Friday, May 29, 2015

On the Road to Cresson and Restaurant Review

Well, why not go to Cresson since there’s supposed to be a good place to have barbecue? Cresson is a really small town with the population of about 700 folks on the way to Granbury, Texas. There are at least three stories about how it got its name. The first is that a captain of a wagon train, John Cresson camped on this site and lent the area his name. The other story is that one of the officials of the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad was named Cresson; and since there was a stop in this area it was named for him. The third is that it is named after a railroading town in Pennsylvania.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Way Back in Weatherford and Restaurant Review

Parker County
When I was a little kid one of my parents’ friends teased me that I was actually Cynthia Ann Parker and had a son named Quanah. Although I never believed him, Cynthia Ann and Quanah populated my imagination for years; there were days that I was a Comanche looking for a place to put my campfire and build my teepee. Eventually I learned that Parker County was named for State Representative Isaac Parker, the uncle of Cynthia Ann Parker. The town of Weatherford is the seat of Parker County and the place my parents headed when they wanted to get married just days before my dad was shipped out to Hawai’i in World War II. Since none of us had been to Weatherford in a while we decided to go take a look at the courthouse and have lunch on the square. It surprised us all at the time it took to get from south of Fort Worth to Weatherford. The last time we made this journey it took at least two hours; this trip was only about 45 minutes around the highway.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Two Sides of Southlake and Restaurant Review

Large house in Southlake
When I think of the Southlake area I generally think of grand homes and upscale shopping complexes. However, there is another side to this fashionable community. Although not incorporated until 1956, Southlake was first settled in the 1840s. It was part of a group of small settlements that included Dove, Jellico, Union Church and Whites Chapel.

Known for the growing of cotton and melons, the Dove Community began in the 1870s. The addition of a store, post office and Lonesome Dove School helped solidify the town, as did the Lonesome Dove Baptist Church and Cemetery. The construction of Lake Grapevine caused some families to relocate and the annexation by Southlake put an end to the Dove Community, but remnants of it still exist. Another small town, Jellico, was established in the late 1880s. It consisted of a post office, a cotton gin,
Top: Log house
Bottom: Barn at Bob Jones Environmental Center
blacksmith shop, grist mill, syrup press, and school. With the waning of cotton prices, the town failed. Union Church probably had the same history as these other tiny towns, but it seems to have faded into history ~ or at least I can’t find anything about it. White's Chapel was actually not a town but a Methodist Church with its community that grew up around it. It began as a log meetinghouse and was the first Methodist church in this area. Eventually a school and a cemetery were built. While Dove, Jellico, Union, and White’s Chapel schools all served this area, the school that led to the development of the Southlake-Carroll school system was the Carroll school. In 1919 the school had three teachers to instruct 97 students in nine grades in a wooden building. It continued to serve as an elementary school until 1970.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Walking around Watauga and Restaurant Review

Watauga City Hall
Watauga is a tiny town sandwiched among Keller, Fort Worth, Haltom City and North Richland Hills. However, this hamlet has an interesting history beginning with its name: Watauga is the Cherokee word for ‘village of many springs’. Early Anglo settlers built farms and ranches, creating a rather successful agrarian area. Following these pioneers came folks from Watauga, Tennessee; they eventually formed a small town. This town included the establishment of the Willow Springs Presbyterian Church in 1867, which is still in operation, today. With the arrival of the Texas and Pacific Railway, the Watauga population grew. This railroad actually brought the people from the east and west coasts to Fort Worth with freight cars transporting cattle across the US. Although this industry was a boon to the city, two tragedies are associated with it. The first came in 1909 when the depot was completely lost in a fire; evidently no one was injured. The second disaster was the ‘Great Watauga Train Wreck’ of 1917. Completely ignoring warnings from stations along the way, a Katy passenger train rammed head-on into a Katy bound freight
Watauga Presbyterian Church
train. The impact threw both trains off the tracks. Most people in Watauga arrived shortly after the wreck to help survivors and to begin cleaning up the wreckage. Industry in the surrounding areas has helped increase the population to its current level.

Since it’s next door to where we live, we’re in Watauga all the time for shopping. We also have to drive through this hamlet any time we head south so it’s no wonder that I was curious about its roots and decided to add it to the list of places Near-Normal Travelers visit. Watauga has more than its share of places to shop along the Old Denton Highway and some good places to eat. For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Arkansas Art and Reviews

Yellow wildflowers
I’d heard about the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and since it's spring I thought it would be nice to drive up to the northwestern corner of Arkansas. I’d expected lots of wild flowers and was a bit disappointed that they hadn’t made their appearance yet, but the vistas were still lovely in their shades of new spring green. One of my favorite places to go in either the fall or the spring is Queen Wilhelmina State park. Getting to the museum and back was surely going to consume more than one day, so an overnight at the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge seemed like a great idea. Just like the late-blooming flowers, the lodge was a late-bloomer, opening this summer after extensive renovations. Oh well, the views from the Talimena Scenic Drive were lovely.