by SHELLEY HENRY
Special to the Mercury
Hays County Historical Commission member Richard Kidd of Driftwood has for the past several years been responsible for building an impressive body of work that furthers the cause of historic preservation in Hays County and throughout Texas.
Kidd was recognized recently by the executive director of the Texas Historical Commission with the the commission’s Award of Merit, honoring his contributions to the preservation of Texas cultural and historical resources.
A retired professional documentary producer, Kidd’s unique perspective and skills have brought together the rare ingredients needed to craft a still-growing library of technologically modern and historically significant programs, produced by the the Hays County Historical Commission..
Kidd first brought his special talents, skills, and experience to bear for the HCHC in 2008 when he documented the Commission’s trip to California. During this trip, chair Kate Johnson and other members retraced the route county namesake Jack C. Hays had taken from Texas to California many decades earlier.
As a follow-up to the Journey to California video, and to further reinforce its message, Kidd spent a good portion of 2009 producing Captain Jack: The Story of John Coffee Hays, a stand-alone biographical documentary on Jack Hays. This production, complete with historical recreation actors, represented a huge research effort on Kidd’s part to capture surviving information on the once-famous Texas Ranger.
Screenings of the video throughout the county and distribution of the DVD to school libraries focused an awareness of and appreciation for the significance of Jack C. Hays in Texas History.
Kidd has also been the critical player in the HCHC’s oral history program. While not of the same scale as the Hays documentaries, the local oral histories Kidd has created along with a small cadre of helpers represent a growing gold mine of personal reminiscences. Now counting more than a dozen selected county subjects, the constantly-expanding library of local oral histories is presented with a professional touch that would be impossible to bring to the county without a person of Kidd’s commitment and skills.
One of Kidd’s and the Historical Commission’s most recent accomplishments is the production of Larger than Life: the Story of Buck Winn, a documentary on Wimberley artist James Buchanan Winn. Kidd’s creative reconstruction of Winn’s life, including video footage of many of his surviving pieces across the South, stands as strong testimony to this internationally recognized painter, sculptor, inventor, muralist, and architectural artist.
Sworn in to another term on the Historical Commission just last week, Kidd will continue to use his talents and skills to produce oral histories and documentaries that shine a light on the fascinating people who are part of our county’s great history.