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100 Years Ago

From June 1912


Wheat farmers urged to plow fire rows

Denton County wheat farmers are being urged to plow fire guards to minimize the danger of losing their crops. On account of unusually dry conditions this year and the thick stubble on the ground, the threat of fire is great.

Several fires have been reported, the worst being on the O.M. Curtis farm at Roanoke where B.W. Yancey lost about 55 acres of wheat along the railroad that started from sparks of a passing train. A.D. Turner lost about 10 acres after a lightning bolt struck his field Thursday night. There have been several small fires scattered around the county.

“This is the first time in about 10 years we’ve had this much stubble on the ground,” said a wheat buyer, “and it certainly behooves the farmers to get busy plowing furrows between the shock rows to minimize the danger of heavy loss.”



Weird, Startling & Death Defying Aviation Meet, June 7 & 8 in Denton at Highland Park. Admission 50 cents. Your co-operation is urgently solicited. Under auspices of the Chamber of Commerce.


Big crowds turn out to witness first flights

Harold Kantner, aviator for the Moisant Co., gave two flights on Friday before a crowd of 1,500 persons at Highland Park that watched Denton’s first motorized aerial flights.

The first flight was a climbing spiral, in which the monoplane climbed to an altitude of 1,500 feet. The crowds cheered at the “bird man” both as he started from the ground and when he alighted upon his return.

In the second flight, he began a speed trial that drew even more appreciation. The plane reached an altitude of 500 feet and headed straight away towards Pilot Knob, five miles distant. When he turned over the Knob, his plane looked no larger than a bird. His roundtrip took but 10 minutes, an average of an amazing 60 miles per hour.

Saturday’s single flight was just as thrilling and the aviator took considerable time explaining the machine’s working and answering questions from onlookers.

Although the crowd was larger than Friday’s, the gate receipts were short of the previous day because of many non-payers watching from outside the park. The monoplane, aviator and crew left by train in the evening for an exhibition in Denison.


75 Years Ago

From June 1937


Denton City-County Public Library opens

Nine o’clock Saturday morning found the doors of Denton’s City-County Public Library opened for the first time to the public.

Miss Pyrene Wilson, librarian, issued the first volume to J.D. Gentry of Denton, whose request for a detective mystery brought The Benson Murder Case by S.S. Van Dyne.

Two volumes per person may be taken out for a two-week period by any adult living with Denton County who fills out an identification card and by children under the age of 14 who obtain the signature of a parent or guardian. A fine of two cents per day will be charged if a book is kept overtime.

When Works Progress Administration workers finish repairs to donated books, the library on the third floor of the courthouse will have 7,000 volumes.

The idea for the library was originated by the Junior Shakespeare Club of Denton.


Recreational projects to be launched

Denton’s WPA recreational program, which will offer a wide variety of activities to Denton boys and girls this summer, may be authorized to begin within a week, according to D.L. Ligon, director of the Denton program.

The program will offer young people activities not only in sports and playground contests, but in such things as dramatics, crafts, nature study and dancing, Ligon said.

The application asks for seven instructors to assist Ligon in programs at the city park, three ward schools, the colored school and high school athletic field.

State Director D.L. Knox expressed hope that the Denton program could become a model for study by towns in all parts of the state.


50 years ago

From June 1962


Fallout shelter survey shows 23 buildings OK

Preliminary findings of a fallout shelter survey indicate that 23 buildings in Denton could serve as fallout shelters large enough to accommodate 50 or more people.

Denton Mayor Warren Whitson and First State Bank president W.C. Orr Jr. signed an agreement making the basement of the new bank building a fallout shelter that could accommodate 350 or more persons.

Bill Cox, field operations officer for the Office of Civil Defense, said supplies for persons to survive two weeks in the shelters will be stored in the buildings.



Gifts That Hit the Spot With Pop! Shirts, $1.97 to $3.95; Ties, $1.00; Suits, $27.00 to $39.95. Craven’s Dry Goods.


Residents to decide fate of county jail

Sometime before 1891 Denton County residents decided to construct a jail on North Elm Street. They built it and it has been in use ever since.

Early this month, Denton County Commissioners Court decided it is time to replace the 70-years-old structure.

County voters will soon go to the polls to vote yes or no on two proposals — a $540,000 bond issue to finance construction of a new jail and a $50,000 bond issue for repairs to the courthouse. If the bond issue carries the jail will be constructed on the northeast corner of McKinney and Oakland in Denton.

Earlier this month commissioners accepted an offer from the Denton City Council to build the jail in the area designated in the city’s master plan as a government center, trading the jail’s current 1,800 square-foot lot on Elm for the 3,700-square-foot lot in the government complex.

Now it is up to the county’s residents to see if the building should be constructed.


25 Years Ago

From June 1987


Denton County set for growth explosion

The green pastures between Fort Worth and Denton are set for massive development.

“I think this area is just sitting on a time bomb,” said Gary Kirkland, Roanoke real estate agent.

H. Ross Perot Jr., son of the Dallas billionaire, has three major projects: a cargo airport, a freeway linking Roanoke and Haslet and a housing development planned for Pilot Knob Ranch near Denton.

Within a decade, Perot and others have said, the Roanoke area will resemble Irving’s Los Colinas development.

Roanoke banker Nolin Ragsdale said, “To even guess what it’ll be like in 10 years — it’ll even surpass what our wildest dreams would be.”

Roanoke stands to be one of the towns most affected by the growth, but that doesn’t worry Mayor John Tidwell.

“I ain’t going to be against nothing,” he said. “The bigger it is, the better I like it.”

The Denton Parks and Recreation Department recently talked with Perot representatives about creating a park on Pilot Knob. Steve Brinkman, director for the department, says they have yet to hear back from Perot’s group.

“I’m sure they’re going to be sensitive to the concerns of the people here,” he said.

But the younger Perot has his own concerns, mainly about “quality” and “control.”

“I’m not sure what we’ll do with the Knob. I don’t want a public park up there because it would be hard to control,” Perot said. “I don’t want kids up there drinking or anything. It has to be high quality — maybe a private park.”


Donation to grace county courthouse

Sometimes what you need is in your own backyard, or at least in your own county. Johnny Pittman, construction manager for the Denton County Courthouse, found this to be true after spending two months looking for decorative curly pine lumber to match the tall doors in the courthouse when it was built in 1896.

After looking all over Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, Pittman learned from Denton County Museum director Yvonne Jenkins about Tom Mitcham of Cross Roads. Mitcham restores furniture using a collection of what he calls “antique lumber.”

It turned out that Mitcham had two beams of curly pine available. Pittman estimated the beams worth at about $3,000 each, but Mitcham donated them to the county. The pine will be used as wainscot along about 70 doors in the courthouse.


— 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