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Businesses recognized for 50 years in service

November 2, 2013

The Texas Historical Commission, Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) and Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) have recognized three Hood County businesses with Texas Treasure Business Awards from the Texas Historical Commission (THC)

Classic Chevrolet (formerly Durant Chevrolet), the First National Bank of Lipan, and the Lipan Telephone Company were honored at a recent meeting of the Hood County Commissioners Court.

The Texas Treasure Business Award program pays tribute to businesses that have provided employment opportunities and support to the state’s economy for 50 years or more.

CLASSIC CHEVROLET

Julian “Jude” and Opal Maples Durant returned to Texas and in 1951 settled in Granbury where they founded Durant Construction as well as a small grocery business. They also established a wrecking yard business behind their home.

By 1954, that endeavor was successful enough for the couple to purchase acreage on the west side of Granbury across from the Brazos Drive-In theater. There, the farmer with a third grade education founded the Durant Automobile business.

Durant bought the local Chevrolet dealership on the east side of the square from Mr. E. E. Durham in 1960. Durant moved the dealership east of Granbury (before the bypass came through). When the Army Corps of Engineers bought land for Lake Granbury, the car dealership site was in that purchase. Durant Chevrolet then moved to the current Highway 377 site.

Tom Durant (son of Julian and Opal) took over Durant Chevrolet in Granbury in 1972. The name was changed to Classic Chevrolet in 2007.

To this day, Tom Durant remains a partner in the dealership, while relinquishing the day to day operations and dealer principal title to Danny Hill.

Hill is a current resident of Granbury and following tradition, employs his daughter Ashley and her husband Jeremy at the dealership.

First National Bank of Lipan

In 1910 two banks were doing business in Lipan, a small town in the northern portion of Hood County. Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank and The Lipan State Bank. The Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank was chartered as The First National Bank of Lipan (#10598) in 1914. The First National Bank of Lipan and the Lipan State Bank merged under the name of The First National Bank of Lipan shortly thereafter (at least by 1928).

At their inception, Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank officers were W. S. Fant (president), L. D. Hurn (vice- president), W. L. Mugg (vice-president), and W. H. Roach (cashier). The Lipan State Bank began April 5, 1906 with directors, D.C. Cogdell (president), N. J. Gardner (vice president), W.R. Martin (cashier), W. J. Aiken, and J. N. Nutt. Listed as assistant cashiers were Jess Baker, J. N. Nutt, and F. Williams.

The First National Bank of Lipan currently operates with 10 employees to provide banking service to their customers.

Since 1993 the First National Bank of Lipan has been owned by the Branson family starting with Harold and Mona Branson. Current owners are their children, Randy Branson, Patty Branson Ranspot, and Deana Branson Williams. While ownership has changed, the address hasn’t. The bank continues doing business at 101 E. Lipan Drive.

Lipan Telephone Company

The Lipan Telephone company was given a Certificate of Incorporation by the State of Texas March 20, 1956 and has been in continuous operation since that time. The Lipan Telephone Company continues to provide service to Lipan and the greater Lipan area. Ownership has not changed from the Howard family.

The original Articles of Incorporation (March 12, 1956) show H. D. Howard, E. J. Seymour, Fred L. Thorman, Otis Privitt, and Melvin Tipton as directors/incorporators. The current owners are John M. Howard and Beth Howard. John is the son of H. D. Howard.

To improve the phone services, the business has changed locations within the city of Lipan. Currently the physical address is 109 N. Kickapoo St., Lipan.

Providing telephone service and maintenance requires multiple workers. The Lipan Telephone Company employs 10 individuals.

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