Panorama Village celebrates 50 years this holiday weekend

It’s a rare thing indeed when the mayor of the city himself shows up to address the issue you’re having with your home.

But that’s just one of the charming things about Panorama Village, a small city of about 1,150 homes between Conroe and Willis.

Mayor Lynn Scott, who was elected in 2016, is known to take a hands-on approach to addressing the needs of the city. He has no qualms about stopping by after hours to check out an issue. The same with the members of the city. council.

“We have the same problems day by day that Houston has, but the difference is, here we’re able to do things about them,” Scott said.

Scott still regards the community as more of a village than a city. And with the close-knit community, the mayor and council members can add a personal touch to their city business — an attribute not found in larger cities.

Scott himself will set off the fireworks on Monday night as the community caps off a full day of Fourth of July activities.

On Saturday evening, Panorama Village residents will celebrates 50 years of their idyllic lifestyle in the small city surrounded by nature but still close to Interstate 45.

The city is bordered on the south by League Line Road and on the north by FM 830. It began as a golf course community in the early 1960s, but the city residents decided to incorporate in 1972.

Saturday’s celebrations marks 50 years since the incorporation.

A special 50th anniversary reception is set for 4 to 8 pm at the Panorama Clubhouse in the heart of the city.

A special selection of commemorative gift items will be sold inside the clubhouse, including T-shirts, coffee mugs, insulated water bottles and tote bags. All of these will feature the50th anniversary Panorama logo ..

Scott will present a video from Gov. Greg Abbott congratulating Panorama Village on reaching its 50-year milestone. At 7 pm Bob Lamons will present his “History of Panorama Village” presentation which will last approximately one hour.

In 1963, Jim Hamilton, along with investment partners Sandy Edgar, Horace Norman and Harlan Lane purchased 688 acres of heavily wooded forest at League Line Road and Interstate 45 from Conroe attorney George Darden. The purchase price was $ 167,000.

Hamilton hired golf course architect Jay Riviére to start laying out the 27-hole course and Lee Freeman, regarded as “an artist with a bulldozer” was construction superintendent.

He didn’t want to start selling lots for houses until buyers could see the possibilities of a golf course and clubhouse taking shape. The new development was regarded as a weekend place for Houstonians to relax and enjoy a golf retreat atmosphere.

Lot sales began in January 1965. Then came the golf clubhouse which was open to the public in November 1965.

Many organizations like the Panorama Women’s Golf Association, the Men’s Golf Association and The Panorama Ladies Association began in the 1960s. The Panorama Lions Club and the Panorama Garden Club came along in the 1970s.

All of these organizations are still active today and continue to contribute greatly to Panorama’s lifestyle.

In 1969, Hamilton sold the golf course and clubhouse to the golfing members and the name was changed to Panorama Country Club. A civic association was formed in 1969 to explore becoming a city.

As the golfers owned the clubhouse, it became a much more formal affair. The clubhouse was “coat and tie” only for men in the evenings.

In April 1970, tragedy struck the clubhouse as it burned to the ground due to a gas leak.

The residents quickly rebuilt and a new clubhouse was opened by December 1970.

On May 27, 1972 Panorama residents voted to incorporate with Tom Kelliher as the first mayor.

Initial City Council members were John Neece, Robert LaMontague, Floyd Berry, Roy Lay and Lonnie Allman.

Only seven men have served as mayor of Panorama Village in its 50-year history. And remarkable, up until recently, only two ladies have been the city secretary with 20-plus years between them both.

Former majors are Tom Kelliher (1972), John Trilsch (1974), Roy Lay (1978), Don Branham (1980), Larry Albritton (1993), Howard Kravetz (1996) and current Mayor Lynn Scott (2016).

Doug McEntire, a Panorama Village City Councilman since 2016, was 8 when his family moved to Panorama Village. They moved in the same year the golf community became a city.

“It wasn’t a retirement community but pretty close. There were a lot of people from Houston who had their second house here,” he said. “There weren’t that many kids growing up here at the time.”

For him and his brothers the wooded areas brought lots of opportunities for exploration. The family had two golf carts — one for his dad and the other for the boys. The golf course was a major selling point to their family.

His older brother was already a golfer and played on the Panorama course in a tournament. He knew it was something the rest of his family needed to see.

Rather than moving to The Woodlands — which was just opening — as they had first planned, the family moved to Panorama Village instead.

“Thank goodness we did,” McEntire said. “We went all through the woods and had trails all over Panorama. We played in the creeks and the lake and played football on the fairways and had pickup games after school. We made our own fun. . ””

He and his brothers all played golf and went on to college pursuits in golf.

McEntire was also influenced greatly by the people of the community like Sam Baker, Danny Smith, Bruce Larsen and many others. He still has friendships with them today. He also was close with his employer’s family Bob and Mary Ester Gross who also lived in Panorama Village. Both of his parents passed while he was in college, so the people of the community became like a family to him.

“I was kind of raised by a lot of the members here. They’re all giving me life advice. I was getting life advice from people that were probably 45 or 50 that I still get advice from today,” he said. people are so great out here and I really wanted my kids to have to same kind of experience. I had a wonderful network of people who helped me grow up. ”

In 2005, the members of Panorama Country Club voted to sell the clubhouse and golf course to the City of Panorama Village. The facility was once again open to the public. The name is now Panorama Golf Club.

Both Scott and McEntire agree that the best thing to happen to Panorama Village under their tenure was the changing of management companies for the golf course in 2016.

“The golf course had been turned into a joke,” he said. “The company had devastated our product. Our new group has really turned this around.”

Now he’s proud of the many traditions of the village and hopes they can all continue long after the current mayor and council are no longer in service.

Scott was re-elected in May and looks forward to continuing to serve the community.

“I enjoy everyday that I go to work and working with the people who call or come to city hall,” he said. “I enjoy doing this because I can do it. I can go to someone’s house and knock on the door.”

Visit https://www.panoramagctx.com/ for more on the Panorama Golf Club. Visit https://www.panoramavillagetx.gov/ for more on the city.

shernandez@hcnonline.com

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