The Tarrant County Historical Journal
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The following is just a sample of the pictures
and articles in the 20 pages of issue #4.

Silly sign at a restaurant:
Eat now - pay waiter.

Editor & photographer ,
Les Crocker;
General manager,
Neva Crocker

Send all letters, notes, correspondence, clippings, complaints, photographs, subscriptions, requests, press releases, hot tips, hate mail,junk mail, important information, invites, payola, gifts, confessions, cash, checks, and orders to:

The Tarrant County Historical Journal P.O. Box 311, Springtown, TX 76082

 THINGS that I learned as I was putting together this issue of "The Journal"….. That Fort Worth was the birthplace of the world's first self-service laundry. In 1934 John Cantrell was the first person to rent out laundry machines for public use. The Central Cleaners and Dyers Washateria was located at 1344 North Main Street, now The Mulholland Companies. John Cantrell died in 1945. He never was financially successful in his venture…… How did the Trinity River get it's name? In the late 17th Century a traveling Spaniard christened it "Rio De La Saintisima Trinidad or River of the Most Holy Trinity…. Almost everyone knows about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Well, Ft. Worth has one right here, in Pioneer Rest Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Indian Wars. Well, actually it's a gravestone. See p.9 Issue Two….. That 88 years ago on April 3, 1909, a disastrous fire destroyed over 150 buildings in a 20 square block area bounded by the T&P yards, the M-K-T tracks, Petersmith St. and South Jennings Ave. The fire destroyed many of the Southside's Victorian homes, shops, businesses and the roundhouse of the T&P Railroad….. That the world's first indoor rodeo was held at the Coliseum on the Northside….. That the Justin Boot Co. building is sitting on the site of the old Ft. Worth High School.

 Cowboy actor in a classic western...
French subtitle...

This is the subway for animals that I was telling you about in Issue #3, p.7. This view is from the North looking to the South from the other end.

At Second and Commerce is Fire Station No. 1 built in 1907 and was in use as a Fire Station serving the Central Business District until 1980. The City's first Mayor donated the land for a City Hall which was also to be used as a Fire Station. In 1983 the Station was remodeled. The main floor now houses a "150 Years of Fort Worth Exhibit". I went in (it's free admission, open 9 am to 7 pm daily). The exhibits traces Ft. Worth's development from it's beginn- ing as a frontier outpost through it's rowdy youth as a cattle town to it's maturity in the 1990's. The upper floors were the City Hall and Mayor's office. The original fire bell used from 1886 until the end of WW1 is now located in the Texas Street Central Fire Station. I'll try to get a picture of it soon. Inside is a hand-hewn beam believed to be from one of the buildings at Ft. Worth in 1849. "On a ten dollar horse and a forty dollar saddle, I started out to punching them longhorn cattle" (the old Chisholm Trail Traditional Cowboy ballad).

Standing on a corner in North Side Ft. Worth on Exchange Avenue and North Main Street.

The only Texas Revolution Soldier buried in Tarrant County is William M. Rice. He was buried in Ash
Creek Cemetery in Azle.

  Down at the Tarrant County Courthouse a cowboy suing for divorce charged that his wife shot at him. The Judge, to clear up a technicality, asked the man when the separation from his wife began. "She fired at me five times, your honor", the cowboy replied. "I started separating on the first shot. By the fifth shot, I had completely separated."

In 1890 the Polytechnic College was founded by the Methodist Church. In 1915 it was renamed Texas Woman's College. In 1935 the name was changed
again to Texas Wesleyan College.

  In 1841 two fur trappers , Ed Terrell and John P. Lusk
opened a trading post along the Trinity river. They were captured by indians but persuaded them to let them go. In the 1860's they operated a saloon called the "First and LastChance Saloon".  After Fort Worth wa incorporated in 1873, Ed Terrell was the city's first Marshall.  As a side note, I lived at 1253 W. Terrell from birth 'til 1953 when we moved to 4205 Tarrant Road in Poly.  A parking lot is now at 1253 W. Terrell.

Hark! I hear a white horse coming!
from the old Lone Ranger radio program


The most interesting things happen only once.


THE other day I was reflecting on the way things change such as the passing of the downtown stores like Leonards and Everbodys, Santa Claus at Mrs. Bairds Bakery on the freeway, and the Devil Dog to mention a few. How many of you remember that little Devil's food chocolate hot dog shaped cake treat with the cream filling from Mrs. Bairds? But the thing that bothers me the most is there are no longer any Horny Toads around Tarrant County.
When I was a kid in the fifties, you could find them in almost any yard or vacant lot. I bet I have not seen a live Horny Toad in over 27 years. The Horny Toad Frontier has been pushed quite far to the West of Fort Worth. This year we were in West Texas in the Ghost Town of Shafter when I saw and picked up a live Horny Toad. I was ecstatic. We had looked all over the Big Bend area but no Horny Toad to be found. I picked him or her up, took a picture and let him or her go.
Actually, the Horny Toad isn't a toad or frog. It's a horned lizard, scientific name Phrynosoma Cornutum. I prefer to call 'em "Horny Toads".
The horny toad is a very slow moving lizard very easy to catch and is active only during the daytime. At night time it scoops out a hollow in the dirt with it's body until only it's head remains visible. Red ants make up the bulk of it's diet. They hibernate from about September to May. The female lays around thirty eggs. Baby horny toads are about one inch long. They usually live about three years, except the one called "Old Rip", the World's most famous horny toad.
On July 19, 1897 in Eastland, Texas, Old Rip was supposed to have been placed in the new Courthouse cornerstone alive. Thirty-one years later on Saturday, Feb. 18, 1928, the Court- house had been condemned and was to torn down. The cornerstone was to be opened. The story about the horny toad was remembered. Over 2,000 people gathered to watch. A hand reached in and pulled out a horny toad - a live one. Many people questioned how a lizard could live in darkness, without food, water and air for thirty-one years. So the controversy continued and the legend grows. Old Rip died several years later and was embalmed and placed in a tiny casket at the courthouse.
I personally never saw a horny toad squirt blood from it's eyes, but they say it can. If you are interested in finding out how you can learn more about preservations of "Horny Toads", write the "Horned Lizards Conservation Society at Box 122, Austin, TX 78767.

 ON April 19, 1897, the Dallas Morning News reported that an Airship had crashed near Aurora. The story said that an Airship had sailed over the town square and crashed into a windmill. The Airship had exploded scattering debris all around. The pilot of the ship was badly disfigured and dismembered. It was determined that he was not of this world. The article said that papers found on the body were written in some unknown Hieroglyphics and cannot be deciphered and that the wreckage is of an unknown material. The paper also said that the pilot's funeral will take place at noon tomorrow.


  Dear Les,
Thank you for the wonderful newspaper. LOVED IT. 1ST thing, we want a subscription. Actually, if you wanted to send past copies, we'd go for that and then re-up after the 4th Issue. (They were quarterly, right?) Loved it, loved it, loved it.
"Aurora, TX" was written by Tom Pacheco from Ireland - Round Tower Music. We got permission through Blair Powell., and yes we would appreciate a plug for the tape (and Allen as a "Texas Legend" performer).
I am putting your name on Allen's mailing list, so when he's in your area, you will get a card. I will see if our MLP can plug your name in for all of Tarrant County. I know it can by city but not sure about counties. If you like, we can do any place else you travel in Texas (?beyond?).
Thanks again for the fascinating newspaper. Can't wait to see other issues.
Connie and Allen Damron

 Found in a fortune cookie…… YOU WILL BE AWARDED SOME GREAT HONOR
Lottery numbers on back .. 29-9-39-33-47-13



written by Tom Pacheco
performed by Allen Damron
a "Texas Legend" performer

It was a quite and star filled night
Not a single cloud in sight.
Old Judge Procter was fast asleep in dreams
When with a screeching howling cry
A thing fell from the sky
With a noise that made the cows and horses scream.
Well, the Judge looked out his window
His windmill was on fire
He lit a lantern, he rushed outside.
He saw scattered all around
Red hot metal on the ground,
And the body of a thing that had just died.

And the flying saucer crashed
Into the Judge Procter windmill
In 1897, so they say.
It was in Aurora, Texas.
And in the flaming wreckage
They found a tiny spaceman
That they buried the next day.
Well, the neighbors came and gathered around
To view the body on the ground.
And the Preacher blessed this unwashed heathen friend.
And the oldest man in town said, "It's Satin's son they found.
And the town drunk never touched a drop again.

And the old maid Martha Chaise
Swore she recognized his face.
It was the Peeping Tom she'd seen for fifty years!
And as they lowered him six feet down
No one spoke or made a sound.
And the Undertaker's hands were wet with fear.

And the flying saucer crashed
Into the Judge Procter windmill
In 1897, so they say.
It was in Aurora, Texas.
And in the flaming wreckage
They found a tiny spaceman
That they buried the next day.

Well, the widow Hanna Post said, "It was the Holy Ghost"
And for the remainder of her life,
It's face she'd seen.
Soon the metal disappeared most, of it for souvenirs.
And the rest just got plowed under in the Spring.
Now the years are past and gone, many generations born
It was just an Old Wives Tale some people say
But somewhere in that Texas ground
There's a body lying down
That was born somewhere beyond the Milky Way.

And the flying saucer crashed Into the Judge Procter windmill In 1897, so they say. It was in Aurora, Texas.
And in the flaming wreckage They found a tiny spaceman That they buried the next day.

Printed by permission
"Aurora, Texas" by Allen Damron is on his tape. "Silver" available from Canadian River Music, 4106 Tyler St., Amarillo, TX 79110-1635. Ask them to send you a catalog.

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