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Year in review: Celebrating milestones, history

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

It was a year to celebrate long histories and the milestones of both individuals and organizations in 2012. A church and a country club celebrated landmark anniversaries, a mansion was sold, a bridge was built, and students marched and danced their way to the top.

But near misses also made the news. Denton was almost named most fun and it almost forgot about a 20-year-old time capsule.


Growing up

St. Andrew Presbyterian Church hit a huge milestone this year — its 150th anniversary.

The church, established in November 1862, held a special service in December to commemorate the event, and Rep. Myra Crownover and Mayor Mark Burroughs attended.

Dec. 2 was proclaimed St. Andrew Presbyterian Church Day.

Burroughs noted that the church has become essential to the community because of all the services it has provided over the years, including an after-school program and a soup kitchen for Denton’s homeless.

The church, first known as First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, was started in 1862 with six families led by the Rev. R.R. Dunlap. The current sanctuary was built in 1941.

The Denton Country Club also celebrated a big anniversary. It has seen a lot in its 90 years and members celebrated its history.

The club started as a 9-hole state-of-the-art golf course in 1922, and club members maintain the same spirit today as when the club was founded.

The golf course closed during World War II because of the number of men who went to war, said Mary Margaret Moore, a 51-year member and the club’s unofficial historian. During that time the land was leased to area ranchers for cattle grazing. In 1947, it was reconstructed and reopened and eventually it was turned into the 18-hole golf course it is now.


Long-awaited recognition

A local agency and a long-time Denton family received recognition this year.

Health Services of North Texas became a federally qualified health center and received a $595,833 grant to help improve the services it provides to Denton County residents.

“It increases our capacity to help people who need us,” said CEO Ronald Aldridge. “The county has never had that kind of credentials. It’s very hard to get.”

Those credentials helped the agency get the grant, made available by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Agency officials have been working to attain the distinction since they applied for it in 2010.

The agency provides a host of services to about 2,000 patients per year. Officials expect the number of patients to double over the next several years.

Some plans for the future include architectural changes to one of the buildings as well as possibly hiring more staff.

A Denton home once owned by the Rayzor family received a historical marker from the Texas Historical Commission in February.

Markers are given to make note of significant historical locations.

“Every year, we have an opportunity to submit marker applications, and they come through the marker committee,” said Beth Stribling, marker chairwoman with the Denton County Historical Commission. “We go out sometimes in the community and identify things we feel need to be marked and contact the potential sponsor.”

The James Newton and Eva Tabor Rayzor House at 1003 W. Oak St. was designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, the highest honor the state bestows on historical structures for their architectural integrity and historical associations.

Salty and JoAnn Rishel, who have owned the house since 1995, sponsored the marker application because of what the Rayzors did for the community.

Other historical markers approved this year were the 1917 Cooper Creek Baptist Church building, Belew Cemetery in Aubrey, Cooper Creek Cemetery in Denton and Skinner Cemetery in Pilot Point.


Moving in, moving out and adding on

New beginnings were marked in 2012, additions were made and some good things came to an end.

It was a new beginning for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, which opened a new parish in Denton this year for the city’s university students, faculty and staff.

The new parish, Blessed John Paul II, is located at the Catholic Campus Ministries building, 1303 Eagle Drive, near the University of North Texas. The Rev. Kyle Walterscheid, diocesan vocations director, was named pastor of the new parish.

Blessed John Paul II is the first parish established in the diocese since 2003. The two existing parishes in Denton are St. Mark and Immaculate Conception Catholic churches.

“The congregation develops a vision of what it is and what it wants to be, and things will proceed from there,” said diocese spokesman Pat Svacina.

The University of North Texas made some additions, including the much-anticipated pedestrian bridge.

UNT was proud to unveil its pedestrian bridge in October — just in time for the football game against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which was televised nationally on ESPN2.

Construction on the $2.5 million bridge, which connects the main campus to Apogee Stadium, started in February and officials weren’t sure if it would open in time for the nationally televised game.

UNT contributed $1 million to the project and donated the right of way for the land on either side of the interstate. The rest of the project was paid for by regional toll revenues.

The bridge, which is 20 feet wide, 354 feet long and 17 feet tall, offers a safer, more direct route from UNT’s main campus to Apogee Stadium.

For Al Goldfield, 2013 was a time to move on. The cellphone mogul sold his megamansion in April.

The 48,000-square-foot French-inspired house with a ballroom, garden, theater, bowling alley, racquet court, two swimming pools and a two-story closet in the master bedroom, cost $46 million to build.

Goldfield didn’t disclose what it sold for but said a family moved in and his wife, Shirley, showed them all the features of the house, including the safe room, which is well hidden.

The house was built between 1998 and 2002 on 39 acres of land.

All but 40 acres around the mansion were bought by developers, Goldfield said.  

The sale frees Goldfield and his wife to spend more time at their condo in Colorado.


Moving forward

Local students made the city proud with their accomplishments this year.

The Argyle Eagle Marching Band earned its third straight Class 3A title in the UIL State Marching Band Contest at San Antonio’s Alamodome in November.

It was the band’s fifth title since 2003 — the group has two Class 2A titles, earned in 2003 and 2005, and now three Class 3A championships.

Band director Kathy Johnson said the band is leaving a legacy.

“It was a very nerve-wracking experience in a way because you have to go back and defend something that’s very precious in the community,” she said. “It was a big deal.

“We knew that it wasn’t just going to be handed to us. We knew we had to work for it and earn it.”

Johnson said the 124-member band rose to the occasion and put on two fine shows the day of the contest.

An 11-year-old Denton boy is making the city proud from halfway around the world.

In October, George Chadick flew to Moscow to train at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy until June.

Only four other students from Texas were invited to attend, and he’s among 23 students who accepted their invitations this year.

Established in 1773, the internationally renowned academy is known for producing world-class dancers, teachers and choreographers.

Even at his age, Chadick knows it’s a big opportunity and so do his parents, who knew he couldn’t pass up the opportunity, even though tuition is several thousand dollars.

Chadick auditioned for the academy as part of his participation in the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive program in Connecticut this year.

He was one of the youngest from the program this year invited to train in Moscow, according to foundation officials.

While in Moscow, the specialty for his training was choreographic art. He’s expected to take courses in classical dance, repertoire, historical dance, pointe work, stretching and the Russian language.



But not all accomplishments and milestones received the same recognition.

While Denton wasn’t named the most fun in the Best of Road contest by Rand McNally and USA Today — Delray Beach, Fla. received that title — city officials had fun showing two travelers what Denton had to offer.

Anna Haas and Patricia Serrano  — the Fresh Traveler team — visited on the Fourth of July for a parade, ice cream making at Beth Marie’s, a party at Dan’s Silverleaf, horseback riding and fireworks at Fouts Field.

What could be more fun than that?

Denton also lost track of time in 2012 and almost forgot to dig up a time capsule buried 20 years ago to mark the 100th anniversary of First State Bank.

Several members of the community were baffled that Denton forgot about the time capsule, which was buried outside the Wells Fargo building on the Square.

Local musician Glen Farris didn’t want the milestone to go unmarked so he held “See You at the Capsule.” A group met at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 13 — the day after the anniversary — and toasted the time capsule Denton didn’t open on time.

It was unceremoniously dug up a week after its plaque suggested.

The contents of the capsule are still a mystery, as far as we know.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is