1969: Smith’s inaugural celebration to have flavor of South Plains

Preston Smith, with his wife Ima, waves during inaugural festivities in Austin in 1969. Smith was elected Texas governor in 1968, and re-elected in 1970. He always wore his trademark black glasses. (A-J FILE PHOTO)

1969 | Lubbock area residents will begin leaving by the hundreds today for Austin and Tuesday for the (Jan. 15) inauguration of hometown favorite Preston Smith as governor of Texas.


Festivities, which the Associated Press said will be “”the biggest bash in Texas inauguration history,” begin Monday night with a $25-per-place victory dinner in Austin’s Municipal Auditorium.

Smith and Lt. Gov.-elect Ben Barnes will take their oaths at the Capitol at noon Tuesday. A 112-unit parade at 3 p.m. and six inaugural balls Tuesday night will climax the celebration. Lubbock, Texas Tech and Lamesa will play prominent roles in the inaugural activities.

The Tech marching unit has been designated the official honor band for the new governor and will be first in line in the parade behind the marshal and color guard. The mounted masked Red Raider will ride with the band and, behind which will come Gov. and Mrs. Smith in an open convertible. Both are tech ex-students.

Other members of the new governor’s family will be next in line. Behind them will be the University of Texas band, then Barnes and his family followed by the Lamesa High School band, the official high school honor band for Smith. He is a Lamesa High graduate.

Bands from all five high schools in Lubbock will be interspersed among cars carrying other top state officials. The Tech Army and Air Force ROTC units will march in the cavalcade.

Smith and Barnes will take their oaths of office on the south stage of the Capitol. Each will then make a short address. Smith and outgoing Gov. John Connaly then are expected to lunch together at the governor’s mansion across the street. The oath-taking ceremonies will be televised statewide for the first time in history.

The new governor will probably show up at the Lubbock reception to shake hands with longtie friends and supporters.

Wednesday will find the new governor getting down to buwiness. Hi is scheduled to address a joint session of the House and Senate to set the tone for his administration and lay out his legislative goals.



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