Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mr. Dennis G. Hunewell

Hunewell...a familiar name heard often around campus...Hunewell dorm, Hunewell bandstand, Hunewell ranch...

Fifty years ago this month, December 19, 1959, Tarleton benefactor Dennis Hunewell died, leaving the bulk of his estate to Tarleton. His obituary in the Stephenville Empire Tribune stated that he came to Stephenville in 1920 and in accordance with Dean Davis' publicity strategy, began an extensive recruiting effort! His program used the military band extensively to familiarize the name of Tarleton State College in every corner of the state! Virtually every county in Texas provided Tarleton State College with students as a result of Mr. Hunewell's vigorous campaign.

When Hunewell arrived at Tarleton the small band consisted of 9 members. They didn't know any marches, nor had they performed in public. Dennis Hunewell built a great military band that performed all over the state and won many awards for their expert marching, including several victories in the San Antonio "Battle of the Flowers", the most prominent contest of the 1920s and 1930s.

The Tarleton Military Band also performed concerts for the Tarleton community. The graduating classes of 1926, 1927, and 1928 helped raise the money to build the original Hunewell bandstand which was located in the area where the Tarleton Center stands today. The Hunewell bandstand provided a stage for the bands of Dennis Hunewell for over 30 years. It was torn down in 1963 when the student center (now the Tarleton Center) was built . The Alumni Association built the replica that stands today in Heritage Park.

After his retirement in 1942, Dennis Hunewell moved to his 1,200 acre ranch southeast of town. He raised registered hereford cattle. It was at his home on the ranch where he died of pneumonia at the age of 83.

For more detailed narratives about Hunewell and the Tarleton military band see:

Dick Smith Library Cross Timbers Historic Images Project:
Stephenville Empire Tribune, January 12, 1960
Guthrie, Christopher E., John Tarleton and his Legacy

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