Friday, July 15, 2016

Running around in Rendon

The community of Rendon is located on Farm to Market Road 1187 just about twelve miles
Pond on a farm in Rendon

southeast of downtown Fort Worth. The unincorporated town was named for Joaquin Rendon, the original land grant holder in the region. I can’t find any information about this man, and I’d like to know where he came from and what drew him to the area.  Originally known as Cross Roads, settlement began in the area with the arrival of the Hopper family. Evidently they farmed and raised cattle. That still occurs in this rural area, but on a much more limited basis. Where once there were cattle, there are now horses, donkeys, goats, llamas, and at one time commercially raised pigs and chickens. Until the late 1960s you could go down to the ‘chicken farms’ to get freshly slaughtered chickens or fresh eggs. Llama and horse ranches are also a latter addition to the Rendon area and smell a lot better than did the chickens and pigs. Back in the 1880s, the Norwood family also came to the area, helping to organize churches as well as bringing a general store and a post office. It was with the establishment of the post office that the name of the community was changed to Rendon. The Haddocks also arrived about this same time. By about 1895 Rendon boasted a flour mill, two gins, and a blacksmith, to serve a population of twenty-five. Norwood sold some acreage to the founders of the school and the cemetery about two years later. The Rendon School and the Rendon Cemetery were founded at that time. On the site of the original school house is a modern school that vacillates from housing alternative classes, to overflow elementary classes, to administrative offices; it’s now part of the Mansfield School District. By 1954 a volunteer fire department had been organized; the ‘new’ fire hall is on the site of the original. There are still fund raisers for this group that carry on the tradition of holding pancake breakfasts, and a Thanksgiving dinner; these activities pay for the fire and ambulance service that now takes care of more than 10,000 residents. At one time Near-Normal Traveler, Vince, was a member of the volunteer fire department as an EMT.

The house I grew up in was built in 1942. It’s one of the only remaining structures that is typical of Rendon in the 1940s and 1950s. That’s not to say it’s an historical home or that it
House built in 1942
hasn’t been remodeled.  As a child I spent many a hot summer afternoon playing in the relative coolness of the breezeway that connected the main house to the garage and the upstairs apartment. In the 1950s, a parent of one of the students whom my mother taught began the remodeling. We lost the breezeway and the garage, but gained a ‘dining room’ and a ‘study’. Once the garage was gone, we had to build a barn that I saw as a monumental structure. It was actually large enough for the horse to go in and turn around, with another smaller side to house the feed. Everything looks larger when you’re only 5 or 6 years old.

The Rendon of my childhood was a crossroads for a Farm to Market road and a ‘large’ local
Top L to R: Historic Marker, Hopper stone,
Confederate stone
Bottom L to R: Long stone, Haddock stone
street, Rendon Road, that connected Forest Hills and Rendon. The very first speed limit sign looked a good deal as if an elementary school child had printed it with black crayon. You knew you were in Rendon when you passed the cemetery that was across from the convenience store/gas station. It wasn’t until very much later, say 50 years, that I noticed that there was more than one cemetery in Rendon. The second one is also off FM 1187, toward the top of a hill and set well back from the road. Its location wasn’t apparent until someone, I think the church next door, actually had a person hack down the tall grass. It probably surprised the church folks as well as the man clearing the underbrush, to discover several headstones. This is the Walnut Creek Cemetery and was, perhaps, donated by the Hoppers to the community. There is no fee for burial here and the grounds are maintained by the son of one of the people recently interred. Interestingly, there are several graves for the Hopper family and quite a few for the Haddock family. There are also headstones marking the final resting places of two Confederate soldiers, complete with the Confederate flags and an official emblem of the Confederacy. I was also surprised to see a stone for Mrs. Dora Long. She had been a friend of my grandmother’s; I remember going to Mrs. Dora’s house and listening to she and Grandmother visit. Mrs. Dora dipped snuff and I was fascinated to watch her dip and spit since no one in our family displayed this habit.

Three carrots

Rendon has changed a bit, but the crossroad is still there, along with the main cemetery and the updated gas station. There is another gas station, now, and several restaurants as well
Top L to R: Burger, Myrtle's Burgers
Bottom L to R: Fries, Onion rings
as a few small stores. The latest addition is a pizza place that offers delivery service! We decided that we’d eat at the ‘famous’ Myrtle’s Burgers (4568 E FM 1187 # B, Burleson, TX 76028, 817-561-1836). Since it was 100o F in the shade of their porch, we picked up the burgers, fries, and onion rings then headed back to the ‘old home place’. The burgers are large and made while you wait; the lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions taste fresh. Vince had the onion rings, that were huge, hot and crispy; he said they were very good. My French fries were good, also. While the prices are a bit high, your food is fresh and made to your specifications. You can sit outside and watch the traffic or take your food to go, there is no table service. (For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.)


©2016 NearNormal Design and Production Studio - All rights including copyright of photographs and designs, as well as intellectual rights are reserved.