Marker Text: One of ten children, Brooke Smith was born in 1853 to Paulina Thilman (Doswell) and John Snelson Smith, Jr. In Hanover County, Virginia. The family moved to Indiana in 1860 and then to Waco, Texas ten years later. There, Brooke became a clerk at Lyons, Cohn & Co. And decided to move west and open his own store in 1876. Partnering with Sol Lyons and Otto Steffens, he opened a general store in Brownwood, then a frontier town. With no banks in the town, Smith and Steffens placed a large safe in their store where they kept their own funds, as well as financial deposits entrusted to them by area ranchers and farmers. The operation eventually became known as Pecan Valley Bank.
Brooke Smith continued in the banking business, served as a school trustee and was elected Brownwood Mayor in 1886. During his tenure, the city built its first water system and, in 1894, Smith solicited a survey for a dam at the site where Lake Brownwood would eventually be built. He contributed to both Howard Payne and Daniel Baker colleges, serving as Secretary-Treasurer of the latter for many years. He also helped secure several rail lines into the town, thus insuring Brownwood's future growth, and was director of the Fort Worth & Rio Grande Railroad for 40 years.
Smith and his wife, Juliet Logan (Sparks) (d. 1938), whom he wed in 1880, were charter members at St. John's Episcopal Church. The two, to whom four children were born, are buried in Greenleaf Cemetery and are remembered for their significant contributions in the development of Brownwood. In his honor, the city designated Carnegie Avenue, a major downtown thoroughfare, as the Brooke Smith Memorial Boulevard. (2004)
Marker No: 13119
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 31.716791, -98.980865
Location: 600A East Depot Street, Brownwood