decorated for Christmas this year.

Public Information Officer Joel Kertok said the resourceful Huddleston, who answered when the call for old photos for the tours went up, has been “a huge help in Judge Riley’s effort to promote awareness of the courthouse and rally community support.”

Kertok and Huddleston met while volunteering at the Weatherford Senior Center, then grew close as Huddleston worked to collect and frame most of the courthouse pictures displayed on the courthouse tours.

His innate design/build skills, along with an ability to restore and creatively recycle what others cast away, struck Kertok as genius.

“I knew this guy was greatness,” he said.

Those pictures now fill a small wall in Huddleston’s living room, which also boasts a large, well-furnished dollhouse — built with dogwood “logs” from Cartwright Park and dedicated to the memory of his late wife, Joyce.

“She passed away two years ago, and I needed something to do,” he said. “I found little strips of stained glass she had wrapped up, and that was what started it.”

Huddleston’s latest project, on display at the courthouse annex in place of the absent courthouse replica, is a church building with no connection to any found nearby.

“I did some research through books and the library, and I couldn’t come up with one I liked so I made my own,” he said.

Outside the structure an airplane appears to soar  — for the kids — he said, while a peek inside reveals a portrait of Jesus gazing down from the front of a lighted pew-filled sanctuary.

In typical Huddleston style there is carved wood recycled from an old chair, extra linoleum from a neighbor and carpet samples from a home improvement store — inexpensively pieced together and artfully composed.

“I do this for my benefit,” he said. “When someone else can get something out of it, that’s my blessing.

“I like to share.”

 

1
Text Only
Aledo ExtrA
  • IMG_7134.JPG Despite cold, peach crops looking rosy

    Parker County peach growers won’t know for sure for a few more days, but as of Wednesday, one day after April temperatures plummeted into the low 30s, they’re predicting a good, even rosy, peach harvest for this year’s Parker County Peach Festival.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Aledo ISD "Shattered Dreams" and parent workshop

    Aledo ISD high school students will get a taste of what it’s like to be in a car accident with fatalities Thursday, April 17th, and Friday, April 18th, as they participate in “Shattered Dreams,” a program designed to save lives. A parent workshop about the topics addressed in the program will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 17.

    April 16, 2014

  • Hitting the trail for MS

    STEPHENVILLE – The Cowboy Capital MS Trail Ride is a fun-filled event dedicated to raising funds that support national research into the cause and cure for Multiple Sclerosis as well as provide programs to more than 9,000 people in the Lone Star Chapter area whose lives are touched by MS.

    April 16, 2014

  • Parker County man killed in single-vehicle wreck

    A 60-year-old Parker County man was killed around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in a one-vehicle crash in the 2100 block of FM Road 3325, also known as Farmer Road.

    April 15, 2014

  • hiebert_kim.jpg Aledo City Council Place 4 candidates for May 10 election

    Early voting for the May 10 general election begins April 28. Following is some information gathered from the candidates for the Place 4 Aledo City Council seat. Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall is running for re-election unopposed.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Jean Bailey photo.jpg Aledo City Council Place 2 candidates

    Early voting for the May 10 general election begins April 28. Following is some information gathered from the candidates running for the Aledo City Council Place 2 seat. Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall is running for re-election unopposed.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • USAF photo.jpg USAF heroes to Ride for Heroes

    The 12th annual Ride for Heroes bike ride this Saturday in Aledo will include some VIPs: members of the United States Air Force Cycling Team.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • FM 5 intersection makeover

    City of Willow Park officials were recently told that a planned reconstruction of the intersection of Interstate 20 frontage roads and FM Road 5 now has funding from the state and is moving ahead.

    April 15, 2014

  • DSC_0074.JPG Bearcat Bootcamp holds successful fundraiser

    Bearcat Bootcamp, an Aledo fitness organization, held its first 1-mile Fun Run and Back the Bearcats 5K race April 5.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing held for Annetta Crime Control District

    The Crime Control and Prevention District proposed for the Town of Annetta — which voters have the chance to accept or reject in the May 10 election — moved forward last week with an April 7 public hearing.

    April 15, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?