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Home’s history is linked to lawsuit

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

We live in interesting times. From debates about removing Confederate statues from city parks to debates about historically accurate depictions of slavery to be taught in classrooms, differing opinions divide our nation. This push for us to define our values and take a stand has recently come to San Marcos.

Kristy Money and her husband bought a home in the Burleson Historic district. At the time, they were unaware that the letter “Z “ displayed on their balcony had a link to the Ku Klux Klan. Frank Zimmerman, a prior owner, owned a theatre that was known for holding a Ku Klux Klan day in the 1920s.

Those aware of this history link the “Z” that he placed on his balcony to this event.

When the Money family purchased the home, they were unaware of this history. After learning about it, they asked the San Marcos Historic Preservation Commission to allow them to take the “Z” down.

This request was unanimously denied. The family hired an attorney and filed a lawsuit opposing the city ordinance that lets the commission decide what homeowners can and can’t do to their house in a historic district. This case will eventually go to court.

This is a complicated issue. Certainly, a historic commission is responsible for making sure that the architecture in an historic district remains architecturally accurate. On the other hand, the “Z” on the balcony is nothing to be celebrated or proud of. Nor is it essential to the architecture of the era. Those who know it’s significance can understand that, for many, it is an offensive and hurtful reminder of an era that continues to cast a dark shadow on our nation.

In recent times, many states confronted similar issues. Often, offensive statues were removed from places of honor to be put into museums to represent events that depict our nation’s history.

By displaying the “Z” prominently, are we honoring the man who held Ku Klux Klan day? Certainly, many of us find that idea deeply offensive. How important is that “Z” to the historical representation of the architecture of that era? It certainly is not an essential detail to establishing the integrity of an historical home. How much responsibility does a city historical commission have to honor and respect the values and sensitivities of the neighborhood and city that it represents?

These are complicated issues to be worked out in court. They are easily solved when we listen to our conscience and heart.

Karen Timme

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666