History

Wed
13
Aug

"In the cool, cool, cool of the evenin'"

“In the cool, cool, cool of the evenin’, tell ‘em I’ll be there.
In the cool, cool, cool of the evenin’, better save a chair.”
“In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening,” 1951, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, music by Hoagy Carmichael.
Those who have never been lulled into an afternoon nap by the hum of an oscillating fan may have trouble understanding what follows, but Texans have not always been able to cool off by simply adjusting a thermostat.
In the long ago, when Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman recorded “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” for Decca Records during the Eisenhower

 

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Wed
06
Aug

Cowboy boots’ role in Texas culture

Dead tired and waiting to check in to the last room available, I watched an equally tired young man walk into the lobby.
This was Kingsville, so he could have been a King Ranch cowboy or someone who aspired to be.
One thing for sure, he was not an aviator newly assigned to the naval air station there. More likely, given the wild Eagle Ford Shale boom, he was an oilfield worker.
If so, he must have been a pipe truck driver or in some other career track not subjec

 

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Wed
30
Jul

How Austin became Texas’ capital

All elections are important in a democracy, but early-day Austinites participated in two elections that could have turned their city into a ghost town.
At stake was whether Austin would remain Texas’ capital.
Though President Mirabeau B. Lamar had chosen what would become Austin as the site of the Republic of Texas’ capital in 1839, that decision had never been 100 percent popular.
Sam Houston, for one, considered the city named in his honor much more suitable for the role.
But despite an ill-fated attempt

 

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Wed
23
Jul

Cattle was big business in Texas

Before barbed wire crisscrossed Texas, the general roundup was a fundamental part of the cattle business.
Every fall during the free range days, cattlemen pooled their resources and rode out to gather their stock.
Cowboys checked each steer’s brand, cutting out each head that belonged to his outfit.
After that, ranchers either drove their cattle farther south for the winter, or shipped them to market.
One of the biggest spreads in

 

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Wed
16
Jul

Space Rangers Rode a New Frontier

It’s fun to ponder what Jack Hays, Leander McNelly and Bill McDonald would have thought if someone had told them that rangers would someday be dealing with bad guys in outer space – at least on television.
Of course, those famous old-time Texas Rangers wouldn’t have known what TV is. But that’s beside the point.
More than 60 years ago, the nascent television industry had its eyes both on the future and the past. The future involved

 

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Thu
10
Jul

Texas International Fishing Tournament origins

Anyone who has ever landed a speckled trout or bull redfish knows the process is exciting, but it took Texans a long time to realize that fishing could hook tourists as well as dinner.
Well into the 20th century, coastal Texans fished primarily for food, either for themselves or to sell. Finally, it sunk in that promoting fishing as a form of recreation could add to an area’s economy by luring tourists and the “railroad dollars” they carried in their pockets.
In 1906, two years after rail passenger service reached

 

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Wed
02
Jul

Was Sulphur Queen a Bermuda Triangle victim?

Mrs. Adam Martin kissed her husband goodbye and watched him walk up the gangway of the S.S. Marine Sulphur Queen.
She could have left Beaumont then for their home in Austin, but she stayed on the wharf as the molten Sulphur-laden tanker moved down the Neches River for the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the ship’s assistant engineers, her husband, would be gone less than two weeks. Leaving Beaumont Feb. 2, 1963, the Sulphur Queen would

 

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Wed
25
Jun

Now & Then

June 29, 1939
Ira’s – Racketeers of the Range starring George O’Brien and Marjorie Reynolds; The Kid from Kokomo starring Wayne Morris, Pat O’Brien and Jane Wyman; Tell No Tales starring Melvyn Douglas, Louise Platt and Gene Lockhart.
Sunrise Breakfast – The night shift of the AAA office enjoyed a sunrise breakfast

 

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Wed
18
Jun

A bloody battle at Walker Creek

A vicious and bloody fight, the Battle of Walker Creek certainly does not rank as one of Texas’s largest or better-known engagements, but the affair has significance beyond its numbers.   
On June 8, 1844, returning from a fruitless scout for Indians, a company of Texas Rangers under John Coffee “Jack” Hays camped at a point he later described as “four miles east of the Pinto trace . . . nearly equally distant from Bexar, Gonzalez and Austin.”
Wise in the ways of the Comanche, Hays had detailed one

 

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Wed
11
Jun

Matamoras fort lesser-known Alamo

Texas could have had two Alamos, the famous 13-day siege at San Antonio de Bexar in 1836, and the lesser-known siege a decade later of a star-shaped earthen fort built in the Rio Grande Valley across from Matamoras.  
In both events, a numerically superior Mexican army equipped with heavy artillery laid siege to a smaller, primarily American force determined to hold a fortified position.
A further similarity is that the ranking officer on

 

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