It was a cold winter morning. In fact, it was the coldest day of the year! As I was driving to our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Tirzah, the temperature in my truck displayed 15 degrees Fahrenheit. I was thinking that we would have to resort to Plan B and have the Ribbon Cutting inside the building; however, around 10:00 a.m., the temperature warmed up enough so that it was bearable, not comfortable, but bearable so we had the Ribbon Cutting outside.
Tirzah is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places as a contributing building in the Downtown Belton Historic District in Belton, Texas. We are not sure when the building was built, but through our research, we found documentation supporting the building’s existence in the 1880’s.
This building had been abandoned for over 20 years and had been marked as condemned by the City of Belton, Texas. The Ribbon Cutting was held in celebration of the restoration of this grand iconic structure, and our guests will be the first to see the preservation efforts. I tend to refer to the preservation efforts of the historic building as ‘Saving Yesterday for Tomorrow!’
We had the honor of Adam Lozoya, the traveling pianist, performing beautiful prelude music before the Ribbon Cutting as guests were arriving. The music started the event with a festive spirit.
The event was opened with a prayer by Reverend John Heckmann from St. Paul Lutheran Church, in The Grove, Texas. Pastor Heckmann also gave a blessing for Tirzah as we dedicated our business to His glory.
The prayer was followed by the Presentation of the Colors by Boy Scout Troop 118. Cory Roberts was the Color Guard Commander. I was so proud seeing the flags as they were walking down N. East Street with the Courthouse in the background, hearing Cory give the commands, seeing the Scouts salute the flag, and everyone saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
Dean Winkler, a General Contractor with CRW Construction was introduced, and he said a few words about their experience. It was a daunting task to renovate this building, but this trusted crew gave our condemned building a productive life; a building that was once abandoned will now thrive for future generations to enjoy.
Our vintage venue is steeped with history. Frederick Gillmeister owned the building in the 1880’s and used the building as a restaurant. Around 1889, Mr. Gillmeister sold the building to William Froderman. Interestingly, both families, were born in Germany and found themselves living in Belton, Texas. Mr. Froderman used the building for a bakery and boarding house. Over the years, they made numerous wedding cakes. He also used the building as a venue for weddings and banquets.
Both families, the Gillmeister’s and the Froderman’s, ran the business downstairs, and they lived upstairs. Fred and Julia Gillmeister lived in this building along with their only child, Louis Gillmeister. And the Froderman’s raised six children here. Imagine what it would have been like to live here growing up as a child. To give you a glimpse, Louis Gillmeister was quite athletic, and he would entertain the restaurant guests by walking up and down the staircase on his hands.
Louis was an only child; however, he went on to have six boys of his own. His son, Leonard Gillmeister and several family members of the Gillmeister family were present with us at the Ribbon Cutting. Leonard is 91 years old and remembers going into the building once as a little boy and seeing a display of cookies and donuts.
I feel like our families have a special connection with each other, and they even showed up early and helped us get ready for the celebration.
Interestingly in 1914, Belton’s Downtown “Historic District” was called the “Paved District.” The Temple Daily Telegram had an article titled “Splendid Sidewalk Work” which stated “the grade of the walk is being raised and new concrete walks laid in front of the building owned by William Froderman and other surrounding buildings.” Since this building existed numerous years before the pavement was ever added, our guests were cautioned as they enter the building to notice that they will need to step down.
Several people have asked what we are going to do with the building. Our business is founded on Christian principles. Our name, Tirzah, was inspired by Song of Solomon 6:4, “Thou art beautiful, oh my love, as Tirzah.” The focus of our business revolves around Love and Romance. We strive to transform Dreams into Cherished Memories. Our primary repertoire encompasses the following, but we offer so much more! We are romance travel specialists, and we assist with wedding design including traditional and destination. Additionally, we will be carrying on the tradition of hosting memorable events in this unique, nostalgic, and intimate setting. The very first couple under our ownership, Jake Roehl and Whitney Joeckel, will be celebrating their dream day, their wedding, in this beautiful historic venue.
As we took a few more photographs to record a little more history for this building, the City of Belton council member, Jerri Gauntt, was present for the Ribbon Cutting. Belton’s Director of Finance, Brandon Bozon, and Temple’s Director of Planning, Brian Chandler, were also present. The members of Belton’s City Council are Visionaries in Preservation, and they have been very supportive in our endeavor. We were awarded the Facade Improvement Grant by the City of Belton, and in addition, the Belton City Council approved a five-year 100 percent Tax Abatement.
The Downtown Belton Merchants have been very welcoming. A community that supports one another maximizes everyone’s chances for success. My supportive new neighbors include Leila Valchar with My Giving Tree, Robert Potts with Cochran, Blair, and Potts, Melitza Rivera with Southern Comforts, Maria Aida Riddle with Aida’s Outlet, Michael Cox with East Street Barber Shop, Laura McWha with McWha Bookstore, David Tuma with The Belton Journal, and many more.
My family is my Circle of Strength. We are founded on faith, joined by love, and kept by God. I could not have made it this far without their help, guidance, encouragement, and prayers.
A friend is what the heart needs. Friends divide our sorrow and double our joy. Our joy was definitely doubled at our Ribbon Cutting. Many friends joined us in our celebration even with the cold temperature.
I prayed about the decision to purchase the building. Was it the path that I should take? The Sunday before the auction, I noticed a bulletin board at church that said, “If you are walking with God, you will always be going in the right direction.” So as we are walking by Faith, we keep taking the next step. At the tax auction, we became the blessed owners. We then took the step in the restoration, and we are celebrating today with the Ribbon Cutting. My children, Cory and Candice, my greatest blessings did the honors of cutting the ribbon. We saved the ribbon in between the two cuts, and the rose-gold scissors have been engraved with Tirzah and the date of 1/7/17.
These two pictures touch my heart. I love how Candice and I are so proudly smiling as we watch Cory make the final cut to the ribbon. This is a memory that we will always cherish.
Cory then turned the “Sorry We’re Closed” sign to “Come In, We’re Open” and said, “We’re Open!”
We thanked everyone for coming on this cold winter day and spending part of their day with us. We were excited to have them see the wonderful preservation efforts. We asked Leonard Gillmeister to do us the honor of being the first guest to enter the building followed by the remaining Gillmeister family.
During the Open House, refreshments were served. Tidbits of history were on display with historical articles, vintage photographs, and various artifacts such as a giant baker’s mixer.
Our Ribbon Cutting was a very memorable moment as we reached a milestone. Thank you and welcome! To God be the Glory!! ?
Tirzah If you would like additional information about event coordination, planning a romantic adventure, or about the other services that we offer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2019. Tirzah. All rights reserved.