Bluebonnet and LCRA award $25,000 grant to St. John Colony Community Center


LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative present a $25,000 grant to St. John 19th Body of the historic St. John Colony to develop a civic center. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left: Karen Rankin (LCRA); Eula M. Carter; Gracy Hill (secretary); Luerece Hill Tennon; Milton Shaw (Bluebonnet Electric Board Member); Doray Hill (Vice President); Marshall Hill (President); Teagan Olive; James Carter; Jermaine Hill; James Roland; Joyce Buckner (Bluebonnet Electric); Rick Arnic (LCRA); Kyren Olive; Charles Franks; Johnny Sanders (Bluebonnet Electric); Lori Berger (LCRA Board Member); Joyce Bennett and Mary Hill.

St. John 19th Body, a non-profit organization formed to honor the history of the historic St. John Colony in Caldwell County, will develop a civic center thanks to a $25,000 community development grant from Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative and the Lower Colorado River Authority.

The grant will support the organization’s four-part plan to develop an event center and provide a space for members of the community to gather without having to travel miles away to Lockhart, Bastrop or Austin.

Members of the St. John 19th Body organization, previously raised money to buy a 40-by-60-foot building and put it up themselves. The grant will pay for pouring concrete inside the building and to wire it for electricity. The center is on a 7-acre site that also includes a historic church and school.

St. John 19th Body holds one of the longest running Juneteenth celebrations in Texas. Attendees come from all over the state, and as far away as Alaska, to attend the free event. St. John 19th Body prepares 1,400 pounds of brisket and 600 pounds of chicken to go with the sides members of the community bring to round out the meal.

“We want to get the center put together for anybody in the community to use for whatever special events that they have going on, so we can celebrate here instead of having to travel for events,” said Marshall Hill, president of the St. John 19th Body. “This center will also be an important part of the Juneteenth celebration. It’s been going on since before I was born, and Lord willing, it’ll go on after I’m gone.”

This June 19 will mark the 143rd year the St. John Colony has held its annual Juneteenth celebration. Originally called Winn Colony, St. John Colony was founded in the 1870s by Rev. John Henry Winn and a group of black families who established St. John Missionary Baptist Church. 

The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been serving its members since 1939. Bluebonnet serves more than 86,500 meters and owns and maintains 11,000 miles of power lines, located across more than 3,800 square miles within 14 Central Texas counties. Bluebonnet’s service area stretches from Travis County to Washington County, and from Milam County down to Gonzales County. For more information about Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, go to and follow the co-op on Facebook and Twitter.

The Lower Colorado River Authority provides public services that help protect people, property and the environment in Texas. LCRA serves customers and communities in the region by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and selling electric power; ensuring a clean, reliable water supply; and operating parks. A nonprofit corporation created by LCRA also provides transmission services to help maintain electric reliability in Texas. LCRA, a nonprofit agency created by the Texas Legislature, cannot levy taxes or receive tax money.

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