We are finally going to reach the end today of our list of important things that have happened in Grayson County in the last 150 plus years. Many thanks to Don Eldredge, Herald Democrat editor, for loaning me a list he put together more than 10 years ago.
We’ve added to his list and have attempted to include 2000 through 2010. I’m sure I have missed some great happenings. If you know of some, I’d appreciate hearing from you so I can make the list as accurate as possible.
Today we will start with 1981 when one of Denison’s oldest industries burned.
1981 — The Denison Cotton Mill building burned to the ground in the wee hours of Oct. 29.
Austin College Kangaroos won the national NAIA Division III football co-championship.
1983 — C.J. McManus purchased the Katy Depot building in downtown Denison.
Knollwood was incorporated as a city north of Sherman
1984 — It was a big night for Denison when the Yellow Jackets won the state Class 4A football championship against Tomball in Waco.
Eisenhower State Park on the shores of Lake Texoma was dedicated.
The Grayson County Criminal Justice Center opened.
1988 — The Sherman Democrat began morning publication.
Union Pacific Railroad completed the takeover of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, spelling the end for the Katy.
1990 — Water poured over the spillway at Lake Texoma, setting a record for highest elevation at more than 644 feet.
Workers began removing the Serpentine in downtown Denison.
1995 — Celina won the state Class 2A football championship, repeating state championships in 1998 and 1999.
1996 — Grayson County celebrated its 150th anniversary
The Sherman Democrat and The Denison Herald combined to become the Herald Democrat, publishing six mornings a week.
The Red River Bridge that opened in 1931 was dynamited to make way for a new span.
1997 — Denison celebrated its 125th anniversary.
1998 — Sherman celebrated its 150th anniversary
Gunter won the state Class 2A baseball championship
1999 — Austin College celebrated its 150th anniversary
Grayson County College won the National Junior College Athletic Association championship in baseball, a feat that was repeated in 2000 and again in 2008.
Collinsville won the state Class A baseball championship.
2001 — A Texas historical marker was placed at the site of the former Terrell High School.
2007 — The Denison High School building that served Denison since 1914 was demolished under much protest by interested citizens.
2009 — Denison-born Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger piloted an Airways Airbus 320 jetliner, and ditched it in the Hudson River in New York saving the lived of all 150 aboard.
Denison held a “Heroes Day” to honor the town’s favorite sons, T.V. Munson, Dwight David Eisenhower and Captain Sully Sullenberger. Thousands turned out downtown for a parade and program on the lawn in front of the former Katy Depot.
I have to add an important event here for the History Gals, Dr. Mavis Anne Bryant and Donna Hord Hunt, when we published our book, “Two Schools on Main Street, The Pride of Denison, Texas 1873-2007.”
A brand new Texoma Medical Center opened its doors in a new state-of-the-art hospital building at the corner of Highways 691 and 75.
There is no doubt that there are many other events that could be added, especially from 2000 through the present time, but you know how it goes when you try to remember everything that has happened. It is in this area that I would especially like to hear from readers. Please send reminders of any events to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I mentioned Wednesday that I had heard from a reader with a good story about a picture of a Denison-bound Interurban that ran with an earlier column.
Ron Richardson of Whitesboro wrote that it was the first week after Memorial Day in 1941 when he had just finished his first year at James B. Bonham grade school. He was to leave the next day alone from Dallas to go to Milford aboard the “electric car.” Milford is about 60 miles south of Dallas and is close to where he would spend the summer with his aunt and uncle at Frost, Texas.
I’ll let Ron tell you the rest of the story.
“The next day, dressed in my everyday’s and Buster Brown’s, we drove downtown to the station. The conductor was admonished by my mother to ‘watch over me.’ And so he did — most of the time.
“I sat in the front next to the open window (it was hot), my suitcase tucked under my arm for safe keeping. I remember the seats were wooden and hard. No matter, I was excited.
“We left the station. A gentle side-to-side sway joined the click-clack cadence of the track increasing as we picked up speed. The rails followed close by highway 77, passing through every town along the way to Milford where my uncle waited for me.
“As the Interurban slowed through Italy, ten miles from Milford, I thought I saw my uncle leaning against his green 1938 Chevy. I told the driver. Without question he stopped and let me off. So much for ‘watching over me.’ Needless to say, it wasn’t my uncle that I saw.
“I sat on the curb, head in my hands, ready to cry, and waited. Surely he would come soon. And so he did.
“That was 71 years ago. It seems like yesterday.”
Donna Hunt is former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and can be contacted at email@example.com.