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By Julie Lucas Sullaway—
WELLINGTON — I would like to start by telling everyone our first impression of Wellington as to when we first moved here in December of 2000. We lived here for about five years then had to move back to Arizona due a sickness in my family. We have just recently moved back this year 2020.
I have to say the sweet little town of Wellington has not changed. The town may be little, but the people have such huge hearts. Wellington is a quaint and quiet little enchanted town. When we first moved here it was a culture shock, I noticed how kind and friendly the citizens of Wellington were and still are.
Everyone waived which was something I was not used to unless it was someone I knew. I asked my husband did you see that person wave to us do you know them? He said no that is just what people do here. I thought to myself how sweet that was.
Then we took a walk around the square in the snow. It was so quiet you could hear the snow falling to the ground, then we noticed the courthouse’s radiant electric star. It was so comforting to know that the people of Wellington took pride as to their wonderful town.
Everyone we met was so kind and polite. I thought it was so nice to see people helping people which is exceedingly rare considering today’s times. I am a history buff, so I felt compelled to dig deep into the history of Collingsworth County. By the way, there is plenty of history here in Wellington along very notable people who became celebrities as well.
As I plugged away researching, I discovered who built it. It was built by Lee Scarberry and Bura Handley in 1937 or 1938. Bura Handley was the city manager until his unexpected death in 1964. Bura was a self-taught architect and engineer a master of all trades. Bura and his wife had a son named Philip.
Son Philip, who had a deep love for his father, quoted “The character, integrity and sheer genius of the man whom I was privileged to call my “Dad,” while others simply referred to him as “Mister Wellington.”
He was personally responsible for numerous projects that materially improved the lifestyle of every citizen of Wellington and earned the community its well-deserved reputation as “The Jewel of the Panhandle.”
By the time he was 17-years-old, he was the head mechanic at the Ford Garage. He then started the Wellington Machine Shop with his good friend Monk Leggett. After he was hired to run the City Light Plant, he was quickly promoted to the position of City Manager, which he occupied for 39 years.
As to the creation of the courthouse star, the story goes like this. Lee and Bura gathered salvaged parts of metal for the courthouse star while Bura pieced together the motor in order to make the star rotate.
After it was completed, the electric courthouse star was perfect. It has been glowing bright on top of the courthouse for 83 years still to today. I would have loved to have seen the looks on the people’s faces of Wellington as it was first turned on with its wonderful glow.
The star continues to rotate today as Bura intended, representing peace and joy to everyone who may see the star. This does not go without saying it also represents the kind friends you will be blessed to meet. The Wellington courthouse star IS the kind people of Wellington.