Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
John Stubbs, Jr., has driven many residents down Kaufman Street for a final journey into Mexia Cemetery.
Stubbs, at a local meeting, verbally drove more residents “down memory lane,” while recalling some golden days, and perhaps some not so golden during his presentation to a Lions Club audience.
Funeral Director/Rotarian Stubbs, whose wife Kathy is Lions President, brought the crowd into the discussion mix with some interesting questions, ranging from the Oil Boom and its days of illegal moonshine, prostitution and gambling, to the more sedate and memorable times when Mexia had a lively downtown.
Reviewing some of his notes revealing 1871 as the year Mexia was established as a town, Stubbs led into some other “firsts” for this area. A newspaper, forerunner of The Mexia Daily News, was established here in 1872, he recalled. The first library was set up in Mexia in 1903, and that was the forerunner of today’s well-stocked Gibbs Memorial Library, which made the scene in 1949, buoyed along by a $200,000 grant. It was named in memory of Mrs. Jesse Jones’ parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jasper Gibbs.
The Coca-Cola bottling plant was established in Mexia in 1888.
Along “Nostalgic Lane” it was pointed out one of Mexia’s tragedies, occurring in 1916 when the downtown Opera House was destroyed by an explosion. Three persons were killed and six persons (in an adjoining cafe) were killed. The late Gray Forrest, who had served as the old Mexia Gushers minor league ball club’s Traveling Secretary, was a witness, and often related his experience as a witness, to his kinfolks, including the Stubbs family.
Another tragedy for downtown Mexia happened in 1922 when a big fire wiped out two blocks of businesses. Included in that conflagration were seven 2 and 3-story buildings. Local telephone operators got busy on the switchboards to summon fire departments’ help from adjoining towns.
BOOM!!! Enter the Oil Boom which temporarily made many Mexiaites and area folks money-rich, while ballooning the Mexia population from 4,000 to 55,000 persons, many of whom had to reside in tents while working in the oilfields. Mexia suddenly became known as “Texas’ Tents Largest Tent City.”
With sudden riches came some of the dark side of humanity - prostitution, producers of moonshine, gambling, and an average of five to seven murders a night down on the Juarez Strip (today’s Belknap Street).
The Wintergarden, located on East Highway 84 outside the Mexia corporate limits, was a lively hangout for “women of the night,” gambling and illegal whiskey for oilfield workers and others who ventured into those confines. Stubbs said that Mexia got so bad that it prompted Governor Pat Neff to declare martial law. In came the Texas Rangers, aided by other law enforcement personnel. One of the first things they did was to shut down the “den of iniquity,” the Wintergarden.
Most all of you know about the Sunken Garden in Hughes Park (city park). The garden once served as the Munger Gin tank, Stubbs related. Shortly after 1923, the late philanthropist J.K. Hughes, deeded land to the city and donated playground equipment for the city park, named after Hughes.
Stubbs also reminded that the Lions Club was formed in 1921, with the late J.I. Riddle’s serving as its charter president. The Riddle Funeral Home was forerunner of today’s Blair-Stubbs Funeral Home. The Riddle Funeral Home was initially located where today’s Lions Den is located.
Once World War II ended, Mexia business leaders began searching for ways to utilize the German Prisoner of War Camp. Howard Mace, the City Manager, and Raymond Dillard went before the Texas Board of Control to make what was to become a successful pitch for conversion into the Mexia State School.
It was an interesting ride down “Mexia’s Nostalgic Lane.”
Monday, August 13, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
From an article published in 2004: Jerry and Sandy Muschkat of Harlingen, Texas, were named South Dakota State Park Volunteers of the Year. The Muschkats, who are in their third year of volunteering for the Division of Parks and Recreation, were recognized for their outstanding customer service as campground hosts at Oahe Downstream Recreation Area near Fort Pierre.
Parks and Recreation Director Doug Hofer told those honored that, "Your positive attitude, dedication, hard work and willingness to put forth an extra effort is reflected in your work and is enjoyed by the many visitors that visit the state parks and recreation areas each year."
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
History: Old Fort Parker State Historical Park is a reconstructed fort that pays tribute to the Parker family and other pioneers who paid a high price to settle in Texas. The Parkers and other members of their church came to Texas from Crawford County, Illinois in 1833. In 1832, Daniel Parker, a staunch theologian, had gained permission to settle in Texas. After organizing those who wanted to go to Texas into the Predestinarian Baptist Church, they all left Illinois in July of 1833 in ox- drawn wagons. Daniel and the majority of his followers settled near the present City of Elkhart, where a replica of their Pilgrim Baptist Church still stands in their memory. Other members of the group preferred to settle farther west, near the Navasota River. Elder John Parker and three of his sons (Silas, James, and Benjamin) began in December 1833 to clear land and to construct "Parker's Fort."
On May 19, 1836, Comanche Indians attacked the fort; 5 were killed, 5 were captured, and the 21 survivors made their way to where Palestine is today. The most famous of the captives was Cynthia Ann Parker. She adapted to Indian ways and later married Chief Peta Nocona. Quanah Parker, the last great Comanche chief, who was involved in the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, was the most famous of their three children.