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Two experts on Latino History Address Annual Meeting of Friends of Magic 11th Street  Nonprofit

Gus Hinojosa and Alex Martinez, both with Hispanic Organization for Genealogy and Research (HOGAR) of Dallas, were keynoters at the Annual Meeting of Friends of Garland's Historic Magic 11th Street nonprofit on February 20, 2024. The men said one of their organization's goals is to "disassociate" some of the mythology pertaining to The Alamo. This will be a major premise in a permanent Texas Mexican American Museum, to be located in Dallas. "It is a long history, one that needs to be told by us and not by others. Nowhere in Texas can you go to one place," said Hinojosa. Some regions may have museums, but no one museum represents the whole state. The organizers will ask the regions to write their own history and send their artifacts, because "all regions are vastly different", he said. "We want to hold that pen when we tell our story,: said Martinez, regarding going forward.

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Magical Candlelight Christmas-town 2023

Features Seven Festive Homes, Carriage Rides

Sparkling homes, festive carols, and romantic carriage rides were all features of Magical Candlelight Christmas-town 2023, held on December 7, 2023. Seven dwellings on 11th Street and in Embree were decorated with Christmas finery and welcomed in guests. The horse-drawn carriages transported patrons all the way to downtown Garland, where guests could also attend A Garland Christmas on the Square, occurring simultaneously. Area churches and performing groups filled the night air with music on the outdoor stage at 11th and Avenue C. Santa and Mrs. Claus heard Christmas wishes from guests of all ages and dispensed candy canes in a colorful photo-ops booth. Live farm animals in a hand-hewn stable were an attraction, as was a crafts booth, both provided by Garland's First Presbyterian Church. Church members gave away hot dogs at their fellowship hall, and representatives of Garland's new business, White Rhino Cocoa, offered complimentary samples. Costumed interpreters told the history of some of the 11th Street homes.

Unveiling of the Manuel and Maria Valle Family Texas Historical Marker

A new Texas Historical Marker honoring the Manuel and Maria Valle Family, the first recorded Latino family to call Garland home, was unveiled on May 20, 2023. Friends of Garland's Historic Magic 11th Street was awarded the marker by the Texas Historical Commission. Manuel and Maria Valle, immigrants to the U.S. from Mexico who became naturalized citizens, moved to Garland in 1928 with little means or education. Their eight children all graduated from Garland High School and honored country and community. One of their sons, Pascual Valle, was Garland's first all-state athlete, recognized for his football prowess in 1949. He is the last surviving member of the original family and celebrates his 92nd birthday the week of the unveiling. The ceremony occurred near the site of the original Valle home place near downtown Garland. Free and open to the public.

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Friends of Garland's Historic Magic 11th Street has sponsored seven historic home tours since 2015, the most recent on December 7, 202 3. The last three were held in December; the first four were in the springs of 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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Magical Candlelight Christmas-town 2022

A holiday kick-off event featuring a home tour in Garland's historic Travis College Hill Addition and Embree plus live entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, and photo-ops with Santa, was held on December 2, 2022. Five dwellings were outfitted in Christmas finery and open to the public. The neighborhoods surrounding the tour homes were illuminated as well. Costumed interpreters were stationed on 11th Street in the heart of the Travis College Hill National Register Historic District to tell about history of the neighborhood, founded in 1913. A live nativity scene, crafts booth, and children's activities were stationed along Avenue C, both furnished by neighboring First Presbyterian Church. Choirs and instrumental groups from area churches, schools, and families performed holiday music on three stages throughout the evening as people stroll outdoors. Complimentary hot cocoa was served outside one of the dwellings.

Magical Christmas Candlelight Tour 2019

Historic homes in Travis College Hill and neighboring Embree were open to the public in the first-ever Christmas tour of Garland's 11th Street. A Christmas-themed horse-drawn carriage toted visitors up and down illumined streets. Carolers serenaded on the street corner. Hot cocoa and free hot dogs were provided for guests. The pastor of a nearby church read the Christmas story from the Bible. A live nativity scene, with a hand-hewn stable and manger, was sponsored by First Presbyterian Church of Garland, as was a children's crafts booth. A costumed Santa heard Christmas wishes in a special photo-op booth.

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Friends of Garland's Historic Magic 11th Street
has also sponsored four original musicals performed on stage in the Granville Arts Center.

Musical Drama

The Flats: Cradle of a Community

"The Flats: Cradle of a Community" was performed at Garland's The Atrium on Sunday, April 14, 2024. The original musical drama focused on The Flats neighborhood, a free-standing Black community that existed in downtown Garland in the earlier part of the last century.  It had its own businesses, homes, and a school and church. The Garland Colored School, where education for Black students occurred in those days, was situated on the exact site of The Atrium, where the musical was performed. It featured an original script and nine original songs and told the story of this vibrant community that endured struggles, challenges, and joyful moments during days before racial integration. 

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Musical Drama

The Cactus Chronicles

"The Cactus Chronicles" was performed at Garland's Plaza Theatre on Saturday, May 15, 2021. The original musical drama focused on the life of Garland's first Latinos, the Manuel and Maria Valle family, and celebrates the impact of one family on a community's culture and awareness of diversity. Held on the 90th birthday weekend of Pascual Valle, last surviving member of the Valle family, the musical was told through the eyes of Pascual and his wife, Sylvia. The musical had numerous characters playing their ancestors.

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Becoming Garland Avenue

2020 Revival

"Becoming Garland Avenue—2020 Revival" was a film version of the musical drama that had performed to a sell-out crowd a year earlier. Featuring an original script and 10 original songs, it told about some early Garland, TX, events and some of the town's leading citizens in 1913. More than 70 neighbors and friends from the community combined efforts to perform and support this rollicking drama It had added scenes, songs, and special features, all filmed live at Plaza Theatre Downtown Garland. A number of characters portrayed their real-life ancestors. Originally scheduled to go on stage in April 2020, it became a livestream performance after the theater was shuttered due to COVID-19.

Becoming Garland Avenue

Performed to a sell-out crowd at Garland's Plaza Theatre, the award-winning "Becoming Garland Avenue" told the story of the founding of Garland's 11th Street—first named Garland Avenue—in the early part of the last century, a controversial development because of Travis College Hill's location on the then-far western fringes of town. A one-act drama with eight original songs and original script, "Becoming Garland Avenue" depicted some of the town's early leaders, especially the town's forward-thinking newspaper editor who crusaded to push Garland forward.

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Friends of Garland's Historic Magic 11th Street held a citywide Fiesta at which the Garland Latino Heritage Cookbook was unveiled.

Fiesta for "The Garland Latino Heritage Cookbook"

—held on home site of the Valle family, Garland's original Latinos that arrived about a century ago, the Fiesta introduced this 232-page compilation of recipes and stories from Garland's diverse array of citizens with Latino backgrounds. The coobook honors the growth of Garland's Latino population from the original family—the Valles—to the large numbers of Latinos that now have become Garland's majority ethnic group. It serves as the first written history of Garland's Latinos and reflects on these individuals' contributions to help make the city a better place. It was unveiled on Saturday, May 15, 2021, at the site of the former Valle homeplace on Avenue C at Santa Fe. The cookbook includes recipes for breads, salads, soups, appetizers, sides, entrees and desserts. Each recipe has a family story accompanying it; full stories of 12 outstanding Garland families of Latino origin also are featured in the book.

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