Shepperd legacy to be honored

The life and legacy of the late Dr. Joe Shepperd will be honored at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 3, during a special luncheon at the AgriLife Extension building in Burnet.

The event is a continuation of a series called “Citizens of Note,” sponsored by the Burnet County Historical Commission. For the past two years, the BCHC has honored women in a series of “Women of Note” presentations and luncheons. This year, the commission agreed to include men on the list of honorees, changing the name of the project to “Citizens of Note.”

In 1937, Dr. Shepperd helped establish the first hospital in Burnet County, which preceded what is today Seton Highland Lakes Hospital in Burnet. Shepperd's hospital had one bed and a delivery room.

The following year, Shepperd was elected mayor of Burnet, a post he held until 1953. He would late be elected mayor again in the 1960s.

As mayor, he oversaw the first electrical distribution system and hired the first city manager for Burnet. Many of Burnet's existing streets were first paved under Shepperd's administration and he helped improve the city's water and sewer systems while also seeing street lights be placed throughout the city.

Shepperd donated land on Post Mountain for a water tank and had a water softener plant installed. The first city police officer was hired by his administration and the municipal swimming pool was built and established at Tommy White Park.

Perhaps one of Shepperd's biggest contributions to the city was the establishment of the municipal airport, which still serves the city to this day.

Shepperd also donated land for the Highlander Inn and Restaurant for community development and he purchased and restored two homes of the late Confederate Gen. Adam R. “Stovepipe” Johnson — “Rocky Rest,” which was established in 1860, and “Airy Mount,” established in 1884.

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