Preserving Alpine

Abbey Branch

One of the best ways to appreciate and build awareness of a city’s character and sense of community is through its history, and the newly established Alpine Historical Association is set to do just that.

With the dedication of Alpine native Abbey Branch, the association is set to promote the city’s history. Branch was born and raised in Alpine, and graduated Alpine High School in 1991. She is the daughter of Morrison True Value owner Bob Ward.

Branch has spent 25 years working in the architecture and design industry, and she owned and operated a design business in Houston.

In 2018, Branch purchased a 110-year-old home, called the Vaquero Home, on Cockrell Street in Alpine. The city contacted her to possibly start a historical association to promote the Historical District, after many years of non-active status.

“I own a business, and I have three kids. I don’t have time, but nobody did,” Branch said. “So, when I started renovating this house, I thought yes, I am going to have to do this. The older homes were designed to last.”

Branch later researched her new property at Archives of the Big Bend, and was surprised to find old photographs of the original home, built in 1909 by a cowboy named John Young.

Branch was thrilled that the home had so much history, and she became intent on renovating it. The association is set to kick off its first fundraising campaign and membership drive on Jan. 1, 2021. Residents can contribute toward the American Flag program.  

Said Branch, “Our team places an American or Texas flag in your front yard on four national holidays - Presidents Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day.”

Besides the city’s upcoming restoration of the old Sunshine House, Branch hopes Kokernot Lodge might be renovated, along with parts of Kokernot Field, the historic home of the Alpine o6 Cowboys baseball team.

The association has its sights set on other interesting projects as well.

“We hope to do a pop-up dining tour, where you can see and visit the historical places, and have a little bite to eat,” said Branch. “That’s one thing to help our local community and our restaurants to get back on their feet.”

Branch said tax credits would be offered to homeowners, along with grants to restore their homes. The association can help with surveying their projects, and registering them with the Texas Historical Commission.

“Restoring old homes and historical homes brings more money to our community than any other type of business because you need your craftsman spending a little more time, and you have to bring more trades,” she said.

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