— By CHRISTIN COYNE
The Weatherford community will be honoring former U.S. Speaker of the House, congressman and Weatherford mayor Jim Wright Thursday afternoon with the unveiling of a state historical marker that will be located at the Wright family home.
The 90-year-old honoree will be on hand at the event scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday at 202 W. Oak St., at the corner of Waco Street. The public is invited to the dedication of the marker.
The city purchased the 4,000-square-foot, Queen Anne-style home in 2009 after it was feared the historic building would be razed to provide space for a parking lot.
Located near the city’s Fire Station No. 1, the building currently houses the city’s fire department administrative office and the economic development department.
The house looks much as it did in the 1890s, according to Harold Lawrence, who was president of the Parker County Historical Commission at the time the city began seeking a marker.
Wright’s father, a salesman, purchased the home in 1939 and members of the family lived in the house until the 1970s.
Wright himself lived in the home during his time at Weatherford College and later during his election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1946 and as mayor of Weatherford in 1950.
“He also considered the house his home,” Lawrence said.
Though the family lived on Lee Street when Wright was a boy, the West Oak house was the first home the family owned, according to Wright.
Wright won an election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1954, representing a district that initially included Parker County, as well as three other counties, for 34 years and eventually served as the second Speaker of the House from Texas.
Working with the Parker County Historical Commission, the city initially sought a Recorded Texas Historical Marker under the name of the former Speaker of the House.
“They rejected it because he wasn’t dead long enough,” said Lawrence. “Of course, he wasn’t dead.”
Weatherford then resubmitted the application under the name of Jim Claude Wright, the father of the still-living former congressman.
They may seek a second marker for the location at a later date, according to Lawrence.
The application to the state notes that the city has never offered special recognition of Jim Wright by naming streets or buildings after the city’s influential leader.
“He has never forgotten his state nor his district, and it is now time to recognize this native son for what he achieved,” the City of Weatherford wrote in the application for the marker.
“I’m so happy it’s done while he’s still here to see it,” Lawrence said.