Carthage Book Club member Kay Hubbard looks back at the history of the Anderson Park gazebo and just marvels at it.

The gazebo, built by Book Club members in 1969, has seen it all in the past 50 years. Hubbard herself recalls Book Club ladies dressed in period costumes and serving tea in honor of Texas’s Sesquicentennial at the structure. The Jaycees also once gave out doughnuts as part of an effort to reduce traffic accidents over a Labor Day weekend.

It’s been the site of wedding and engagement photos, city events and even a visit from then-Texas First Lady Anita Perry.

“There’s still this continuity that goes from the early time of it up through now,” Hubbard said. “You hear the more things change, the more they stay the same. I just think it’s a remarkable, remarkable thing that this place is still here and still meaning the same to Carthage people as it did 50 years ago.”

It was that history that the current Book Club members celebrated Tuesday at a special 50th birthday celebration for the beloved gazebo.

The event kicked off with music from Dwaine Hubbard and Panola College musicians, as members of the Carthage Book Club and other Carthage residents gathered in gazebo among the evening’s humid heat.

Carthage Mayor Lynn Vincent presented a key to the city to the Book Club, and State Rep. Chris Paddie offered a resolution calling the gazebo a “tribute to the vision and civic engagement of the Carthage Book Club.” Celebration Chair Sallie Lipsey then offered up a toast to the gazebo and the ladies of Book Clubs past to end the ceremony.

Hubbard recalled an earlier conversation with President Twink Ross about what the gazebo would say if it could speak.

“We started thinking about all the different pictures that have been here and all of the different just family things,” Hubbard said.

Ross told those gathered Tuesday that the Book Club was responsible for a number of things in Carthage, including a lending library and the city’s first sidewalk. The gazebo was another example of the Book Club’s civic pride.

“To think that this beautiful thing was the work of ladies some 50 years ago — I’m very thankful for that,” she said.

Reporter

Carthage native Meredith Shamburger has worked for the Panola Watchman since 2018. Before that, she worked at sister papers in Longview and Marshall; the Dallas Morning News; and The Daily Voice, a hyperlocal news company in Westchester County, New York.