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100 Years Ago

From February 1914

Denton begins regular rounds for garbage

Y.M. Turpin, Monday begins work as Denton’s official garbage hauler, paid partly by the city and partly by subscriptions among the business men. The city pays $25 a month and the subscriptions total $35 a month, Chairman Robinson of the Council Finance committee said Monday.

A daily removal of trash and garbage will be made in the business section, Mr. Robinson stated, in the boarding house section at intervals of two weeks and in the residence sections once a month. Residents must place their trash in sacks or boxes in front of the walks to get free haulage, as otherwise picking up loose trash would allow insufficient time for the hauler to make his rounds.


Normal boys discard shoes, socks in win

Not only good basketball players, but strategists with the sort of head machinery that enabled them to see in a flash they couldn’t make their shoes stick on a glazed inner court floor, and with ready wit enough to meet the emergency, the Normal boys’ team took the game away from the Dallas University team last evening.

The court used by the Dallas team had been previously used for dancing and the Normal boys, used to rough, hard floors, slid around in the first half, giving a good imitation of a Virginia Reel. The first half ended with Dallas University ahead, 7-6.

To the astonishment of the other team and especially of the onlookers, the Normal bunch coolly walked into the second half of the game sans shoes, socks and any consciousness whatever that their unlovely feet might not be viewed with the same admiration and respect that the feminine element is usually accorded.

Led by Will Strong, who scored 15 of the second half’s 19 points, the Normal boys handily out distanced the Dallas team, 25-11, when the time whistle blew.


75 Years Ago

From February 1939

Actor Jackie Coogan happy to be in Denton

Jackie Coogan found Denton no strange place when he arrived at 2:38 a.m. Saturday morning, but it is quite evident that Coogan never finds himself in a strange place. He did bemoan the fact that wee hours arrival prevented him from taking an excursion to the State College for Women. Coogan is here for personal appearances in a stage show at the Texas Theater at 3:30, 4:40 and 6:50 today.

One of his reasons for feeling at home is that Denton is the hometown of Clara Lou Sheridan, now known as the actress Ann Sheridan. Miss Sheridan was a major heart interest of Coogan’s when she first went to California.

Jackie Coogan is witty, but he is not a wisecracker. His kindly humor comes from deep experience. He is earnest about his work and has high hopes for his career that began as a child star in the silent movies.

Coogan has just returned to the road tour after going to the bedside of his wife, actress Betty Grable. Miss Grable recently underwent an emergency appendectomy. From Denton he goes to Denison and then on to stops in East Texas.


Musical history made with opera premiere

Musical history was made for Denton Thursday night at the North Texas State Teachers College as Julia Smith’s colorful folk opera “Cynthia Parker” played to a capacity house that included one of the most distinguished audiences of musicians and musical critics ever brought to the city.

The production, graced by the brilliant and dramatic performance of its beautiful prima dona, Leonora Corona, former Metropolitan star, drew at its conclusion a wild and spontaneous burst of applause which continued throughout more than a dozen curtain calls for composer, principals and other members of the cast of more than one hundred.

The story of Cynthia Ann Parker, her capture by the Comanches, her rescue, the death of her Indian husband, Chief Nocona, and the leadership of her son, Quanah Parker, is well known to most Texans. The opera made no attempt to adhere closely to the facts of the story.

Attending the opera were several members of the Parker family, including his last wife, Topay, and his son, Rev. White Parker of Lawton, Oklahoma.


50 Years Ago

From February 1964

Just who was George McKenna?

George McKenna was the man for whom McKenna Park in West Denton was named. Beyond that, few people in Denton know anything about him.

That became evident last week when a $500 check from the George McKenna Trust Fund arrived at city hall. It is the first payment of what is anticipated to be $1200 annually from the fund. The money is to be used for the upkeep of McKennna Park—and for nothing else.

George McKenna never lived in Denton, although he did live in Denton County for a while. C.A. Cowan of Roanoke recalls that McKenna lived there in the 1890s and remembers him as “a pretty nice fella.”

Former Denton mayor Mark Hannah remembers McKenna sending him a letter back in 1952, asking that he come to Fort Worth to meet with him. “So I did, and he told me he had lived near Roanoke and he wanted to do something nice for Denton and Denton County.”

Denton had just purchased the land on which the big water tank sits at Scripture and Bonnie Brae. Hannah recalls that McKenna said it would make a nice park and donated $8,000 for a park. It was at Hannah’s suggestion that the park was named for the benefactor.

Should the name of the park be changed or should the park cease to exist, the annual money from the trust fund will go to the Fort Worth Library.

“He just wanted to do something nice for Denton,” said Hannah. “He had a big heart.”


25 Years Ago

From February 1989

Retired Old No. 14 survives blaze

Old No. 14 made one more fire this morning.

The 1935 Pirsch ladder truck is a legend. For 40 years she attended almost every fire, with her crew riding exposed to the elements in the open cab and her ladders swaying precariously on the corner as the fire department rushed to save someone’s life or someone’s property. She was retired in the early ’70s and twice since then the city has tried to sell her. Both times citizens groups have protested. Today, the Denton County Historical Commission has her under protection.

This morning she sat in the corner of a metal building with smoke boiling around her, waiting for firefighters to come to her aid.

And rescue her they did. Within minutes, firefighter had the blaze under control. They waded through old campaign signs—and stumbled over old No. 14.

“If I had known she was in there when I drove up, I would have died,” said Battalion Chief Jim Dolgener. “That truck was my alma mater.”

Fire inspector Bill Daniel said he will be investigating the cause of the blaze today.

Old No. 14 was unscathed.


Denton amends law to allow chalk art

Chalk artists can now draw on city sidewalks without fear of arrest.

The Denton City Council amended a city law that prohibited the placement or painting of signs on public property, now making chalk drawings clearly legal.

The action stems from the trial and eventual acquittal of Sam Brown, a University of North Texas art major charged with criminal mischief for a drawing on a sidewalk in front of Voertman’s Hickory Street store.

Brown argued at his trial that chalk art is “transitory art” that washes away with the first rain. Council members sought a change in the local law after hearing that Brown faced trial.

“If that’s the way the ordinance reads, every kid who plays hopscotch on the sidewalk is breaking the law,” councilwoman Linnie McAdams said. “That’s ridiculous.”

DJ TAYLOR resides in the Sanger/Bolivar area. He can be reached at 940-458-4979 or