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Emmott, Sarah H. and Army | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Emmott, Sarah H. and Army

Historical Note:

Sarah and Army Emmott figure among Houston’s preeminent environmental activists. Army belonged to the Outdoor Nature Club from the early days of its formation, and Sarah joined the club with him after they were married in the 1940s. For many years, they enjoyed the wilderness recreation offered by their association with Outdoor Nature Club members.  In the late 1950s, problems with privatization of Texas beaches led the Emmotts and a few other members of the Outdoor Nature Club to established Texas Beaches Unlimited. All Texas legislators received letters coordinated by the Emmotts, and activists sent chain letters to inform the public of the issues at stake. Texas Representative Bob Eckhardt of Houston responded to the argument that beaches were a public resource to be preserved for the future.  Facing tremendous opposition and supported by some legislative technicalities, Eckhardt’s Texas Open Beaches Law passed in the United States.

With the success of Texas Beaches Unlimited, the Emmotts devoted themselves to every aspect of environmental protection. During the mid-1960s, they supported the campaign to Save Buffalo Bayou and the founding of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (CEC). Both Sarah and Army were active in the Houston Audubon Society and continued to enjoy outdoor recreation through a number of organization and venues. Sarah died in 1992 just as she was finishing Memorial Park: A Priceless Legacy, a monograph on the history of Memorial Park and the role Catherine Emmott (Sarah’s mother-in-law) played in its preservation. Army Emmott died in 2000, not long after he received the CEC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Note Author: Teresa (Terry) Tomkins-Walsh, Ph.D.

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