Quakertown will soon take its place alongside other beloved area locations honored by the Texas Historical Commission for being a significant part of Denton history.
On Feb. 16, local elected officials will be on hand to honor the former community with a historical marker that will be placed in Quakertown Park next to the Denton Civic Center.
“To me it’s something that should be remembered,” said Laura Douglas, a Denton librarian and the researcher and writer for the Quakertown historical narrative, a part of the process to get a marker from the Texas Historical Commission. “It is a [bad] spot on Denton’s history, a bad choice of the leaders of the city of Denton at the turn of the century.”
The marker will give Quakertown statewide significance, as it will be included in all the historical registries, Douglas said.
“I was probably a teenager when I heard about Quakertown,” she said. “You always think racism can’t happen in your town and to find out something this big happened, it was an eye opener for me.”
In the early 1880s Quakertown was a thriving black community in Denton but was gone by 1923 as city officials developed the land into a city park. The park was renamed Quakertown Park in 2006 to honor the community, a move County Judge Mary Horn said was a step in the right direction.
“It’s part of the history of Denton that needs to be recognized,” she said.
Horn and Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs will speak at the event. The marker will be unveiled by Colette Johnson, president of the Southeast Denton Neighborhood Association, County Commissioner Andy Eads and Denton City Council member Kevin Roden.
Also on hand at the ceremony will be former council member Charlye Heggins, who will read the marker inscription.
Heggins said it was important for Quakertown to remain a part of the history of Denton as it was the first place African-Americans moved to in the city, and to leave the history untouched.
“History is its story and we are part of the story,” she said.
Heggins also hoped for more usage of the park by the community.
Burroughs said Quakertown historically is an important lesson in the life of the town.
“It’s a lesson of showing in the past that this town had its challenges; it had issues that many might not wish to remember specifically,” Burroughs said.
He said people need to be ever vigilant in making sure they are sensitive to the diversity among them and appreciate that diversity.
“I think that’s what Quakertown stands for. When you look at Quakertown Park now, it stands for peace, tranquility, friendship, family, all of the good things a healthy community has, including diversity,” Burroughs said. “It allows us today to reflect sometimes on how far we have come as a community, and I am proud of that.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6889. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.