Weatherford to Breckenridge to Cisco
The town of Breckenridge originated in 1854 as Picketville. It is believed to have been named either after the structure of its early homes or after rancher Bill Pickett, who lived in the area at the time. In 1876, Stephens County, was established, and its territory included Picketville. The town was renamed "Breckenridge" after former U.S. Vice President and Confederate Army General John C. Breckinridge, though with an altered spelling.
Breckenridge was a major oil producer in the early 1920s. The population jumped from a thousand to fifty thousand in under five years. Briefly the home of western legend/dentist/gambler John "Doc" Holliday.
The name comes from its being located on a former Caddo Indian campsite. Founded in the 1870s, the town had 60 people ten years later.
During that time the town also had a school, and post office. It grew to 75 in 1890 and when the new century arrived there were only about 150 people.
Oil was discovered on one property in the area in 1916, and then on another. These minor finds kept oil men focused on their hunt and when the Ranger/Breckenridge boom occurred (1916-1917) the population jumped to 1,000 by 1920.
After the boom ended, the population declined to 600 in 1940. It's been downhill ever since and less than 100 people now live in Caddo, although the town has managed to keep its post office.
Cisco, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 183 and Interstate 20 in northwestern Eastland County, traces its history back to 1878 or 1879, when Rev. C. G. Stevens arrived in the area, established a post office and a church, and called the frontier settlement "Red Gap". About six families were already living nearby, and W. T. Caldwell was running a store a half mile to the west. In 1881, the Houston and Texas Central Railway crossed the Texas and Pacific, which had come through the year before, at a point near Red Gap, and the settlement's inhabitants moved their town to the crossing. The date the rails crossed, May 17, 1881, is considered by some to be Cisco's "birthday." Three years later, the town was officially recognized and a new post office granted; the town's name was changed to "Cisco" for John A. Cisco, a New York financier largely responsible for the building of the Houston and Texas Central.
Railroads continued to influence the development of Cisco as the Texas and Pacific acquired lots in the town and sold them to immigrants attracted by brochures touting the town as the "Gate City of the West". Once settlers arrived, agricultural agents employed by the railroad advised them what and when to plant and on occasion provided the seed.
During the 1880s, a Mrs. Haws built and managed the first hotel, and Mrs. J. D. Alexander brought the first "millinery and fancy goods" to town. Following a practice common at the time, religious groups in Cisco met together for prayer meetings in the schoolhouse until they could build separate churches. By 1892, Cisco was a growing community with two newspapers, a bank, and an economy based on trade, ranching, fruit farming, and the limestone, coal, and iron ore available nearby. A broom factory and roller corn and flour mills were among the town's 56 businesses.
At 8 PM on Friday, April 28, 1893, an F4 tornado struck the center of the business district of Cisco, killing 28 people and destroying or severely damaging every building in town. The city hall, every church and school, and an estimated 500 homes were destroyed.
Conrad Hilton started the Hilton Hotel chain with a single hotel bought in Cisco. Hilton came to Cisco to buy a bank, but the bank cost too much, so he purchased the Mobley Hotel in 1919. The hotel is now a local museum and community center.
During the 1920s, Cisco, like nearby Ranger, Eastland, and Desdemona, was a petroleum boomtown. Although Cisco played a relatively minor role in the Eastland County oil boom of 1919–21, its population grew rapidly at the time, with some estimates as high as 15,000; in the wake of the boom, Cisco adopted a city charter and built a new railroad station that cost $25,000, a value of $310,597.88 in 2015.
In 1925, the first annual meeting of the West Texas Historical Association was held in Cisco. The association, formed in 1924, was then based at Hardin–Simmons University in Abilene, but moved in 1998 to Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
The Santa Claus Bank Robbery occurred in Cisco on December 23, 1927, when Marshall Ratliff and his gang attempted to rob the First National Bank. As of August 2009, the bank site is occupied by an auto parts store, with a Texas Historical Commission sign commemorating the event.
On May 9, 2015, an area just south of the city was hit by a large tornado, destroying several homes, killing one person, and critically injuring one more.
Largest concrete swimming pool in the world
Cisco in its early days was plagued with inadequate water supply. In the 1920s, the Williamson Dam was built north of town, resulting in the formation of Lake Cisco. The dam was named after James Milton Williamson, long-time mayor and survivor of the 1893 tornado. At its base was built what was billed as the largest concrete swimming pool in the world. The complex boasted a two-story building with a skating rink upstairs, a zoo, an amusement park with rides, and a park. Bob Wills was only one of the celebrities to entertain there. For decades, it was a major attraction for folks from miles around. The hollow dam was at one time open to the public, but this is no longer the case. The pool closed in the 1970s and the vacant skating rink burned a few years later.
Bankhead Highway Local Cities
In 1854, Methodist Reverend Pleasant Tackett led 15 pioneer families into a land they called "Goshen," which would later become part of Parker County, itself to be created the following year by the efforts of State Representative Isaac Parker and State Senator Thomas Jefferson Weatherford in the Texas State Legislature. Evidence of a prior failed attempt to colonize the region can be found in the abandoned cabin from 1852-53 located 6 miles (9.7 km) south of modern Weatherford on the J.H. Voorhies farm. In 1856
The railroad arrived in June 1880. The Santa Fe Depot (which houses the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce) was built in 1908 under Jim Crow laws, with waiting rooms segregated and separated by the ticket office.
In 1895, the town's still existing daily newspaper, the Weatherford Democrat, began publication.
Peach Capital of Texas
The city was named by the Texas Legislature as the Peach Capital of Texas due to the peaches produced by area growers. The peach is celebrated each year at the Parker County Peach Festival, which is Weatherford's largest event and one of the best-attended festivals in Texas.
Cutting Horse Capital of the World
Weatherford is known as The Cutting Horse Capital of the World.
Originally, Millsap was established as a relay station on the stagecoach route that ran from Weatherford to Palo Pinto. The town was named for Fuller Millsap, who moved to Texas in 1849 and to Parker County in 1856. A Millsap post office opened in 1877.
In 1880, the tracks of the Texas and Pacific Railway arrived. By the 1890s, Millsap was serving area farmers as a retail and shipping point. Within a decade the town had a bank, more than a dozen other businesses, three churches, a ten-grade educational institution called Millsap College, and a weekly newspaper, the Millsap News. The community population increased from an estimated 100 in 1890 to 800 in 1920.
Following World War II, however, Millsap declined, reaching a low of 261 by 1968. In 1988, 412 residents were reported, and in 1990 an estimated 485 residents lived there. By 2000 the population dropped to 353.
The city is named for mineral springs in the area, which were highly popular in the early 1900s. In 1919, Mineral Wells hosted the spring training camp for the Chicago White Sox, the year of the famous "Black Sox" scandal involving "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. Mineral Wells also hosted spring training for the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals in the 1910s and early 1920s. The baseball field was located in the center of town where a shopping center now sits.
In 1952, Mineral Wells was the host of the Republican state convention in which delegates divided between presidential candidates Dwight D. Eisenhower and Senator Robert A. Taft. Though state chairman Orville Bullington of Wichita Falls led the Taft forces, the convention vote ultimately went 33-5 in favor of Eisenhower, who was thereafter nominated and elected.
When legislation calling for the organization of Palo Pinto County was passed in 1856, a community was designated to be built within 5 miles of the center of the county to serve as the seat of government. The county was formally organized in May 1857, and on August 18 of the same year, the first session of the county court was held, when the plans for the new county seat were discussed and enacted. The community, then called Golconda, was laid out soon thereafter and received its post office in March 1858. Around this time, the town (and, soon after, post office) were renamed, Palo Pinto.
The first Palo Pinto County Courthouse was built in 1857, and a two-story stone jail was built soon after. By 1860, Palo Pinto had a hotel, a law firm, several saloons, and its own school. The Civil War, however, had a dire effect on commerce in the community, forcing several businesses to close. Over the next decade or so, it evolved into a shipping point for the local ranching industry. The county's first newspaper opened in 1876, and throughout the 1870s, the town remained the center of government and commerce, and the only town and principal settlement in Palo Pinto County.
In 1880, Palo Pinto was bypassed by the Texas and Pacific Railway. Although it suffered, the population remained above 400 and it retained several businesses. The county seat has remained in Palo Pinto, though it was surpassed as the largest town in the county by Mineral Wells many years ago. The current Palo Pinto County Courthouse, located on US 180 at the center of town, was built in 1940. The population reached a high mark of 550 in 1947 before declining to around 400, a mark it has maintained fairly consistently ever since.
A pass through the Palo Pinto Mountains located in the Western Cross Timbers region of northern Texas. Located roughly midway between the towns of Breckenridge and Mineral Wells, the pass lies at an elevation of about 1,200 feet (370 m) and forms a distinct gap in the escarpment formed by the Palo Pinto Mountains, a fifteen-mile long range of cuesta-type hills that runs southwest to northeast across southern Palo Pinto, County. The pass, as well as a small, similarly-named community at the eastern end of the pass, were named in honor of local rancher and surveyor J.J. Metcalf, who surveyed, among other things, the townsite of county seat Palo Pinto, then known as Golconda.
In 1917, the newly-created Texas Highway Department approved a plan for the construction and designation of State Highway 1, the Texarkana-to-El Paso road. While most of the proposed course mirrored the route of the Texas & Pacific Railroad across the state, two short alternative routes were approved by highway planners. One of these, later known as SH 1 A, would see the main route split near Weatherford, travel west through Mineral Wells, traverse the Metcalf Gap, then continue west through Breckenridge and Albany before turning southwest to Abilene, at which point it would rejoin the main route. When the highway was chosen to be part of the new U.S. Highway system in 1926, the alternative route through Metcalf Gap was included in the re-designation, becoming U.S. Route 80 (Alternative), also known as U.S. Route 80 A.
The designation of the Metcalf Gap route as part of the newly designated U.S. Route 80, a 2,671-mile transcontinental highway from Savannah, Georgia to San Diego, California, and the inclusion of the alternative route in the public notices and private advertisements that touted the new “all-weather, coast-to-coast” highway to travelers nationwide, quickly turned a small detour through the Western Cross Timbers region of northern Texas into part of a growing national network of large, improved transcontinental and interstate routes. This sudden increase in visibility would only last until 1943, when, increasingly bypassed in favor of the main route through Strawn and Cisco, the alternative route through Metcalf Gap would be canceled, and that section of the road between Weatherford and Albany re-designated as part of U.S. Route 180, a new highway that would continue west from Albany to the Texas-New Mexico state line near Seminole before continuing west to El Paso in concurrence with U.S. Route 62.
Strawn was named after local rancher Stephen Strawn. Prior to the arrival of the Texas and Pacific Railroad in the early 1880s, the community had been known as North Fork (of Palo Pinto Creek). By 1891 the population was 400.
Oil was discovered near Strawn as early as 1895, but not until the T & P Coal and Oil Company got interested in 1915 did any production begin. Before the end of 1915, Strawn had 20 wells producing. The first natural gas well was drilled in 1924. The Strawn Coal Mining Company was formed and merged with another coal mining company three miles north of Strawn. Between 1910 and 1920 over 1.6 million tons of coal were taken out from the depths of Palo Pinto County to power the locomotives of the T & P. Strawn incorporated in 1940 when it had a population of 1,107. It fell below 700 in 1980 and has slowly grown to the current 739.
Lake Texoma Adventure
Aubrey, the town, was officially founded 1867, when Civil War veteran Lemuel Noah Edwards (1838–1910) built the second frame house there. Edwards eventually gave each of his 10 children a lot on which to build a home. The Edwards family was instrumental in several civil developments. Dancing was not allowed, but the townspeople often gathered in the Edwards home for singing and listening music performed on an organ that Edwards had imported.
In 1881, the Texas and Pacific Railway completed a track and station in Aubrey and commenced operations. In 1885, Edwards offered a lot to each congregation that would build a church within a year. In 1882 Edwards and Louis Caddel, Sr., donated land for a one-room schoolhouse in town. Edwards, through one of his daughters — Edna Mae Edwards (1884–1975), who married Hugh Tobin (1884–1929) — was the grandfather of Louise Tobin, a prolific big band jazz vocalist who reached national notoriety in 1932.
Eventually, Aubrey became known for the peanut farms that surrounded the town. By 2009 horse ranches surrounded Aubrey. Around that time, houses were constructed in Aubrey, replacing the grounds of the old peanut farms.
Pilot Point, Tx
Pilot Point was platted on Christmas Day in 1853. G.W. Newcome was the surveyor, from Kentucky Town, Grayson County, Texas. The streets were laid out and lots were sold. One of the first buildings in the newly founded town was on the north side, a log building, home to the Star Drug Store operated by Dr. R.W. Eddleman and Alexander Cook, who came by covered wagon in 1852 from Missouri. Dr. Eddleman's brother-in-law, Major James Walcott, also built a general store on the northeast corner of the new town square. The town got its name from being the highest point in the area, thus an observation point for crossing the Trinity River. The wagon pilots nicknamed it "the Pilot's Point" long before the town existed. On October 13, 1908, several Holiness Christian groups came together and formed the Church of the Nazarene at Pilot Point. A memorial commemorating the event is located at the local Church of the Nazarene facility, about two blocks west of U.S. Highway 377. Other churches in the community hold particular historical significance in the community. First Baptist Church, Pilot Point Church of Christ, and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church are among the oldest, continuously functioning Christian congregations in the community. First Baptist Church claims an 1856 founding date that antedates the Civil War. Pilot Point Church of Christ claims a founding date of 1864 and boasts that it currently occupies the meeting house built by church founders in 1874 from timber hauled by ox-drawn carts from Shreveport, Louisiana. St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church claims a founding date of the winter of 1891-1892. The Pilot Point Church of Christ and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church are designated as historical sites by the Texas Historical Commission. Rev. J.L. Truett (the brother of the famous pastor George W. Truett of First Baptist Church-Dallas fame) was the first pastor and founder of Calvary Baptist Church, which formed in 1907.
The City of Pilot Point, Pilot Point Post-Signal (newspaper), and Skinner Cemetery are also sites of local historical significance and are designated sites by the Texas Historical Commission. A series of memorial markers permanently installed in the center of the town square commemorates the service of multiple generations of men and women from the community and area who sacrificed their lives in military service, primarily in the 20th century.
Pilot Point is well known for its horse ranches, including several world and national show horse champions.
The area was once known as "Wolfpath". The first settler in the area was Robert Diamond, but the settlement of Wolfpath began with the arrival of Ambrose B. White and his family in 1848. The Butterfield Overland Mail route used White's Westview Inn as the "Diamond Station" on its trail from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast from 1858 to 1861. A post office, under the name "Whitesborough", began operations there in 1860.
After the Civil War, Whitesborough grew into a frontier town where female residents were prohibited from leaving their homes on Saturday nights because shootings were so common. Whitesborough had a population of 500, saloons, several stores, and other businesses when it was incorporated on June 2, 1873. By 1879, it had a bank, a newspaper, and train service from Denison on a line from the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad. In 1887, it altered the spelling of its name to “Whitesboro”.
Sherman was named after General Sidney Sherman (July 23, 1805 – August 1, 1873), a hero of the Texas Revolution. The community was designated as the county seat by the act of the Texas legislature which created Grayson County on March 17, 1846. In 1847, a post office began operation. Sherman was originally located at the center of the county, but in 1848 it was moved about 3 miles (5 km) east to its current location. By 1850, Sherman had become an incorporated town under Texas law. It had also become a stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail route through Texas. By 1852, Sherman had a population of 300 and consisted of a public square with a log court house, several businesses, a district clerk's office, and a church along the east side of the square. In 1861, the first flour mill was built.
During the 1850s and 1860s, Sherman continued to develop and to participate in regional politics. Because many residents of North Texas had migrated from the Upper South and only a low percentage were slaveholders, there was considerable Unionist sentiment in the region. E. Junius Foster, the publisher of Sherman's anti-secessionist Whig newspaper, the Patriot, circulated a petition to establish North Texas as an independent free state. Following Confederate passage of a conscription law, there was resistance in North Texas to conscription, especially as owners of many slaves were exempt.
A group of slaveholders in nearby Cooke County feared the Unionists might join together others and perform acts of sabotage. In October 1862, a unit of state militia arrested between 150 and 200 men on suspicion of insurrection. In the Great Hanging at Gainesville, 42 of the arrested men were killed, most of them hanged by a mob, while others were sentenced to death by a self-appointed "citizens' court". Following the lynchings, Colonel William Young, who had organized the jury for the “citizens’ court,” was killed by unknown assailants. Young had been responsible for more than 20 deaths. Newspaper publisher Foster "applauded" Young's death, and was soon gunned down by Capt. Jim Young, the colonel's son.
Pro-Confederate militiamen rounded up even more "suspects" in Sherman, but Confederate Brigadier General James W. Throckmorton intervened to stop the killings. By the time Throckmorton restored order, only five of the originally arrested men were still alive.
Late in the Civil War, pro-Confederate guerrillas led by William Quantrill spent the winter in Sherman. Former guerrilla Jesse James also came to Sherman for his honeymoon. He was photographed seated on his horse in Sherman.
During the 1860s, secondary education developed in north Texas. The Sherman Male and Female High School began accepting students in 1866, under the patronage of the North Texas Methodist Conference. It became one of three private schools operating in Sherman. The male and female high school school operated under several names, including: the North Texas Female College and Conservatory of Music from 1892 to 1919 and Kidd-Key College and Conservatory, from 1919 to 1935. It gradually lost Methodist support, following the opening of Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1915. In 1876, Austin College, the oldest continuously operating college in Texas, was relocated to Sherman from Huntsville. The Sherman Female Institute, later called Mary Nash College, opened in 1877 under sponsorship of the Baptist Church. It continued to operate until 1901, when the campus was sold to Kidd-Key College. Carr–Burdette College, a women's college affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, operated from 1894 to 1929. Sherman also has a long history within the Jewish community. By 1873, Jews in the region regularly met for the High Holidays.
While there was general depression and lawlessness during the Reconstruction, Sherman remained commercially active. During the 1870s Sherman's population reached 6,000. In 1875, after two fires destroyed many buildings east of the town square, a number of civic buildings were rebuilt using more permanent materials. This included a new Grayson County Courthouse built in 1876. In 1879, the Old Settlers' Association of North Texas formed and met near Sherman. The organization incorporated in 1898 and purchased Old Settlers' Park in 1909.
On May 15, 1896, a tornado measuring F5 on the Fujita scale struck Sherman. The tornado had a damage path 400 yards (370 m) wide and 28 miles (45 km) long, killing 73 people and injuring 200. About 50 homes were destroyed, with 20 of them completely obliterated.
In 1901 the first electric "Interurban" railway in Texas, the Denison and Sherman Railway, was completed between Sherman and Denison. The Texas Traction Company completed a 65-mile (105 km) interurban between Sherman and Dallas in 1908, and in 1911 purchased the Denison and Sherman Railway. Through the connections in Dallas and Denison, it was possible to travel to the Texas destinations of Terrell, Corsicana, Waco, Fort Worth, Cleburne, and Denton, as well as to Durant, Oklahoma, by interurban railways. One popular destination on the Interurban between Sherman and Denison was Wood Lake Park, a private amusement park at the time. By 1948, all interurban rail service in Texas had been discontinued.
Sherman Riot of 1930
During the Sherman Riot of May 9, 1930, the Grayson County Courthouse was burned down by local citizens in an attempt to lynch George Hughes, an African American suspected of assaulting a white woman. During the riot, Hughes was locked in the vault at the courthouse and apparently died in the fire; Rescue work was hindered by saboteurs cutting the fire hoses. After rioters retrieved Hughes' body from the vault, it was dragged behind a car, hanged and set afire. The black business section of Sherman was also burned down and many African Americans fled. Texas Ranger Frank Hamer was in Sherman during this riot and reported the situation to Texas Governor Dan Moody. Governor Moody sent National Guard troops to Sherman on May 9 and martial law was declared in Sherman for ten days. Fourteen men were later indicted and two were convicted of arson and rioting.
Denison was founded in 1872 in conjunction with the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (MKT) or "Katy" depot. It was named after the wealthy Katy vice president George Denison. Because the town was established close to where the MKT crossed the Red River (both important conduits of transportation in the industrial era), it came to be an important commercial center in the 19th century American West. In 1875, Doc Holliday had offices in Denison.
During the phylloxera epidemic of the mid-19th century, which destroyed the vast majority of wine grapes in Europe, Denison horticulturalist T.V. Munson pioneered methods in creating phylloxera-resistant vines, and earned induction into the French Legion of Honor, as well as sister city status for Denison and Cognac, France. In 1901 the first electric "Interurban" railway in Texas, the Denison and Sherman Railway, was completed between Denison and Sherman.