For this week’s blog, we would like to pause and celebrate the life of Bob Albrecht, a local historian and preservationist who passed away last month, in June 2018. His dedication to protecting Denton County’s historic buildings made a lasting impact on our community, and his hard work rejuvenated the Pilot Point Square. Bob was also an active member of the Denton County Historical Commission for many years, and collaborated with the Office of History & Culture on several projects.
When Gretel L’Heureux, our Education and Tour Coordinator, was the Pilot Point Main Street Manager in the early 2000’s, she had the pleasure of working with Bob to open up Lowbrows Beer & Wine Garden in the historic building on 220 S. Washington Street. Gretel recently wrote an article in his memory for the Pilot Point newspaper. We wanted to share her words below, about the impression Bob left on her, his community, and Denton County’s history.
“Sometimes we never know the impact someone will make on us until they are no longer
with us. That’s the case with the late Bob Albrecht, owner of Lowbrows Beer & Wine
Garden [in Pilot Point]. I will never forget the day Bob Albrecht walked into the Pilot Point Main Street Office and quietly announced that he was a preservationist.
“Wow,” I thought. “This is exactly the kind of person we need to get us started.” He wanted to talk to someone about the program, and since I was the Main Street Manager, he came to me. I had never met anyone quite like him. A real character you might say. No pretense.
Dressed in jeans and a flannel plaid shirt, Bob was never harried or hurried. He was soft-
spoken, thoughtful, and reflective, and his twinkling eyes seemed to convey visions and possibilities for preservation on [Pilot Point’s] Historic Square. He was considering buying the old buildings on the southwest corner. The building at 200 S. Washington Street was appealing enough, but he was even more intrigued with the old jail sitting directly behind it.
The Main Street program was in its infant stages, and a loan for historic structures had recently been set up with the two banks in town. Since he lived in Sanger, restoring this building would be convenient for him.
Sometime later, after the bank loan was secured and his remodeling effort well underway, an invitation was sent to all Main Street volunteers to witness the transformation taking place inside Bob’s building. I think I could safely say that most of the observers were overwhelmed with such work, but it did not seem to faze Bob Albrecht.
I soon realized, however, that, for him, working with the city seemed to be more daunting than fixing up the building. He always approached somewhat hesitatingly as he slowly walked into my office at the newly built City Hall. Slipping into a chair, he would quietly announce his next obstacle or hurdle.
He had finally decided he was going to make it a beer and wine garden, he told me, so he needed a liquor license. When he found out he might need food to go with it for a particular license, he thought perhaps a Crockpot dip with some chips would suffice. Or maybe frozen pizzas. He had nothing but trepidation thinking that his preservation project could just somehow be derailed with one wrong move.
After much work, Lowbrows eventually opened up. I have watched during the years the
excitement he created on that corner. I am always impressed with the building’s unique
atmosphere and the number of people that frequent the place. He was the main driver
behind it all. Those twinkling eyes and visions of what could be became a reality,
and he had done it all with his quiet energy.
Not too long ago, Bob Albrecht evaluated the Denton Courthouse on-the-Square and the
Denton County Historical Park’s two house museums, writing a report that was later
submitted to obtain grants. I recently learned Bob had been appointed to the Denton
County Historical Commission in 1985 and served as Chair of the Historical Preservation
Committee composed of four sub-committees. He headed up the County Courthouses
I remember him telling me that, in his opinion, the two best buildings in the
county were the Denton Courthouse-on-the-Square and Pilot Point’s F & M Bank Building.
The two limestone buildings, in the Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, made a significant impression on him. He knew and appreciated the history of the Pilot Point
When the Bloomfield School needed evaluating, he met with two people from our Denton County Office of History & Culture staff. “If the bones are good, the building is good,” he said. “People always want to change everything, but if it still looks rough, it’s supposed to look rough”. With his knowledge and love of old buildings, it was obvious Bob Albrecht’s passion for preservation was profound.”