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100 Years Ago

From June 1914

Denton businessmen get busy with road work

The excessive rains and overflows of the last few months have left the stretch of the road in the Elm bottom impassable for loaded wagons. Its condition has been the worst in the county and probably the state.

At a recent meeting, Denton merchants were told that if they expect any business from across Elm, this road would have to receive immediate attention. At the meeting chaired by J.N. Rayzor, W.L. Foreman, Ed. F. Bates, J.E. Barnes, J.L. Blewett, L.T. Fox, F.F. Hill, W.F. Jarrell and Z. Wiggs were appointed to the committee to enlist workers for the project.

Monday afternoon the road workers came in from working the road with their “scars of battle.” A good day’s work was accomplished by the workers from the Denton business community. The workers stuck manfully to the task, directed by Commissioner Riley and Z. Wiggs, and left in good condition the 400 to 500 yards of road that were graveled well and the worst holes filled up with iron ore gravel.

The ladies did their part by furnishing an ample midday repast. Some of the hardest work of the day was getting the workers away from the table.


Boys get free ticket to Chautauqua

Willie Crow Wright and Sam West, two young boys from Denton, have acquired complimentary tickets for all events of the upcoming Redpath-Horner Chautauqua. Their letters in the contest, “Why a Boy Should Live on the Square,” were adjudged the best entries. The manager of the event asked that they attend all sessions and write to him to tell which ones they liked best, that he might know better the things which please young people.


75 Years Ago

From June 1939

Russell-Newman factory brought here

The launching of the Russell-Newman Manufacturing Company in Denton this month reflects the courage of its founders and the efforts of the Denton Chamber of Commerce’s Industrial Committee.

The committee, headed by James L. Baldwin, brought together clothing manufacturer R.B. Newman and Denton merchant J. Holford Russell to establish this plant for producing rayon underwear for women and children. The committee came across with material to aid the infant industry by obtaining a building for the factory and agreeing to pay the rent of the building for a specified time. The rent fund was made up by cooperation of Denton businessmen with the chamber workers.

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$51,000 WPA program approved by president

A $51,740 WPA grant for creek improvements and malaria control work in Denton has won presidential approval in Washington, D.C., and the project is now eligible for operation with the issuance of work orders from the state WPA office, Mayor Lee Preston was notified Friday.

The City of Denton is to add $12,000 to the grant to cover the remainder of the cost for the project.

Work will begin within the next few weeks, with the first job to be the completion of the concreting and rip-rapping on the south branch of Pecan Creek from Center to Mulberry Streets, Preston stated.

The north branch of Pecan Creek and Cottonwood Creek also will have concrete flooring with rock wall when the first project is completed according to the mayor.


50 Years Ago

From June 1964

Hartlee Field a life’s work

In the early fall of 1941, the landing field that would become Hartlee Field was covered with tall, dense grass. Two tents served as a hangar and office.

When Hartlee Field officially opened Sept. 22, 1941, George Harte bought the city owned property five miles northeast of Denton and built hangars and runways.

Training Army pilots was Harte’s job and 220 civilian employees and 60 Army personnel moved here from Wichita, Kan.

During the two years of government contract, 12 classes of 300-400 Army officers were trained in liaison flying. The one field was not large enough to accommodate the required 600 flying hours each day, so three auxiliary fields were used. One was located one mile west of the main field, another was situated three miles north of Hartlee and the third was located across Lake Dallas.

Harte has known as personal friends many pioneers in aviation: Charles Lindberg, Amelia Earhart, Wiley Post, Harold Gatty and Jimmy Doolittle. Harte’s pilot certificate number is 3193; Lindberg’s is 3102.

Even Astronaut Alan Shepard had his flying instruction in the old days of Hartlee Field, Harte recalled.


LDFD up from tow sacks and mops

A fish fry last week brought the city of Lake Dallas a step closer toward the purchase of a badly needed truck.

Lake Dallas, with three old trucks serving a community of about 1,000, is in the middle of a drive to collect money or S & H Green Stamps for purchase of a new truck.

All Lake Dallas firemen are volunteers and Fire Chief Jack Ezell says that even with their old trucks the department has come a long way. Not long ago, fires were fought with quilts, tow sacks and mops.

So far, $2,046 in cash and 250 S & H Green Stamp books have been contributed toward the down payment for a new truck.


25 Years Ago

From June 1989

Groundbreaking set for Ryan High

Denton school officials on Friday will break ground to commemorate the beginning of construction on Denton’s second high school, named for former football coach Billy Ryan.

The doors are expected to open in September 1991 for freshmen and sophomore students. The $18.5 million school will be located along McKinney Street, past Mayhill.

David Graham, principal at Denton High School, will move to Ryan High School when it is completed. Graham, along with school board President Bettye Myers and Superintendent Robert McGee, will discuss the second high school at the groundbreaking.

Billy Ryan joined the Denton school system in 1964 as a B-team coach and health teacher. He became head football coach in 1969 and in 1976 became assistant principal, a position he held until his death from cancer in 1987.

Ryan was named district Coach of the Year in 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1973.


Group wants to bring trolleys to Denton

A group of residents is working to bring trolleys to town by Christmas, but there won’t be any trolley tracks or wires.

The trolleys would take people to and from the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square, Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas. Although they are called trolleys and look like trolleys, they are actually buses with rubber wheels.

Service Programs for Aging Needs (SPAN) is considering installing two trolleys by December, said Roger Nelson, administrative assistant to the Denton city manger. However, Erika Lissberger, business manager at SPAN said the December target date may be optimistic.

A new trolley costs between $60,000 and $80,000, while a used one costs about $40,000. SPAN has requested two used trolleys, Nelson said.

— Compiled from the files of the Denton Record-Chronicle by DJ Taylor

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