100 YEARS AGO
From December 1914
Fire destroys entire block in Denton
A fire starting shortly after midnight Monday destroyed the entire Donahower block on the southwest corner of the Denton Square and caused a loss of approximately $60,000 shared by W.B. McClurkan, the owner of the property, Fox Brothers, W.E. Collins restaurant and the Record and Chronicle office. The cause of the fire is unknown. For nearly three hours the fire department fought the flames, but the lack of hose and the size of the building made it a difficult blaze to combat.
Mr. McClurkan carried $10,000 insurance with the Deavenport Agency. The Record and Chronicle lost two linotypes and their press as well as office furnishings.
In a statement shortly after the fire, W.B. McClurkan vowed to rebuild as soon the insurance losses can be adjusted.
I am a little girl 8 years old and in the third grade. Am getting along nicely with my studys. I get the headmark nearly every day in my spelling. My papa is a farmer. We live at Argyle. Now I must tell you what I want you to bring me. As times are hard, I will mention a few things. I want a big doll with curly hair and some candy, nuts and oranges, so now I will close by thanking you in advance for all you give me.
Georgia Bell Meadows
I would like to have a bicycle and some scates; some candy, nuts and bananas and oranges, apples. That is all I ask from you. I’m so glad you are coming to us.
Joe Gambill, South Elm
Please remember all the little boys and girls in Denton. I would like to have a baby doll and some firecrackers. I will see you at my daddy’s store.
I don’t know what I want this Xmas, but please remember that I have lots of dolls, so you can bring me anything you want to. Please leave some of my things at Mr. Evers’ store and put the rest in my stocking at home.
NOTE: An ad in the paper announced Santa Claus would be at Evers Hardware Store on Christmas Eve morning.
75 YEARS AGO
From December 1939
Women’s college plans opossum hunt
All eligible opossums had better find a dog-proof hole to hide in it Saturday night as the State College for Women is planning its third annual opossum hunt for that evening.
The hunt is sponsored by the Women’s Recreation Association, with the Outing Club as hostesses for the evening. Girls will leave on trucks from the college gymnasium at 7:30 Saturday night. They will go to Elm Creek bottom where the hunt was held last year. Arrangements for the dogs and grounds were made by W.V. Taliaferro of Denton.
Following the hunt will be a wiener roast prepared by the hunters themselves over big bonfires. The food will be furnished by W.M. Loveless, college business manager.
Dear Santa — I am a big boy 4 years old. I have been a good boy. Please bring me a tricycle, truck and train. Also, some fruit nuts and candy. Don’t forget the other little boys and girls. Your little friend, Harvey Lee Carter, Aubrey
Dear Santa Claus — I am a little girl 5 years old. Please bring me a doll, tea set, telephone, fruit, nuts and candy. Please don’t forget my twin brother, Tommy Glen. I love you, Joselyn Jarrell.
Dear Claus — I have been real good this year. Please bring me a train, bicycle, carnival set, and fruit nuts and candy. Please remember my mother, daddy, Charles and his dog Spot. I love you Santa, Dickie Castleberry
Dear Santa — I have been a very good girl this year, rather I’ve tried to be. I would like very much for you to bring me a Princess Elizabeth doll, an ironing board and a tricycle. I am 5 1/2 years old. Oh yes, don’t forget my sister, Frances. She wants a McDuffy Ann doll, some new handle grips for her bicycle and a basket to carry her books to school in. She is 10 years old. And most of all, don’t forget all the other children in Denton. Merry Christmas to you, Sandra Alice Kahn
50 YEARS AGO
From December 1964
City landmark’s days are numbered
The red brick platform, hand-decorated kerosene lanterns, hard waiting room benches and telegraph are already gone. The oak paneling is now being removed as workmen at the Texas and Pacific Railroad terminal on East Hickory move closer to the old building being torn down.
A college student heading home for the Christmas holidays could, while waiting for a train, admire murals covering the station’s walls. Murals depicted both the then Texas State College for Women and North Texas State College. Another included the courthouse, the city park, various industries and the fairgrounds.
The passenger train service that made the Denton landmark a busy place ended several years ago.
Dear Santa, I have been a good little girl. I would like for you to bring me a pretty doll, a baton and a set of dishes, and an air blaster gun and a toy make-up set and a big purse. Your friend, Brenda Taylor. P.S. Please bring something for my two big brothers, Dale and Vernon and my little sister Sheila.
Dear Santa Claus, my name is Jimmy. Would you please bring me a time bomb, rifle, skates, a farm set, a puppet, and some candy. I am 5 years old and my little brother Jeff is 2 yrs. Old Jeff wants a horse, gun, and a truck. We have been pretty good boys. We want a guitar and a trumpet, too. Love, Jimmy and Jeff Dooley. P.S. Jeffie fell and hurt his head, so bring him another toy.
Dear Santa, how are you? We have three kids at our house this year: Vickie, age 7; Dewayne, age 3 1/2 and Donna, age 9 months. I am Vickie and I want you to bring me a big bicycle and a Skipper case and some clothes for her. Dewayne wants a army set, an army gun, a tent and a vroom motor. Our little sister Donna wants some baby toys. Please don’t forget all the other kids in the world. We love you, Vickie, Dewayne and Donna Clampitt. P.S. We have tried to be good. Sometimes we forget. Dewayne has the mumps so be real nice to him.
Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl. I would like to have a Tressy Dool, a watch, a record player, Beatle records, a Beatle wig, Beatle books, a Beatle brush, a Beatle harmonica, guitar and drums. I also want a piano and The Beatles autograph and the Beatles themselves. My sister wants a new Bible. I love you, Barbara Ann Reynolds
25 YEARS AGO
From December 1989
Wolff’s Food Store: Nostalgia for sale
Wolff’s Food Store might be the last mom-and-pop, family-owned grocery store left in town. Mom has retired, but Grady Gandee plans to stay behind the deli meat counter, cracking his jokes on new customers and playing practical jokes on old ones until he’s carried out. The rest of the store has been turned over to his son-in-law, Larry Workman, who is married to the middle of Gandee’s eight children — all who grew up working in the store.
Gandee bought the store at 109 Industrial St. off East Hickory Street in 1959 from a family named Wolff. Wolff’s still offers food and services that were common 30 years ago but are history in the day of the supermarket.
Wolff’s has a delicatessen, too, which draws a faithful take-out lunchtime crowd from the Record-Chronicle, city of Denton work crews, and from offices and businesses around the Square.
For years, Lafayette Newland of the newspaper has counted the pieces of beef in Gandee’s stew. In retaliation, Gandee once sent Newland a raw pig’s ear. Because of his repartee, Gandee is never allowed to forget his mistakes, like the time he ordered 100 cases of vinegar or the time he ordered a semi-truckload of watermelons. “My wife said the aisles were full; the garage at home was full.” Gandee added that he went all over town selling watermelons.
Time has brought changes to the area, but Gandee relies on good customer service to keep his operation going. “Once they find us, once they come through that door, they come back. The key is to get them down here.”
Dear Santa: I want a Alfie and a Brabie Doll. I would also like a pair of skates, a music keyboard, and some clothes. Love, Lakeisha Banks
Dear Santa, I hope you bring me Batman and some video games, a train and some movies. Love, Josh Godi
Dear Santa: Can I have a Nintendo for Christmas and a Barbie ice crème shop a pair of sock new sKats and clths and care Bear. I have Ben a good good good girl. Love, Melissa Ann Bruce
— 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 email@example.com.