Board of Trustees News

Neighborhood web site Please visit our new neighborhood web site at (please note that the prefix is gww, not www). The site is 90% complete, and the designer is requesting feedback from the community on the usefulness and usability of the site. Comments may be emailed to the webmaster. We hope our residents will be pleased with this new resource as it continues to be developed.

Dogs Still a problem in our neighborhood, barking dogs are greatly troubling some of our residents. We earnestly request all dog owners to keep their pets from disturbing their neighbors. Your barking dog may be seriously affecting the comfort of young children and their mothers, our elderly residents, and those suffering with severe illness. Please be considerate pet owners.

Dogs who leave their property to chase or bark at pedestrians must be controlled. Everyone in Goldenwood West has the right to enjoy walks in our beautiful area without worrying about dogs bothering them. If you do have a negative experience with a dog, please consider approaching the dog’s owner first to acquaint them with the fact that their pet is causing you distress. This is the neighborly thing to do, and most people are very apologetic when they discover their pet has troubled someone. If the injured person can’t bring themselves to approach the owner, or has not received a satisfactory response, please call Hays County Animal Control at 512-393-7896.

For the purpose of educating our residents, we will be presenting information from the Hays County Animal Control Ordinance in three parts, beginning with this newsletter. The first topic is dogs running at large and public nuisance:

The Hays County Animal Control Ordinance prohibits dogs from running at large and animals creating a public nuisance. The animal may be impounded for 72 hours, not counting weekends and holidays. Subject to citation for violation of this order and approval by the Animal Control Officer of a plan to eliminate any public nuisance caused by the animal, an owner may claim the animal within the 72 hour time period after paying in full all incurred costs and impoundment fees. Upon failure of the owner to contact the Animal Control Officer during the 72 hour time period, the Animal Control Officer may order the animal destroyed without compensation to the owner. Any person who violates a provision of Section 8 (of this order) shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.

Sodding for the Pool Area The improved area around our community pool has been protected from erosion during the winter through the generous efforts of local volunteers. However as the weather warms up, this winter rye grass will begin to die off. In order to protect our investment in improvements to the common area, sod will need to be laid around the pavilion. We have funds set aside for purchasing the sod, but would like to save money on installation by asking our members to volunteer some of their time for this purpose. The sod will be laid in early April, possibly on the weekend before Easter. If you can spare an hour or two for this good cause, please contact the webmaster. Volunteers will be notified once a firm date has been set.

Firearms A resident reported hearing gunshots during the night near the mailstation a few weeks ago, and saw evidence that someone shot a deer there and took it away. Please be aware that our bylaws strictly prohibit discharging firearms of any kind in the neighborhood. Stray shots could endanger our residents. For the safety of our children, please report any use of firearms in Goldenwood West to the sheriff’s office promptly.

Oak Wilt Since Oak Wilt has been identified as a potential problem in our area, members are encouraged to visit the following web site for information on this important subject: plant

Welcome Wagon There has long been interest expressed for establishment of a Welcome Wagon committee to greet new residents. We are happy to announce that Elizabeth Dunk has graciously volunteered to be the contact person for this committee. Volunteers who are willing to bake a cake or cookies for the committee to bring to the new neighbor, as well as people interested in actually making the visit, are invited to contact the webmaster.

Attention Book Lovers Several residents are interested in starting a neighborhood book group in which all participants read the same book and then get together to discuss it.  We will probably meet monthly at a regularly set time.  If you are interested in participating, please call Karen Hayward at 894-4002 or email:

Other Clubs Residents have expressed interest in forming several clubs. Please contact the following people if you are interested in participating. If you have another idea for a local club or if you would like to lead a group, contact the editor. Clubs forming at this time: Bunko Group (Lisa Boyer–858-1707), Garden Club (need a leader), Mom’s Group (need a leader), Naturalist Group (this group will meet to hike around the neighborhood looking at our flora and fauna, Tom Watson–

News from the APC

The open position on the APC has been filled. Currently your committee members are Julie Richards, Charlie Seligman and Al Vargo. The committee would also like to welcome Eric Russell as a new sub-committee member.

Most Beautiful Yards The APC would like to announce that Spring Yard Recognition will be taking place in April. The best yard will be recognized in the May newsletter.

News from the GWW Water Board

The next water board meeting is March 24 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pavilion. This meeting will include a Public Hearing to discuss the 2003 rate study and proposed water rate increase that will be effective April 01, 2004. Remember that meeting dates and times appear at the bottom of members’ bills each month.

The TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), who permits and monitors our wells, is concerned about surface contamination of our best well (which has the highest volume output, recharge rate, and water quality) and issued a warning to us to improve the treatment process or face closure of the well. The water in this well contains organisms that normally occur on the surface (mostly microscopic, unicellular organisms other than bacteria) and not in subterranean waters. Our well(s) do NOT have E. coli or other bacteria which would indicate sewage contamination. The present chlorination process kills all the known organisms in the water; but, the TCEQ is concerned about the potential for contamination by the enteric protozoans Microsporidium and Giardi (a common contaminate in ponds and streams). While chlorination kills the cells of these protozoans, the process will NOT kill the thick-walled, reproductive cysts formed by Microsporidium and Giardi. The water tests conducted by the TCEQ on our well(s) have NOT indicated the presence of these protozoans, however the potential for contamination by them exists and the TCEQ has thusly forced the water board to take corrective action. The new filtration system, recently purchased and now being installed, will remove not only the protozoans but also their cysts. The water will continue to be chlorinated in order to kill any micro-organisms (e.g., bacteria) that are not removed by filtration.

Neighborhood History: Friday Mountain

“ The sights, sounds, odors, and especially the feel of the place stimulate in me memories so warm and intimate that taking up residence here seems more like a homecoming than an escape.” This is how famous Texas author, Roy Bedichek, describes Friday Mountain Ranch in his “Adventures with a Texas Naturalist.” Friday Mountain, now also known as Barsana Hill, got its name because the surveyors arrived to record its height of 1060 feet above sea level on a Friday.

The ranch, consisting of 630 acres along Bear Creek, was the site of the Johnson Institute. Thomas Jefferson Johnson, born in Virginia in 1805, founded the boarding school in 1852, originally for boys only, but soon girls were admitted. It may have been the first secondary school in Texas, west of the R. Colorado. By the time of his sudden death in 1868, there were 200 students.

Johnson was a colorful character, a strict disciplinarian, but well loved by his students. His hair, resembling an overgrown flat-top in a photograph in Bandera’s Frontier Museum, earned him the nickname of ‘Old Bristle Top.’ The school was a family affair, with Mrs. Johnson and four of their six children on the teaching staff. Son Benjamin kept the school going until 1872 when Friday Mountain Ranch was sold. It passed through several hands before Lewis Cass Kemp bought it in 1908. Like his neighbor, Role Christal, the twice-married Kemp had a large family. His 23 children were all of an age with the 22 Christals. The Kemps had a little more space in the L-shaped Johnson Institute with its 10 rooms, 2 halls, and 2 bathrooms, albeit unplumbed!

The young Kemps loved to stand outside hollering, listening to their voices echoing off the bluffs. They made even more noise at Christmas time, blasting dynamite on top of Friday Mountain, to the consternation of those living within a fifteen mile radius.

The Kemps grew cotton, corn, and sorghum, and raised cattle, horses, mules, and hogs that fended for themselves in the woods in the fall and winter. Rattlesnakes were a problem, there being a den of them under Mr. and Mrs. Kemp’s bedroom floor. Son Willie Kemp said, “When a rattlesnake was discovered, especially under the bed, it had Pa ‘treed’ till he could work out a plan to get out of bed.” Sometimes, the children were ordered to remove it with a hoe or a rake until Pa could take over! The Kemps made no special effort to get rid of the snakes. As Willie said, “… one thing, we were never plagued with rats!”

In 1922, Lewis Kemp sold the Institute to his son, Tom, who remained there until 1942. Because of heavy infestations of horehound and other noxious weeds, he ran a large flock of sheep and goats. He also raised corn and feed crops. Cotton was no longer important because of the boll weevil infestation.

Dr. Walter Prescott Webb, professor of history at UT Austin, was the next owner. He wanted “to preserve the building and to restore it as nearly as possible to its original state” and was “determined to restore its depleted grassland and water.” Throughout the drought-ridden 1940s and 1950s, Dr. Webb cut down the encroaching juniper to allow the oaks and grass to flourish, and broadcast grass seed and fertilizer.

It was during this period that Dr. Webb encouraged authors, including Roy Bedichek and J. Frank Dobie, to visit Friday Mountain for lively literary discussions. Bedichek went into seclusion there for a year to write his book, “Adventures with a Texas Naturalist.”

In 1946, Webb encouraged his friend, Rodney J. Kidd, to run a boys’ summer camp at the Institute. Then, from 1949 until 1956, sixth-grade students would come out from Austin for five day stays, stressing nature study, self-reliance, and the pioneer spirit. Webb sold the ranch in 1963 to Kidd, who kept the buildings in good order. The following year the Texas Historical Commission designated the Johnson Institute a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.

By 1991, only 105 acres of Friday Mountain Ranch belonged to the Kidd family. Two hundred acres, including the Johnson Institute, had been purchased by the International Society of Divine Love, becoming Barsana Dham. Friday Mountain was said to be reminiscent of Barsana Hill in the holy land of Braj in India. In 1995, the Temple of Shree Raseshwari Radhi Rani, the largest Hindu temple in the United States, was dedicated. But, by 1992, the Texas Historical Commission had voted to revoke the Johnson Institute’s Recorded Texas Historic Landmark designation because of the extensive alterations that had been made to the building.

“ The sights, sounds, odors” that attracted Roy Bedichek half a century ago are very different today. Friday Mountain still stands sentinel, overlooking “billowy rise after rise growing evermore purplish and smoky in the distance,” now dotted with ever increasing signs of human habitation.

J. Marie Bassett

Helpful Information

Area Churches
Driftwood Methodist Church.
Located on the corner of RR 150 and County Road 170 (Elder Hill Road) in beautiful Driftwood, Texas.
Services are:Sunday School/Bible Study 9:30 a.m., Sunday Worship Service 10:45 a.m., Sunday.
Dripping Springs United Methodist ChurchRev. Andy Smith, Pastor28900 Ranch Rd 12, Dripping SpringsWorship Services Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, & 11:00 a.m.Sunday School at 9:45 a.m.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
1700 Woodland Ave. Austin, Texas 78741
A Community of Disciples Making Disciples in the Midst of Joyful Contemporary Worship with Biblical Teaching and Preaching in the Episcopal Tradition.  Located on Woodland Ave. 1 block from I-35 in Austin.

St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church
1012 Post Oak (just north of RR 12, one mile east of Hwy 290 )
Dripping Springs, TX  78620
(512) 858-5667
Fax (512) 858-1467
Masses: Saturday, 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. (English), 2:00 p.m. (Spanish)
Weekday masses on Monday, 10:00 a.m.; Tuesday through Friday at Noon

If you would like to have your church represented on this list, please send the information to the editor and we will gladly publicize your church’s services and location.

Goldenwood West News is published by:
ZP Graphic
Margaret Paine, Graphic Designer and Editor

Please send comments, articles, email subscriptions and inquiries regarding advertisements to the above address.

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