Young writer sees Ogletree Gap essay published in state magazine
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The city of Copperas Cove turns 139 this weekend, and an essay about its “birthplace” – Ogletree Gap – was recently published in the Texas Historian magazine, a statewide publication that helps recognize the work of Texas students.
Abbigail Chmielewski, a 5th grader at Martin Walker Elementary, wrote the essay about the historical landmark and its post office and was the 2017 first place winner for the elementary division.
She said the topic of the essay competition was up to her.
“They said it had to be about Texas history, a landmark, or something about your town,” said Chmielewski, who actually wrote the essay last year before it was published.
“(Ogletree Gap) was the first stagecoach, and it was the only transportation place where you could get goods and things from other places,” Chmielewski said.
For her, Ogletree Gap was an easy choice as the oldest landmark in Copperas Cove. She said she looked up information on the first post office and former stagecoach stop, visited Ogletree Gap, and read some books about it. She submitted a picture of the post office, which was constructed in 1878 and was owned by Marsden Ogletree, for whom Ogletree Gap Park is named. After the railroad came to Copperas Cove, the post office was moved closer to the railroad station, which was once located in what is now downtown Copperas Cove.
Chmielewski said it took her about a week to gather her information, brainstorm, and write her first draft. Her grandfather was a big help to her, she added, because he knows a lot about writing essays.
Along with winning the essay contest, Chmielewski also received the Kate Harding Bates Parker Award in the amount of $100, which Chmielewski used toward attending the Lone Star Leadership Academy last summer.
Correction: The above article has been changed to reflect that the $100 came from the Kate Harding Bates Parker Award, not a scholarship.