Friday, February 12, 2016

Doing Lunch in Denton

Morrison's Corn Kits Plant
It’s always great fun to have an adult ‘play day’, so one morning early I took off for a friend’s house near Denton, Texas. We were planning to do some beading, giggling, and dog wrangling, as well as taking a break from all of this hard work to have lunch. Denton is an interesting town, the seat of Denton County and home to two major universities. This town, like many others, was part of the land grant given to William S. Peters and named Peters Colony; later Hiram Cisco, William Woodruff, and William Loving donated 100 acres as the actual site for the town. However, both the town and the county were named for John B. Denton, a preacher and lawyer killed by the Kichai people in the Battle of Village Creek. In 1857, Otis G. Welch, county surveyor Charles C. Lacy, and Joseph A. Carroll laid out the city and named the first streets, but Denton was not incorporated until 1866.This area of the state was agricultural and became a center for flour and cottonseed oil mills, along with cottage industries when the Texas and Pacific Railway and Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway established stops here in 1881. Since these connections only went north-south, the town did not develop as a manufacturing and wholesale center. This first rail connection brought an influx of people to the area and set the stage for the creation of North Texas Normal College (University of North Texas) in 1890, and the Girls Industrial College (Texas Woman's University) in 1901. As the universities grew, so did their impact on Denton's economy and culture.

Denton County Courthouse
In 1890 Joshua C. Chilton founded by as a private college, the Texas Normal College and Teachers' Training Institute. The mission of this school was to prepare teachers and
University of North Texas Campus
educate business and professional men for careers in Texas. On September 16, 1890, the first classes were held on the second floor of the B. J. Wilson hardware store with almost 185 students attending during the first year. While securing the right for the college to confer state teaching certificates, wording in the Texas law accidentally changed the school's name to North Texas Normal College (NTNC). Although this private college was fiscally sound, the Denton city leaders wanted a state owned and operated college; in 1899 
the bill making this a reality was signed into law. By 1917, NTNC had become a senior college with the ability to confer bachelor’s degrees and the student population began to grow; becoming the largest teacher training institution in the southwestern United States by 1923. In 1925 the first classes in what was to become a world-class library science program were taught. Along with its status for producing teachers, the college was gaining a reputation for its excellent music program, an accolade it holds even today. With the expansion of programs, the word ‘Teacher’ was dropped from the name of the school, making it North Texas State College; and by 1961 the college had become a university. The institution's seventh, and last, name change occurred in 1988 when the school was re-branded University of North Texas.

An act of the Texas Legislature in 1901 originally established Texas Woman's University as
Texas Woman's University Campus
the ‘Texas Industrial Institute and College for the Education of the White Girls of the State of Texas in Arts and Sciences’; by  1903 its name had changed to the ‘Girls Industrial College’. The first graduating class was in 1904. Once again the college changed its name in 1905 to the ‘College of Industrial Arts and Sciences’ (CIA) offering classes in a variety of liberal arts, fine arts, and sciences; and yet again in 1934 to the ‘Texas State College for Women’ (TSCW) reflecting its increasing status as a premiere institution of higher education for women. In 1950, TSCW became the first-nationally accredited nursing program in the Texas. Still Texas Woman’s University (renamed in 1957 because their student population increased to 4,000 students, with at least 3,000 studying for a degree) is known as having an outstanding nursing program. By 1956 TWU opened its first building dedicated solely to library science instruction. Although this school had only accepted female students, in 1972 it began accepting men into its health sciences graduate school; but it wasn’t until 1994 that the school opened all of its programs to qualified men.

Three carrots
Since Denton is a ‘college town’, there is no lack of places to go for lunch. (For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.) However, we had our mouths set for 
Top L to R: Hot and sour soup, Egg roll and sauce
Bottom: Pad Thai
Asian food so we headed to Mr. Chopsticks (1633 Scripture St, Denton, TX 76201, 940-382-5437). Although they have an extensive menu, we opted for the daily special, Pad Thai. The hot and sour soup was very good with plenty of chicken and mushrooms; there was also plenty of ‘hot’, so our eyes were a bit watery when our main dish arrived. The Pad Thai was okay, but a bit salty. It had an ample amount of peanuts, but I missed the sweet pop of the tamarin sauce that usually accompanies the noodles. The egg roll was crisp and tasty. This is a rather noisy place, partly because of the concrete floors, but also because of the number of people. It’s a popular place to eat and they are fairly busy most of the time. The restaurant staff, while fairly attentive, have to listen closely to your order because 
of the noise; you may have to flag down a passing worker to get refills or other necessities. However, they are all pleasant and willing to provide what you need.

IOOF Cemetery

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