For “Travel Tuesday”, let’s go to Greenville, TX:
“Greenville is in the Prairies and Lakes Region which is located in the north central part of Texas. It is home to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the forth largest metropolitan area in the United States. This region also has a beautiful countryside with ranches, "bed and breakfasts", and many recreational lakes. Whether you're looking for the excitement of a big town (shopping, dining, nightlife), or for a more leisurely time in the rural areas, you'll find it here in the Prairies and Lakes Region.”
“Established in 1846, this town was once named "Cotton Capital of the World." Now the seat of Hunt County, it is the center of rich agricultural region featuring cotton, home to more than 50 modern industries and a gateway to Lake Tawakoni. Audie Murphy, nation's most decorated soldier of World War II, was born in a rural area a few miles north of Greenville.
Historic Downtown revitalization efforts in downtown Greenville have yielded new antique shops and clothing boutiques, gift shops, restaurants, live music venues and a winery. The Greenville Railroad Museum is in the 1895 Katy Depot.
Visitors can find historical sites such as Majors Field, a WWII training base for many U.S. airmen and Mexican 201st Air Squadron, the only Mexican unit that saw active service.”
“Greenville is 'living on the edge' where the exciting Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex meets scenic East Texas. Whether you're interested in exploring an historic Texas downtown, listening to live music or enjoying some great Texas wines, a visit to Greenville will be a delight. Add nearby nature preserves, museums and even a 1940's movie theater (currently under restoration) and your trip will be a classic!
Historic Downtown Greenville
Stroll along the route of Greenville's Historic Downtown Walking Tour for a glimpse at the everyday lives of the people who left their marks on the city throughout our history.
Pick up a walking tour brochure and map from any of the friendly downtown merchants who offer out of the ordinary clothing, gifts, and antiques. Enjoy a specialty coffee or tea with dessert or sit down to an appetizing meal before saying good-bye to downtown Greenville's old-fashioned small town charm.
History on Every Corner. Take our Historical Downtown Walking Tour or just stroll on your own to see the new wineries, boutiques, specialty stores and antique emporiums that make up our revitalized Texas Main Street City.
Hear the Music.
From light jazz at a local winery to hard-rockin' Texas Country to Symphony performances at our 1939 Art Deco Municipal Auditorium, we're playing your tune in Greenville.
Music has filled the air since John Phillip Sousa brought his military band here more than 100 years ago to Elvis' appearance in 1955 up through today. We're saving a seat for you...
The Heritage Garden of Hunt County
Stroll in the Gardens - The Heritage Garden of Hunt County showcases Texas native plants and others which adapt well in northeast Texas. "The SPOT" is Texas' first Smart Growth Park which highlights the principles of Smart Growth. Where else but Greenville should you learn how to go "green?" And the Kavanaugh Methodist Church bible garden displays plants and flowers mentioned in the bible.
Hunt County Master Gardeners created the Heritage Garden as a demonstration garden to showcase plant varieties recommended for this area by the Texas A&M University Extension Service. Plantings include Earth Kind roses and the Texas Superstar flowers and vegetables that perform well in north central Texas.
The garden also serves as a model for garden design and bed preparation and maintenance. The cottage-style permanent borders include perennial and annual flowers and decorative grasses. Trial beds test new varieties for adaptability to local growing conditions.
The Heritage Garden takes its inspiration from Victorian garden designs. The entrance steps are a legacy from the Victorian-era home that once stood on the garden site. Brick walkways were built from bricks salvaged from a downtown building. Visitors are welcome to stroll through the Heritage Garden any time.
Take a wagon ride. In December, ride a horse-drawn wagon down historic Park Street to see the beautiful holiday lighting displays.”
City in 1886
Cotton scene, public square, Greenville, Texas (postcard, circa 1908)
“The city was named after Thomas J. Green, a significant contributor to the establishment of Texas as a Republic.
As the Civil War loomed, Greenville was divided over the issue of secession, as were several area towns and counties. Greenville attorney and State Senator Martin D. Hart was a prominent Unionist. He formed a company of men who fought for the Union in Arkansas, even as other Greenville residents fought for the Confederacy. The divided nature of Greenville, Hunt County and the State of Texas is noted by an historical marker in "The SPOT" Park at 2800 Lee Street in downtown Greenville. In the post-Civil War era, Greenville's economy became partly dependent on cotton, an industry which many local Jews helped develop within the city as the local economy entered a period of transition.
The town was also famous (or infamous) for a sign that hung over Lee Street, the main street in the downtown district, between the train station and the bus station in the 1920s to 1960s. The banner read "Welcome to Greenville, The Blackest Land, The Whitest People". The same sentiment was also printed on the city water tower. An image of the sign was available as a postcard. The slogan's original intent was to describe the richness of the area's soil along with the kindness of its citizens. However, the imputed racial overtones caused the later phrase to be modified to "the Greatest People" in the early 1970s.”
In 1957 Greenville annexed Peniel, Texas, which had been founded in 1899 as a religious community.
“Greenville, the county seat of Hunt County, is around 60 miles northeast of Dallas. Residents decided on the town's location which was land donated by an early settler, McQuinney Wright. By 1853 the town had a post office, merchant store, three taverns and grocery stores, a law office, two hotels, a drug store and a school which was also used as a church.
The county voted in support of joining the Confederacy and during the war, Greenville raised and supported a company of soldiers who fought in Arkansas and eastern Tennessee. At the end of the war, two companies of federal cavalry were stationed in Greenville to maintain the peace which was threatened by a violet feud between ex Confederates and Unionists of Grayson County. The county's slave population also boomed to over 1200 with slaves from the deep south being sent to Texas in order that they might be kept for safekeeping.
With the introduction of the Missouri Kansas and Texas Railway and subsequent lines, Greenville became a rail town which encouraged cotton production in Hunt County and by the mid 1880's Greenville was a leading cotton marketing location. The community went on to ship over $1 million worth of cotton annually and supported 200 businesses.”
The Old MTK Katy Depot
"The original Tower 64 around 1930. The track straight ahead is looking toward Commerce, Texas on the St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt). Track to the left is the Missouri, Kansas and Texas toward Denison. Structure that can be seen in the distance is the MKT Hunt Yard office in Greenville, Texas."
- Photo courtesy Katy Railroad Historical Society
The first train, which was a Missouri, Kansas & Texas train, arrived from Denison on October 1, 1880. It was Hunt County's first railroad. A $5,000 cash bonus and right away across Hunt County were guaranteed by Greenville residents. The railroad began a boom in Greenville and Hunt County.
The Greenville Farmers Market in downtown Greenville offers an out-of-the-ordinary shopping experience. Choose from baskets of lush seasonal fruits and vegetables or browse the handmade items fashioned by local crafters. The Farmers Market is growing! Plans for special events keep the market hopping in spring and summer.
The Farmers Market is held at Market Square, between Washington and Lee Streets at Bois d'Arc Street.
The Peace Garden in Forest Park Cemetery features the acclaimed larger than life bas relief sculpture "Peace in the World", featuring angels representing the world's varied ethnic groups. Five freestanding sculptured birds comprise "Peace in the Soul". The sculptures, created by Santa Fe artist Kirk Tatom, surround a garden space for peaceful contemplation.
Forest Park Cemetery: on Hwy 69 S. just south of the Fletcher Warren Civic Center
Mathews Prairie is a 100-acre native prairie meadow that has never been plowed. Part of the once vast (12 million acre) Texas Blackland Prairie, it's a little piece of wild America. Through an agreement with the Texas Nature Conservancy, it will remain that way.
The grasses and wildflowers that greeted early settlers still wave in the summer breezes. Native birds still feed on the seed-bearing grasses whose roots are anchored as much as 100 feet deep in the fertile blackland soil.
Birders and wildflower enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the meadow. In fact, the sea of big bluestem and Indian grass waving in the wind is a treat for everyone.
To visit Mathews Prairie go 4.5 miles west from the intersection of US 69 and US 380 at SH 224 (west Lee St.). Turn north on FM 903, go 2.1 miles then turn west on CR 1116. Continue for 1.8 miles. A sign at the NE corner of CR 1119 and CR 1116 identifies the preserve. Parking is along the county roads.
The Puddin Hill Store
This is really quite a unique place. This quaint little store front greets you into a world of a distraction for dieters. The store is right next to the bakery and candy kitchen of 'Mary of Puddin Hill'. This site is part of the original Puddin Hill farm which was owned by James and Mary Horton in 1839.
Puddin Hill has been using the same recipes for over 150 years for its cakes. This is no ordinary chockie store.. this is truly a gourmet experience that even the lesser of the sweet tooth folks won't be able to resist. Don't think that the prices are run of the mill either, you truly need to have someone special to buy for or be really geared to give yourself a very special treat. They have a catalogue and you can shop online with free shipping.
More than 30 official Texas Historical Markers trace the history of Greenville buildings, VIPs, and events. Spend a day tracing the fascinating stories behind historic sites in the city. The Hunt County Historical Commission website includes subjects, locations, and complete marker inscriptions.
Grin and Bear It, Bears in Greenville, Texas by Milton Babb
"There's nothing worse than a drunken bear in a department store."
”That would-have-been-famous phrase almost had its origins in Greenville approximately 103 years ago.
At the turn of the 19th century, W.C. English had a slaughterhouse business with three retail locations In Greenville. One was on the south side of the square and two were on Stonewall Street. Animals were rendered and meat offered for sale in butcher's showrooms that looked more like modern-day jewelry stores.
Early photos show one of English's front counters with a fancy cash register, gingerbread woodwork overhead and restaurant type bar stools in front. Beef and pork can be seen hanging on meathooks on a long rack on the right side of the picture.
One day in 1903, a customer arrived at Mr. English's establishment with another type of stock he wanted butchered - three large bears.
The bears are believed to have been retired circus performers.
English took possession of the bears, but soon became attached to the tame animals. He offered to buy them; the customer agreed, and "Katie," "Bob," and "Bill" became Mr. English's pets.
English kept the three bears in the backyard of his home at the corner of Washington and Bois D'Arc streets in Greenville.
This was adjacent or just east of today's market square, then known as the OK Wagon Yard.
Vendors who came to sell their vegetables and other goods, often from many miles away, soon became familiar with the bears.
W.C. English with his bears Katie, Bob and Bill in the backyard of his home in Greenville. Note on the horizon on the right the faint image of the Hunt County Courthouse tower. Photo courtesy Milton Babb
In those days, many of the farmers and vendors slept in tents or on bedrolls overnight right there on the wagon yard grounds. Some brought food and spirits to supply them during their stay.
It wasn't long before it was discovered that Katie, Bob and Bill would share a Friday night indulgence with visitors if a partially-filled beer bottle was thrown over the fence.
One Saturday morning after a particularly merry night, one of the bears got loose and decided to take a stroll west on Lee Street.
The bear ambled up the sidewalk on the north side of the street past the Hunt County courthouse.
Upon reaching an appealing store window believed to have been Perkins Department Store, the bear started inside to have a better look around.
By now, onlookers were startled to see the full-grown bear in the middle of downtown. Someone whistled or shouted to get the bear's attention to keep him out of the department store.
Shoppers scattered, fearful for their lives that they would be attacked.
Luckily, a relative of Mr. English, Mrs. W.F. English, operated a millinery and dress making shop at the corner of Stonewall and Washington. This was on the corner just west of the Sam Swartz store.
Mrs. English hurried to the poor bear's rescue and to the dismay of the many residents looking on, she walked directly up to the bear she knew so well to be tame.
Laying a hand on the beast's shoulder, she walked it home the few blocks east so that it could complete a recovery from Friday night's excesses.
The bear's adventure over and smelling salts returned to their ladies' purses, Saturday morning shopping began to return to normal.
"There's just nothing worse than a drunken bear in a department store."”
This story was related to the author by Eugenia Howse, granddaughter of W.C. English and daughter of early Greenville photographer F.E. Howse.
Where to stay:
East Texas RV Park
Located within the city limits of Greenville, East Texas RV Park offers 35 sites. All of these sites have full hook-ups, including telephone and free cable TV connections. Five sites are pull-throughs, and 30 are back-ins. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the RV park, and there is also a shower house with bathrooms on the premises.
Dallas Northeast Texas Campground
Located about five miles outside Greenville, the Dallas Northeast Texas Campground is part of the KOA network. Set on 65 wooded acres, the campground offers a mix of tent and RV sites, as well as rental cabins. The RV sites are pull-throughs that can accommodate 90-foot rigs. Sites have full hook-ups with up to 50-amp electricity available. Some sites have adjoining concrete patios, and many (but not all) have shade trees. The campground sells LP gas and firewood, and its facilities include a recreation hall, game room, playground, basketball court and outdoor swimming pool. There is also a small fishing lake, and since the lake is on private property, a Texas fishing license is not required to fish there. Like most KOAs, the Dallas Northeast is pet-friendly, but you are encouraged to call ahead before showing up with your pet.
429 RV Park and Marina
429 RV Park and Marina is situated on Lake Tawakoni, about 15 miles south of Greenville. Set on a 30-acre property, it offers a mixture of tent and RV sites, the latter coming with full hook-ups. The 429 RV Park's facilities include a shower house, camp store, coin laundry and fishing pier, as well as a boat launch and marina.
Next “Travel Tuesday”, we will explore the days when cotton was king at the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum in Greenville, TX. Learn about WW II's most decorated soldier, Audie Murphy, and find out why Jimmy Stewart portrayed local ball player Monty Stratton on the silver screen,
On This Day:
Pope Urban II orders first Crusade, Nov 27, 1095:
“On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II makes perhaps the most influential speech of the Middle Ages, giving rise to the Crusades by calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, with a cry of "Deus vult!" or "God wills it!"
Born Odo of Lagery in 1042, Urban was a protege of the great reformer Pope Gregory VII. Like Gregory, he made internal reform his main focus, railing against simony (the selling of church offices) and other clerical abuses prevalent during the Middle Ages. Urban showed himself to be an adept and powerful cleric, and when he was elected pope in 1088, he applied his statecraft to weakening support for his rivals, notably Clement III.
By the end of the 11th century, the Holy Land—the area now commonly referred to as the Middle East—had become a point of conflict for European Christians. Since the 6th century, Christians frequently made pilgrimages to the birthplace of their religion, but when the Seljuk Turks took control of Jerusalem, Christians were barred from the Holy City. When the Turks then threatened to invade the Byzantine Empire and take Constantinople, Byzantine Emperor Alexius I made a special appeal to Urban for help. This was not the first appeal of its kind, but it came at an important time for Urban. Wanting to reinforce the power of the papacy, Urban seized the opportunity to unite Christian Europe under him as he fought to take back the Holy Land from the Turks.
At the Council of Clermont, in France, at which several hundred clerics and noblemen gathered, Urban delivered a rousing speech summoning rich and poor alike to stop their in-fighting and embark on a righteous war to help their fellow Christians in the East and take back Jerusalem. Urban denigrated the Muslims, exaggerating stories of their anti-Christian acts, and promised absolution and remission of sins for all who died in the service of Christ.
Urban's war cry caught fire, mobilizing clerics to drum up support throughout Europe for the crusade against the Muslims. All told, between 60,000 and 100,000 people responded to Urban's call to march on Jerusalem. Not all who responded did so out of piety: European nobles were tempted by the prospect of increased land holdings and riches to be gained from the conquest. These nobles were responsible for the death of a great many innocents both on the way to and in the Holy Land, absorbing the riches and estates of those they conveniently deemed opponents to their cause. Adding to the death toll was the inexperience and lack of discipline of the Christian peasants against the trained, professional armies of the Muslims. As a result, the Christians were initially beaten back, and only through sheer force of numbers were they eventually able to triumph.
Urban died in 1099, two weeks after the fall of Jerusalem but before news of the Christian victory made it back to Europe. His was the first of seven major military campaigns fought over the next two centuries known as the Crusades, the bloody repercussions of which are still felt today. Urban was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1881.”
Along with the usual things to do, some problem solving was done. I finally battled it out on the phone with HP over the printer that doesn’t work.
For months, I have been going back and forth with emails to their customer support. Each time a different representative would just send me a different form letter, often repeating the text. They had suggested that I take it to one of their authorized repair centers, and I had taken it to one on their list, only to find out that they just sold HP products there, and did no repairs. There is no repair center within 50 miles of here.
Finally, after the usual long waits with elevator music interrupted by “ We will be with you shortly”, and after losing connection and having to start all over again, a man with a very thick Pakistani accent replied. Of course, he had to transfer me to someone else, and I had to repeat my story of woe all over again. That rep had me take the heavy printer out of the box, plug it in, and go through some steps to see if it actually does keep on flashing “Scanner Failure”. That meant being transferred to a supervisor, and after a lot more thick accent, which was difficult to understand, finally, he said they are going to replace it. I asked for one which uses the same ink cartridges, as one suggestion a few months ago was that the ink might be old, so I had bought more, so now I have four. Since then, I have also found a better and cheaper ink cartridge supplier, the one Rick Doyle recommended, 123inkca on eBay. I don’t know their addy for not going through eBay, but I am sure you can.
I have always had HP printers, but when this new one didn’t work, I had bought the cheapest wireless printer at Walmart, an Epson, and I like it better. It is easier to use, a lot lighter, doesn’t take up much room, and I can put it just about anywhere in my motorhome.
The next time consuming endeavor was to get it straightened out about a credit card payment that I had made at the bank on the 16th. Nov. Their local branch’s computers were down, so I had to pay in cash, which fortunately I had with me, and I just have a handwritten receipt, which hasn’t been posted on my account. That isn’t resolved yet. If I had known there was going to be all this confusion, I would have phoned in the payment.
The weather was warm and the cats could be out on the screen porch for most of the day.