Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Eastland, TX. Legend of Old Rip. QE I, "Virgin Queen". Dem’s Donkey.


For “Travel Tuesday”, let’s visit Eastland TX, in the Panhandle Plains region of TX:

#Region.R_Description# “The Texas Panhandle Plains region offers visitors a wide variety of experiences from the breathtakingly beautiful canyon lands, to the Old West heritage that is still evident today. You can visit the birthplace of Buddy Holly and many other famous artists, explore a wide variety of museums & exhibits, or simply enjoy the wide open skies that have attracted visitors for generations. Discover the adventure of the Texas Panhandle Plains.”

“Eastland is located 96 miles West-Southwest of Fort Worth, Texas. The city is accessed by Interstate 20 between exits 340 to the south and 343 #Region.R_Description#to the east. Interstate 20 starts going due west after passing Eastland from Fort Worth.”

Fort Worth is just over the line in the The Texas Prairies and Lakes Region.

Eastland, TX


“Whether you’re just passing through, visiting Eastland for a short stay or a permanent resident, you will find a community with diversity – there is truly something for everyone.
Maybe you are interested in birding, fishing, hunting, ATV riding, boating, golfing, shopping, museums, movies, enjoying great food or simply relaxing and/or retiring.
You might enjoy a walk around our beautiful downtown square and historical buildings or marvel at the big sky sunsets we are so fortunate to see nightly.
Whatever your reason for journeying to Eastland, we want to make your visit as enjoyable as it can be. Ask anyone for anything and you’ll find our citizens accommodating beyond belief. So take time to explore and enjoy Eastland!”


“Eastland was named for Capt. William M. Eastland, San Jacinto hero and Texas Ranger. Current area resources include oil, ranching, farming and manufacturing. Eastland County ranks fifth in the state in peanut production. Fruit, pecans, vegetables, and feed crops are also important economic drivers.

Visitors to Eastland find that Eastland has not lost its friendly atmosphere or its small-town feel. With a quality of life considered to be one of the best in the region, Eastland offers abundant parkland, a historic downtown area, hunting and fishing recreational opportunities for young and old, quality rated schools, good housing and a growing business community.”

“Eastland, the county seat of Eastland County, is at the intersection of State highways 6 and 112, northwest of Interstate Highway 20 on the Union Pacific Railroad in the central part of the county.
In 1875 Charles U. Connellee & Jacamiah S. Daugherty purchased land on the C. S. Betts survey and platted a town site. County voters opted to move the county seat from Merriman to the newly platted site, as it was closer to the center of the county, and the new community was named Eastland.

Connellee, Daugherty, J. B. Ammerman, and others built a stone courthouse, and the county commissioners court held its first session in the town in September of 1875. By January of 1876 the population was estimated at 250. The first public school was taught in the community in 1877, and Methodist, Baptist, and Christian churches were soon organized.
The city's growth was assured when, in 1880, the Texas and Pacific Railway was given a number of town lots to build through the community. Eastland Independent School District was established in 1882, and a second courthouse of red stone was constructed in 1883.
By 1884 Eastland had three churches, a school, a flouring mill, two cotton gins, and an estimated 500 inhabitants. Among the early newspapers in the town were the Anchor and the Chronicle.
Eastland was incorporated for the first time on June 6, 1891, with W. Q. Connellee as the first mayor and for the second time on April 6, 1897, with June Kimble as mayor. The second courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1896, and a third courthouse was built the following year.

Eastland grew slowly in the first decades of the twentieth century, reaching 596 inhabitants in 1900 and 855 in 1910. By 1914 the community had two banks, telephone service, and a public library. The local economy was heavily dependent on cotton.

Eastland County experienced a dramatic oil boom from 1917 to 1922, and the city of Eastland grew rapidly, though not as rapidly as other communities in the county, notably Ranger and Desdemona. Eastland population increased four-fold between 1910 and 1920, reaching 3,368 in 1920, though some estimates claim that there were as many as 10,000 people in the town during the height of the boom in 1919.

A horned lizard, later to be become famous as "Old Rip," was supposedly placed in the cornerstone. When the third and final courthouse was erected in 1928, the cornerstone was opened, and the toad was found to have miraculously survived. Though many doubted the toad's authenticity, he (and eventually his remains) got quite a bit of state and even national publicity and became an important part of town and county lore.

Old Rip wasn't the only commotion, just the most famous thing to happen in the now quiet little town of Eastland, about 95 miles west of Fort Worth on IH-20. Between 1917 and 1922 an oil boom swelled the population of the town.

On Dec. 23, 1927, Marshall Ratliff donned a Santa Claus costume and with three others robbed the bank in nearby Cisco. During a chase over several days, 11 persons were wounded including three of the robbers, and two lawmen and a robber were killed. Ratliff claimed insanity when he received a death sentence, but was returned to Eastland to face the charges of auto theft committed during the escape attempt. In a failed escape from the county jail, he killed a popular jailer. On Nov. 19, 1929 a mob pulled Ratliff from his jail cell and hung him from a power pole. The incident is credited with being the last mob lynching in Texas.

The town's prosperity in the 1920s helped fund city improvements like the new courthouse, a new high school, and the paving of city streets. The community reached its peak census population in 1930 with 4,648 inhabitants. Thereafter the city began a slow decline, falling to 3,849 inhabitants in 1940, 3,606 in 1950, and 3,178 in 1970. The community experienced some small scale growth in the 1970s, as the number of businesses increased from 78 in 1972 to 154 in 1982, and the population increased to 3,747 in 1980. In 1990 Eastland had a population of 3,690. The local economy depended on county government, agribusiness, printing, and several manufacturing plants.”


The Legend of Old Rip the Horned Lizard - Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

Legend of "Old Rip" in Eastland, Texas

“Did Old Rip really survive 31 years in a time capsule? His legend inspired a media frenzy and even a Warner Bros. cartoon. You can still see Old Rip at the courthouse in Eastland, TX near Abilene.” 



“Eastland is becoming known as the 'City of Museums'. Many more museums are being planned and others are already in the process of being completed.    See list of museums coming to Eastland.

Eastland County Museum
Organized in 1992, the Eastland County Museum & Historical Society immediately began to archive period photographs and other memorabilia related to the county and the surrounding area. The first floor has a very large space for county and traveling exhibits. The mezzanine, overlooking the main floor, will have areas for exhibits and will also be available for lectures and meetings. The second floor is divided into the original small office spaces. These offices, with their original dark woodwork and patterned glass, will be used for permanent displays of history of each community in Eastland County. The basement includes the vault, used to secure important museum archives, and a large room for permanent historic display exhibits. For more info, see website.

Law Enforcement Museum

Built in 1897, the old Eastland County Jail, contains many artifacts and memorabilia of Eastland County and Law Enforcement history. The jail once housed one of the infamous Santa Clause Bank Robbers in 1927 from a bloody bank heist  and carvings of his name inside his cell block can still be seen. Across the street from the County Jail and on the corner, sits a stone marker telling of the timeline and events that led up to, the last public lynching in Texas.
For more info, see website.

Outdoor Art Exhibit
Paintings in this outdoor museum are replicas of famous pieces by many well-known artist. Their purpose is to teach people about art history. Each display includes a short history of the artwork and artist. This project, prompted by the past and current high school art teachers and students, is an ongoing display that grows each month. Currently boasting over 30 pieces at various business locations, it began as an art history class project and has turned into a beautiful community activity involving many business leaders to also show off their talents. For more info, see website.”



Lake Leon  

“The lake is a 28,000 acre-foot lake with great fishing, located seven miles southeast of Eastland. Lake Leon offers some of the area's best bass fishing, and holds the majestic Lone Cedar Country Club on its shores.
Most known for its largemouth bass tournament fishing, the reservoir also supports excellent populations of channel catfish, sunfish, and white bass. There are two public boat ramp with camping areas, and four private camping & recreational areas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife website has detailed information and demographics about Lake Leon.

Ringling Lake
imagesCAO6SYYBNamed after the well-known circus ringmaster John Ringling who purchased the land around the lake to build a family amusement park, but later, graciously donated it to the city of Eastland. It is located .6 miles north of Main Street on Hwy 112 then left one mile to the trail heads. For information on campsites, picnicking, fishing, and ATV Trails, call 254-629-2294.   Visit the Eastland Rifle and Skeet Range and ride the many ATV Trails

Eastland Lake
imagesCANQABMXThe lake is located north-west of downtown on FM 3101, and offers an excellent golfing experience at Lakeside Country Club. There is one unimproved (gravel) boat launch area near the bridge and several angler access points, including one at the dam. At 100 acres, it has plenty of water to support a variety of good sport fish populations, including largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and white bass. There is a good, under-fished population of largemouth bass in this lake. The lake record is 6.54 pounds, caught in March 2004. Some nice crappie are present as well.”



Park Hill
“The park was built in 1925 as a WPA Project, and serves as Eastland’s primary park. Itl is located in the Southwest area of Eastland near the intersection of South Neblett and West Plummer. The park is currently undergoing an entire renovation project that totally changes the landscape and function of the existing park. See the Master Plan.


One area of the Master Plan that is already complete is the Water Park. Opened in the summer of 2005, the water park is operated and maintained by the city and offers many attractions that set it apart from just an ordinary city swimming pool. Features include sunken ship toddler slide, a kiddies dual-action-slide, a mushroom waterfall, and a very large body-shoot slide.
Hours of Operation and more pictures

Ringling Lake Park

The 600 acre park is located north of the city on Highway 112, and provides a natural and rugged setting for hiking, fishing, camping and recreation.
Park features include:
   • Camping and multiple picnic areas
   • Hiking trails
   • 4-Wheeler trails
   • Mountain bike trails
   • Fishing at Lake Ringling
   • Eastland Rifle and Pistol Club
   • Cross Timbers Archery Club
Ringling Lake Park was originally owned by the famous circus king, John Ringling, and was later donated by him to the City of Eastland. During the 1930’s it was developed into a recreational park, but gradually lost its appeal. The community is excited about the improvements and the continuing efforts being made to turn the park into a tourist and family recreational area.

Municipal Baseball and Softball Complex and Fields
Located adjacent to City Park near the intersection of W. Sadosa and S. College.
Eastland’s baseball complex consists of 5 fields and is utilized by various city league teams. City staff and volunteers maintain the complex throughout the year.



Friendship Park
This small but inviting park is located at 700 N. Lamar, and is considered as a multi- use park for small reunions and gatherings.
Park features include:
   • Picnic area to seat over
     50 people with multiple picnic tables
   • BBQ grill
   • Children’s activity and play area”


Hunting in Eastland

“The land in and around Eastland is a perfect habitat for big game deer, dove, quail, pheasant, and turkey. The entire city and surrounding cities gear up each year at the beginning of the hunting season to accommodate and welcome hunters.

Chamber of Commerce's Listing of Hunting Leases in the Area.

Eastland Rifle, Pistol, Archery, and Skeet Range

Eastland Rifle, Pistol

Facilities include: Outdoor Pistol (25), Outdoor Rifle (25), Muzzle-loading, and Archery Range; The Skeet Range with its 8 shooting stations where built just 2 years ago and includes stadium lighting for night-time activates. Eastland Gun Club member access; Located .6 miles north of Main Street on Hwy 112 then left one mile to the trail heads.”


On This Day:

Elizabeth crowned queen of England, Jan 15, 1559:

imagesCAMMD2DA “Two months after the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary I of England, Elizabeth Tudor, the 25-year-old daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, is crowned Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey in London.

The two half-sisters, both daughters of Henry VIII, had a stormy relationship during Mary's five-year reign. Mary, who was brought up as a Catholic, enacted pro-Catholic legislation and made efforts to restore papal supremacy in England. A Protestant rebellion ensued, and Queen Mary imprisoned Elizabeth, a Protestant, in the Tower of London on suspicion of complicity. After Mary's death, Elizabeth survived several Catholic plots against her; although her ascension was greeted with approval by most of England's lords, who were largely Protestant and hoped for greater religious tolerance under a Protestant queen. Under the early guidance of Secretary of State Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth repealed Mary's pro-Catholic legislation, established a permanent Protestant Church of England, and encouraged the Calvinist reformers in Scotland.

In foreign affairs, Elizabeth practiced a policy of strengthening England's Protestant allies and dividing her foes. Elizabeth was opposed by the pope, who refused to recognize her legitimacy, and by Spain, a Catholic nation that was at the height of its power. In 1588, English-Spanish rivalry led to an abortive Spanish invasion of England in which the Spanish Armada, the greatest naval force in the world at the time, was destroyed by storms and a persistent English navy.

imagesCAWFKZ50imagesCAC8IAFK With increasing English domination at sea, Elizabeth encouraged voyages of discovery, such as Sir Francis Drake's (left) circumnavigation of the world and Sir Walter Raleigh's (right) expeditions to the North American coast.

The long reign of Elizabeth, who became known as the "Virgin Queen" for her reluctance to endanger her authority through marriage, coincided with the flowering of the English Renaissance, associated with such renowned authors as William Shakespeare. By her death in 1603, England had become a major world power in every respect, and Queen Elizabeth I passed into history as one of England's greatest monarchs.”


First appearance of the Democratic donkey, Jan 15, 1870:

imagesCA3R7OL0 “On January 14, 1870, the first recorded use of a donkey to represent the Democratic Party appears in Harper's Weekly. Drawn by political illustrator Thomas Nast, the cartoon is entitled "A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion." The jackass (donkey) is tagged "Copperhead Papers," referring to the Democrat-dominated newspapers of the South, and the dead lion represents the late Edwin McMasters Stanton, President Abraham Lincoln's secretary of war during the final three years of the Civil War. In the background is an eagle perched on a rock, representing the postwar federal domination in the South, and in the far background is the U.S. Capitol.

imagesCA9QD6TC Four years later, Nash originated the use of an elephant to symbolize the Republican Party in a Harper's Weekly cartoon entitled "The Third-Term Panic." The cartoon referred to the disparaging response by The New York Herald to the possibility that Republican President Ulysses S. Grant might seek a third-term. The New York Herald is depicted as a donkey wearing lion's skin labeled "Caesarism." This bogus lion is frightening several timid animals identified with the names of opposing newspapers, such as The New York Times and The New York Tribune, while a berserk elephant, labeled "Republican vote," is tottering above a chasm labeled "Chaos" as it tosses to the right and the left the few remaining platform planks holding its weight. The caption of the cartoon reads: "An Ass having put on the Lion's skin, roamed about the Forest, and amused himself by frightening all the foolish Animals he met with in his wanderings."”



Now that Miss Priss has had her second vaccinations, she can go to Adoption Day next Saturday.  She probably doesn’t remember her first car ride when she was rescued as 10 day old tiny kitten, and she has never been in a carrier.  I put the carrier on the Grooming Room floor with the door open, so that she can get familiar with it.  I had wanted to put her in it and take her with me when Misty and I went to get Jay, but it was too cold.  She needs to go on some short trips before Saturday so that she gets used to it.

Women's Snowfield JacketHaving done a bunch of laundry the day before, I was able to wear my new-to-me Smug parka rain jacket when Misty and I went to get Jay.  I wished I had worn a longer coat though, and I didn’t have any gloves with me.  It felt like it was in the 30’s.  My derrière was cold, but Misty’s barn coat is as long as her back, so hers was cozy for our walk.

When we got back here, Jay played with the kitten while drinking some coffee, as his had spilt just before we left his mother’s porch.  He had put his cup on some newspaper to be be recycled, and the wind got it. 

Our hands were cold, even with gloves, but we cut some lengths of the fiberglass corrugated roofing that had been skylights on the old RVport.   We used it as siding on one area on the storeroom attic wall that had been protected from the weather when the RVport roof was there.  It was now vulnerable, so the fiberglass is a temporary fix until we can start building there, when it is a nicer day. 


Dizzy-Dick said...

Don't you just love this weather. I bet it reminds you of England.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, DD.

When it is damp like this, it does remind me of the marrow-numbing winters in England, and Washington State.
BUT, here we have some sunny, warm days in between the cold ones.
That's what makes the difference.

Happy Tails and trails, Penny