by KIM HILSENBECK
The annual Claiborne Kyle Log House chicken dinner fundraiser is coming up. Locals say, “don’t miss it!”
For those who don’t know what they shouldn’t miss, it’s the fundraiser for the Claiborne Kyle Log House, Kyle’s oldest dogtrot log home. Experts say it may be the only remaining example of a double pen, linear dogtrot log home on its original location in Texas, and probably the South.
The property and home, maintained by the Hays County Historical Commission, was constructed in 1850. Lucy Bugg and (John) Claiborne Kyle built this home on a bluff overlooking the Blanco River. The couple lived there with eight of their own children and one adopted son after their move from Tennessee.
In fact, one of their sons, Ferguson, is the namesake of the city of Kyle, according to Chairperson Cale Baese.
Each fall, the Claiborne Kyle Log House Commission, appointed by the Hays County Commissioners, hosts a chicken dinner (in the traditional sense of the word, meaning, at lunchtime) on the property to raise money for maintenance on the homestead. Fresh chicken is cooked on the spot and sold with beans, potato salad, pickles, rolls, dessert and a drink for a nominal contribution.
“We charge $7 a plate for adults and $4 a plate for kids,” Baese said.
Baese said this year his committee will have a bouncy house for kids to give them something to do while parents and family members sit and visit under the tent.
For those who want dinner and a show, the event is often a great time to meet and greet local politicians who are running for office for a one-on-one conversation.
Judge Beth Smith will once again be serving food to guests.
“I have been doing it for 17 years and have a blast,” wrote Smith in an email.
Other local faces who have served in the past are Constable James Kohler and Council Member David Wilson.
This year’s chicken dinner is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 22. Baese, who co-chairs the committee with his wife, Christina, said the event generally draws more than 400 people, though last year it was between 300 and 350.
Former log home committee chairperson Marilyn Beals said a local Catholic church moved its annual “Fiesta” to the same weekend and attendance at the chicken dinner dropped off last year.
“We’ve had the chicken dinner on the fourth Saturday in September for 30 years,” Beals said.
She hopes that Hays area folks will plan to attend both events.
The log house is open spring through fall; be sure to check the website at www.hayshistoricalcommission.com for day, times and other details.