Friday, May 27, 2016

Exploring Colleyville

As with a bunch of other small, rural settlements along the St. Louis Southwestern Railway,
McPherson Park, Colleyville
the Cotton Belt Route, Colleyville was one minor stop. It was originally known as Bransford when a prominent physician and Union Army veteran, Dr. Lilburn Howard Colley, settled there in 1880. He practiced in the area for about 40 years. It wasn’t until 1914, when Walter G. Couch opened a grocery store near Dr. Colley's home, that the community gradually came to be known as Coleysville and, later, Colleyville. Colleyville was incorporated on in 1956, and by 1958 the population had increased to 100 and to 22,807 by 2016.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Warming up in Hot Springs

Hot Springs, Arkansas was once the go-to place for restoring health and vitality through
Hot Springs from Hot Springs Mountain
bathing in the healing waters of the many hot springs. While we didn’t partake of the baths, we did get a bit damp as we strolled along Bath House Row admiring the architecture. This city gets its name from the 47 natural springs of thermal water on the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain. These springs produce about a million gallons of 143 °F water each day. National Park Service scientists found, through radiocarbon dating, that the water coming to the surface today fell as rain some 4,400 years earlier. The water oozes very slowly down through the earth’s surface finally reaching superheated areas deep within the crust, then rushes to the surface to appear in the hot springs.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Looking at Lakes and Seeing Old Friends

Lake Ouachita Vista
The Ouachita Mountains are home to such wonderful folks as Charlie Weaver and Lum and Abner. These characters would probably not be at all surprised if they visited the Mount Ida and Pine Ridge areas since nothing much has changed in the 80 some-odd years since they inhabited the Ozarks. However, if they ventured into the surrounding areas, they would be astounded at the population growth. Another, now quite so famous, former resident of the area is Near-Normal Traveler, Dave. His misspent youth consisted of running amok around the Lakes Hamilton, Catherine and Ouachita fishing, hunting and learning to drive in an old 1950 Dodge. It was a good thing that the car had a high clearance and plenty of spare tires to deal with some of the back roads – one of which we visited on this trip.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Playing in Paris

Eiffel Tower, Paris Texas
I love Paris, France and I’m always ready to return to this great city, but we have a Paris in Texas that I’d never really visited, so it was time for some exploration. Situated on the West Gulf Coastal Plain just about 100 miles northeast of the DFW Metroplex is the seat of Lamar County: Paris, Texas. Lamar County was first settled by Anglos in the 1800s, hosting at least five communities before George W. Wright bought 1,000 acres of unoccupied land, started his farm and opened a general store. The county was established in 1844 and named after Mirabeau B. Lamar, the President of the Republic of Texas. Although Texas became a state in 1845, the county retained its name. Along with the creation of the county, came the founding of a town that was named Paris. The city was destroyed by fire three times, forcing citizens to rebuild the central business areas, and in some instances residential areas, as well. However, the town has prospered, and the county seat has remained in Paris. As with all cities in the US named ‘Paris’, it has an Eiffel Tower. This one is about 65 feet tall and, to differentiate it from the one in Paris, Tennessee, it is topped by a giant red cowboy hat; the hat also makes the tower five feet taller than its counterpart in Tennessee.