Agricultural station will get marker

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Courtesy photo
The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station No. 6 was established in Denton in 1910.

Another Denton County Historical Marker is in the books.

The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station No. 6 will receive a Texas Historical Subject Marker at a 10 a.m. ceremony March 6 at the corner of Masch Branch and Hampton roads in Denton.

The ceremony will honor the station, which operated for more than 62 years in the county beginning in 1910. The station played an important role in community and economic growth in the region.

“It did a lot of research projects for the county and for the whole state at the time it was in existence … development and research of different seeds, wheat and oats,” said Tom Rainey, a member of the Texas A&M AgriLife Beef, Crops and Forage Committee and co-sponsor of the marker application.

“It’s important for the county to recognize what went on out there because it is a part of history and we don’t want to lose that history.”

The ceremony is sponsored by the Denton County Historical Commission and the Texas A&M AgriLife Beef, Crops and Forage Committee.

The dedication is open to the public and will be outdoors at the marker site, in front of the historic old rock and metal gate that was the original entry into the station.

As early as March 1888, scientists at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas were conducting the first research projects at College Station, and by 1909, the Texas Legislature had approved Senate Bill 51, creating agricultural experiment stations. Six new experiment stations were in operation, including one in Denton, by 1910.

When the station was established, farming was the primary occupation of most Denton County residents. Farmers were growing small grains such as oats, wheat, barley and rye the same way for years. The Agriculture Experiment Stations were the first full-scale scientific approach in the U.S. to improve agriculture.

“There were a lot of grains developed to withstand the extreme weather of North Texas,” said Beth Stribling, Denton County Historical Commission chairwoman.

The station was closed in 1972 and activities were moved to a regional agricultural research center. The only remaining structure on the private property owned by the Baker Family Partnership Ltd. is the original barn, which has had some repair work.

“We’re hoping somehow or other all of that old gate will be retained even though it does need some work,” said Stribling.

The marker application was submitted to the Texas Historical Commission in the fall of 2010 as a 2011 marker application and was approved in January 2011.

The historical narrative was researched and written by local historian and journalist Nita Thurman, a former member of the Denton County Historical Commission. Beef, Crops and Forage Committee members Dennis Smith, chairman, and Rainey worked with Denton County Historical Commission Marker Committee as co-sponsors to obtain the marker.

“To me, what’s important is it was a part of the early history of Texas agricultural programs,” Stribling said. “We’re very proud to get it.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is blewis@dentonrc.com .


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