A milestone: This month marks the 100th anniversary of this Denton Record-Chronicle feature that looks at past articles from the paper. The first look back at earlier stories began on May 20, 1913, in an article titled “Some Early Day History of Denton County” featuring stories from 19 years before. The occasional column became a daily fixture called “19 Years Ago” by the 1920s; it evolved into “Denton Yesteryear” in the late 1940s, with the title shortened to “Yesteryear” in the 1950s. We hope you continue to enjoy these little excursions into the past to see how much — or how little — things have changed.
— DJ Taylor
100 Years Ago
From May 1913
Ice sign cards a success
The ice sign cards, about a thousand of which have been distributed by the Alliance Milling Company, are making the work of the ice wagon drivers appreciably lighter and saving steps and vocal cords for most of the Denton housewives.
The cards obviate the necessity on the part of the drivers of howling from a few seconds to as many minutes in front of the ice patrons’ homes, and on the part of the housewives from missing the ice wagon on its regular trip by forgetting to hang out the white cloth heretofore required to some extent.
The cards are primarily round with the edges cut to form six sides. A number on each side represents the amount of ice desired — either 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 or 35 cents worth. A nail hole in the margin above each number is hung over a nail, the lower number informing the driver how much ice is desired.
J.N. Rayzor of the mill stated that the cards are coming up to expectations and that once all cards are distributed and the patrons become familiar with their usage, the work of distributing ice would be greatly facilitated.
A Suggestion from the Peoples Home Telephone Company: Please do not take down your receiver and ask, “Where’s the fire?” when the fire whistle blows, as it is impossible for us to serve 300 or 400 people at the same instant and it interferes with the operators waiting on the fire department, which is very essential. Kindly Remember This!
Old Carroll homestead sought for park
At the request of J.R. Christal, J.C. Coit and other interested Denton citizens, A.N. Greene Jr. of Dallas has agreed to set a price for the sale of the old homestead of the late Judge Carroll, which he owns.
The site at the northwest corner of West Oak Street and Carroll Avenue is one of the prettiest in the town with a grove of native shade trees and the north end includes several hundred meandering feet of Cottonwood Creek. The group hopes to make the land the beginning of a municipal park system.
The tract runs from Oak back to the town limits. If enough funds cannot be raised to purchase the entire tract, the group hopes to purchase that part up to Congress that is east of John B. Denton Street.
75 Years Ago
From May 1938
40 men at work on WPA drainage project
This week the Pecan Creek concrete bottoming project is progressing, with a force of 40 WPA men doing the work. The project is a drainage and sanitary improvement measure that extends from Center Street to the railroad tracks. City Engineer W.N. Harris and Mayor Lee Preston hope to have approval for a plan to extend the work to Bernard Street on the west and improve the bed of the creek with four-foot rock walls against the banks.
Note: The request was approved and some of the rock walls still exist in the area.
The Shepard Funeral Home Announces the new Radio Station KDNT, 1420kc on your dial. Grand Opening, TSCW Auditorium, 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 1st. See and hear Governor James V. Allred, Stamps Quartet, Roy Newman’s Orchestra, Floyd Graham and the Teachers College Stage Band. Also many other radio personalities!
Note: KDNT soon changed its frequency to 1440 and remained on the air for 50 years.
Graduation held for
Fred Douglass School
At the graduation ceremony for Fred Douglass Colored School, Denton Superintendent of Schools R.C. Patterson announced that a new vocational building for the school will open by September. The announcement drew applause from the crowd at the colored Methodist Church.
The program included spirituals by the Glee Club and songs by a girls’ quartet of Jeraldine Hall, Earnestine Jones, Emma Haynes and Marlene Gates.
Patterson presented diplomas to graduating seniors Harve King, Herbert King, C.I. Nix, J.D. Moody, Marlene Gates and Suella Ponder.
Fred Moore, principal of the school, was master of ceremonies.
50 Years Ago
From May 1963
O’Neil Ford to be
Civic Center architect
The Denton City Council has reached a tentative agreement to employ O’Neil Ford, widely known architect, as consulting architect for the Civic Center.
Ford met with the council and said he would be “flattered and pleased” to work on the project.
Ford attended NTSU in 1923-24, majoring in English and physics while pursuing a correspondence course in architecture and working as a college carpenter, painter and handyman.
Among the buildings Ford has designed in Denton is the Little Chapel-in-the-Woods at TWU. Listed in the Who’s Who in America in 1956, he has served on the Visiting School of Architecture at MIT and lectured at a number of architectural schools in England, Scotland and the United States.
NTSU students stage sympathy march
Thirteen Negroes, 12 of them NTSU students, staged a march this morning from the NTSU campus to downtown Denton in sympathy with the civil rights marchers attacked by police officers in Birmingham, Ala.
The group carried signs which said, “Birmingham is a Part of America” and “Freedom for all in the USA.”
The group was accompanied by Clarence Laws, a Dallas lawyer for the National Association of Colored People, who addressed the group at the Courthouse.
Police Chief Andy Anderson said he had been contacted about the march beforehand and accompanied them from the campus, staying a block behind during the walk downtown. Chief Anderson reported there were no problems.
25 Years Ago
From May 1988
County aids Christmas lighting project
Commissioners Court donated $2,500 to a fundraising project for decorative lighting at the Courthouse on the Square. The money was paid to the county when the Courthouse was used in the filming of the television movie Little Girl Lost, which aired April 28.
Fred Patterson, representing the Chamber of Commerce Christmas decorating committee, said the remaining cost would be raised through a “Christmas in July” promotion sponsored by the Denton Chamber of Commerce, the city of Denton, the Central Business District and the Record-Chronicle.
The city will install the lighting and provide the electricity.
Kaisner removed from office after indictment
Sheriff Randy Kaisner has been removed from office by Judge Charles Chandler Davis of the 362nd District Court.
Davis’ actions came less than a week after a grand jury indicted Kaisner and his former political adviser, Jack Ehrhart, for bribery in an alleged offer made to Kaisner’s opponent in the April GOP runoff election.
Judge Davis’ action came in the wake of a plea bargain by Ehrhart when a county employee overheard evidence the judge believed justified Kaisner’s suspension and removal from office.
The judge’s order also appointed Acting Chief Deputy Capt. Ron Douglas, a nine-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, the county sheriff. The order was accompanied by a gag order for everyone connected with the case.
Kaisner, who was allowed to post a personal recognizance bond for his release from jail, was served the order as he left the office of his attorney, Don Windle.
Reaction in the county ranged from caution to expressions of distress from others. The feeling in the law enforcement community was embarrassment and relief that Kaisner no longer is making decisions for the county agency.
— Compiled from the files of the Record-Chronicle by DJ Taylor
DJ TAYLOR resides in the Sanger/Bolivar area. He can be contacted at 940-458-4979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.