— By CHRISTIN COYNE
Despite the freezing rain and sleet Thursday afternoon, a crowd of Weatherford dignitaries, Wright family friends and others showed up to recognize one of Weatherford’s most prominent sons.
Former Weatherford mayor and U.S. Speaker of the House Jim Wright, who will be 91 this month, was in attendance Thursday afternoon as a state historical marker was unveiled at his former home at 202 W. Oak St. in the heart of Weatherford’s historic district.
The City of Weatherford sought the marker after purchasing the two-story, Queen Anne-style building in 2009 to prevent the historic home from being destroyed to create a church parking lot.
Wright’s father, James Claude Wright, 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.
The city and Parker County Historical Commission initially sought the application under the name of the former Speaker of the House but were rejected because of a requirement that the person honored be dead. A second application honoring Wright’s father was quickly approved, the commission’s Harold Lawrence said, adding that they plan to seek a second marker at a later date.
Wright said he was proud the marker was in his father’s name and that the man deserved it.
Around the time he lost re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1948, Wright said he received one of his most important lessons from his father in the house.
When Wright complained of four prominent Weatherford men who had not supported him, his father quoted Abraham Lincoln, stating that the best way to destroy an enemy was to make him a friend.
He set out to make friends of his political enemies after that, Wright said.
Wright also noted his father’s dedication to seeing that others were able to obtain the college education that circumstances did not allow for his father.
Those in attendance noted the contributions to the community over the years from his time as Weatherford’s youngest mayor to his years representing the area in Washington, D.C.
The application to the state says the city has never offered special recognition of Jim Wright by naming streets or buildings after the city’s influential leader until the marker.
Words are not adequate enough to say what Wright has done for Weatherford, Charlie Simmons told the crowded house of people.