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fided. “We’re really anxious to get it, and it’s possible we will have it for the official dedication in June.” Both state and federal investigators closely monitored Duval County as George Parr continued the family’s rule. Parr served terms as sheriff and county judge, all the while doling out political patronage to ensure loyalty to Parr’s hand-picked political candidates. The Parr empire collapsed in 1975 as Parr was facing a federal jail sentence for incometax evasion. He was found on the family ranch in his blue 1967 Chrysler Imperial, dead of a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head. Pan’s heir-apparent, nephew Archer Parr, had been stripped of his position as county judge just weeks before. Having held office for 16 years, Archer Parr was convicted of perjury for lying to a federal grand jury about $120,000 paid him by a county agency he had helped create. ODAY, NO MEMBER of the. Parr family is active in Duval County politics. Archer Parr lives quietly on his ranch and ventures into town only occasionally. George Parr’s widow, Evangelina, is now married to Irenio Cadena and does not give interviews. The Cadenas still live in the old Parr mansion, but have left Parr’s bedroom and some other parts of the house virtually untouched. Efforts are underway to raise approximately $200,000 to buy the Parr home as a new site for the museum. The Chrysler in which the Parr dynasty came to an end is stored in the garage, in need of restoration. “We’re looking into some money-making things, as well as grants or loans from private companies and foundations,” noted Canales. “We’re hopeful we can get it off the ground.” Parr’s widow donated much of the Parr memorabilia that will be on exhibit, and the family intends to contribute more personal belongings before the formal opening. The only thing that will not be donated is a cigarette lighter, engraved with the initials “LBJ,” given to Parr by President Johnson during a visit to the mansion. In discussing Duval County politics today, Canales observed that the old pro-Parr and anti-Parr factions are long gone. Today, the Parr dynasty is nothing more than a part of the area’s history. She also pointed out that, despite his reputation as a demagogue, George Parr made some positive contributions to the county. “He spoke fluent Spanish,” she noted, “and taught the Hispanics of Duval County to have pride in themselves. There was no discrimination against Hispanics with Parr. Everybody was treated equally.” “He also taught the county about the value of education,” Canales recalled. “He believed in education and he helped a lot of the young people go on to college. Personally, I liked him. He had a lot of charisma.” An old man sitting in small park across the street from the museum also had fond memories of Parr. “He done a lot of good for the people,” he said. Giving his name only as “Beto,” he recalled the time his family received help from then-County Judge George Parr. “There’s a lot of people that say he stole from the county, but a lot of that went to poor people,” Beto said. Judge Parr helped my family one time when we didn’t have any money for food. He would always help poor people, Mexican or Anglo. It didn’t make a difference to him.” When asked if he would vote for Parr today if given the chance, Beto’s answer was an adamant, “Hell, yes!” Not everyone, however, is as proud of the Parr legacy. One local resident, who preferred not to give his name, felt that the political scandals of the past should be left alone. “I just don’t want people coming down here laughing at us,” he said. “All of that corruption was long ago, and we need to concentrate on positive things. I mean, the next thing they’ll want to do is bring the tourists down here for a ballot-box stuffing contest.” RILE THERE HAVE been changes in Duval County politics, the area has experienced little growth or economic prosperity. There is little industry, and many of the residents live at or below the poverty level. The county seat of San Diego clearly shows signs of economic decay. Many buildings in the heart of what would be a business district in a prosperous town sit vacant and neglected. Many are boarded-up while others are nothing more than empty shells. Even the once-gracious Parr mansion on Highway 359, south of San Diego, reveals evidence of neglect. The yard of the sprawling Spanish style home is overgrown, and dead palm trees dot the property. A large “For Sale” sign is prominently displayed near the front gate. While there are few prospects for economic revival on the horizon for Duval County, hope is alive in the hearts of the residents: hope for better times, and hope for tourist dollars. As the Parr family built a political dynasty out of this isolated brush country, the people of Duval County hope to build a tourist industry by capitalizing on the Parr era. As residents see it, their best hope for the future again rests with the “Duke of Duval.” CLASSIFIED ORGANIZATIONS LESBIAN/GAY DEMOCRATS of Texas Our Voice in the Party. Membership $15, P.O. Box 190933, Dallas, 75219. TEXAS TENANTS’ UNION. Membership $18/year, $10/six months, $30 or more/sponsor. Receive handbook on tenants’ rights, newsletter, and more. 5405 East Grand, Dallas, TX 75223. CATHOLICS for a Free Choice DFW Metroplex. 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