Cross Timbers Trails
Volume 3, Issue 2
Luke Wade gets his turn in the spotlight Dublin native turns chairs on ‘The Voice’
The Veteran’s Victory L.D. Cox survived a sinking ship, a shark attack and a world war – and lived to inspire generations with his story.
Your Guide to the Eight Counties of the Cross Timbers Area
Cross Timbers Cuisines Taste the Good Eats of the Cross Timbers area
The Atlantis of Possum Kingdom Explore the history and mystery of the underwater town of Pickwick
Attention, Fans of The Duke! John Wayne...IN WAX! Visit the White Buffalo Gallery in Glen Rose to see “Big John” scuplted by artist Robert Summers.
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Clifton’s Main Street Historic Theater Gets its Second Act Barking Rocks Winery Red Caboose Winery Comanche 20 - The Veteran’s Victory Eastland 13 - Old Rip Lives on Erath 6 - Unique Boutiques 8 - From Rodeo to Retail 24 - ‘Voice of the Texans’ 26 - Luke Wade 28 - Hometown Hero Hood 30 - behind the Red Door 31 - Ready, Set, Barbecue! Hamilton 32 - Good Eats of The Cross Timbers Palo Pinto
12 - Going Wild for Crazy water 14 - The Atlantis of Possum Kingdom
Somervell 16 - The Duke Of Glen Rose: John Wayne Returns in Wax 34 - My, Oh My, It’s Time For Pie!
Letter from the editor
Sara Gann Art Director, Cross Timbers Trails
Brittney Blake Chance Bragg Azia Branson Bethann Coldiron Ginger Cousins Kaitlyn Cummings Nicholas Duvall Julie Gutierrez Cassidy Horn Haley Knox Morgan Little Kate Murphy Caitlen Nelson Rachel Peoples Megan Peterson Ashleigh Roberts Jessica Sherman Savannah Trantham
photo Editor Cameron Cook
Advisors Kathryn Jones Malone Dr. Sarah Maben Dan Malone
Hello everyone, and welcome to our sixth issue of the Cross Timbers Trails magazine. This is my first year as the editor, and I must say it was quite an honor to have this position. Being only a sophomore, I was worried I wasn’t qualified for this position. However, I am very thankful for all the highs and lows that came with this experience, and loved getting to work with the staff of the Texan News Service and Cross Timbers Trails. The goal of our student publication is to provide you with unique stories from the eight counties of the Cross Timbers region, which consists of Bosque, Comanche, Eastland, Erath, Hamilton, Hood, Palo Pinto and Somervell. With the help of our new “Writing for Publication” and “Magazine Writing” classes at Tarleton State University, more students were able to get the chance to contribute to this issue of CTT. I may be biased, but I believe this is the best issue yet. With the magazine growing and evolving each issue, we are beginning to expand our genres of stories. In this edition of CTT, we have provided a look into Cross Timbers living while also providing the inimitable history of the cities that make up the Cross Timbers. So welcome to your guide to the Cross Timbers region! I hope you are able to get a better feel for the Cross Timbers through this issue, and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed working on it. Harley Brown Editor, Cross Timbers Trails
Unique Boutiques Story and Photos by Megan Peterson
Back at the Ranch Stephenville
The Cross Timbers area is home to some one-of-a-kind, family-run boutiques that not only give their owners a paycheck, but also are the local go-to shopping spots. Most areas in the Cross Timbers region are far from big malls and shopping centers, so boutiques allow the town residents to seek out unique styles close to home.
Back at the Ranch is not the type of boutique you would imagine from its name. You’re not going to find ranch equipment or work clothes. When walking into the store, you’ll see bright colors, clothing and art that reaches out to younger and older generations alike. Back at the Ranch’s owner, Katie Hoffman, said the reason for the boutique’s name is because “ranch people are all different shapes, sizes, colors and styles.” That’s why the store’s slogan is “A Funky Boutique with Rock N’ Roll Cowgirl Soul.”’ The boutique has been open since 2007 in the Bosque River Center off Washington Street. Hoffman took a chance by going a different route from her education. She graduated from Tarleton State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in agricultural education, but soon found that teaching was not the right path for her. Her husband encouraged her to follow her dreams with fashion, which led them to selling hand-made crafts. They soon turned it all into a boutique. The Hoffmans sold their
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tractor to raise capital to open the store. The boutique is fresh and upbeat with the latest styles for each season. It is also very reasonably priced, with most apparel in the $20 to $40 price range. Hoffman said she wanted her boutique to be affordable because it was in a college town and she knew that the main buyers would be from the millennial generation. Back at the Ranch has grown so much it expanded with a store in Waco and the Hoffmans are in the process of opening another location in Weatherford. Every Thursdays are “Tarleton Thursdays.” A student ID will get you 10 percent off. Back at the Ranch is located at 2900 W. Washington St., Suite 60; 254-918-2498, www. backattheranchtx. com. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Lace Cactus - Hico It’s easy to overlook small towns while passing through to a huge city, but in downtown Hico is an up-and-coming boutique called The Lace Cactus opened by Kelsey Johnson in 2012. This boutique has a small storefront that sells inventory, but it does most of its selling on Facebook. The store ran a few test runs by selling online and has found a system that has worked. The Lace Cactus has a girly and chic style. Customers’ ages range from 15 to 34. The Lace Cactus also has reasonable prices on clothing (most tops are in the $20 - $30 range and dresses and tunics in the $30 to $40 range) because it wants the business to grow within the community. According to reviews from The Lace Cactus Facebook page, the store is prompt with shipping and offers friendly customer service. One review from customer Justine Brown said, “The shipping [was] fast and when a dress I ordered didn’t fit they let me exchange it.” The store also runs multiples sales, but you have to be ready because they sell out fast.
Accessories such as scarves and necklaces hang on the walls of Back At The Ranch.
The Lace Cactus is located at 120 N. Pecan St.; 254-4592511; www.facebook.com/ TheLaceCactus. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The colorful expression of the boutique is inviting to all passersby.
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From Rodeo to Retail Story By Julie Gutierrez Photos By Cameron Cook
Shelves on shelves of customized boots ready to be worn and put to the test.
A customer’s boots waiting to be repaired with the old fashion techniques of a cowboy.
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The outside of the Grand Entry Western Store feels charming and rustic. Empty barrels rest against the Stephenville store. Western clothes hang on a rack, giving a sneak preview of what to expect inside. An old-fashioned Fragrance Outpost sign in a wooden frame appears to be written on a chalkboard. Scented candles, perfumes and body lotions reside in this area. Colorful, quirky boots, some with green polka dots and others with vibrant colors such as pink and aqua, brighten the shop. In the middle of the store, a leathery looking sign with white lettering hangs above a pedestal holding boots. “Cowboys Live Long And Long Live Cowboys,” it reads. These seven words capture the store’s essence. But the shop is not only for cowboys and cowgirls. Customers can buy gel candles in the shape of a sunflower, a cross and even a Tarleton “T.” The store also sells Montana Silversmiths jewelry. A display case contains necklaces and earrings. The store also caters to children and sells children’s clothes. For women, the shop carries several different types of purses and wallets. Billboard hats rest on a wooden rack next to sandals. While the store is interesting, Chick Elms, the owner, is even more so. In a recent interview, Elms wore round glasses, a black cowboy hat and a blue plaid shirt. A six-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier for the bareback riding rodeo cham-
pionship, he grew up in Salado, in Central Texas, and his brother originally got him interested in the sport. His brother rode bulls, but bulls scared Elms. “I always wanted to ride horses. I liked horses, but bulls were a lot scarier,” he said with a laugh. Elms started bareback riding when he graduated from high school in 1964. His highest score for control, spurring technique and his horse’s power, speed and agility was 88. “It was the most ridiculous score I ever got,” he recalled. “Back then 81 or 82 was the highest. It just didn’t happen.” His first time bareback riding was a blur. He got thrown on the top of his head. In all his bareback riding experiences, though, he was never injured. He did, however, get kicked twice. A rodeo clown saved him once. He had hung his spur in the bull rope and was getting dragged around the area when a clown got a hook and untangled him. Elms said he learned how to ride through trial and error. “No one ever taught me and I didn’t have any professional help,” he explained. Elms does not offer any tips for aspiring bareback riders. “Most of them don’t want tips. The way I rode is totally different than what it is now,” he said, laughing. Bareback riding is not the only rodeo event Elms participated in. Besides riding bulls, he also attempted saddle bronc riding. He
recalled that the Fort Worth Stock Show would have 100 entries in bareback riding. “Competing in the rodeo circuit was expensive,” he said. “Any time you figure out your entry fees, vehicles, being on the road 24 hours at weeks at a time, it’s costly. I wouldn’t have a clue what it cost, but we survived.” To qualify for the National Finals Rodeo, a cowboy had to be among the top 15 money earners in the country. In the end, Elms recalled meeting a lot of good people and traveling to a lot of places. “When you win a big rodeo you feel like you accomplished something where everybody in the world was entered,” Elms concluded. Chick Elms, the owner, standing by inside the He rode bareback as a job and said cowboys roughly earned workshop maintaining the cowboy spirit the $30,000 to $35,000 in the past. He quit competing in rodeos in 1984 mostly because of old age -- he was 39 years old. “It was time store thrives off. to grow up and face reality,” he said. Elms founded the Grand Entry Western Store because he said Chick Elms Grand he enjoyed making rodeo equipment. He had been a carpenter up Entry Western Store until he started competing in rodeo professionally. “I figured it is located on 1695 W. would be easier to work inside, where it wasn’t hot or cold,” Elms South Loop (U.S. Highquipped. way 377), Stephenville; The store was finished in 1985 and in addition to selling mer254-968-3920, www. chickelms.com. Open chandise also repairs boots and saddles. Elms said he used to hang Monday through out in a shop that built saddles. “I was always interested and I Saturday from 9 a.m. to watched the saddlemaker for a long time,” he recalled. The most 6 p.m. popular items at the Western Store are hats and boots, but hats are the No. 1 seller. The store’s most frequent patrons are not cowboys, however. The customer base is a mix of men and women and the shop has even attracted some famous patrons. TV host Conan O’Brien and Chris LeDoux, a country American singer and rodeo champion, have visited Elms’s store. They even filmed an episode of the Conan O’Brien show at there. Customers rave about the store on its Facebook page, Chick Elms Rodeo Shop and Grand Entry Western Store. Donna Grayson said, “Always been a great place to shop or just stop by and chat. Timeless!” Another customer, Shirah Peppmeyer, posted, “Wonderful employees! The girls are always so nice and helpful, not at all stuck up like the girls at many of the stores in town!” Elms and his store offer a unique experience. Next time you drive by, drop in. You just might find a gem.
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Clifton’s Main Street State Highway 6 runs through many small towns that could be described as “blink and you’ll miss ‘em” places with boarded-up storefronts downtown. Clifton, though, has kept its downtown alive. In the last 19 years, the Clifton Main Street Project has devoted time, energy and money to revitalizing its central business district and bringing life back into the town. “The project has created a thriving business district downtown, which has resulted in many jobs created and retained for Clifton,” Ashley Abel, Main Street manager, said. All but three buildings have been renovated in the downtown area and almost all businesses were created after the buildings were updated. Downtown Clifton now boasts new antique shops, clothing boutiques, eateries and art galleries. Since the project began in 1995, the Clifton Main Street Project has invested more than $5 million in private and public money into upgrading the town. In 1997, Clifton began to work on Heritage Plaza. The original project was finished in 1999 and was upgraded again in 2007 with new grass and a water feature. The Plaza also includes a life-size bronze statue of a cowboy on his horse called “On the Banks of the Bosque.” The Cliftex Theatre also has been a “catalyst” for the downtown revitalization, creating nightlife and “an excitement that had been lost in years past,” city officials said. The Texas Downtown Association recently awarded the theater its President’s Award for Best Renovation/ Restoration. Clifton holds many events on Main Street for people to come out and have a good time. The three most popular events are Fall Fest, Trick-or-Treat with Main Street and the Clifton Swirl.
By Kaitlyn Cummings Fall Fest is held the third October of every year and features different vendors, entertainment and activities for kids. It includes an art show at the Bosque Arts Center and a vintage car show. Trick-or-Treat with Main Street is held every year on Halloween and provides a safe environment for kids at night. Children go out and “knock” on businesses doors for candy and other goodies. The Clifton Swirl is a biannual event held that highlights local Texas wineries. Participants can stroll around downtown Clifton, shop at local businesses and enjoy food, wine and music. This year’s event was held Nov. 8. The Main Street Project is a 5019(c) 3, nonprofit organization, so proceeds raised at the events go to help fund more renovation projects. That means Clifton can continue bringing the past to life and bringing life to the past. For more information go to www.visitclifton.org
Avenue D in downtown Clifton during Fall Fest. Photos courtesy of visitclifton.org.
The Cliftex Theatre has been showing films in downtown Clifton since 1916.
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Going Wild For Crazy and Water Story Photos by Something is in the water in the small town of Mineral Wells. People have been raving about it since the late 1800s. Some might even call it “crazy.” The crazy water has been “curing” a multitude of illnesses since 1880 when the first mineral water well was drilled on the land of the Lynch family. The Lynches claimed the water helped their rheumatism. In 1881, Billy Wiggins drilled a well and began charging 10 cents a glass for water from his “Crazy Well.” By 1900, Mineral Wells had become the premier resort spa town in the Southwest. The city received over 150,000 visitors a year who came to drink and bathe in the healing mineral waters.
Coldiron In 1904, Ed Dismuke founded the Famous Mineral Water Company to sell and distribute the mineral water. He drank it daily and said after that he never had to see a doctor again. The company was one of more than 20 different businesses selling the funny-tasting water that generated such a health craze. But Dismuke’s company lasted and changed hands several times. The current owners of Crazy Water are Carol and Scott Elder, who bought the business in 1999. “We were living in Houston, and we had just started having kids and
A soaker tub used for mineral baths.
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Memorobila from the early days of Crazy Water. we wanted a quieter lifestyle,” Carol recalled. “I was a freelance designer and landscape architect. We were looking for a downtown building I could work out of and he would commute to practice law in Fort Worth. Crazy Water was being sold at the same time through the historical foundation, and so you had to send in your business plans and goals. And we were chosen!” Their promotion and expansion of Crazy Water enabled the company to grow. You can now find Crazy Water products in stores all over Texas. “It was never our plan to buy Crazy Water, and even then it was mainly for heritage tourism,” Carol said. “We added to the gardens and fixed up the building. We wanted to encapsulate the history. No one really drank the mineral water, so it wasn’t really viable. The water really started to take off once we started to do education.” When you walk into the shop, there is a distinct smell – fresh and earthy. Crazy Water is made up of different special minerals, which give it the refreshing taste and medicinal properties. “The higher the
number (on the bottle), the higher the mineral content,” Carol said. “We have wells at different depths so that’s where you get the different levels and combinations of water.” The No. 4 is one of the strongest mineral waters bottled in the world. No. 3 is a more “balanced” water, Carol said. “It has a lot of calcium, magnesium and silica. All of our waters have natural alkaline in them as well.” The Crazy Bath House, a 1910 home, offers a multitude of spa treatments. “We modeled the bath house like it would have been in the late 1800s, “Carol said. “We offer the same services that would have been offered at that time like mineral water baths, mineral water towel wraps and massage. We have massage therapists on staff who do massage, mineral baths and other treatments.” Crazy Water also produces hand-made soaps, facial toner, lotion and bath crystals all containing concentrated levels of the water. The short drive to Mineral Wells is well worth it to visit this unique small business. As the Crazy Water slogan says, “So good, it’s crazy.”
What has pointed scales and small horns? What looks like a toad or frog, but is actually a lizard? What loves to eat ants and has a round belly to hold them? One last clue -- some species of this lizard for self-defense can even shoot blood from their eyes. You may have guessed that it’s a Texas Horned Lizard. Once commonplace, this fierce-looking but beloved Texas icon is on the threatened species list and rarely seen. In fact, it is illegal to own a horned lizard. That is, except in one Texas town where a certain horned lizard is a celebrity and is owned by everyone. The lizard is no longer actually alive but his legend lingers in the spirit of a Cross Timbers community. In Eastland, go to the courthouse and you can find “Old Rip” the horned lizard lying peacefully at rest in his red velvet coffin. Why the fuss over one dead old lizard, you may ask? In 1897, in what some believed was a joke, a horned lizard was placed in a time capsule along with a Bible. Fast forward to 1928. A crowd gathered around to see what was in the capsule and to their surprise, inside was a horned “Old Rip” in his velvet coffin. lizard that was still alive. They named him Old Rip after “Rip Van Winkle.” The lizard became a celebrity and even went on tour to meet President Calvin Coolidge. Sadly, his touring days ended just a year later from what the autopsy showed to be pneumonia. But the town of Eastland keeps his story alive by selling souvenirs of horned lizards and holding an annual event in his honor. Every October the town stages a festival called Rip Fest. The 2014 festival marked the 34th Annual Rip Fest with a parade. Children lined the street to catch candy thrown out of fire trucks, and high school and church organizations floats. The high school band performed while marching down the street and little girls from the Eastland dance team did front and back flips. After the parade was a car show. The main events of the festival were located at the town’s square by the courthouse so that Old Rip could easily be viewed and feel a part of the activities. Several vendor booths offered jewelry, candles, local churches, and also food booths such as chicken, barbeque, and sweets. One of the Texas
Old Rip Lives On Story and Photo By Ginger Cousins horned toad lizard conservation organizations was even on site talking to people about the history of horned lizards. While walking around the square, you could feel the community coming together and having a good time socializing with friends and family. “The festival is good for the community and families,” said Keith Watkins, an Eastland citizen who was a math major at Tarleton in 1965. According to Watkins, it doesn’t matter if most people don’t believe that a lizard could survive buried for 31 years. He once talked to someone that was there and saw it move. Another way residents keep the story going from one generation to the next is by holding a ceremony for Old Rip each February. Children and the community gather to repeat the Old Rip Oath to ensure that the legend of Old Rip forever lives on.
For more information, visit www.eastlandchamber. com
Fun Facts About Horned Lizards • Their diet consists of ants, beetles, spiders and grasshoppers. • Short-horned lizards give birth to their young, while other species such as the Texas Horned lizard lay eggs. • Some adults can weight less than a quarter and the young can weigh less than a dime. • In the mid 1900s the horned lizards could easily be seen everyone and were known to be bought for a nickel. • They do not often survive if taken into captivity due to their specific diet and food requirements. SOURCE: naturemappingfoundation.org.
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The Atlantis of Possum Kingdom Story and Photos By Rachel Peoples The waters of Possum Kingdom Lake used to lap against a rock retainer wall. Now the lake is so low that part of the lakebed is dry ground, littered with mussel shells and ATV tracks. Eerie greenery rises up almost above head-level. Besides the foliage, a bit of history also is being revealed as the lake level recedes. Kevin VanDuser, a local historian and author who has spent most of his time since 1961 hiking the trails in the Possum Kingdom area and tracking down traces of history, leads the way across the sandy expanse once under water. He points to the foundation of an old building, a few sticks standing upright in the sand, and an old water well. These are the remnants of Pickwick—a small town settled in the early 1900s that lasted only about 30 years before disappearing under PK’s currents. “Pickwick got started kind of like a lot of things did back in the 1800s,” VanDuser said. “People were looking for work.” A man named Hartwell Wester heard that Texas was looking for teachers. So he moved all the way from Tennessee, married a girl from Fox Hollow on the west side of Possum
Kingdom and was given over 300 acres on the other side. They raised cotton and cattle in the area that eventually became Pickwick. Though it started out as a community of ranchers, a post office opened in March 1903, and that was the beginning of an official town. “Back then, to be a post office there had to be at least 13 people permanently residing in an area,” VanDuser said. “And you have to pick a name.” Legend says that the residents of the new settlement wanted to name it Westerville after Hartwell, but the name was already taken by another post office. Someone suggested the name of Richardville, but that was turned down because nobody knew anyone named Richard. Finally, the earliest postmaster of the area, Ed Costello, suggested a name from a book he was reading. “At the time, he was reading The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens,” VanDuser said. The name of Pickwick wasn’t taken by any post offices yet, so the town was not named after a local family or after anyone famous, but after a book.” It didn’t take long for the town to start growing. “In 1907
On a map given to him by the Possum Kingdom Water Supply Corporation for his nine years on the board, VanDuser explains how the dam built in the mid-30’s changed the landscape of the area forever.
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they sold lots and a school and a church were built,” VanDuser said. “And then by 1910 was when they had a saw mill and other new homes. And it wasn’t on the railroad—that’s how towns existed. The railroad bought all the land and if it didn’t come through your town, you didn’t have a big town.” But in 1915, the town was swarmed by boll weevils and the cotton crops were destroyed. This ultimately played a large role in Pickwick’s demise. “If you shut off the source of the cattle or cotton, then you shut down the gin, and the gin needs a blacksmith shop,” said VanDuser. “It’s just like how a big industry in town shuts down—that’s where all the smaller businesses make their living. It’s going to affect the whole economy.” By the mid-1930s, the town had to be moved because the Brazos River Authority was building a dam. “They say the reason [for the dam] during the Depression was for water control and then electrical use,” VanDuser said. “My personal opinion is that the main reason was jobs—people wanted to work at the dam because if you got fired or quit, there were 10 people waiting to have your job. But they built the dam in the late ‘30s under a Works Progress Administration project so they could have flood protection.” When the BRA bought the land from the residents and prepared to flood it, most everyone went willingly. One family, however, stood their ground, so to speak. “In every story about moving families out of the lake, there’s one family that will not move and they got guns,” VanDuser said. The Costellos stayed on their patch of land and built barges once the floods turned it into an island. After a few years, the Costellos finally gave in and moved, but Costello Island is still there. Pickwick was moved about a mileand-a-half east, just north of McAdam’s Peak, where a large old cross stands. Some people called it New
Pickwick, but it didn’t take long for the mail to start going to Graford instead and that was the end of the Pickwick post office. “By 1949, there wasn’t anything left,” VanDuser said. It was good for fishing and scuba diving, though, and that’s mostly the reason the locals know about the historic site. Before the town emerged from the depths because of the drought, though, many people in the area had never heard of Pickwick. VanDuser said the lake’s level needs to be down 15 feet or so for the other remains of Pickwick to be revealed. It’s been visible for about three or four years because of the drought. At the end of the day, what drives a town or makes it disappear is the economy surrounding it. “Pickwick was here because it was near the water source for cattle and then for cotton and then, after it got flooded, for tourism,” VanDuser said. If Hartwell Wester hadn’t come to Texas looking for a job, Pickwick might never have happened. He went to Weatherford first, “because that was the closest railroad depot,” VanDuser said, “and then their family kind of migrated between Graham and another ghost town up the creek called Finus…” But that’s another story.
Standing on the foundations of what he believes might have been the Pickwick post office, VanDuser points out Costello Island.
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Stepping through the double white doors on the northwest corner of the Glen Rose square, the plucking of “Blue Moon of Kentucky” meets the operatic music of the White Buffalo Gallery. It’s fall and musicians from the annual bluegrass festival are jamming on the courthouse lawn. The small-town atmosphere contrasts with the gallery’s sophisticated ambiance. The high ceilings, open floor plan and walls lined with jewelry and Native American sculptures give the feeling of visiting a gallery in Santé Fe. But locals are still greeted on a first-name basis and travelers are told to “holler” if they have any questions. Gallery owner Jean Lane converted the building that had been a general store, electric company and everything in between since 1896 into a fine art gallery because she wanted to give back to the community where she grew up. Lane opened the White Buffalo Gallery just a few years ago after talk of creating one had come up in conversation many times with her old schoolmate and Glen Rose native, artist Robert Summers. Summers is famous for
his monumental-size bronze sculptures across Texas, including the Tom Landry sculpture at Texas Stadium and the frozen-in-time cattle drive at Pioneer Plaza in downtown Dallas. His larger-than-life sculptures can be seen in New Mexico, Washington, D.C., Oklahoma and California, but the White Buffalo Gallery is home to the only wax sculpture Summers created. The dark brown wax of “John Wayne, American Legend” resembles its bronze twin 1,200 miles away in the lobby of the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. The 9 feet 6 inch tall wax was created in 1981 after Summers was hired by a group of Southern California businessmen who wanted to honor the iconic movie star. “After I did John Wayne in wax, I said never again would I do a large piece like that in wax, because anything you work on, you have to heat with a torch then work like crazy, then two minutes later you have to heat it again,” Summers said. “That was my first really, really big piece and I didn’t know any better; but because of that, it is still around. If it had been clay it would’ve
The Duke of Glen Rose: John Wayne Returns in Wax story and photos By Cassidy Horn
The John Wayne scuplture resides in the back room of the White Buffalo Gallery.
Summers works on his latest scuplture, of Congressman Ralph Hall, in his Glen Rose studio.
been done in a long time ago, probably falling apart.” Because clay originals have a limited life span and molds can be used to make multiple bronze replicas, the original sculptures are unneeded and destroyed. But since the John Wayne was done in wax it could last much longer than clay. “Since I was a kid I have been a John Wayne fan and I just didn’t have the heart to destroy it,” Summers said from his spacious Glen Rose studio as he smoothed out the clay on his most recent sculpture of U.S. Congressman Ralph Hall. “This piece won’t be around six months from now; we’ll probably melt the clay off of it and reclaim as much as we can and it will become something else.” During the year-and-a-half that Summers was sculpting the wax model, Wayne’s sons Michael and Patrick became involved in the process along with many others. “I had so many town people that had respected my time on it and they would say, ‘We hear you are working on a John Wayne sculpture, we don’t
want to bother you but can we see it before it gets gone?’” Summers recalled. “I kept a list and the list got too long after almost a year. We finally decided the best way to handle it was to have a viewing somewhere that had adequate space for a lot of people. Michael and Patrick both wanted to be there. Patrick was the happy-go-lucky type… and Michael was a little more serious, businessman type. They came early… I wanted them to see it because if they thought it was hokey we wouldn’t do it.” The sculpture was unveiled on the stage of the high school auditorium. The famous lines John Wayne spoke in the movie The Alamo about the Republic of Texas were played over the speakers. The back-lit silhouette vanished, the curtain rose and the stage lights came on. “So now I am talking to Michael, and Patrick is sitting down right on the front row and looking up at him… I walked over to Patrick and kind of whispered because I didn’t want to shock him. I said, ‘Is something wrong?’ He didn’t look at me, didn’t reply. I said it a little louder, still no reply. Finally I touched him on the shoulder and said, ‘Patrick’ and he jumped. I said ‘I didn’t mean to startle you, is something wrong?’ He said, ‘Oh no, this is just the first time I’ve seen my dad since he passed away.’” Complete with the famous copper bracelet around his right wrist, gun in his holster and bullets around his belt, the John Wayne sculpture was viewed by more than 2,500 people in five hours. “They kept several registers and they ran out of registers,” Summers said. “People were parked all the way from the high school up to the
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Dairy Queen, the football field parking was totally full. It makes me feel very good. It’s a desire of any artist to produce something that people can enjoy.” Watching the men from the foundry cut through the clay and plastic foam on the 9-foot-tall congressman he finished just minutes before, Summers said, “They’re [originals] not intended as the finished work, they are the means to the end, the bronze being the end. There is only one original. If you get down to it, though, it’s going to be a replica after that.” One of the men cutting through Summers’ replica sculpture was Stephen Zabel, owner of Omega Bronze. He takes pride in turning the temporary sculptures into something that will last for generations. “I’ve been doing this for half my life now and it’s fun,” Zabel said. “I haven’t ever gotten bored and I don’t think I ever will. It’s not sacking groceries or going into an office… it’s something that is hands on. Every job presents a different set of challenges that you have to approach and conquer and we’re working on different projects all the time. Like today, we are working on the congressman and tomorrow we will be working on a deer. I’ve got a unicorn going through the shop right now.” The foundry takes the original sculptures created by the artist, cuts them into manageable pieces and makes a silicon rubber
Many visit the gallery to see “Big John”.
John Wayne’s boots reflect Summers’ attention to detail.
The White Buffalo Gallery is located at 200 N.G Banard St., Glen Rose (214) 914- 5372
The gallery’s entrance.
Hands of an artist.
The gallery also sells jewelry, painting and scuptures by other artists.
mold that wax is poured into. The wax replica is then dipped in a liquid compound and sand to make a ceramic mold. After the ceramic has dried, the wax is then melted out of the molds and molten bronze is poured in. “We break that shell off and have a bunch of metal panels that will be welded back together,” Zabel explained. “We have technicians that come back in with grinders and stuff to chase back all of those weld lines so it looks exactly like it was.” The Hoka Hey foundry near Dublin cast the John Wayne sculpture and asked Summers if the original wax one could be displayed in its art gallery. “It was on kind of a semi-permanent loan… Just one day I decided its time to get the Duke home, I wanted him here,” Summers said. He took the sculpture to his studio and placed it in the same spot where he had created it 30 years ago. “Jean asked me if she could exhibit it down there and I said sure. I didn’t give it to her, it’s on a semi-permanent loan again.” Lane recalled the day the sculpture was moved. “Mr. Summers transported him here in the back of his pickup,” she said. “We took the head off and the hands off and he put the head in a box. We had a second unveiling when we got it and some local guys built the stage and we had a black drapery across it. We probably had 300 people here. Some were just John Wayne fans. “I have people that come in and say it should be in an
environment that is humidity controlled… like a museum of some sort, but this is where he wants it,” Lane added. “It’s in pretty good shape…you really cannot come in this back room without looking at it.” The original John Wayne sculpture sits in an unlit corner away from the windows in the back room of gallery. It is the only thing in the gallery that doesn’t have a price tag and it never will. Many of Summers’ smaller bronze sculptures have passed through the white double doors of the gallery as well. When commissioned to do a monumental sculpture, Summers can create eight artist proofs that can be up to 36 inches tall. Summers currently reserves the first three, but the others can be sold to outside buyers. The gallery hosts an array of artists along with Summers -from Don Weller, whose work was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, to Jeff Gottfried, a local grade school teacher. “We like to support local art,” Lane said. “He [Summers] is from here and I am too, there aren’t many people that can say they are from Glen Rose.” Or who can say they own a fine art gallery in a Texas town with a population of less than 3,000 where John Wayne lives again.
The veteran’s Victory By Chance Bragg The colors of the American flag stand out against the cumulus clouds floating above the nursing home. My father, Weldon, and I had come to visit a friend and a man who had sacrificed so much for these three colors. At 88, Loel Dene Cox is among the last remaining World War II veterans, a member of the “greatest generation” that is still with us today. The most notable chapter in Cox’s life is his experience aboard the USS Indianapolis, a heavy cruiser that was tor-
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pedoed in last days of the war. The story of the Indianapolis is a tragic account of sacrifice and survival by the 1,196 sailors who were involved in one of the worst naval disasters in U.S. history. A weathered man with silver hair reclined underneath a plain white sheet in the electric hospital bed tucked in the corner of the room. Wearing a light blue patterned hospital gown and his nasal cannula held up by his ears, Cox still cracked a smile. He had recently suffered a stroke, and had been moved to the room where an oxygen machine hummed. “Oh, I’m no too well, but I’m still fighting to get well,” Cox explained. “I can’t move my left arm or leg. And if I don’t
Loel Dene Cox survived the USS Indianapolis sinking and shark attack. Photos courtesy of U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command.
talk very plain is because they won’t allow me to have anything to drink.” “Have you had your T-bone steak in a bag today?” Weldon asked. “Continually,” Cox said with a chuckle, pointing to the half-gallon jug filled with yellow liquid hanging over his left shoulder. His displeasure with this meal is evident. My mother tells a story of Cox at a Christmas party diner that showed his love of eating a good meal. Cox carried a little chain with clips on the end similar to the one used in a dentist office and hooked his napkin over his suit. She recalled his wife’s embarrassment and Cox saying, “Sarah Lou doesn’t like me to do this, but I’m going to do it anyway.” Cox lists the numerous places where he’s been invited to speak as a survivor of the Indianapolis disaster. “I’ve spoken to practically all the schools,” he said. Indeed, my first memory of Cox was at a Veterans Day program in third grade in Comanche that honored local veterans including Cox. He wore a dark blue hat with golden stitching that displayed some naval symbols among a few military pins in the side. The front of the cap read “USS INDIANAPOLIS” with a picture of the ship and “1932 CA-35 1945” underneath. I was too young at the time to fully grasp the traumatic event he had been through. Then about two years ago, as I sprawled on the couch watching “Shark Week,” there he was being interviewed by the Discovery Channel in his navy blue cap with the gold stitching. The USS Indianapolis is famous for carrying out a unique mission. The ship delivered the components for the atomic bomb that would become the first nuclear weapon ever detonated in wartime. The Indianapolis delivered the bomb to the island of Tinian on July 26, 1945, where it was loaded on the Enola Gay airplane, which then dropped the weapon “Little Boy” on Hiroshima on Aug. 6. After the delivery across the Pacific, the ship was dispatched to link up with the USS Idaho for gunnery practice. There was no Sonar aboard the ship and the vessel did not receive an escort to protect it on a route where American ships had been sunk. Captain Charles B. McVay III was assured the waters were safe. “I was on the bridge and had the midnight watch,” Cox recalled. “I was just taking the phones whenever we got hit.” It was 12:14 a.m. on July 30, 1945, and the ship that the 19-year-old Cox was on had been torpedoed by the Japanese Submarine I-58. “I went up in the air about five feet and came down on the steel deck,” he said. “I started to get up and looked up and there was water, fire and debris coming up past the bridge. The bridge of the Indianapolis was 81 feet from the water. Woom! Another one hit us. The second torpedo tore up the middle of the ship and it hit the ammu-
Actor and fellow Texan Matthew McConaughey requested a visit to pay his respects to L.D. Cox (center). Photo Courtesy of L.D. Cox. nitions and, boy, that all exploded.” Classified as a Portland-class heavy cruiser, the Indianapolis was the flagship of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. The ship, which measured 610 feet in length, over two football fields, sank in only 12 minutes. The men aboard were forced into the open waters of the Philippine Sea. Out of the 1,196 sailors, only about 900 made it into the water to be stranded in yet another tragic circumstance. “I worked my way to the high side and intended to jump in,” Cox said. “I started to jump and the moon came out right quick and, man, I couldn’t see any water. I grabbed a hook and swung out as hard as I could. I missed the main deck and hit the side of the ship and bounced into the water.” It is difficult to describe such an ordeal of chaos that the men suffered and this tough Texan survived. “Are you familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder?” I asked Cox. “I’ve got it bad, in fact, I had it right before y’all came in,” he responded. “You just begin to worry and shake and you don’t know why you’re doing it. It’s a terrible feeling the worst feeling you can have. I still dream every night about the disaster.” His eyes look heavy and reveal the burdens he has carried for nearly 70 years. “I began to try and find a group of men and, sure enough, I heard a group yelling and I swam to them,” Cox said. “There was about 30 men and I stayed with until they picked me
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The author, Chance Bragg, with L.D. Cox (right). Photo courtesy of Chance Bragg. up. When we were finally picked up five days later there was only about 10, less than 10 in that group still alive.” The men thought that that surely they would be missed and a rescue would be sent, but because of communication issues and the secret nature of their previous mission, no help came. The sailors were becoming distressed as they helplessly floated in the water. They suffered from dehydration and lack of food. The sun caused severe burns to their bodies. Men suffered from hallucination and dementia, claiming they saw an island or were going to go down to the ship for a drink of water, only to never be seen again. Then there were the sharks. The morning after the sinking, hundreds of them, attracted by the blood and thrashing around of the sailors, they began to prey upon the easy targets. Like sitting ducks as they bobbed up and down in the waves, sharks would swim in and bite a man, pulling him under. It is now believed to be the largest shark attack in human history even though there is no way to know the exact number of deaths to shark attacks. The salt water also began to take a toll on the men’s bodies. “I lost all the hair off my body, slick like an onion, lost all my fingernails and toenails,” Cox recalled. “I was pickled!” The mental fatigue increased by the day as more and more men succumbed. They floated in the water for four days until they were first spotted by a plane. Finally help arrived. “Then I saw a big plane pass by,” Cox said. “We were yelling and kicking trying to get his attention. He didn’t see us so we figured that’s the last time he will come anywhere close. But he made one more turn and came back. Then I saw a light that looked like it came out of a cloud and I thought it was the angels coming.”
Instead, it was the USS Cecil Doyle, the first vessel to reach the survivors. The 316 men who were rescued headed to the Philippines to the hospital. “While we were in the hospital a nurse brought a picture of the explosion of the atomic bomb that had been delivered. “We knew the war was about to end,” Cox said. During the Battle of Okinawa, just months before the Indianapolis was sunk, the ship was damaged by a Japanese kamikaze airplane. Cox recently donated a piece of one of these planes he picked up off the deck of the ship to the War of the Pacific Museum in Fredericksburg. “You’ll see it if you go through the museum,” Cox said. His story has been on all the major TV networks. “The Discovery Channel took four of us survivors back trying to find the sunken ship and they made several programs about it,” Cox said. The stories of the survivors of the Indianapolis were even inspirations for movie characters. In the 1975 Hollywood blockbuster Jaws, an experienced fisherman is hired to hunt down a shark that terrorizes a beach community. The character revealed his hatred of sharks in a harrowing account that is based on the accounts of the survivors of the USS Indianapolis disaster. Cox’s experiences have allowed him to meet many people in his life. He was once in a movie called Pony Express Rider in 1976 because he met the director as a survivor of the Indianapolis. He also recently had the chance to meet actor Matthew McConaughey. ”He came to the home with his wife and a child, his brother, and another friend or two. I think he is real nice. He is a tribute to Texas,” Cox said. For a man who’s been through so much in war and lived to tell about it, being confined to a hospital bed is a kind of hell, too. “I get claustrophobia and anxiety and I just go wild,” Cox said. “’But I’ve never had anything like this, it’s terrible,” he said, alluding to his recent stroke. “You can’t move that side, leg or arm, and you want to so bad and you can’t. And I begin to get angry and go haywire.” He is determined to keep fighting and regain his strength, while keeping up his sense of humor. “What did the Cowboys do today?” Cox asked me during the interview. “They won today,” I told him. “Isn’t that unusual?” he commented with a laugh. If you ask children today who their heroes are, some might say actors, musicians or even athletes. But Cox and so many other veterans of the nation’s military are real life heroes, not only for their history, but also for courage in the present. They have endured perils and are facing new battles that many of us will never have to experience. As Cox said, “I’m still fighting.”
Historic Theater Gets Its Second Act By Morgan Little Pink and white balloons are scattered across the floor from the weekend’s performance. The stage is cluttered from rehearsals. The 1886 keystone juts out over the empty house seats and the rock walls convey a sense of history. Walking around the Granbury Opera House in his jeans, blue polo shirt and tennis shoes, Executive Director Kent Whites talks about how this is a “real thing” theater. “I hear from people all over the country who have come to see a show,” he said. “’Oh, this theater is really nice.’ Then when the show goes up, they say, ‘This show is really good, I cannot believe this is here,’ and that is what I want people to know. It is here and we are doing theater here.” The Granbury Opera House has witnessed generations of people come through the doors. In its almost 130 years of existence, the building has not only been an opera house, but also a grocery and drug store, bowling alley, saloon and a structure for many other purposes. In 1974 the building was deeded to the Opera House Association and after 64 years of no theater productions, the theater was brought back to life in 1975. In 2011 the City of Granbury decided to renovate the opera house, adding everything from backstage short cuts, a shop area for props, costume storage and dressing room, to an elevator to allow for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The renovations took about two years and the opera house re-opened in December 2013. “For a small town like Granbury to have a rich history of the theater and a love for the theater is pretty substantial,” Whites said. He beams as he talks
about the talent and dedication of his small town cast and crew, and the community that supports the opera house’s rebirth. “I would take my production of ‘Legally Blond’ anywhere in the United States, put it on a stage and be proud of it,” Whites said. “I wouldn’t think a thing about it. The singing is great; the characters are great. I’m really proud of them and I think it holds up to what
Photo by Lauren Little
other people are doing,” Whites said Granbury rallied around the theater because the opera house is so much a part of it. “We have this community that comes from this being our theater,” he explained. “I tell people all the time that it is unique in the sense that the city choose to renovate the building, and you own the city. Not only is this your theater company, but it is your theater. You own this thing, so use it, enjoy it.” Whites started his performing career at age of 6 and has been working in the industry ever since. He worked in Fort Worth and New York and everywhere in between, whether it was acting, dancing or producing. He started coming to Granbury as a weekender in 2003, and when it came time to renovate the theater, the city asked him for his input. Because of his experience, it made sense for him to draw up some
blueprints. After that, “one thing led to another and here I am,” he said. But during the renovations, tensions rose. Agreements could not be reached on what to do with the back-stage portion that was added on. While some wanted to leave it as more of barn-like structure, Whites teamed up with a city council member and architect to try to convince the committee of the theater’s full potential. “We drew it up back stage,” he said. “I remember the day we took it to council and we had it on plans and we laid it all out on the floor and at that moment all of the dissention just stopped. Because everyone saw the same vision. A real theater and something to be proud of.” The cast and crew members stay busy putting on productions in five-week intervals. Having recently finished productions of “Legally Blond” and “Wait Until Dark,” they are now preparing for the performance of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The production will launch Nov. 28 and run through Dec. 23. Whites had no idea that a small theater renovation would end up bringing him to this “little bitty tiny Texas town.” “I didn’t know little town theater,” he said. “I just ended up here because it’s an hour-and-a-half drive (from Dallas) and I can see the stars at night… I believe it’s Julia Roberts, she lives in Montana, she goes to L.A. to make movies, but when the movie is over she goes back to Montana. This was like my Montana, I would come out here to see the stars and the river and I ended up back in the theater again. She just won’t let me go.”
The ‘Voice of the Texans’ By Azia Branson
Hogan calling the Tarleton men’s basketball play by play.
Introducing the new Tarleton Sports Network to the media. Photos courtesy of Casey Hogan.
Casey Hogan’s friends told him he had a voice for radio, but it wasn’t until his senior year at Tarleton State University that he began doing broadcasts for football and basketball games. He’s been dubbed the “Voice of the Texans” ever since. Hogan was very involved in FFA in high school and college and did some radio contest shows with FFA in high school. While in college, he was elected as a national officer for FFA and took a year off to travel and speak on a national level. When he returned to Tarleton, he ran for student body president and won two years in a row. One day Hogan was at the Chili’s restaurant when a man from the local radio station asked him to do color commentary for sports. Hogan said he was “frightened” when he went on air for his first broadcast. When he graduated in 2007, he stayed in Stephenville as the “Voice of the Texans” for a year before he moved to Washington, D.C. Three years later Athletic Director and Head Men’s basketball coach Lonn Reisman called Hogan and offered him the lead broadcast position combined with an administration position as assistant athletic director for development and major gifts. Hogan has been broadcasting the Tarleton football and men’s basketball games for three years now. “I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to come back or not, I had been in D.C. for three years, I had a really great job and a lot of friends,” Hogan recalled. “But if you want to get into serious broadcasting, you have to jump when the opportunity presents itself.” Since his return, Hogan has made a mark in the athletics program as well as in the community. Hogan got involved on the Stephenville City Council because of his love for public service and helping others. The university’s sports broadcasts used to be fed through the Mighty 93, a local Stephenville station, but Hogan said there were issues with Tarleton and Stephenville sports playing
at the same time and Tarleton would be the game to get put off the air. Hogan knew the on-campus radio station, KTRL 90.5 FM had great signal, carrying almost into Fort Worth. He decided to jump on the opportunity to create the Tarleton Sports Network, through 90.5 FM. The games can now be heard live on the dial or online on tarletonsports.com, which also includes live
video feed. Hogan used his talent of working with major gifts to land the largest athletic sponsorship Tarleton has ever seen with North Texas Ford Dealership. They signed a five-year, $100,000 agreement to all Tarleton multi-media rights. “I know we needed to get a national or state brand to put on as the face of the Tarleton Sports Network,” Hogan said about landing the sponsorship. He has high expectations for Tarleton Sports Network, as well as for himself in the future. Hogan said he hopes to see the Tarleton Sports Network as the premiere sports network in all of NCAA D 2. His work has been noticed as well; Hogan was named the Broadcaster of the Year for the Lone Star Conference in 2014. “I had no idea I was going to win,” he said. “It’s really cool because it’s voted on by your peers, the sports information directors in the conference, and I am by far the youngest broadcaster in the conference.” Tarleton Sports Information Director Nathan Bural said Hogan “prepares really well and relates to people.” “He’s really good at being a people-person and he’s definitely a good guy to have that’s out representing the university,” Bural added. “If more people worked as hard as he did, we’d be in a lot better place.” Hogan brings an enthusiasm and excitement to Tarleton sports that fans can hear in his voice. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say [my favorite part of this job] was going on air for a broadcast, especially when we’re on the road, because you know more people are listening,” Hogan said. “I love broadcasting football and basketball, just that excitement and that feeling when the game starts or at the end of the game when it comes down to the last shot -- or the last-second field goal.”
Luke Wade turns heads, Not just Chairs By Haley Knox Luke Wade has come a long way from his first performance at a Dublin High School talent show his senior year to singing before a national audience this year on the reality talent show “The Voice.” In fact, singing and performing were not what he always wanted to do. Born in Fort Worth, while growing up he danced at his mom’s dance studio for 10 years. He stopped when a paintball accident left him blind in one eye at age 13 and turned to music. Wade attended Tarleton State University and graduated in 2006 with a degree in history and political science. Later he started a band called Luke Wade & No Civilians. “Writing songs is healthy for me and a way to express myself; it makes me happy and balances me,” Wade, now 31, said in a telephone interview between his many singing engagements around the state. He writes some of his own music but also enjoys singing others’ music. Wade said a range of different types of musicians have influenced him. Some of these artistic influences include Led Zeppelin, Sting, Martin Sexton, JB Cannon and Pearl Jam. He sings a variety of genres. “Singing is what makes sense for my voice and personality,” Wade said. “It is all about honesty and believability. You want to perform something that people will connect with.” His friends Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawks, who were a duo on season six of “The Voice,” talked to Wade about their experience and how great it was. That inspired him to try out for season seven of “The Voice.” Wade had two auditions before the blind audition. The audition process was about a month long before the 90-second blind audition. Asked if he was nervous before he went on the stage for the blind audition, Wade said, “Of course. It’s kind of hard not to be just because there is so much that leads up to it. You spend about a month preparing for the 90 seconds, and at the same time you’re so prepared that there is no way that you’re not going to do a good job. There is too much time and effort and energy put into the preparation to not execute what you have worked on.” During the blind auditions, Wade sang a rendition of
Luke Wade performed this fall at the Bull Nettle in Stephenville. Photo courtesy of Luke Wade. “That’s How Strong My Love Is” and got a unanimous fourchair turn from the coaches. “I felt humbled and very thankful,” Wade recalled. His decision to choose a coach boiled down to what each one had said. He chose Pharrell Williams because he felt like he was going to be able to be himself throughout the process and that was the most important aspect for Wade. “I think the way to win overall, not just on the show, is to show people who I am,” Wade said. He added he has learned a lot from Williams in the short time they have worked together. “Every time I’m around him I definitely pick up great things that I will carry with me the rest of my life,” Wade said. The battle rounds came next and Wade was paired with Daniel Griffin, singing a rendition of “Maybe I’m Amazed” that judge Blake Shelton said was one of the best duos he had had heard on “The Voice.” Wade ended up winning the battle round and at publication time was moving on in the competition on Williams’ team. “I’m on the show, good things are going to happen,” Wade said. “Then I got to actually work with the coach and so there was so much about it that was so rewarding. Whether I made it through or whether I didn’t make it through, I knew I was going to be in a good and happy place.”
Top photos courtesy of Barking Rocks Winery.
Barking Rocks Winery combines jeans and genes By Caitlen Nelson
Photos by Brittney Blake
“Making wine, friends and events happen” is Barking Rocks Vineyard & Winery’s motto. What better way to socialize while sipping on a glass (or bottle if you prefer) of handcrafted wine than at Granbury’s grape escape? The winery, founded in 2002, is situated on more than four acres outside of Granbury in a renovated old rock barn. The owner, known simply as Tiberia, said he “tried to remove the manure and retain the charm.” With the porches, fire pit, windmill, shade trees, arbor and an 80-foot-long porch overlooking the pasture, the 1968 barn has been transformed into a classy and rustic setting. Tiberia, the son of Italian immigrants, made wine as a hobby outside of his desk job. Once he retired, he decided to make wine as a full-time avocation. “We grow and source grapes, then process them in old-world tradition for our enjoyment,” he said. The land that Barking Rocks sits on was previously owned by Tiberia’s wife’s family. It was later bought out and sold in pieces. One of these pieces turned into a cattle operation. The station is now the main building for the winery. Currently, Barking Rocks offers a 2007
Merlot; a blend of 2006 and 2007 Zinfandel; a 2012 Roussanne, a white French varietal that Tiberia said has “great potential in Texas”; a 2008 Tannat, a dry red described as a “velvety, jammy, black cherry experience”: a 2010 “Fizzin Rose” that is a blend of Mourvedre, Roussanne and Chardonnay; a 2007 Caesna that is a blend of Merlot, Lenoir, Cabernet and Ruby; and Dock, a semi-sweet “port that cannot be called one.” On the first Friday of each month the winery holds a “First Friday” event. “Our goal is to sell bottles of wine,” Tiberia stated. Guests bring a snack, appetizer or dessert, and all the food is set up inside of the barn for everyone to share. This event also includes live music. In early October, a friend and I decided to go experience “First Friday” for ourselves. A Celtic band called “The Selkie Girls” was performing that night, and the singers’ voices and the catchy beat of the fiddle, guitars and harp blended with the sound of children laughing and playing while gathering around the smores station. At the event I met a woman who has traveled all over the world tasting wine. Donna Gerstner called Barking Rocks’ wine “excellent” and the only winery in Texas where she will purchase wine.
The building in Stephenville is packed floor to ceiling with food, clothing and the overflowing spirit of Tom Shelton. Sitting in his cluttered office in a plaid button-down shirt, cut-off jeans and a “Hooked on Jesus” cap, he greets a visitor with a smile from behind stacks of numerous projects. Shelton opened the food bank, The Pantry and More, 14 years ago and has continued to stay open from donations. His criteria for help: “When you walk in the front door, you are qualified,” Shelton said. Having no previous experience with food banks before he started The Pantry, Shelton said faith provided him the guidance he needed. “The Lord said, ‘I want you to help people with food. Give them both physical and spiritual food and I’ll keep your doors open.’” In April 2000 he opened the doors to The Pantry and More and later moved to a larger location in November 2003. With no job or income, Shelton welcomes anyone from Paris to Stephenville and said, “If you can get here, I can help you.” At 80, Shelton continues to open the doors from 5 a.m. to around 5 p.m. six days a week, stocking shelves and working to fulfill needs. Patrons can grab a grocery basket and fill it with whatever they want from the shelves. “I don’t know if you like pork and beans or sauerkraut,” Shelton said. “I also know you don’t only eat one week out of the month. Come in and get what you need, whenever you need it. I just ask you to be fair to me, and I’ll be fair to you. “Some people come back, some don’t,” he added. “Some people make donations, some don’t. But no matter what they are all welcome. I will give with my heart without expecting anything in return.” Bringing a smile to someone else’s face is enough, he said. Shelton not only services the Stephenville area, but also has shipped thousands of donated bags of clothes, shoes, caps and more to South Africa for the past 10 years. He also provides spiritual guidance, Christian material, “cross in my pocket” poems, handmade barbed wire crosses and homemade jams. In 1976, Shelton had an “inkling to make grape jam.” He’s been making it every year since and perfected it with “just the right amount of pulp,” which is how he likes it. This year alone, he has made 840 jars of grape jelly from Stephenville grapes to give away. He has also made peach, plum, and pear and just asks that you return his jar once it’s empty. Shelton also spends his time at the pantry cutting out blessing reminder poems and sheets of plastic. Once they are cut and folded, some women volunteer to stitch a col-
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Hometown Hero Story and Photo by Brittney Blake orful cross detail on the front. The final product is his “cross in my pocket” to hand out to anyone he meets. The first woman to start making these was Edith Ed. “She put a little love in every stitch and if it brought one lost soul to Jesus, it was worth it all,” Shelton said. These poems have been distributed to over 31,000 people in the United States, Africa and Mexico over the past 12 years and are written in Spanish, Swahili and English. “Bringing one lost soul to Jesus is worth more than winning the lottery,” Shelton said. He also hand cuts, straightens, sprays and binds donated barbed wire to make the
three crosses of Calvary. He had never made anything by hand before. “They are simple and that is exactly how the Lord told me to make them,” Shelton said. His parting words of wisdom are simple, too, and food for thought: “You want a blessing? Be a blessing. Who is better off today because they met you?”
The Pantry and More is located on 1599 E. Washington, Stephenville. You can reach Tom Shelton at (254) 5929696.
This is a real red caboose!
Gary (left) and son Evan McKibben taste one of Red Caboose’s award-winning wines. Photos Courtesy of Red Caboose Winery.
Red Caboose winery goes green
Red Caboose Winery is located at 1147 CR 1110 in Meridian (254) 435 - 9911 redcaboosewinery.com
By Jessica Sherman Walking into the Red Caboose Winery east of Meridian, the aroma of sweet red wine floats on the air. Large tanks full of different wines sit and ferment. Wine making started out as a hobby for Evan McKibben, but then turned into a lifelong career. It all began when he and his father, Gary, started growing grapes to sell to wineries. After he had been selling grapes for a while, Gary McKibben decided he wanted to build his own winery and make his own wine. An architect, Gary wanted to build a winery that was environmentally friendly. He was able to get all of the logistics done through the architecture firm he worked for at the time, which also
emphasized environmentally conscious design. Gary built the winery to be LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design and is a green-building certification program designed to save money, resources and promote renewable, clean energy. During a recent tour of the winery, Evan showed me the solar panels on the roof that absorb energy from the sun, which Red Caboose uses to provide electricity to the entire building. They use geothermal energy to heat and cool the winery through out the year. Wells at the winery that are 250 feet deep cool water to 58°F that then
cools the winery. In early 2014, Gary and Evan entered the Botanical Research Institute of Texas’ International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing competition. “You also enter your wines with it,” Evan said. “They come out and look at your sustainability, drink your wine and judge everything.” Participants were asked 18 questions that focus on the three aspects of sustainability: environmental, social and economic and the judges look for a balance of the three aspects. Examples of this include seed selection, saving energy, reduction of carbon dioxide, corporate social responsibility and green facility programs. Red Caboose Winery received
the bronze medal. Every last Friday of the month, Red Caboose Winery hosts Cork & Fork. Attendees are able to purchase wine by the glass or the bottle. There is always live entertainment and attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic along. The events are held at the Meridian location from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Red Caboose also operates a tasting room in Clifton. At either location, visitors can taste the winery’s award-winning wine – and now, know that it comes from an award-winning sustainable building that has taken red and white wine and turned it “green.”
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For more information about the Pomegranate House and Cottages Bed and Breakfast and each of the rental spaces, visit www. pomhouse.com.
A Little By Savannah Trantham R+R Through The Red Door
Historic Granbury offers a place for couples or families to by the store where the loft’s name originated. Artefactz, a enjoy a small-town feel while exploring dozens of attracstore next door, is a self-described “shoppe of creative extions. That combination of old and new continues at the pressions.” Items range from yarn and sculptures, boutique Pomegranate House and Cottages Bed and Breakfast. clothes and funny T-shirts, to teddy bears and children’s If you’re looking for rooms above the courthouse square, clothes, as well as large installations, glass art and jewelry the Pom House offers three suites. Behind a red-famed win- made by Artefactz owner Cynthia James. dow door and between two shops on the downtown square James is not only the owner of Artefactz, but also the ownis the newest suite Pom er of the building House offers, the Artethe Artefactz Loft factz Loft, on the second occupies. When floor. James bought the Tom and Sara Baker are property, there was the owners of Pomegrana tenant already ate House & Cottages upstairs. Shad RamBed and Breakfast. Tom sey of Red Door was also the man who Photography shares remodeled the massive the upstairs with space into an impressive the Artefactz Loft. loft. “The need for the Since the space is so housing on the square vast, James decided is pretty great,” Tom it would be a great explained. The Artefactz idea. “It’s been fabLoft was transformed ulous, and it’s been into an open floor-plan exciting to decorate room. It’s furnished with with all things I a king-size bed, two twin love and things sleeper sofas, a large bath from the store,” with whirlpool tub and James said. shower, dining area, desk Right now the area and a fully stocked space is occupied The downtown loft’s comfy bedroom. Photo courtesy of for a six-week period. kitchen. Pomegranate House. The loft is completely But Tom said they furnished and you can even are seeing more of a enjoy the breakfast part by taking a short stroll down to demand for short-term rentals. When the Artefactz Loft is the Pomegranate House B&B a few blocks away. In Tom’s not occupied, the Bakers usually rent the space mainly for words, “Basically bring your toothbrush and you’re good to overnight or weekend stays. The Loft is designed for a cougo,” but don’t forget your clothes. ple or single occupant, Tom said, and most of these guests Many guests hear about the loft by either visiting the are there one or two months. yellow-and-white Pom House & Cottages and staying in The red door that is hidden away offers a treat for travelthe casually elegant cottages or other suites, or by stopping ers who want privacy but also a prime location, James said. “People that want to come to the square love that you’re trucked away, but still right in the middle of everything,” she explained. Hood -30
Mesquite-smoked chicken breasts, spicy bourbon baked beans and honey glazed barbecue ribs are some of the barbecue dishes prepared at Texas’ many outdoor cook-offs. But what exactly happens at these events that showcase pitmasters and their unique styles of rubbing, marinating, grilling and smoking? CTT traveled to a barbecue cook-off in Granbury this fall to get the behind-the-scenes story, and conduct some tasty research. The VFW (Veteran Foreign Wars) Post 7835 located off Highway 377 west of town is home to the annual Oktoberfest Bar-B-Que Cookoff and raises funds for the Chris Kyle Scholarship fund. Kyle was the retired U.S. Navy SEAL who is reputed to have killed more enemy targets with his sniper gun than any other soldier and wrote a best-selling memoir, American Sniper. Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed at a shooting range at Rough Creek Lodge in Erath County in February 2013. His accused killer is a fellow veteran who is awaiting trial in Stephenville. Kyle left behind a wife and two young children. This competition featured Bloody Mary pinto beans, Texas Red Chili, chicken breasts, pork spare ribs, pork butt, and brisket. Teams from all over the state traveled to meet on the grassy grounds behind the post as they dueled for the honor of top barbecue chef. Seventeen teams competed for cash prizes and points for their team towards a national cookoff held every year in Meridian. Pitmasters began lighting their coals and propane tanks and a hearty oak and savory maplewood aroma of smoke begin to fill the air. Bloody Marys were mixed, pinto beans and Texas chili cooked and the judges began sampling the entries. At noon, it was finally time to relish the tender meats that had been marinated and grilled over the past few hours. One team covered ribs in a honey chipotle glaze after it came off Pitmaster get ready to grill the competition on the grill. Some of the tastiest sandwiches were made from smoked applewood pork butt seasoned with lemon, lime and the grounds of the Granbury VFW post. garlic. Maplewood smoked pork butt seasoned with roasted garlic and herbs competed against oak smoked pork butt with brown sugar hickory barbecue glaze. The most prized part of the competition was judging the brisket entries. Seven slices of brisket per team were served to the judges. After six hours of tasting, the judges submitted their final scores and calculations for the winners and announcements followed. The Granbury VFW post has raised a lot of money during some of its barbecue fundraisers, including a recent $10,000 donation to Tarleton State University’s Military Veteran Services Center. “Best Day Out” is another bi-annual activity hosted by the VFW in which charter buses drive into Fort Worth and Dallas hospitals and transport veterans back to Hood County to Lake Granbury and cater to our modern day heroes. The veterans are treated to professional live karoake, cast their rods and reels fishing and feast on barbecue or chili. The VFW Post 7835 is one of many posts whose mission is to reach out to other veterans to comfort them and let them know they are appreciated. All this and they still have time to serve some of the best barbecue in Texas.
READY, SET, Story and Photos By Nicholas Duvall
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Story and photos By Kate Murphy Central Perk 423 S. Rice St., Hamilton Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sat 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Phone: (254) 386-5960 Are you a fan of the sitcom “Friends” and interested to know what is in a “Monica” sandwich or a “Chandler Bing”? As you are driving through the small town of Hamilton be sure to stop by Central Perk Bistro, a family-owned and operated bistro and sandwich shop that is full of “Friends”-inspired décor and menu items. As soon as you open the door and hear the bells jingle, the first thing you see is a huge poster of the cast of “Friends”. You walk over to Blanca Sepolio, the bistro’s owner, and order a “Ross-Atron” sandwich off a chalkboard menu. You can’t go wrong with this dish, it’s sold over 450 times a week! The “Stuffed Avocado” with a choice of chicken, tuna or egg salad towering on top of a fresh avocado half is another customer favorite. Whether you are driving through in the morning for breakfast and flavored coffees or in the afternoon, Central Perk is a place to try out.
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Greer’s Cafe With over 30 years of experience, owner Phil Greer in 2014 opened a café in a historic building located in the Stephenville square. Using all of his own recipes, Greer has created an expansive menu full of comfort foods served at breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re an early bird, try the homemade biscuits and cinnamon rolls made fresh every day. Stopping in for lunch on the patio? Try one of Greer’s best sellers, the beef stew or pot roast and, of course, good old chicken fried steak. And for dinner, a rib-eye covered in Greer’s own seasoning and topped with herb butter. For those of you who need a Bloody Mary in the morning or an ice-cold beer in the evening, Greer’s offers a full bar with the same hours as the restaurant. So whatever
time of day it is and whatever you are craving, chances are Greer’s has it.
190 W. College St., Stephenville Hours: Mon-Thu 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri-Sat 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: (254) 4342537 greerscafe.com
In The Cross Timbers Loco Coyote Grill If you are looking for a fun, friendly place to get your fill of some outstanding Texas barbecue and home cooking, then Loco Coyote a few miles west of Glen Rose is where you need to go. Still cooking on the same pit and in the same building since 1965, the Loco Coyote draws locals as well as out-of-towners. Owners Loyd and Becki McClanahan keep things moving in what was once a chicken coop said to have been wiped out clean of all the chickensthanks to a wild coyote, hence the name. This is one place where you need to come hungry. The portions are enormous, with burgers weighing in at one pound and your option of an
18-ounce or 20-ounce rib-eye steak. With sawdust on the floor and drinks in mason jars, this is a place to come as you are and hang out with family and friends. Every Saturday night there is live music. Sit out on the deck and enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine from the full bar. However, when you have a place that makes the top 25 in a nationwide cocktail contest, trying out a cocktail would be the thing to do. You know it’s a good place when someone lands at the Dallas airport, asks a Texan where they can find good Texas barbecue and they get sent to Loco Coyote an hour-and-ahalf from Dallas.
120 N. Main Street, Meridian Hours: Mon-Wed 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thu-Sat 5-9 p.m. Phone: (254) 435-6062
Cactus Grill For being in a small town, the Cactus Grill sure has some big flavors thanks to owners Raul and Veronica Contreras. Raul has been a chef in the Dallas area for over 20 years and brought his delicious recipes with him. The restaurant serves American, Italian, French and Southwestern dishes, as well as daily specials with both the lunch and dinner menu. Come for lunch and enjoy the Baja fish tacos. In the evening, slice into a pecan-crusted pork medallion or grilled salmon and end with tres leches cake for dessert. Don’t forget, though, it’s BYOB. The décor is Western-inspired and casually elegant, with white tablecloths and candlelight. The Cactus Grill is an unexpected delight the minute you walk in the door.
1795 County Road 1004, Glen Rose Hours: Thu-Fri 5-9 p.m., Sat 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sun 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: (254) 897-2324
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My, Oh My, it’s time for Pie!
All the pies that are baked are made homemade with the same delicious recipes they’ve always used.
By Ashleigh Roberts Photos By Cameron Cook Rhonda Cagle and Jean Ford were Glen Rose friends who taught school in the same hall across from each other. They knew they wanted to start a business together and continue their friendship to help supplement their not-so-big teacher retirement in the future. Coca Cola and home. “Eat dessert first,” one sign urges. “Someone told us, well, y’all are good at making pie. Why When you enter the shop, the fragrance brings back memdon’t you try pie?” said Cagle. The two decided to give it ories of waking up to chilly mornings and the fresh, hot a try and decided to begin smell of a homemade pie that your making pies and selling them mother or grandmother slaved all in the Country Peddler, a shop morning over. owned by Cagle’s cousin. One of the six girls who works “Within three months, we there will greet you and give you knew it was a go,” Cagle said. what the Pie Peddlers like to call a Their business, Pie Peddlers, “pie tour.” During the pie tour you thus was born in 2003. After get to see all of the fresh pies that starting the Pie Peddlers in are available and you can order by the corner of the Country the slice or, if you are really hungry, Peddlers store, things took off. you can order an entire pie. The duo taught school for sevThe menu includes cream pies, en more years after beginning fruit pies and mini pies. The most their business journey. popular pie tends to vary by weekThe Pie Peddlers moved to a end, but perennial favorites are renovated historic space on the coconut meringue, very berry (a Glen Rose courthouse square combination of all of the berries) and has a steady stream of and strawberry rhubarb. customers – locals as well as Every day, Cagle and Ford make tourists. Pie Peddlers pie was sure that they have 13 to14 pies to voted best in Texas by the Texsell. Blue Bell ice cream and cold as Country Reporter television drinks are also available to compleFrom 10 years ago to now, Rhonda Cagle (left) and ment the pie. program. “People are visiting Glen Rose, Jean Ford (Right) still stand side by side as a team. The journey to Glen Rose has which is a tourist town,” Cagle become a tradition for many families said. “We have a lot of people traveling from Dallas to their who have discovered attractions such as dinosaur tracks, a land and go through Glen Rose, and they stop and get a wildlife park, rivers and hills and, of course, pie. piece of pie. “As long as people like pie, we will be here,” Cagle said. “There are a lot of families that stop by,” she added. “They are visiting Fossil Rim, Dino World and other family attractions on whatever budget they have. They can drive here and Pie Peddlers is locatback on a tank of gas. They have discovered Glen Rose and ed at 102 Walnut St., Glen Rose; 254-897-4904, they have discovered pie.” www.piepeddlers.com. The store is decorated from floor to ceiling with antique Open Thursday-Satsigns and decorations that refer to pie, Dublin Dr. Pepper, urday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What’s Online Taking A Peek At Texas’ Newest State Park A behind-the-scenes look at planning for the new Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. Story by Jennifer Cunningham.
More Good Eats In The Cross Timbers Mineral Wells’ Brazos Market and Bistro, Eastland’s Circle M Barbecue and Granbury’s The Rib Shack dish up flavors to savor. Listings by Katy Tonkin.
A Cross Timbers Photo Gallery More photos from around the region.
Cross Timbers Trails is published by Tarleton State University Department of Communication Studies Box T-0230 Stephenville, TX 76402 (254) 968- 0519 email@example.com www.crosstimberstrails.com
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