100 Years Ago

From January 1919

Editorial: Commission can do better on roads

About the only benefit from the State Highway Commission that we’ve been able to discern is the few thousand dollars that Denton County has received as its share of the automobile tax paid by the Denton County automobile owners.

There are no checks imposed on the commission on the number of employees it may have or on the salaries it may pay. The commission increased the number of employees this past year from 55 to 100.

The purpose of the highway commission law is good in that it was expected to promote better road building and to coordinate and correlate the main roads of the state. But it seems to us that the commission, so far, has yielded a minimum of benefits and a maximum of expense through excessive overhead costs.

NOTE: There are no existing copies or microfilm of the Denton Record-Chronicle from January 1919. The above editorial, crediting the Record-Chronicle, was from the Sherman Daily Democrat.

75 Years Ago

From January 1944

Denton pilot leads raid on plant in Italy

Capt. Harold L. Chrismon of Denton led a formation of bombers which carried out the devastating attack on a bearing plant at Villa Perosa in Northern Italy Monday, according to an Associated Press dispatch from Algiers. The plant was reported badly damaged and Turin railway yards were hard hit.

Recently, Capt. Chrismon, a veteran of 42 missions, spent 46 hours in the Mediterranean after being shot down in a raid on Naples.

“I looked back and saw what used to be a ball bearing factory,” said Capt. Chrismon of the raid, indicating that Italians would be picking up ball bearings all over Northern Italy.

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Crowd cheers Sandburg lecture at NTSTC

Presenting a pot-pourri of poetry, Lincoln lore, and guitar strummed folk songs, Carl Sandburg appeared at the Teachers College Friday night before the largest fine arts audience of the NTSTC season.

The white maned poet, biographer and lecturer touched on youth in the world today; journalism, good and bad; the war and its meaning; and interspersing his remarks with topical anecdotes about Lincoln.

Paying tribute to American youth, Sandburg declared that no one is more alive to the colossal world drama of today than youth, the same youth “the elders a few years ago were sorry about, because they felt youth was soft.” Now, he said, youth has been performing heroically on every sea and in every region, disproving the anxiety of their critics.

In this war, he continued, “we hold to the American dream that we have a nation that can be an example to others.” He declared, “We have nailed our four freedoms up for the world to look at.”

Sandburg remained in Denton Saturday, speaking informally in the college library auditorium this morning. At noon he was honored at a small luncheon in the crystal room of Marquis Hall.

50 Years Ago

From January 1969

NTSU radio station gets FCC approval

The Federal Communications Commission in Washington has approved a construction permit for a new FM radio station for North Texas State University.

The construction permit is only the first step toward actual broadcasting. Call letters now must be approved by the FCC and an air permit must be obtained before the station actually goes on the air.

Present plans are for the station to be on the air from 4 to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The school has applied for KNTU as the call letters for the new station, which the general public will be able to receive on FM radios. However, the letters may or may not be approved, depending on whether or not they are in use elsewhere.

Although various formats are being prepared for the station, the radio staff is planning to conduct a survey on campus during the spring semester to determine what type programming the students prefer.

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Krum’s Fowler stepping down after 56 years

In January of 1913, C.R. Fowler left his native Denton to go west.

He went all the way to Krum, where he opened the Fowler Implement Store.

This year, Fowler called it quits after 56 years in the implement and hardware business.

During his 56 years in the store, Fowler saw a lot of changes — not only in his business — but in life itself.

He describes 1913 as a good year, “with grain prices about what they are today, but a man could get into farming for less than a thousand dollars.”

“Then, he could go to the bank and borrow a hundred dollars and support his family until harvest,” Fowler said. “If he made a good crop, he had money to burn.”

A popular item with the young men of 1913 was a buggy called the “Hug me tight” buggy.

“It was a small, rubber-tired buggy with a seat that a girl couldn’t get far away,” he said. “Very few of the fellows who bought them made it through the winter single.”

Business was good at the store, even during the depression, although money “was hard to come by.”

All the farmers had their barns full and Fowler says he traded many a piece of farm machinery for oats.

Fowler’s son, F.W. (Pin) Fowler, has now added the store to his business interests. But the elder Fowler still comes by the store to talk with old friends about “the good old days.”

25 Years Ago

From January 1994

Denton County leads state in jail escapes

The Denton County Jail had more escapes in 1993 than any of Texas’ other county jails, according to a Denton Record-Chronicle survey.

The 14 inmates who escaped from Denton County was more than double the number of Hidalgo County, the second highest in the state with six fugitives.

Denton County Sheriff Weldon Lucas blamed the high number of escapes mainly on overcrowding created by a backlog of state prisoners.

“If the state would take its prisoners, we wouldn’t have any problems,” said Lucas.

The Christmas Eve jail escape of five prisoners continues to consume the thoughts of residents and business owners along East McKinney Street, Woodrow Lane and practically every street or road near the county jail.

April Winter, 20, who moved to Denton from Whitesboro, sits in her apartment late at night with the lights off and the television barely audible.

“I try to pretend I’m not home,” Miss Winter said as she clutched her knees. “I don’t feel safe in my own home. I keep my windows and doors locked, and I still don’t feel safe.”

Miss Winter says she will move from her apartment, one block east of the Denton County Jail, when her lease ends.

Parents living near the Tomas Rivera Elementary School, one mile south of the jail, aren’t convinced the sheriff’s department or Denton ISD officials can adequately protect their children in case of a jail escape.

“I’m not worried about it,” said DISD trustee Jeff Krueger. “Most jail breaks don’t occur in the middle of the afternoon, when school’s in session. Most occur late at night or in the wee hours of the morning.”

When residents and businesses were asked what steps the sheriff’s department could take to curb escape attempts, many suggested sirens, guard towers and electric fences surrounding the jail.

“They need to make it escape-proof,” said La Holcomb, 23, a hairdresser at 7 Up Hair Care on McKinney Street. “If they can’t stop prisoners from escaping, what are they there for?”

— Compiled from the files of the Denton Record-Chronicle by DJ Taylor

DJ TAYLOR resides in the Sanger/Bolivar area. He can be reached at 940-458-4979 or djtaylortx@centurylink.net.

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