100 YEARS AGO
FROM OCTOBER 1911
Ringling Bros. Circus comes to town
The Ringling Bros. Circus arrived Sunday morning, five engines pulling the five sections. A big crowd was on hand at the depot to watch the unloading and the setting up of the huge tents northeast of town.
By Monday a crowd of men, women and children of every conceivable appearance, including the man with the toy balloons, the ham sandwich vendor, the quick lunch man and all were here.
At about 10:30 the streets were fairly alive with people, the crowd estimated at between 7,000 and 10,000 strong. A bare alleyway was left for the glittering pageant of the big parade. The march went around the Square, coming up from Hickory and down North Locust to the tents.
Enormous crowds attended both performances and considerable trading was done at the various stores and restaurants in town.
Little disturbance was noted from the orderly crowd, although Sheriff Orr did arrest two young men for drunkenness.
A number of thefts in the nature of the pickpocketnik were perpetuated on some men who lost from $5 to $50 each.
Officials inspect Lewisville roads
Judge Hopkins, Commissioners Selman, Sparks, Christal and Gary, and Street Commissioner Z. Wiggs went to Lewisville on Tuesday morning and spent the entire day autoing over the roads of the Lewisville road district, $75,000 bonds for the improvement of which were recently voted.
The Lewisville contingent of O.E. Cobb, Wm. Furneaux, Hamlyn Morgan, Bob Donald, J.W. Degan, John Harpool, D. Meadows, R.M. Everett, W.D. Milliken, Henley Morgan, Bob Donald, Thad Huggins, S.T. Higgins, Joe Woodrome, Chas. G. Thomas, Chas. Harpool and Dr. D.F. Kirkpatrick joined the group and they left in eight automobiles to inspect the roads.
The purpose of the visit was to ascertain the conditions of the roads to be improved, the lay of the land and the wishes of the citizens in the expenditure of the bond money. It is estimated that 20 to 50 miles of roads can be improved with the $75,000. The cost of filling and grading is expected to be a heavy item in the improvement of some roads that are now very rough.
75 YEARS AGO
FROM OCTOBER 1936
Teachers College museum on display
With a collection ranging from Mexican dressed fleas to a 1902 Mason automobile, the museum at the Teachers College ranks as the only State Historical Collection in Texas.
Under supervision of Dr. J. L. Kingsbury, curator, the museum has grown from a 1926 dream to a 1936 reality, boasting a total of 16,000 pieces. It was made a state museum by the Texas Legislature in 1930.
Of importance to Denton people are such things as a tree stump, a piece of barbed wire and several old land grants. The tree stump was taken from a grove of trees located just east of Denton where the first court of the county was held.
The barbed wire is the first ever used in Denton County and the land grants date as far back as the days when Texas was a republic.
During the Centennial Expositions, the collection is being displayed on the eighth floor of the Sanger store in Dallas. It took 42 truckloads to transport the exhibit.
County fair opens to record-breaking crowd
A record-shattering first day crowd jammed the Denton County Fairgrounds on Tuesday afternoon and night to the tune of 7,000 paid admissions, along with a big attendance of city and county school children that had free admission bringing the total to around 10,000 for the fair's first day.
Blooded stock and strong agriculture products were competing for premiums in open and junior agriculture poultry, sheep, turkeys, home demonstration clubs and women's departments as judging in these divisions began on Wednesday.
Installed Tuesday was a 4-H boys' pig show, under County Agent G.R. Warren. This year's hog department was eliminated because of a shortage of livestock quarters but the boys' pig show was added at the last moment on the insistence of county citizens.
50 YEARS AGO
FROM OCTOBER 1961
'Toonerville Toots' meets his last deadline
One of the southwest's oldest weekly newspaper editors met his last deadline Thursday and joined the ranks of the retired.
After over 43 years of publishing the Sanger Courier, H. Buford Toon sold his business to Mr. and Mrs. Bill Perkins of Dallas who will continue publishing the newspaper.
Toon, better known as "Toonerville Toots" because of a column he writes by that name, printed his first edition of the Courier on Sept. 21, 1918, just days after purchasing the paper. An edition has come off the presses each week since then.
During this period Toon has scooped daily papers, been beaten up by an irate local businessman and has philosophized about the affairs of government.
"Toonerville Toots is what I enjoy doing most," Toon said. "At first the world wasn't in the mess it is now and I wrote mostly about local people and events, but drifted into politics 20 to 25 years ago."
Toon has two sources of opinions in his column; the "Sit and Spit Bench" of the retired and idle crowd at the town's drug store and the "Old Ladies Home" that he says his wife runs.
His philosophy in recent years has followed the Republican trend. He is against those people who "work night and day to destroy America's sovereignty" and the "arrogance of the one-world collectivists."
There was a wave of regret when Toon announced he was selling the paper, established in 1899. People say they will miss his philosophy.
"I will still be around for awhile," Toon remarked, adding that he may continue his column for the time being, but now he won't worry too much about the deadline.
Theft brings salty story
Yes, it was a mistake.
No, the reporter who made it has not been banished to the salt mines of Siberia - not yet anyhow.
This is what happened: The reporter wrote that some highly explosive stuff called sodium chloride had been stolen from Morrison Milling Co. and police were looking for it.
Shortly after the paper came out Thursday, the reporter's phone rang. It was L.P. Floyd, retired North Texas State University chemistry professor.
"Somebody goofed," he announced. Floyd then explained that sodium chloride is ordinary table salt. "I can't think of anything more harmless," he added.
The reporter digested this bit of astonishing information and called Rex McFadden, chemist at Morrison Milling Co., to verify it.
"That's right. Sodium chloride is table salt. What's missing is sodium chlorite," said McFadden.
The reporter hung up the telephone and cursed the fates. One lousy letter in a two-word chemical definition is the difference between being right or wrong, he mused.
At any rate, the stuff that was taken from Morrison Milling Co. is still missing and whoever has it is liable to get blown up. Sodium chlorite is explosive.
25 YEARS AGO
FROM OCTOBER 1986
Keeping an eye on the courthouse clock
In the high reaches of the old county courthouse, where pigeons roost beneath the copper dome, an older man reached up and changed the hands of time.
Bob Tripp, 71, has kept the timepiece ticking and bonging for three years, since inheriting the job from his uncle, Dolph Evers, who died in 1983.
When the clock's hands need adjustment Tripp, who owns Evers Hardware across the street, climbs nearly to the top of the courthouse's musty interior, up flights of spiraling stairs and then up two more stories of metal ladders.
The clock is now 90, from a time when things were made to last, and has weathered the decades well. The face is about 5 feet in diameter. One hundred of the clocks were made in the United States by Nels Johnson of Michigan. Only a handful remain.
Tripp's job is thankless and payless. He makes the climbs to tinker with the clock "for the pleasure of it. It's a historical clock. They [county officials] used to hire somebody to do this. … Over the years they either quit or they couldn't find anybody to do it for the price they wanted to pay. I enjoy working on it just to see it run right."
- Compiled from the files of the Denton Record-Chronicle by DJ Taylor
DJ TAYLOR resides in the Sanger/Bolivar area. He may be contacted at 940-458-4979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.