Friends and family from as far away as Connecticut gathered Saturday morning to dedicate the home of James Newton and Eva Tabor Rayzor with an official Texas Historical Marker.
The 1909 prairie-style home, located at 1003 W. Oak St., is nestled among the mighty trees in the Oak-Hickory Historic District, and its marker is officially the third such designation on Oak Street.
“I can still remember squishing my hands in the freshly poured cement for a backyard pond in the 1920s,” Lucile Rayzor Hutchinson — the oldest living granddaughter of James Newton and Eva Tabor Rayzor — recalled during the dedication. “And yes, the handprints from us grandkids are still there.”
As Hutchinson remembered fond memories of her grandparents’ home, like walking through the backyard gate for a visit, one thing she mentioned was evident with all the friends and relatives attending the dedication.
“They always had time to visit family and welcome them with open arms,” she said. “This home was very much part of a family compound.”
Beth Stribling, chairwoman of the Denton County Historical Commission, said the house is a perfect example of what it takes to be designated a historical landmark by the Texas Historical Commission.
“We are very happy to be fortunate enough to work so closely with Denton County, and I am excited to be visiting Denton to see this beautiful home,” said Sarah McCleskey, a seven-year veteran with the commission.
McCleskey, who spent about two to three weeks writing the text for the marker, said Denton County is one of the 10 counties statewide the commission works with most often.
JoAnn and Salty Rishel, the current homeowners, bought the Rayzor house in 1995 and have been working together to have the home dedicated for the past year and a half.
“There was an article in the Denton Record-Chronicle in 1998 that led to Lucile contacting me,” JoAnn Rishel said as she looked over her “Rayzor family history folder” Saturday afternoon.
She said the article started a friendship that continues to grow.
“Lucile is one of the most eloquent women you will ever meet,” Rishel said. “Between us going back and forth over time, I acquired a great deal of knowledge and wanted to honor the family for their contribution to the Denton community.”
Rishel said she felt the significance of the marker would work as “a vehicle” to educate the community of the Rayzor’s contributions to Denton.
The most memorable moment of the process for the Rishels?
“The relationship with Lucile that sparked me to do this for her family,” JoAnn Rishel said. “The marker today is only the end product, but those relationships built with the family will always be the most significant to me.”
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.