Denton County Magazine - September-October Edition

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DENTON County Local Lore, Urban Legends & Ghost Stories Your Spooky Halloween Guide THE




Dream homes, design inspiration, renovation tips, stunning landscaping, stylish décor and more




The KoonsFuller Denton Team: Nicole Carroll, Sean Abeyta*, Charla Bradshaw*, Sarah Darnell*, and James Logue


Have you heard? With more than thirty proven attorneys and five offices across Texas (Dallas, Denton, Houston, Plano and Southlake), KoonsFuller is the largest family law firm in the Southwest. You’ve probably also heard that we take BEST remarkably good care of our clients. To learn more about us, visit As recognized by Woodward White, Inc.

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Open Up Your Home

To The Feel Of Fall




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Krum has supported Colten Moore through both tragedy and thrilling victories.


Make your home sweet home a little sweeter with this inspiration and expert advice.


Going to X-tremes


Curse of the Goatman and Other Tales

He lost his brother to competitive snowmobiling and broke his own back, but Krum’s Colten Moore is unstoppable.

Photo by Joe Wiegele

’Tis the season for frightening folklore, hair-raising history and things that go bump in the night.

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36 COUNT Y LINE 11 Fitness + Fun

Step off that treadmill and try something new!

12 Sunday Drives DE PA RTME NT S


32 Community Spotlight: Corinth

This green, livable city’s well-planned growth has residents excited about the future.

36 Shopping: Rose Costumes

Three Sanger retailers battle online shopping with unique products and hometown service.

38 Dining: Prime Farm to Table

Prime brings locally grown, made-fromscratch dining to Flower Mound.

Do some hometown sightseeing in Horse Country, USA.

14 Reviving a Classic

The Fine Arts Theater is being lovingly restored for a 2020 opening.

16 Roanoke City Hall

Get a sneak peek at Roanoke’s exciting new development.

20 Explorium Update

The beloved children’s museum has finally found a permanent home.

22 Nonprofit Spotlight

Dogs of Hilltown rescues mistreated pups near Argyle.

26 Coming Up Roses

Stop and smell 600 roses only found in Denton County.

28 Bonnie & Clyde Days

More than 5,000 people visit Pilot Point for this hallmark event.

29 Celebrating 150 Years

First Christian Church is just 11 years younger than Denton itself.

30 Time Machine: A Historical Photo


IN E V E RY ISSUE 8 About This Issue 74 See & Do 80 New in Town On the cover: Sierra Estate, a stunning $7M equestrian property in Pilot Point, sits on 10 acres on Lake Ray Roberts. Photo courtesy of Matt Wood.


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Fine Arts Theater photo by Peter Salisbury; Rose Costumes wizard photo by Abigail Boatwright; Dog photo courtesy of Dogs of Hilltown; Food photo courtesy of Prime Farm to Table


What defines our county today


MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN “Dear Michael: President Donald Trump and I are grateful for your steadfast support, your principled leadership, and your strong stand with our administration… We need fighters like you…” — 11.20.17 Letter from Mike Pence Vice President of the United States

MAKING AMERICA PROSPEROUS AGAIN • Record economic growth • Historic tax cuts • Greatly slashed unnecessary federal regulations

• Unleashed American energy from foreign control • Repealed Obamacare mandate

MAKING AMERICA SAFE AGAIN • Rebuilding our military • Supporting our veterans • Cracking down on terrorism

• Cracking down on illegal immigration • Supporting local law enforcement


Dr. Burgess is leading the charge to repeal-and-replace Obamacare, strengthen border security, and tighten up our immigration laws.

• GOP Congressman serving Dallas, Denton & Tarrant Counties • Chairman of U.S. House Subcommittee on Health • Actively meets with constituents & holds Town Hall meetings • 100% Voting Record with NRA & National Right to Life • Endorsed by Trump administration’s “GREAT AMERICA COMMITTEE”

• • • • •

Second generation Denton County doctor Delivered more than 3,000 local babies Graduate of UNT & UT Medical School Married 44 years; father & grandfather Children all graduated from local public schools

Keep Dr. Burgess Working For Us! Paid for by Dr. Michael Burgess for Congress


Denton County Is Where the Heart Is


n some ways, every issue of Denton County is about home — our home in Denton County and the people, places and events that make living here so special. In this, our second issue, we continue to bring you the most fascinating stories from across the county, but along the way, we’ll stop and spend some quality time in the place you know the best: your home. We asked Denton County’s top experts and tastemakers to share their best advice on everything from upgrading outdoor spaces and planning successful renovations to shopping for one-of-a-kind décor and tastefully incorporating a rustic touch. What design trends should you expect for 2019? Which ones are on their way out? Which Denton County cities are hot real estate markets right now? Which ones have seen the biggest jump in home values in the last year? You’ll find all of these answers and much more starting on page 41. You’ll also get a peek inside some of Denton County’s most beautiful and interesting homes — a $20M ranch in Argyle, a sophisticated estate in Pilot Point, a historic home that rose from the ashes after a Denton fire and many others. On page 64, you’ll meet an unstoppable Krum competitive snowmobiler who is pushing toward his next X Games, even after losing his brother to the sport and breaking his back during an event. It’s a story of tragedy and loss, but also one of inspiration and persistence. As always, this issue will also keep you in-the-know about what’s going on in your home county. You’ll learn about Roanoke’s new city hall complex, Denton’s new children’s museum, the restoration of the Fine Arts Theater, an Argylearea dog rescue organization and a wonderful restaurant bringing farm-to-table dining to Flower Mound. You’ll get tips on how to make the most of life in Denton County with stories about unusual fitness options, gorgeous scenic drives, new businesses and exciting events happening throughout the county. We would like to thank you all for the positive response to the launch issue of Denton County magazine! Remember, we’re always ready to listen to your feedback. Please contact Executive Editor Sean McCrory at or 940-566-6879 with story suggestions or other comments.


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PUBLISHER Bill Patterson

EDITOR Kimberly Turner

M AG A Z I N E CO N S U LTA N T Rich Alfano


A DV E R T I S I N G DI RECTOR Sandra Hammond S A L E S M A N AG E R Shawn Reneau ACCO U N T EXECUTIVES Becka Corbitt Linda Horne Joanne Horst Danielle Thompson Shelly Vannatta MAILING ADDRESS 3555 Duchess Drive Denton, Texas 76205 EDITORIAL 940-566-6879 A DV E R T I S I N G INQUIRIES 940-566-6843

DESIGN DI RECTOR Ben Carpenter DESIGNERS Phil Lor CO N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R S Kristy Alpert Abigail Boatwright Mindy Charski Ryan Creery Paula Felps Nicole Foster Michelle Gibbs Russ Klettke Donna Stokes CO N T R I B U T I N G PHOTOGRAPH ERS Jim Allen Abigail Boatwright Mike Morgan Jeff Stephens C R E AT I V E PA R T N E R madison/miles media

S T O RY I D E A S LETTERS TO TH E EDITOR Send to Please be sure to include your full name, city and phone number. Denton County magazine reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. L I K E U S FAC E B O O K FIND US ONLINE

© Copyright 2018: Denton County magazine is published by Denton Media Company, publishers of the Denton Record-Chronicle. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Editorial content does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher.

Experience the Difference the Right Agent Can Make in Denton and Beyond Laura Brewer, Manager, Ebby’s Denton Office | 940-891-3229 |

Andrea Bedell 903-517-9452

Laura Brewer 940-367-0329

Kristen Caswell 940-391-9654

Patrice Easley 817-797-1449

Deborah French 940-395-4751

Everett Jensen 903-647-9290

Kay T Moore 940-391-3058

Brenda Pagel 940-727-8432

Sue Cogdell 940-390-3264

John Cox 940-595-5915

Tammy Gindrup 940-391-7465

Brandi Jackson 972-896-6116

Kimmy James 979-417-6955

Carrie Oakley 940-293-3041

Liza Oduegwu 214-773-1816

Darien Orr 940-231-5204

Nuria Putnam 214-437-2511

Kathy Stockdale 940-395-1703

Kristy Taylor 972-603-8972

©2018 Equal Housing Opportunity

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What defines our county today

INSIDE: uu Roanoke builds a city hall uu Pilot Point hosts its biggest festival uu Denton opens a children’s museum




Who says you can’t have a good time while getting into shape? Certainly not these six unique fitness companies. BY KRISTY ALPERT


f pounding away on the treadmill isn’t your idea of a fun workout, you are in luck! Denton County is home to some of the most creative workouts around, from goat yoga to nighttime paddleboarding with LED-lighted paddles.

Photo courtesy of DFW Surf

Goat Yoga — Aubrey and Argyle Although the goats live in Richardson, they do travel. The next Aubrey event is on September 29 at Union Park by Hillwood, and Argyle residents can get stretchy with the goats on October 6 at Harvest Gardens. Students are led through a series of yoga poses while a tribe of pet goats roam the grounds, occasionally jumping around, on or over participating yogis.

WinKids Ninja Warrior — Flower Mound Inspired by the hit TV show American Ninja Warrior, this exciting, high-energy program takes kids ages 3 to 14 through an ever-changing obstacle course that will test and develop their athletic abilities.

Win Kids also hosts periodic tournaments where kids compete against the clock to win prizes and ninja warriors bragging rights. Aerial Arts at Twisted Bodies — Denton Take your workout to new heights with the Cirque du Soleil-esqe classes offered at Twisted Bodies in Denton. Classes range from Aerial Silks and Aerial Yoga to Lyra Hoop, all of which take students off the ground to focus on stability, strength and balance. HOTWORX — Flower Mound Led by a virtual instructor on flat-panel TV screens located within an infrared sauna capable of accommodating up to three students at a time, classes at HOTWORX range from 15-minute hot cycling sessions to 30-minute hot yoga sessions. Sessions are booked via the studio’s app, where students can choose among eight different classes available in time slots throughout the day.

SUP Glow Paddle Tour With DFW Surf — Little Elm Every Saturday as the sun goes down, LED lights begin to twinkle on the waters of Lake Lewisville. Led by “Dingo the Dude,” DFW Surf ’s SUP Glow Saturdays paddleboard tour takes students on a journey beneath the Big Bridge for an hour-long paddle into the sunset. Tours are $40 per person and include a board, LED-lighted torch paddles and a personal f lotation device. Jazzercise — Various Locations This is not your mom’s jazzercise class. Made popular in the early 1980s, this energetic fitness craze is back in a big way, but instead of leotards and crimped hair, the classes are packed with Beyoncéloving students who can “floss,” “twerk” and “shiggy” with the best of them. Classes — which are available in Aubrey, Roanoke, Flower Mound, Lake Dallas and Denton — last 60 minutes and feature modern music and dance moves to help you shimmy into shape.

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Sunday Drives Here are some of the best ways to explore “Horse Country, USA.” BY ABIGAIL BOATWRIGHT

orth Texas is home to rolling hills, wildflower pastures and some beautiful routes for exploring on a Sunday afternoon. Nicknamed “Horse Country, USA,” Denton County also contains more than 300 ranches and 25,000 horses, according to the Denton Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. And they’re not all sequestered in the impressive barns at the back of the properties either. You can see these beautiful animals from the road — and with a little planning, you can even visit them close up. Self-Guided Tours While you can enjoy a pleasant drive through many of the towns in our area, Aubrey and Pilot Point offer a particularly wonderful collection of ranches for your scenic Sunday drive. Some great routes for a day of touring Horse Country, USA in Pilot Point include Highway 377 from Aubrey to Tioga, Cole Road, Osburn Road, FM 2391, Friendship Road, F.M. 455 and most of all, St. John’s Road. Meander down these roads and you’ll find stately barns and sweeping drives flanked by white pipe fences, horses peacefully grazing beside the path and even a stand of shade trees near Lake Ray Roberts that promise colorful foliage in the fall. If you make the drive in the spring, you’ll be treated to the sight of foals standing beside their mothers or frolicking amongst the wildflowers. “My favorite section to drive is that Aubrey–Pilot Point area,” Denton Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Director of Sales Dana Lodge says. “You can’t go wrong driving up and down 377. It’s just a great spot.” It’s exciting to see the world-champion quality of horses in our area from the road, but Lodge advises people against pulling into any driveways without permission, out of respect for the property owners. Fortunately, if you do want to get a little closer to the majestic animals you see during your drives, there is a way: the Bureau’s Behind-the-Scenes Tour. Behind-the-Scenes Tours Denton Convention & Visitor’s Bureau offers a North Texas Horse Country Tour six times a year. You’ll tour aboard a luxury motorcoach where you can learn more about the area and its history from a knowledgeable guide. You’ll get to visit three ranches where you can see behind the scenes of the equine industry and experience a cowboy mounted shooting demonstration, complete with BBQ lunch served from an 1890s chuckwagon. The $40 ticket price includes snacks, lunch and drinks. These tours sell out quickly, so book your tour and find more info at

Photo by Abigail Boatwright


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Reviving a Classic Closed by fire in 1982, the Fine Arts Theater is being lovingly restored for a 2020 reopening. BY NICOLE FOSTER


D E N T O N CO U N T Y S E P T E M B E R /O C TO B E R 2 0 1 8


esidents of Denton have been passing by the shuttered Fine Arts Theater since 1982, unable to regale in the iconic building’s interior or canoodle over buttery popcorn. A group of passionate preservationists intends to change that. Axis Realty’s Brad Andrus and Alex Payne, Aviation Cinemas’ CEO Barak Epstein, Denton artist Martin Iles and Jason Reimer of Talented Friends and Aviation Cinemas are joining forces to rehabilitate the defunct landmark. To assist on the long road ahead, they’re collaborating with community business leaders, consultants and local stakeholders to ensure the restoration is handled with the attention to detail it deserves. “The first phase is a lot of research about what the physical space used to look like,” explains Reimer. “We’re looking at the first version of the theater, trying to see what we can incorporate into the structure.” In addition to a complete renovation, the theater will boast new 30mm and 70mm film projection and a live sound and lighting system. The team is thrilled to reintroduce the theater to Denton’s community, though a ribbon-cutting ceremony probably won’t take place until 2020. Once the box office re-opens, the newly named Texas Fine Arts Theater will host film events — including reparatory, independent and first-run films — as well as occasional live acts such as comedy and music. The building was originally built as the Graham Opera House in 1877 before being repurposed by famed movie palace architect W. Scott Dunne as The Texas Theatre in 1935. It was re-named the Fine Arts Theatre in 1957, the name under which it operated until its last film screening in 1982 when a fire closed it down. The group plans to salvage anything worth saving from the original incarnation, but Reimer says there is devastating damage from the fire and, he adds with a laugh, “a lot of stuff from the ’80s.” So far, Reimer and his team are planning on a modern, clean aesthetic and are toying with the idea of building a viewing deck and bar on the second level. They’re also taking steps to protect the theater with a historic designation. “We tend to let the building tell us what it is,” he says, with obvious respect and appreciation for the structure’s antiquity. After making the announcement for rehabilitation in May, the group has been fielding nonstop questions about when the film reels will start spinning again. “I know the emotional connection people have,” says Reimer. “We keep wanting to tell them, ‘It’s going to be a long process. Be patient.’”

Photo by Peter Salisbury


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Something Old, Something New

R The new city hall will bring all of Roanoke's city and administrative staff into one central location for the first time in years.


oanoke’s newest treasure looks like it was pulled right out of the history books. That’s because the city hall, which is slated for completion by mid-October, was designed to replicate a turn-of-thecentury Texas courthouse. “It was very important to our city council that the new facility reflect the flavor of Old Town Roanoke,” explains Scott Campbell, city manager. “It will blend perfectly with the current aesthetic of Oak Street and future development of the Roanoke City Center.” RGA Architects, the firm hired to bring the city’s vision to life, jumped at the chance to create a modern, 21st century building that looks like it walked

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out of the history books. “Capturing the integrity of a historic building, with a well thought-out layout, timeless beauty and extraordinary detailing required hours of research to ensure that the details were genuine and would stand the test of time,” explains architect Shane Harris. “The end result will be a welcoming, open, public facility with all of the technology, controls and capabilities of any modern office.” A Gathering Place City hall will anchor the Roanoke City Center, a mixed-use project that includes a plaza and fountain as its focal point. The 20-acre space will include retail, office, urban residential, townhomes, a hotel and convention center and, of course, the new

Renderings courtesy of RGA Architects

Roanoke’s new city hall borrows from the past as it moves into the future. BY PAULA FELPS

city hall, according to Morgan Burns, marketing and media relations coordinator for the City of Roanoke. Campbell says they see it as a gathering place for the entire community that capitalizes upon the existing synergy of their vibrant downtown businesses. It will also include a fire department museum, which will be home to the city’s prized 1923 fire engine. As part of the campaign to build the new center, the city developed a brick paver program to honor long-time Roanoke residents who have played an important role in the city’s history. They also will have an entire section of brick pavers dedicated to the city’s past mayors. “The land where the new city hall sits was donated by the Peterson-Coleman family, who have longtime ties to the area and our community,” Campbell says. That donation shaved about $1 million off the price tag of the $17 million project. “Certain components of the project will be dedicated to honor them.”

More Than Just a Pretty Space For all its beauty and aesthetics, the new facility is actually a necessary addition to the growing city of Roanoke. Right now, administrative functions and city departments are scattered throughout the city in different locations. The new city hall brings them together under one roof for the first time in many years. Coming in at just under 30,000 square feet, the city hall will house all city staff as well as departments such as development services, building inspections and code enforcement. The building is designed to allow for a 20 percent growth in city staff. “Having so many services in one location will improve efficiencies and services for our customers and citizens,” Campbell notes. “From a practical standpoint, being in a facility that will handle all of our future needs is very exciting. But I also think the plaza component will be a focal point for people coming downtown. I am very excited to see the positive effects that will have.”

The fire department museum (above) will house the city's 1923 fire engine. When completed, the entire area will be a community gathering space with retail, outdoor spaces and more.

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Denton Community Theatre at The Historic Campus Theatre 214 W. Hickory • • 940.382.7014

Nov. 15


5:30 to 7:30 pm

September 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23

November 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18

The Graduate - Written by Terry Johnson; Adapted from the novel by Charles Webb; Adapted from the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry; Featuring songs by Paul Simon; Other music by Barrington

Little Shop of Horrors - Book by Howard Ashman; Music by Alan Menken; Lyrics by Howard Ashman; Based on the film by Roger Corman, screenplay by Charles Griffith

The stage adaptation, based on the novel and the 1967 film, is a bitterly hilarious dark comedy about a recent college grad’s disillusionment and search for meaning. For mature audiences due to subject matter. Directed by Danny Armitage

This musical-comedy sci-fi hybrid of a show is about a timid floral shop assistant who discovers a sinister new plant from outer space that plots to take over the world! Toe-tapping fun for ages 6 to 106. Directed by Travis Barth & Sean Frith

Denton’s very own celebration of the grape and the best party in town! Beaujolais Nouveaux wine is flown all over the world from France each year, and over 20 of Denton’s finest restaurants and caterers provide some of their most delectable delicacies to sample. Additional wine and craft beer tastings also available. Treat yourself to an evening of nibbling and sipping while supporting the Campus Theatre – at the Denton Civic Center.

December 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16


By Barbara Robinson Delightful family comedy about the six delinquent Herdman children who attend church for the first time and end up in the annual Christmas pageant where they tell the Christmas story in an unconventional way. Directed by Nancy Chumbley

June 28, 29, 30, 2019 January 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20 The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams A touching family drama that centers around Tom, an aspiring poet who works in a warehouse, his mother Amanda and his painfully shy sister Laura. Tom longs to leave home for a life of adventure but stays to support his mother and sister. Mature subject matter. Directed by Brad Speck.

March 29, 30, 31 & April 4, 5, 6, 7 Annie - Book by Thomas Meehan; Music by Charles Strouse; Lyrics by Martin Charnin; Based on Little Orphan Annie by permission of the Media Tribune Services, Inc. The beloved musical tells the story of a plucky orphan’s adventures as she escapes from the evil Miss Hannigan and finds a place to belong with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his secretary, Grace and a dog named Sandy. Family friendly fun for ages 4 and up. Directed by John Evarts.

By Roger Bean This musical comedy uses songs from the 1950s and 1960s to tell the story of a group of high school song leaders that are unexpectedly called upon to perform at their senior prom. Some of the songs include “Lollipop”, “Dream Lover”, “Stupid Cupid”, “It’s My Party”, and more! Directed by Richard Dennis.

2018 - 2019 Schedule 318 E. Hickory Reel Men, The Fitzhugh Brothers by Ron Chapman Sept. 7, 8, 9, 2018 Comedy about three very different brothers who get together for the first time in years. Each has his own reasons for why he does, or does not, want to meet. It was questionably decided that this encounter occur in a small boat in the middle of a lake as they try to resolve very old, yet very raw and tender sibling issues. Directed by Ron Chapman.

August 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18 June 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16 Lend Me A Tenor by Ken Ludwig Hilarious comedy about Cleveland’s opera company hosting a world famous Italian tenor, whose offstage drama creates chaos for the opera’s executive director, Henry and his faithful assistant (and aspiring singer), Max. For mature audiences. Directed by Buster Maloney & Donna Trammell

Cats - Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot; “Prologue - Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats” additional material written by Trevor Nunn and Richard Stilgoe; ”Memory” additional material written by Trevor Nunn. This popular musical has the Jellicle Cats sing their stories for their benevolent leader, Old Deuteronomy, to determine which will be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. A charming experience for 8 and up. Directed by Ash Robbins

Blackout by Gary Lennon Feb. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 2019 On Christmas Eve at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a diverse group gathers to share their stories of hope and madness. They crave strength, integrity and friendship as they struggle to make sense of their lives after years of drinking, drugging and excess. A unique sense of family, love and hope prevails. For Mature Audiences. Directed by Andrea Avery Ray Fool for Love by Sam Shepherd May 31 & June 1, 2, 2019 This play focuses on May and Eddie, former lovers who have met again in a motel in the desert. The play premiered in 1983 at the magic Theatre in San Francisco, where Shepard was the playwright-in-residence. The play was a finalist for the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. For Mature Audiences. Directed by John Rodgers. Late: A Cowboys Song by Sarah Ruhl Aug. 2, 3, 4, 2019 Mary, always late and always married, meets a lady cowboy outside the city limits of Pittsburgh who teaches her how to ride a horse. A story of one woman's education and her search to find love outside the box. For Mature Audiences. Directed by Kerri Peters.



Western Living Realty, Jeff Taylor Real Estate

Jeff Taylor Agent

We greatly enjoy matching our clients with great home options. Believe it or not, it is fun to bring our clients into their dream home and to share in their excitement.

Billy Lovell Broker

Western Living Realty was formed around fourteen years ago in order to better accommodate a “retail” and friendlier real estate access for buyers and sellers. Western was a parallel agency to Builders Marketing services which serviced and listed builder’s homes in a limited way and at discounted pricing. After the original Broker retired, Billy Lovell reformed Western’s retail side and quietly ran the business beginning in October 2006. DFW real estate grew over time to what it is today. Jeff Taylor has lived in Denton County since March of 1996. Western Living Realty are members of the National Association of Realtors. Our Code of Ethics first developed in 1913, which regulates our performance and service, for which our professionalism is based. We also follow through with our clients for all issues. What makes us unique is that we provide high attention to a limited number of buyers and sellers. Our business philosophy is to carefully select our clients to make sure we are a good fit with our strengths. Our best customers understand there are many steps and stages during the purchase and/or sale of real property. We are known for our common sense, ability to negotiate all aspects of the contract details and our diligence related to all time lines. Western Living Realty solves our clients’ biggest needs by protecting and promoting our clients’ interests, while treating all parties honestly. Clients and customers yearn for fair and honest treatment. Helping clients successfully enjoy the home searching process and the progression of acquisition is highly gratifying, and our barometer for achievement. Jeff Taylor has also stayed very involved in the local Denton County community. “DFW is blessed with many communities and distinct neighborhoods. Talented Realtors are constantly touring and visiting them daily. I previously held a chair position for over 5 years with Make-A-Wish Foundation and recently applied with the City of Corinth to actively participate as needed”, said Jeff Taylor. 6101 Long Prairie Road, 744-242, Flower Mound, TX 75028 • 214-789-2490 |



Explore the Explorium


ounded in 2012 as a home for education and exploration, the Explorium Denton Children’s Museum has never had four walls to call its own. This beloved nonprofit museum has lived a nomadic existence over the past six years, popping up across Denton County at markets and inside malls, libraries and schools with its interactive programs and mobile lessons. But all that is about to change. The Explorium is, at last, putting the finishing touches on its new brick-and-mortar location in the Stonehill Center (5800 I-35 North, Suite 214) and expects to be open by the end of this fall. “Fundraising has been the biggest challenge,” says Anyah Martinez, founder and executive director of Explorium Denton Children’s Museum. “If I said, ‘We are opening a coffee shop,’ people understand what that is and can take it or leave it. Many people do not understand what a children’s museum is and are hesitant to commit. This includes


individuals, companies and foundations through which we have applied for grants with over the years. Once we open, many of those sources have said they’ll revisit our requests.” Fortunately, Martinez was able to find a few passionate companies and individuals to fund the initial costs of moving the musuem into the space. Once open, the musuem will feature more than 7,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that include resources for parent-child play, solo-child play and plenty of areas for children to explore their curiosities in a safe environment. Kids and their parents will be able to wander through areas that range from a Think and Make Zone filled with tools to a How Things Work Zone that will uncover elements of nature, physics, biology, music and more. The space will also include a zone where little ones can learn how to milk a cow and gather vegetables while older kids mosey through the Chicken Noodle

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Forest or explore the urban chicken coop. The Collaborative Building Zone will encourage kids and parents to work alongside other families to build soaring structures with the big blue blocks from Imagination Playground. Education Coordinator Melissa Haas says the Explorium is important because “it will be a space where kids can play, explore and experiment free of grades or comparison, where they can do STEM activities without worrying if they are good at science or math.” For more information or to book a private party or classroom session, visit or facebook. com/exploriumdenton.

Rendering courtesy of the Explorium and Roto Group, LLC.

The beloved Explorium Children’s Museum has finally found a permanent home. BY KRISTY ALPERT

Presented by the

City of Corinth


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A Different Kind of Dog Catcher Dogs of Hilltown rescues mistreated dogs, saves injured animals and educates the community. BY NICOLE FOSTER

Kenzie, director of networking, gains the trust of a street dog (top left). Emily, social media director, transports two outreach pups to the vet (top right). Tia, foster care director, evaluates two dogs for the foster program (bottom).


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here’s a place in Denton County, near Argyle, called Hilltown where dogs roam free. Unloved, forgotten or abandoned, they scavenge for food and seek shelter from the elements. They’re not bad dogs; they just need some TLC. Driving through Hilltown one day, Teresa Mustafa noticed a pregnant golden retriever eating garbage on the street. She then saw three dogs running alongside traffic on a busy road. Teresa couldn’t ignore the dozens of dogs she came to realize were homeless and wandering the streets of Hilltown. She started working to create a nonprofit to help them get healthy, off the streets and into foster homes. In 2016, Dogs of Hilltown was born. “A lot of people get dogs and let them roam,” says Teresa of the neighborhood’s four-legged residents. “They’re not vaccinated, and there’s a lack of education. The consequences are a lot of unwanted, unintended litters.” Like a group of vigilantes, Teresa and her team incorporated an outreach program, navigating Hilltown and approaching homes where they’ve noticed dogs hanging around. With the goal of decreasing the population of vagrants, Teresa and co. try to educate owners and entice them to bring their dogs to the vet for heavily discounted shots and a spay or neuter. “We build a relationship with the owner. We’ll step in and say, ‘We have sponsors to help us. Would you be willing to get your dog fixed if we take on that cost?’” explains Teresa. “We don’t want puppies running around.” When Teresa discovers a dog that has been “dumped,” she’ll bring him or her to the vet for triage. From there, she’ll either try to get the dog into a rescue network (if it’s a specific breed) or into Dogs of Hilltown’s foster program, which currently has about 50 volunteers who open their homes to provide belly rubs, snuggles and regular meals. With the help of generous donors, civic-minded vets and compassionate foster parents, Dogs of Hilltown has cared for and placed 250 animals into forever homes. “If you count the puppies from pregnant dogs, the total is 310,” Teresa says. If you’re interested in helping Dogs of Hilltown with its mission of finding loving, forever homes for homeless pups, please visit to find out how you can adopt, foster, donate or volunteer.



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Coming Up

roses fter 36 years of working as a chemical engineer for Gulf Oil and Chevron in Scotland, Indonesia and many places in between, Jim Herbison never imagined his greatest passion would finally take root in a small field in Denton, Texas. Herbison purchased the floodplain parcel that would become Herbison’s Gemini Peach and Rose Farm after he retired in 2001, planting four beds of roses as a sort of hobby.


It didn’t take long for those four beds to turn into 41 beds with more than 1,000 types of roses, and it took even less time for Herbison’s roses to start winning competitions across North Texas, taking first place at the Dallas Rose Show five times and first place at the Fort Worth Rose Show four times. “I grew up on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, between Greenville and Cleveland in a place called Longshot,” explains Herbison. “My dad always had cotton and my mother

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always had flowers around the house, so I grew up with flowers. I’ve always been into gardening, but it was after I went to several American Rose Society rose shows that I discovered roses were the queen of the flowers, and I decided to grow roses.” But Herbison doesn’t just grow roses; he hybridizes them, creating unique types that only exist in Denton County. To date, Herbison has created 600 unique roses through a hybridization process he invented that involves

Photos by Jeff Stephens

Jim Herbison has created 600 unique varieties of roses only found in Denton County. BY KRISTY ALPERT

grafting and propagating rootstocks from different varietals of roses. “I have a sophisticated mist system as well,” he adds. “It’s a system that I engineered myself that allows me to reproduce a rose with the same characteristics as an original rose.” Each of the roses grown at Herbison’s garden carries its own name, many of them selected by Herbison’s wife, Janet. As one of 16 children, Janet sought to honor her family members by naming new roses after them. After exhausting her list of cousins, siblings, aunts and even some distant relatives, she decided to open up the floor for others and created a “Name Your Rose” package. For $1,000, anyone can purchase the naming rights for one of the 600 completely unique hybridized roses and have the name they choose registered with the American Rose Society. Along with a certificate of authenticity, purchasers will receive the latest booklet from the American Rose Society, containing the name of the

Roses make me happy, and they make a lot of other people happy.

newly registered rose as well as two rose bushes mailed to anywhere within the continental Unites States. Herbison’s Denton garden is open to the public, and he encourages visitors to come during daylight hours to explore the grounds and take pictures. You can even bring a basket to pick and purchase fruit from his expansive fruit orchards, which include 140 peach trees as well as a variety of plum trees, figs, Japanese persimmons and pomegranates. Although roses are available for purchase, Herbison typically donates the flowers to charities, including nursing homes and shut-in programs for people who are unable to leave their homes. “I’m not in this to make any money,” Herbison jokes. “Roses make me happy, and they make a lot of other people happy. After all, isn’t that what life is all about? Making other people happy?” Plan your visit by visiting

We Keep You WI N N E R







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Bonnie & Clyde Days


eady to indulge your small-town America love of live music, soap-box races and blueberry pie eating? Make plans to be in Pilot Point on October 13 for the 9th annual Bonnie & Clyde Days. Though the day’s excitement includes thrilling bank-robbery re-enactments on the historic town square (at noon and 3 p.m.), the point is not to promote Bonnie and Clyde’s lives of crime but instead to honor the town’s place in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. They are “celebrating the day Hollywood came to town,” says Lenette Cox, Pilot Point’s Main Street director and event coordinator. Volunteer actors don snappy gangster garb to play out the scene just as it was filmed 51 years ago in the town square. The starring duo is joined by a cast of characters playing sheriffs, the film director, the mayor and others. The day will also include more than 100 food and craft vendors and a free kids’ zone complete with bounce houses, a rock-climbing wall, zip lining, a petting zoo and face painting. Other can’t-miss highlights include: uu Serious soap-box racing: The thrilling competition for trophies and bragging rights happens on a hill in front of the library on Washington Street. Buster Chandler of Chandler Cabinets started


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the tradition and the town’s cabinet makers embraced it. “All of the cabinet shops have cars in the races,” says Coz. “And it’s not just the cabinet shops that do cars anymore; the police and fire departments have done cars, and even the grocery stores and banks. It’s very competitive! You have to see it to believe it.” uu Pie-eating contest: Steve Murray’s Aubrey shop, World Famous Moms, donates all of the blueberry pies for three categories of pie-eating: children’s, middle-school age and adults. Out-of-towners are welcome to participate. Just bring your appetite and be ready to get messy. uu Jack Ingram in concert: Evening concerts on Western Son Distillery’s huge outdoor stage often sell out, so snap up your $15 tickets now at “It’s family friendly, so you can take your kids and have a good time,” Cox says. Bonnie & Clyde Days, which takes place on the second Saturday of October, has grown every year, Cox says. “Our town has a little over 5,000 people in it total, and now we’re getting well over 5,000 in [event] attendance — many of them out-of-town or even out-of-state visitors. Come on down and join us this year, we’d love to have you!”

Illustration by Brain Harte; middle photo courtesy of Red 11 Music.

Over 5,000 people will descend on Pilot Point for the small town’s most popular event. BY DONNA STOKES


Celebrating 150 Years

First Christian Church of Denton is just 11 years younger than Denton itself.

Photo courtesy Denton Public Library


irst Christian Church has been part of Denton since 1868 when the congregation began meeting with other worshipers from young churches in the Masonic Hall. Since then, the church has had several homes on West Oak and North Elm, West Hickory, Piner and Hickory and even in the courthouse, but it has gathered in its current location at 1203 North Fulton since it was built in 1959. The current building was the work of O’Neil Ford — an architect who was vital to shaping Denton County with projects such as the Little Chapel-in-the-Woods, the Denton Civic Center, Denton City Hall and others you’ll read about in this issue’s “Home” feature. The facility has grown with additions throughout the years, but so has the church’s ministry. Today, it supports at least 10 wellness, recovery and support groups, as well as the Salvation Army, Interfaith Ministries, Denton Community Food Bank and others. JoAnn Boyd, planning committee chair for the 150th anniversary, says, “Through the years, generations of congregations have both grown and decreased, but there has always been a core of dedicated members whose foresight and planning have provided many of us a place to grow in faith. Our anniversary celebration is planned to honor our church’s past while looking forward to our future.” The church invites community members to join past and present members and clergy, as well as city of Denton leaders, for the celebration of this significant milestone on October 21. S E P T E M B E R /O C TO B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y



West Side Story

Photo courtesy of Denton Public Library

This photo, taken around 1880, shows the west side of Denton Square along Elm Street. Businesses that can be seen include (left to right): C. M. Greenlee (dry goods), Lipscomb’s Drug Store, Jeweler H. J. Howell, a health office, the Houston Stiff Saloon, the Chronicle’s offices, W. H. Cleveland Groceries, a carpet store, J. B. Schmitz Furniture, Opera House, Carter & Benners Grocers, Land Office: A. D. Beaty, Ben Key’s Tin Shop, C. F. Sanders and Company’s Saddles and Harness. Off in the distance, wide-open land awaits development. Not much is recognizable today because of the devastation caused on the west side of the Square during the great fire of 1860 and another fire in 1994.

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This safe, livable city has gorgeous parks and trails, a strong sense of community and a well-deserved sense of optimism about its future. BY DONNA STOKES

ocated in the booming Lake Cities region of Denton County, Corinth is a growing city with the heart of a small town. With I-35 construction through Corinth finally wrapping up and a new strategic plan in the works, the city has a lot to look forward to. Talking to officials and residents leaves you with a real sense of excitement about the future — and for good reason. “Corinth is a safe, beautiful and highly livable city that prioritizes quality of life,” says Corinth City Manager Bob Hart. “It is also in an excellent location, being just north of Lake Lewisville, just south of Denton and about 30 miles from downtown Dallas.” Tina Henderson — director of the Lake Cities Chamber, newly elected Corinth City Council member and 11-year Corinth resident — says, “Corinth is very friendly. People care about each other, and they care about our city. It’s been a small, sleepy bedroom community, but we have a lot of things on the horizon to put us more on the map.”


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Well-Planned Growth Today, the city has a population of more than 21,000 highly educated residents. At its current rate of growth, about 3 percent a year, the community will hit 25,0000 within five years. Although Corinth itself is small, its appeal to employers and new businesses is big — thanks in part to its location in the heart of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions. About 172,000 people live within a 15-minute drive of Corinth, and 313,000 live within 20 minutes. That number is growing all the time. Major employers include the headquarters of CoServ (an electric and gas utility serving Denton, Collin, Cooke, Grayson, Kaufman, Tarrant and Wise counties that employs more than 370), North Central Texas College, Bill Utter Ford and DATCU. Population growth in a limited space requires careful planning. The city is landlocked at about eight square miles, so the strategic planning series that includes citizens, city council and staff is critical to ensuring that Corinth grows the right way for both residents and businesses. “The city of Corinth has had the good fortune of having people on the council who had forward-thinking ideas in the early planning stages of the city,” says Corinth Mayor Bill Heidemann, elected in 2015. “We feel we have some exciting times coming for our citizens and just want to have a plan that coordinates all the different phases within our capabilities.” Henderson notes that residents would like to see more sit-down restaurants, entertainment venues and shops. Current culinary hot spots include Don Camillo Italian Cuisine, Lake Cities Café, Pho Asian Star as well as Maria’s and Angelina’s Mexican restaurants, but there are even more options on the horizon. “My vision is that we can live, work and play right here in our own city, in our own backyard,” Henderson says. To that end, the city is interested in pursuing more mixed-use development with a focus on restaurants and some boutique retail. There are already two mixed-use projects in the construction stage: Millennium Place and Oxford at Lakeview. Each one features apartments, restaurants, retail space, parks and more. Five residential subdivisions are also in various stages of development: Amherst, Parkside Farms, The Bluffs at Pinnell Pointe, Terrace Oaks and Valencia.

A Sense of Community “I love it here. I feel safe here,” says Henderson. “The people are friendly and loyal. One thing I really like about our [Lake Cities] Chamber as well is that people here are very loyal to each other and support each other’s businesses.” The Chamber serves the communities of Corinth, Shady Shores, Hickory Creek and Lake Dallas. The four communities also share a fire department, but Corinth has its own police department. “Despite the growth, it does feel like a small town,” Henderson says. “We have a fabulous police department. Our police chief, Debra Walthall, is just head and shoulders above most.” Chief Walthall notes on the city website that the department works to meet safety needs and “keep Corinth a vibrant city in which to live, work and visit.” The officers added a little vibrancy of their own to their hometown when their recent #lipsyncchallenge video went viral. The video, which shows the department lip syncing to Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.,” has had nearly 13 million views, 338,000 shares and 243,000 likes. Not to worry though — police aren’t too busy becoming online stars to keep their city safe. The National Council for Home Safety and Security designated Corinth the 15th safest city in Texas for 2018, based on the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics and internal research.

The Lake Cities Chamber of Commerce serves four cities along the shores of Lake Lewisville: Corinth, Lake Dallas, Hickory Creek and Shady Shores.

Green and Scenic The city has also recently received several designations for its progressive operational practices. The Planning Department was awarded a Solsmart Gold designation for its efforts to make it faster, easier and more affordable to go solar. The designation recognizes that Corinth as a city that is “open for solar business.” S E P T E M B E R /O C TO B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y




Though settlement around Corinth dates back to 1880 when the Dallas and Wichita Railroad came through the area, the city’s official history is relatively short. Under the leadership of Erskine K. Bludworth, community meetings were held in homes during the summer of 1960 to discuss a plan for the town. Bludworth and the approximately 400 community members decided that the two-mile square of land should be incorporated. On September 19, 1960, a petition to incorporate the community into the town of Corinth by special election was presented to Denton County Judge W.K. Baldridge, and the city was born. “Corinth was settled by pioneer families who enjoyed country life,” according to Corinth Yesterday and Today: A Brief History of Our Town. The book, available for free in its entirety on cityofcorinth. com features 130 pages of fascinating stories about the families who founded and shaped the city.

The American Public Works Association (APWA) also announced that the Corinth Public Works department was the 144th agency and the 11th city in Texas to be awarded accreditation status. The accolades keep coming. In July, the city was designated a Silver Certified Scenic City. The Scenic City program recognizes cities “for their demonstrated commitment to high-quality scenic standards for public roadways and public spaces.” Corinth already has 13 beautiful parks and 12 miles of hiking and biking trails that connect the parks with residential areas, and more are on the way. “We recognize the importance of these spaces and have built park and trail dedication into our development process,” Hart says. The Trails Master Plan seeks to ensure connectivity both within Corinth and with neighboring communities, allowing easy access to an extensive local and regional trail network.

“Green space, parks and trails are critical to the city’s livability,” says Hart. They contribute not only to environmental quality but also to transportation and recreation options. “Park and open spaces provide residents with access to myriad outdoor recreation opportunities and provide valuable civic and cultural spaces.” One such opportunity is the ability to host Travel Sports Baseball’s Little League World Series Tournament. Three hundred teams played at Corinth Community Park’s nine baseball fields for two weeks during June and July. “Residents love the family atmosphere of the neighborhoods, and it’s from this perspective that we promote our community events,” Hart says. Popular annual events include Pumpkin Palooza (read more in our See & Do section), Taste of Corinth, Christmas Tree Lighting, a Daddy-Daughter Dance and Fish ’n Fun gatherings.

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ucked away in Stonehill Center, just off I-35, awaits a magical shopping experience beyond your imagination. Step through the doors of Rose Costumes, and you’ll enter a realm of pirates, princesses, wizards and more. And with whimsical staff members ready to guide your tour through the store’s many worlds, you’re sure to find the perfect costume for Halloween, that themed cocktail party, a murder mystery dinner or any special occasion.

The Rose Costumes Experience This 42-year-old institution is full of magic, wonder and works of art created with the founder’s own hands. BY ABIGAIL BOATWRIGHT

Judy Smith created this Mad Hatter costume using an ordinary grey polyester tuxedo as a starting point. The finished product is a staff favorite.


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A Personal Touch The costumes at Rose Costumes are high-quality pieces that are available for rent. Perfect for masquerades, murder mystery parties and especially Halloween, many of the pieces are works of art created with Smith’s own hands. Daniel Bernardo, assistant manager, says Smith has either sewn or tailored just about every one of the more than 9,000 costumes in store. You won’t find cheaply made or poorly constructed costumes for sale here. You’ll find real clothing that is clean and well-kept, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Rose Costumes team. Smith’s Mad Hatter creation is a staff favorite. Smith used to participate in challenges at the National Costumers Association. During one contest, she was given a grey polyester tuxedo as the base for a costume. The Mad Hatter suit came from that endeavor. Covered from top hat to tails in pieces of upholstery for an extreme, distressed look — a Judy Smith trademark — the Mad Hatter suit is shabby chic and one-of-a-kind. “I made it when my husband was in a nursing home, recovering from a broken leg,” Smith says. “I went there every day and I sat with him and worked on this costume. So it has a special meaning to me. But on top of that, it’s just a really cool costume.” Smith spends every Saturday morning hitting garage sales, on the hunt for interesting clothing, drapery and even bedspreads to convert into unique costume creations.

Photos (except historic photo) by Abigail Boatwright

Secondhand Rose and the Transformation In 1976, Judy Smith and Patsy Moran founded Rose Costumes as a vintage furniture and clothing shop for college students in Denton. The store was initially called Secondhand Rose — after the song Barbra Streisand sang in Funny Girl — and it shared a wall with Jim’s Diner, owned by Smith’s husband. Ten years later, Moran moved to Austin for another venture, and Smith transformed the business into a costume store as a response to customers who wanted to rent vintage clothing for Halloween. Smith had always sewed as a side business, and she began making costumes herself. In 2004, the store expanded into its current 10,000-square-foot location, and it continues to enjoy a cult following — particularly with thespians. “Theater is generally our biggest customer. We have people coming from Houston, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and we’ve also started shipping costumes all over the country,” Smith says.

Founder Judy Smith (left) recently sold the business to long-time store manager Annemarie Aldrich (right).

Exploring the Wonderland The store is laid out by theme, and to best enjoy the carefully displayed pieces, you’ll want to pick up the “Treasures of the Rose” store map at the entrance. Visit Belle’s Ballroom for princess costumes, Sherwood Forest for renaissance outfits or Rosita’s Cantina for frontier clothing. Once you’re ready to transform yourself, head to the dressing rooms, each of which has been designed around a theme. The employees of the store brainstorm décor concepts and help implement them with the help of carpenter Mark Holderbaum. Every inch of the store is decorated and designed to enchant… even the bathrooms! The employee bathroom is the Rhumba Room, a tropical getaway. The main bathroom is a tribute to Sherlock Holmes, complete with organ, damask-flocked wallpaper, books, fringed tapestries and an unexpected visitor. Some themed rooms even have their own music. The Experience All in all, it’s quite the experience — and that’s exactly what the team at Rose Costumes wants for its customers. Judy recently sold her business to long-time store manager Annemarie Aldrich. The

two ladies share a single-minded vision for the store: Provide each customer with a welcoming, fun, exciting experience to enjoy while selecting their costume. From the moment you walk in the door until you’re making your final choices, complete with accessories and makeup tutorials, you’ll be treated to what Smith and Aldrich call “The Rose Costumes Experience.” “When a school is here to pick costumes for its show, we play the music

Halloween Advisors

Stumped about a costume for yourself or your little one this year? Try visiting with staff at Rose Costumes for inspiration. While you’re at the store, you can also pick up a flyer with innovative costume recommendations. If you’d like to own one of Rose Costumes’ high-quality pieces, attend the store’s annual sidewalk sale September 7–8. Plan ahead for this highly anticipated event.

Judy Smith (left) and Patsy Moran (right) founded Rose Costumes (then Secondhand Rose) in 1976. This photo was taken three years later with Patsy's husband.

of the show the students will be performing,” Smith says. “The rest of the time, we have show tunes playing.” The store’s staff lends a special appeal to the store as well: Judy in her colorful ensemble and trendy glasses. Aldrich with an eclectic stack of bangles and flawless makeup. And staff members with unique personalities who take pride in assisting customers on their costume journey. “Our employees believe this is their store too,” Smith says. “They are excited about it. I feel like when somebody comes into the store, they’re helped by somebody who is an active part of what is happening here. You’re not alone when you walk in the door.” Aldrich agrees, saying the store’s customer service is what makes Rose Costumes so special: “I really believe we have such loyal customers because of the lengths our employees go to help everyone.”

S E P T E M B E R /O C TO B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y



Prime Farm to Table

Servers at this Flower Mound restaurant can tell you where every bite of your locally grown, made-from-scratch meal was produced. BY MELANIE MEDINA

The Chef’s Story If anyone had the culinary chops to bring the farm-to-table, chef-driven concept to Flower Mound, it was Flahaven. He trained at New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and then scored an internship with award-winning chef John Farnsworth in Florida. He later worked


at a French restaurant on the Connecticut–New York border, then owned a restaurant in Chester, Connecticut, for 14 years. Flahaven describes his style as “French-American country.” The farm-to-table concept has always been a way of life for him. “Part of my job [in Connecticut] was coming up with the menu based on what I could find from the farmers,” says Flahaven. On the way to work, he’d stop at local fruit stands and farms, buying whatever was ripe to create the day’s menu. He developed such close relationships with farmers that they’d set aside boxes of squash or zucchini for him. He wanted to bring that way of life to Flower Mound. Six years ago, he, his wife and daughter, now 13, moved to Argyle. Two years later, Prime Farm to Table opened its doors in a shopping plaza along Long Prairie Road. Its location, wedged between a chiropractor’s office and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, obscures its charm from the outside, but from the moment

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diners open the door, it’s apparent that this restaurant is in a different class than the chain restaurants surrounding it. Inside, the space is elegant and cozy with a contemporary farmhouse feel. “A lot of people down here think of big restaurants and big booths that separate everyone,” Flahaven says. “Where I’m from, it’s a lot of cozy little restaurants and you kind of see everyone.” Forging New Friendships As his restaurant was being built, Flahaven began building friendships with local farmers at markets. It didn’t take long for farmers to appreciate Flahaven’s plans. “What’s amazing is when you make that connection with a farmer and they see that you recognize how much passion and hard work they put into growing,” Flahaven says. “When they know how their food is being handled and can tell a story, they like that. And then it spreads through word of mouth.”

Photos courtesy of Prime Farm to Table


ot many restaurants in Flower Mound have a story to tell. Sure, half-literate cows implore us to eat at Chick-fil-A, but many FloMo restaurants are nothing to write home about. It was this dearth of fine-dining options that brought Chris Flahaven, executive chef and owner of Prime Farm to Table, to Flower Mound from Connecticut. After visiting his parents, who live in Denton County, he recognized the lack of restaurants serving locally grown, organic, made-from-scratch foods and aimed to fill that void.

Standout Dishes

“What’s amazing is when you make that connection with a farmer and they see that you recognize how much passion and hard work they put into growing.” Flahaven makes sure that the farmers’ stories are passed along to his diners, so he lists the farms that are represented in each day’s menu. He also invites farmers to the restaurant so they can taste how Flahaven has incorporated their work into his own. His entire team — from hosts to wait staff to bartenders — can tell diners where their meals came from. The pasture-raised chicken from a recent Thursday night’s chicken roulade? It came from Windy Meadows farm in Campbell, Texas. The peaches that Flahaven roasted and served on the side? Winona Orchards near Tyler. The chilies that gave the dish its kick? Johnson’s Backyard Garden in Denton. Where does that beverage made with ghost tequila get its softer, sweeter notes? The bartender has infused it with locally grown sweet peppers. Bringing Prime to the People Flahaven has also made fast friends with diners who frequent Prime. In the span of 10 minutes, Flahaven greeted three guests by name. One of these guests, legendary local entrepreneur Jay D. Rodgers, came in expecting a dish that wasn’t on the day’s menu: sausage, which Flahaven sources from a local supplier then grinds in house and serves with peppers. “I had it this past weekend, but I’m sold out,” Flahaven tells Rodgers. “I’m bringing it back, though.” “I might have to take you up behind the shed, boy,” Rodgers quips. Rodgers and other Prime diners won’t have to wait long before the sausage is back on the menu — nor

New England Lobster Roll

will they necessarily have to drive to Prime to get it. Flahaven now has a 24-foot food truck called Prime From Scratch, complete with a wood oven. He takes the truck to North Texas events. In late July, Flahaven had the truck at Armadillo Ale Works in Denton where he cooked with the brewery’s newest beer. Flahaven also uses the truck to host dinners at North Texas farms where guests meet him for a reception and five-course dinner under the stars. He hosted the first farm dinner last year and has two more in the works (fall 2018 and spring 2019). Flahaven and his family didn’t just bring the farm-to-table concept to Denton County; they’re truly part of the community. Many of the events they participate in benefit charities, including the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County and the North Texas Food Bank. “We really want to teach people about food and get them to try vegetables they haven’t seen before — just pay it forward,” Flahaven says. “It comes back in compliments in return, and hopefully our business can grow. And we’ll always be that charming little restaurant here.” Prime Farm to Table 5810 Long Prairie Road, Suite 200, Flower Mound, Texas Online: and Reservations: Use Open Table or call 972-539-1902 Price Point: $7 to $18 starters; $16 to $50 entrees

Though Flahaven sources some fish from local fisheries, much of the seafood on his menus is brought in from the coast. Case in point: Maine lobsters. When they’re in season, Prime serves about 90 Maine lobsters a week, Flahaven says.

Tempura Brussels Sprouts

“We make people who are not Brussels spouts fans Brussels sprouts fans,” Flahaven says. And for good reason. Prime’s sprouts come lightly fried in tempura batter and are served with sesame seeds, fresh lemon, sea salt, sweet soy and Sriracha on the side.

Grilled Texas Prime Akaushi 8 oz. Filet

Akaushi is known for its faster marbling, which means the cattle’s fat grows inside the muscle instead of the outside. This makes the beef sublimely tender. Flahaven rounds out the dish with a vegetable hash made from whichever veggies are in season and chimichurri.

Baked Mac & Cheese with Bacon No, Prime doesn’t have a kids’ menu. But Flahaven can make a mean grilled cheese if your kids aren’t adventurous. Even better? Melt-in-your-mouth mac and cheese. With. Bacon. The pasta is handmade with spätzle, aged cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs. And bacon.

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t’s the family, friends, food, lives and laughter inside a building that transform it from a house into a home… but it doesn’t hurt if the place looks gorgeous too. We sought out some of Denton County’s top experts and tastemakers for advice on all things home related. By the time you’re finished with this issue, you’ll know the best ways to upgrade your yard, renovate your kitchen, add a rustic touch to your décor, design sophisticated spaces and even buy or sell a house the right way. Along the way, you’ll be inspired by our county’s most lavish estates, most interesting historic homes and newest tower living. Prepare for your home sweet home to get a little bit sweeter.

D These five stunning Denton County estates will inspire you… and might even be your next home. BY RUSS KLETTKE



The Furst Ranch is one of the only large working ranches that enjoys such close proximity to amenities and an international airport.


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Photo courtesy of Kim Hunter

reamHOMES hat are dreams made of? A sprawling ranch house might make some swoon. Others want to rise above it all in a luxury 12th floor condo. Everyone’s wish list is different: A screening room for the cinephile, a party-ready outdoor kitchen for the entertainer, an estate on a lake for the equestrian or a sprawling piece of land protected from development for the nature lover. Denton County has whatever your heart desires. These five beautiful abodes are just the start. (As a note, most of the homes listed here are on the market as of this writing, so if one strikes your fancy, go make that dream a reality.)

FURST RANCH - $19,995,000

This 127-acre Argyle/Bartonville property offers no shortage of leisure options for its future owner. Spend time with the horses in the 28-stall horse barn. Ride in the covered arena. Jog or walk the rolling hills among hundreds of mature oaks and winding streams. Knock a few balls around on the putting green. Or get your creative juices flowing in the two-bedroom artist cottage.

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At the center of this estate is a two-story, five-bedroom, five-bath ranch built on one of the highest points in southern Denton County (stand on the master bedroom’s balcony and you can see all the way


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to the water tower in Flower Mound). The 6,600-square-foot house — originally built in 1974 by one of Rev. Billy Graham’s daughters but extensively renovated in 1999 for an amateur National Cutting Horse Association champion — comes complete with wraparound porch and flagstone-decked pool, spa and fire pit. The living room quickly converts to a screening room with a retractable screen and blinds. A 1,400-square-foot foreman’s home and 2,500-squarefoot executive retreat round out the property. It has a distinctive hunter’s lodge feeling throughout with rough-hewn exposed support joists and railings, a commanding floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and windows that offer views of the rolling hills and boulder-dotted creek. Lest there be any doubt of the ranch’s provenance, a bronze statue of a mare and foal stands in the drive-up with a flag plaza. The Furst Ranch is currently listed for $19,995,000 and can be subdivided. Contact: Kim Hunter/KW Luxury International, 214-766-5568 or Brad Johnson/Halo Group Realty, 214-548-8150

Photos courtesy of Kim Hunter



This home truly was born of a dream. Once a modest white brick, three-bedroom, it was remodeled and expanded to triple the size of the kitchen and living areas. A wine cellar was added, along with a media room, master suite, exercise room, several garages and a large entertainment patio. A reclaimed windmill and a wood-clad water tank set on a tapered pedestal recall part of the property’s history. This dazzling ranch property includes 450 acres, including 60 acres of private lakefront. There is no shortage of outdoor amenities: A par-three golf course with putting green, walking path, rock-strewn river, pool, fire pit, outdoor chef ’s kitchen (with custom vent-a-hood and even a pizza oven) and a porte-cochere big enough to welcome several luxury vehicles at a time. The outdoor area is a sight to behold, but take one step inside and you’ll stop in your tracks. And you should… because to truly appreciate this home, you’ll need to look up, down and all around. It is designed to please the senses from floor to ceiling. Hand-scraped walnut floors complement custom walnut cabinets in the kitchen and throughout the home. Vaulted ceilings, some in brick and others in tile mosaics, guide visitors through foyers and hallways. In public and intimate (master bath) settings, variegated bricks make for walls that bless the space with a Zen-like ambiance to remove the stresses of the day. For even more relaxation, residents can enjoy a film in the multi-level movie theater with padded leather walls or a beverage from the full bar area. This ranch is not currently on the market.

Photos courtesy of Cheryl Key of Key Custom Homes

No detail is overlooked — inside or out — at this ranch home, which sits on 450 acres in an undisclosed Denton County location.

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The features of Sierra Estate, built in 2015 and currently priced at $6,950,000, speak to its respect for the land as well as luxury living. Its six bedrooms, five full baths and four half baths span three floors and 20,437 square feet. The colonial-style pillared façade has verandas spread across the first and second floors, overlooking a fountained drive. Polished marble floors and a wrought-iron-andwood grand staircase in the entry foyer lead residents and guests to a great room, kitchen (with marble counters), dining area and backlit onyx bar that flow together in an open-plan layout ideal for entertaining. Two luxurious master suites offer their own fireplaces and master baths with sophisticated finishes. The second floor hallways are open to overlook the first floor and connect bedroom suites. The home also features a large game room, media room and rooftop terrace. Outside, a heated Kentucky-style barn accommodates saddle horses that can ride to trails along the nearby shoreline. After a scenic ride around the lake, enjoy a dip in the pool, or relax near the fire pit. An elevator system in the house makes this accessible for all. Contact: Matt Wood/Compass, 214-532-8327

Photos courtesy of Matt Wood

With sophisticated interior finishes and acres of lakeside trails, Sierra Estate is one of the premier equestrian properties in North Texas.

In other parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and across the U.S., golf course closures are causing consternation for homeowners who paid a premium to look out onto the fairway. These homeowners didn’t bargain on development that would transform their scenery into a dull view of new residential properties. That’s not going to happen to this plantation-style equestrian paradise in Pilot Point. The 10-acre property is adjacent to Lake Ray Roberts and, importantly, to the Ray Roberts Greenbelt. This ribbon of land connecting Ray Roberts to Lewisville Lake is a nature conservancy, preserved into perpetuity for low-impact recreation and zero development.


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Renderings courtesy of Allison Hayden


If you have sailed (or kayaked or jet skied) recently on Lake Grapevine, you might have seen the newest, tallest building in Denton County rising from Lakeside Parkway in Flower Mound. It’s the luxurious 15-story Lakeside Tower, and all but three of the 48 units in the building were sold while the building was under construction. Renderings of unit 1203 offer a taste of what the best in mid-rise living can be. Expansive windows provide incomparable views (that’s what you get when you’re higher up than anyone else around). And the 44-square-foot wrap-around balcony allows a seamless transition from outdoor to indoor spaces, incorporating the view into the interior ambiance. Residents will enjoy two golf courses, two marinas, easy access to the 15-mile North Shore Trail (for bikers and walkers), a resort-style pool and a dog park. Restaurants are planned for the development and will be within easy walking distance. Common area amenities include a gym, yoga studio, valet, on-site spa, movie room, fireside lounges and putting green. A 24-hour concierge assists in receiving packages or retaining a dog walker on an emergency basis. Local retailers (Central Market and Target included) provide door-to-door delivery services for residents. But the interior features of units almost make you forget you’re in a multi-unit building. Unit #1203 features beamed ceilings, a fireplace, four bedrooms, four full baths and one partial bath. Priced at $3,235,500, this 4,875-square-foot home also has bleached

hardwood floors, Wolf-Subzero appliances, Kohler fixtures, stone countertops, solid-wood cabinetry, direct elevator access and nesting glass doors. Lakeside Tower has a vibe that anyone in downtown Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston or New York would envy, but make no mistake, this new tower is deep in the heart of Texas — just minutes away from DFW. But don’t plan to travel too often or too far because Lake Grapevine and the spectacular sunrises and sunset views available from these balconies suggest that staycations might often win the day. Contact: Allison Hayden/Briggs Freeman, 214-9574933

Thanks to 10-foot ceilings and spacious floor plans, you'd never guess you were enjoying tower living... until you glimpsed the incredible view.

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To call this 11-bedroom, 13-bath, 19,337-square-foot estate in Flower Mound a “retreat” might seem to be an understatement. But given its secluded location on 10 heavily wooded acres on Grapevine Lake, just 15 minutes from both DFW and the Alliance Airport, it’s a wholly appropriate descriptor. Enter the gates to this French-styled chateau built in 2007, and everything else melts away. Even guests get ample privacy, as the three-bedroom guesthouse is on the other side of one of the two swimming pools. The estate includes a barn for cattle or horses with three pastures enclosed by eye-pleasing pipe fencing punctuated by stone columns. A

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magnificent barn, which has a stone bar, can be used for agricultural purposes but also makes for a wonderful party space. No detail has been overlooked in this home, which features imported stone, Venetian plaster, custom woodwork, stained glass, pillared walkways and ceiling murals. The opulent master bedroom opens into a spacious bathroom featuring a single-piece marble tub as its centerpiece. In the kitchen, a walk-in refrigerator/freezer will make any chef look masterful with make-ahead hors d’oeuvres and desserts. The home has been used for fashion, commercial and other types of film and video shoots. But one interesting feature that often goes unnoticed — because it depends on the coolness of the ground beneath the estate and an on-premises pond — is the green geothermal technology that cools a portion of the house. The broker says second-story windows afford views that have to be seen. She says it’s the only way to fully comprehend this home’s true place in exceptional real estate. The estate is currently on the market for $12,000,000 Contact: Vanessa Van Trease/Chateau Realty, 214325-5195

Photos courtesy of Vanessa Van Trease

"Lavish" doesn't even begin to describe this fairy tale estate on Grapevine Lake.

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What’s in? What’s out?

v er t he dec a des, c ou nt le s s i nt e r ior design fads have come and gone. Remember mustard-colored shag carpet? How about light-up telephones? Fuzzy toilet seat covers? Fortunately, today’s trends are more timeless. Current design elements have a customized style that reflects the homeowner’s lifestyle and personal taste rather than a cookie-cutter look that is fixed to a home. It’s this philosophy of individuality that has allowed so many of the décor trends we’ve seen over the last decade to remain in favor today. Whether you favor styles that are bold and colorful or subtle looks that transition easily from season to season, there’s a current design idea that will work for you and your home.

ON THE RISE Mixing complementary textures and materials helps create a space that looks well curated.


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One trend that has taken Denton County by storm is the chic, elevated farmhouse space. In years past, the farmhouse look incorporated a lot of galvanized art, a bevy of antiquated furnishings and overly accented shelves and tables. Today, the look is becoming softer, brighter and cleaner. (If you’ve watched the HGT V program Fixer Upper featuring Waco-based

designer Joanna Gaines, you’ll be familiar with this look. Gaines is a major influencer in the style and has perfected it.) Reese Nall of Denton’s Illuminare Designs says one of her favorite trends to work with right now is an eclectic collector’s style. To achieve this look, she says to “bring in vintage pieces, mixing them with a variety of other styles to give the home a well-curated and more natural feel.” When done well, the result is a home that’s unique, inspired and true to your personal style. A fun element to incorporate into this style, which has become very popular in our area, is cement tile mosaics. These can be used for flooring, backsplashes or even just in tabletops. Other hot trends include: u u Mid-Century Modern – This style creates a space that has sophistication and panache. Get the look: Furniture with clean lines, minimal accents and modern art pieces u u Bohemian Luxe – This carefree style has loads of character. Get the look: Cushy furnishings, rich textiles, layered accents with table deco and pillows u u Modern Minimalism – This look is sleek, elegant and bright. Get the look: White walls, minimalistic furniture and clean, sleek lines

Photos courtesy of Illuminare Designs



Interior design trends change just like fashion and shopping styles. Nall noted a few once-in-vogue décor concepts that are on their way out. Millennial pink has been having its heyday for several years, but she says this blushy hue is enjoying its last days in the sun. Likewise, rose gold accents are being replaced with a more blended metallics look. Though basic granite countertops have been a fixture in most k itchen a nd bat hroom renovations, other materials, like cement, are seeing rising popularity, especially with the increase in farmhouse looks. Another material that is also fading in popularity is the standard ceramic tile, mostly in flooring and bathroom design. Here, people are opting for materials with a sleeker look that caters more directly to their aesthetic.

Greenery and natural materials bring life into any room.


The best way to incorporate any sort of trend into your space is in moderation. Incorporate one or two hot ideas while keeping the foundation of the space neutral and transitional. Updating on-trend lighting is an easy way to dramatically update your space without spending a lot on renovations. Another easy way to brighten up a space is with textiles. Think area rugs, pillows, throws and wall tapestries that are modern and blend well with your style. You can even switch out with seasonal palettes and patterns for an always-fresh space. Remember: Clutter is never your friend. Seasonally clear and organize tabletops, shelves and cabinets. Get storage solutions that work well for your needs and closed shelving and cabinetry that conceal everyday clutter. When choosing paint colors or other décor elements, make sure they fit your personal overall aesthetic. Creating a space that is uniquely yours will never go out of style. It isn’t a home without your personal touches and accents. Whether it’s adding a few favorite pieces you’ve collected on your travels or hanging your kids’ framed art in the library, it’s the small touches that warm up a space and make a house feel like home.

Current trends are moving homeowners toward cleaner, brighter finishes throughout the home. Adding a statement lighting element, as seen here, is a quick and easy way to update a space.

Don't underestimate the impact that a few coats of paint can have on a room or piece of furniture.

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he shift into fall is quite possibly the grandest time of year in North Texas. With changing foliage and cooling temperatures, it’s a great time to be outside. If you want to revel in your own grand outdoor transformation, consider doing some home landscaping. Proper landscaping can have a dramatic impact on the look of your home, creating a more inviting and enjoyable outdoor space for you and guests. When you’re ready to take your yard to the next level, Jeremy Gordley of J D Naturescapes in Pilot Point has a few tips for planning your landscape design. First, use plants that thrive in the North Texas climate, preferably native species that have evolved in our sometimes-harsh climate. You will, of course, also consider factors such as how much sun your outdoor space gets and whether there are areas that tend to stay damp. Next, incorporate different textures and heights to add depth and dimension. Tall grasses, broad leaf shrubs and cacti are plants you can blend in to create more visual interest. Finally, use plants that have a range of leaf colors — from a Before variety of greens to deep reds and purples — to add dimension and contrast. Jeremy also warns against being too generic in your landscape design. “Be original to set your home apart from all the others on your street.” Think outside the box by incorporating unique

stone borders; arranging plants in organic, less linear patterns; and mixing up your assortment to include a range of hues and forms. After you’ve decided on your range of plants and come up with a plan for your gorgeous new outdoor space, it’s time to get to gardening! Some tips on that front: uu Space them well to be sure your plants will have ample room to spread out and grow. Read the classification marker for full care and planting instructions. uu Know the maturity of your plant so that you can determine how and where to plant it. uu Understand the type of soil you have. This will inform how you provide nutrients to the plants and keep them hydrated. You can purchase PH kits at your local nursery to help you determine your soil quality.

Built in 1923, the Kerley house at 1019 Egan Street in Denton is a fine example of the Craftsman houses that represented a departure from Victorians for the emerging middle-class homeowner of the era. Craftsman homes have open floor plans with built-in cabinetry in the dining rooms for dinnerware because there was no pretense of servants preparing meals in a back kitchen (a Victorian design characteristic). Rather, the families who owned the home served their own meals before enjoying an evening on the veranda under the low-pitched, gabled roofs supported by tapered columns, which provide cover from rain and sun. The Kerley House is on the annual Historic Denton Home Tour held on the first Saturday of every December.


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Top: Photos courtesy of J D Naturescapes; Bottom: Photo by Jon Holman for Historic Denton Inc.



Photo courtesy of Cowhide Western Furniture; Sidebar photos courtesy of Randy Hunt

e s t er n rus t ic style is (and probably always will b e) ubiqu itou s in North Texas t ha n k s to its quality, organic elements and strong connection to the surrounding environment. Laura and Curtis Hannah, owners of Cowhide Western Furniture in downtown Denton, say this look is more of a lifestyle than a trend. Many of their clients grew up in a home that celebrated the Western lifestyle. Those clients are looking to incorporate their heirloom pieces into their homes while bringing in new ones they can hand down. Even if you didn’t grow up surrounded by rustic décor, the rich, earthy tones and eclectic, locally sourced accents might appeal to you. Here’s how to incorporate this look into your home. The Western look is timeless,

but that doesn’t mean there aren’t trends. R ight now, barstools, grand beds and accents of colored leather tooling in furnishings are popular and are a great place to start transforming your space. With handmade furnishings, natural materials and intricate details, this style lends itself to customization. Take advantage of that. The level of craftsmanship involved means that most shops dealing in Western furnishings feature unique items that can be customized to fit your style and aesthetic. And in some cases (such as Cowhide Western Furniture), they are made exclusively in Texas. Carefully choose quality leathers and specific details, such as nail-head trimming, cowhide wrapping or tooled leather, but don’t worr y too much about matching wood tones exactly. A little imperfection adds character when it comes to the rustic look.


The Evers home is named for Austin-based builder/owner/architect R.H. Evers, who purchased the lumber needed to build the home for $800 in 1903. This early Colonial Revival-style house features three grand two-story pillars supporting an upper porch and a wrap-around, two-story veranda as well as a wine cellar, pool room, library and nine bedrooms. Originally built with a third-floor roller skating rink and gymnasium for the five Evers children, the house at 1035 W. Oak Street in Denton was devastated by fire in 1977. During that fateful afternoon, the roof of the Victorian home collapsed. The top two floors were gutted while the bottom floor was ruined by water. Fortunately, this important piece of Denton County history was rebuilt, and more recently, the home was tastefully renovated in a way that modernizes the space without losing its historical charm.

Western décor is often hand-made from a wide range of materials and finishes. The warm tones of rustic accents work together, even when they don't match exactly.

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to a


here’s something incredibly satisfying about a home renovation — even if it’s not your own. Seeing all of the minute details that go into reimagining a space to match a family’s lifestyle and aesthetic are inspiring. They’re also what make renovations labor intensive and challenging. Fortunately, with the right mindset and tools, a home makeover can be made a bit simpler. Reese Nall and AnnByron Guditis, the design duo behind Illuminare Designs, recommend three principles for a successful room or home renovation…


One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when attempting a renovation is not having a clear idea of what they want. When developing a plan, it is important to ask the right questions. How are you going to use the space? What are the must-haves you need in the design? Does it need to be a safe space and friendly space for kids and/or pets? What is your goal? To raise the value of your home? To maximize space? To modernize the layout? The more you think through what you want up front, the easier the process is in the long run.

Photos courtesy Darby Merriman

When it comes to kitchen renovations, a space that's functional and easy to work in is just as important as a space with finishes you love. Consider both factors during your renovation.



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Getting a handle on your style is a big issue during redesigns, especially if you’re collaborating with a spouse or other family member. One way to help you better understand your aesthetic is to make style decisions and create a mood board before you begin. Your mood board can include magazine clippings, fabric swatches, even Pinterest print-outs showing details or other spaces you like. With this in hand, you can walk into the project with a clear idea of how you want the space to look, and you always have a sampling of inspiration to refer to when choosing materials and finishes.


These dated glass blocks and muddy tiles were replaced with a clean, modern palette and a sleek, free-standing tub.


This may seem like a no-brainer, but budgeting incorrectly (or not at all) is another common mistake made during renovation projects. Establishing your allotted budget not only keeps you from breaking the bank, it may also help you limit your options to make quicker decisions. This is a great reason to hire professional designers when taking on bigger projects. They are experienced in helping homeowners get the look they’re going for without breaking the bank.

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Words OF WISDOM Texas Association of Realtors Chairman Kaki Lybbert shares her best real estate tips for Denton County residents.

rgyle resident and fifth-generation Texan Kaki Lybbert is not your average Realtor. She is one of the top producers in all of her home state and was elected to serve as the 2018 Texas Association of Realtors® Chairman. She’s the first from Denton County to hold that position in the organization, which has 121,000 members across the state. During her more than two decades in the industry, she has learned more than a few things about buying and selling homes in Denton County. We asked her for her best tips for buyers and sellers and got her take on the county’s hottest markets. Here are her words of advice… Sellers, price your home correctly the first time. “Your first two weeks on the market is the time when you’re going to get the most showings. When you’re getting the most attention, that’s not the time to test the market by pricing above where you should be. Don’t do it.”


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If you want to sell your home, you’ve got to make it accessible. “We’ve got to be able to show it. I’ll see a property that’s been on the market for a long time, and I’ll call the Realtor and they’ll say they can’t get into the property. It sounds simple, but you can’t make it difficult to get in. If the house is priced right, looks good and is accessible, it will sell.” Consider buying now. “This is a great time to buy. Interest rates are still low. I mean, never in your lifetime will you see interest rates this low. They creeped up a little bit, but they’re not going back down. If you’re thinking about buying, buy now. This is a good market to buy in. We are phasing out of where it was a super seller’s market. I’m seeing emails from everybody around: price drop, price drop, price drop. Because they pushed these prices up too high and now they’re having to back off. We’re not seeing the sales that we were, especially in homes over $300,000. It’s still good, but it’s not as competitive as it was. We’re not seeing the multiple offers that we were.

Buyers, experience matters when choosing a Realtor. “There are a lot of people in any industry who are here today and gone tomorrow. Experience and a track record are really important. I see people saying, ‘Oh, my next door neighbor’s son’s ex wife sells real estate,’ but there is so much litigation out there and that happens when you involve people who don’t know what they’re doing.” Make sure your Realtor knows the area where you want to buy. “This would be the number one thing to say to buyers. Don’t take your Realtor outside of the market that they know. Have them refer you to somebody who knows the market you’re buying in. If you want Denton County, then find yourself a Denton County Realtor who knows the market.” Keep an eye on the markets. In Denton County, Lybbert says Roanoke and Little Elm are hot markets at the moment, as is Denton itself, although there are some building restrictions there. “Flower Mound/ Highland Village is a great area,” she says. “There’s not a lot of new construction, but everybody loves it.” Argyle is “a great area” with plenty of high-end listings and beautiful homes. “There’s a lot of development there and over into Northlake, which is another hot spot that’s coming up.” Corinth is another “really nice area” that is “pretty much built-out. There’s not much vacant land there, but there are good schools and hardly any bad areas. A lot of people like Corinth.”


Sidebar photos courtesy of Kaki Lybbert

Denton County is one of the fastest growing regions in the nation, and our home values are going up almost as quickly as our population. Here’s how much the median home value in your city rose in the last year, according to

Aubrey Justin Pilot Point Corinth Krum Sanger Denton Ponder Flower Mound Roanoke Argyle

Up 19% Up 16.4% Up 14.9% Up 10.1% Up 8.8% Up 8.8% Up 8.4% Up 7.5% Up 7.2% Up 7.2% Up 4.8%


Preservation of historic structures can be difficult if not impossible. Sometimes, however, building remnants can be incorporated into new properties. That’s what Scotty and George Kolb did about 20 years ago with the eight crumbling stone buildings on one of Argyle’s original farms. Now named Old Hickory Farm, the centerpiece is a gorgeous, newer (1999) home built with iron stones found on the property. These stones match the walls of the vintage buildings, which have been repurposed as workshops, carriage houses, a guest house and a well house. Roofs are steeply pitched in a Cotswold country cottage style on both old and new structures. One original foundation was left open, buttressed at the top, to provide a one-of-a-kind outdoor entertainment space that they call the “ruins garden.” The older buildings tell stories. Some had very low doorways (about 5’-5” high) because farm laborers of the early 20th century, recruited from Mexico and of Mayan descent, were themselves short of stature, according to realtor Kaki Roberts Lybbert. They built their own quarters to their needs and proportions. George Kolb died only a few years after completing the project and his wife Scotty sold it a few years later. The current owners have it on the market.

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all is coming, but there’s no time like the present to plan your escape from next summer’s North Texas heat. If you’re thinking about adding a refreshing pool to your yard, there are a few factors to consider. We spoke with Wesley Gohlke of Gohlke Pools for some advice.


Gohlke recommends designing the pool based on the style of your home for a well-coordinated look. With this in mind, the most popular style in Denton County is a contemporary look with clean, angular lines, a light palette of whites and grays and crystal blue, Caribbean-inspired waters.

It’s helpful to check your closing documents to make sure there are no restrictions on your property. That knowledge could save you hassle in the long run.


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The features and topography of your yard will not only determine the costs but also the feasibility of construction. If your yard has a drastic slope, for example, the labor involved and cost of construction will increase. A/C units and other obstacles that obstruct entrance to the space will do the same.


There are several ways to make sure your pool stays as cool as it looks. Consider a lighter interior color, add umbrella anchors to bring in shade or incorporate water features, such as fountains, to keep water moving.

Photos courtesy of Gohlke Pools



From modest bungalows and modernized farmhouses to Greek revival mansions and Spanish-inspired estates, Denton County offers a diverse array of architectural styles. Many new homebuilders do have something in common though: a desire to go green. Cherri Atkins, lead designer of Atkins Design Group in Double Oak, says, “Our clients have a focus on energy efficiency paired with their style.” Atkins says the Village Park Eco Home (pictured here) in Highland Village is the best representation of what she is designing now in Denton County. This net zero-energy ready house built in 2014 features sustainable and recycled materials to minimize the impact on the environment. Locally sourced stone from Granbury, vertical siding and a metal roof complete the contemporary look. Thanks to a high-performance insulation system, comprehensive draft protection, energy-efficient appliances, advanced lighting technology, water-saving systems and other eco-friendly features, the average monthly energy bill for this 3,752-square-foot home is a mere $250.


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7 SPOTS Décor for

ONE-OF-A-KIND hether your vibe is mid-century retro, farmhouse shabby chic, classic antique or modern hipster, these Denton County shops and markets are a great starting spot when you’re ready to step outside the box for your home accents.


If you want to give your home some retro flair, Faded Blue should be your first stop. Located in the historic Pierce Grocery & Market building, Faded Blue offers vintage furniture and uncommon home décor with a focus on mid-century pieces. (It’s also a great place to pick up some vinyl records.), 1100 North Locust Street, Denton. Krum Market Days


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This new outdoor market has an eclectic mix of everything from kitschy garage sale items to timeless antiques. On the first Saturday of each month, founder Jennifer Chambless clears the longhorns out of the yard (yes, literally) and invites vendors, producers and bargain hunters of all types to shop until their hearts’ content. Vendors pay only $20 to sell, so you never know what you’ll find., 11339 FM 1173 Road, Krum.



With 10,000 square feet of vendors and a constantly changing inventory of antiques and vintage décor, you never know what you’ll find at this gem in downtown Justin. You can also learn some skills to dress up your home at the new Maker’s Space art studio. Opened in July, it offers classes on furniture painting, floral design and more., 100 West Third Street, Justin.


Better known as “The Merc,” this Old Town Lewisville vintage market and boutique offers home goods, vintage interiors, salvage architecture and much more. If you’re looking for farmhouse décor, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for as you wander through the inspirational rooms. Put your own personal spin on your space by taking some classes, including the popular workshop on working with Maison Blanche chalk paint to create unique, shabby chic works of furniture art., 156 West Main Street (soon to be 109 West Main Street), Lewisville.

If you love the Roanoke Trading Company, you’ll be pleased Main Street to know that owner Kristin Mercantile Brittan opened a Denton location in May. It’s a great place to score some statement pieces to guide the rest of your décor. From a 10-foot guitar made of pennies to a set of vintage bowling pins, DTC is bound to have something you never knew you needed. The shop also offers furnishings, work from local artists and even DIY workshops. Instagram @ dentontradingco, 112 W. Oak Street, Denton.


“Looking for a Bighorn sheep skull, suspended over a walnut base?” Cave Furnishings, it says on its Instagram, “has you covered.” Trust us when we say that you won’t find these items anywhere else. Gallery owner and artist

Mark Holderbaum creates one-ofa-kind furnishings that double as art, using steel, wood and other salvaged materials. The unique shop, which also sells functional art such as raku clay works from Flower Mound’s Linda Chidsey, has only been open since spring 2018, but it’s already making its mark with creative designers., 514 North Locust Street, Denton.

Vintage Bleu Home


This mother-daughter business specializes in refinishing and hand-painting vintage and shabby chic furnishings to create custom, personalized pieces. But that’s certainly not the limit of what this engaging shop has to offer. You’ll find all sorts of treasures —vintage glassware, antique sewing machines transformed

Cave Handcrafted Furnishings

into bookends, provincial French furnishings, antique lamps and more., 221 West Oak Street, Denton.

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again. But Colten is no stranger to injury or adversity, and in some ways, it seems that his challenges and trials have only made him stronger.


nowmobiling in Texas is about as common as surfing in Alaska, but that didn’t stop brothers Caleb and Colten Moore from becoming two of the world’s top competitive snowmobilers. In fact, in their first four years of X Games competition, the brothers from Krum gave the sport some of its most exciting moments — as well as its greatest tragedy. Today, five years after losing his older brother Caleb in a high-profile snowmobiling crash at the X Games and one year after breaking his back at the 2017 X Games, Colten continues to bring a combination of fearlessness and persistence to everything he does — both on and off the course. He has seven X Games medals to his credit, three of them gold, and is working to regain strength in his legs to compete in the 2019 X Games. The spinal cord injury he sustained last year while executing a double backflip could have left him paralyzed, and it has taken months of rehabilitation to be able to walk


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From Four Wheels to Skis Colten was 12 years old when he started riding all-terrain vehicles, following in the footsteps of his brother, Caleb, who was two years older and already competing in ATV freestyle events. The siblings excelled at the sport, practicing stunts on the ramps and huge foam pit in their backyard. Still, even then, neither Colten or Caleb was a stranger to injuries. Both suffered multiple concussions while perfecting their ATV stunts, and Colten had lost multiple teeth and broken both legs before

Photos (except for family photo and book cover) by Joe Wiegele

Despite losing his brother to the sport and breaking his back, Krum’s Colten Moore continues making his mark in competitive snowmobiling. BY PAULA FELPS

Colten (left) and Caleb Moore did everything together, from competing in ATV freestyle events to becoming two of the X Games' top snowmobile competitors. "My brother was an awesome dude," Colten says. "He was there for everyone and anyone."

Krum's Caleb (left) and Colten Moore were unlikely candidates to become top snowmobiling athletes, but they didn't let a lack of snow in their native Texas stop them. Caleb was killed during the 2013 X Games while executing a double backflip on his snowmobile.

he was old enough to drive. But nothing could keep either of them from pushing themselves to reach what they saw as the ultimate goal. “When I graduated high school, they had [everyone] write down their goals, and literally the only thing I wrote down was, ‘To make it to the X Games’,” Colten says. It was a lofty ambition, in part because ATVs weren’t part of the X Games competition. Little did he know, making it there would have nothing at all to do with the four-wheel machine he had spent so much time riding. By 2009, the brothers were competing and doing shows, but their dream of competing in the X Games remained distant until one day when they watched a snowmobile competition on television with their parents. “My dad and my brother were like, ‘They’re doing the same thing on snowmobiles that

we do on ATVs, so why don’t we give that a try?’” recalls Colten Moore, now 28. “I had just learned how to flip an ATV, and I was like, oh no, now I have to learn to do that on a sled!” The Moore brothers reached out to their ATV sponsor, Polaris, and asked for snowmobiles to practice on. “They said, ‘What do you need snowmobiles for in Texas? Are you crazy?’ So we told them our idea and they sent us snowmobiles.” With just a month to learn to ride and qualify, the brothers put wheels on the snowmobiles’ skis and practiced doing tricks in the foam pit in their Krum backyard. Then, with the clock ticking, they went to a friend’s house in Michigan to test their new skills in the snow, hoping to qualify for the 2010 X Games. “Everyone thought we were crazy,” Colten says. “We had to shoot a little video and

send it to the X Games to prove we could actually ride these things. But we both got accepted and went to X Games and did well, so we kind of stuck with it.” The brothers immediately blazed a memorable trail with their snowmobiling skills. In their first year, Caleb took home a bronze medal in freestyle, while Colten landed in fifth place for best trick and eighth for freestyle. By the time they competed in 2011, they had honed their skills and increased their confidence. Caleb took home freestyle bronze and best trick silver, while Colten again took fifth place in freestyle and best trick. But they won the crowd’s hearts (and zero points from the judges) when, on a whim, both brothers jumped on a single snowmobile and executed a flawless backflip they way they did most everything else: tenaciously and together.

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Colten Moore's 2016 book chronicles the Moore brothers' rise from ATV athletes to snowmobile aces, follows the tragic death of his brother and explains how Colten overcame that loss.

The Hardest Landing By 2013, the Moore brothers’ medal counts were rising, along with their popularity. Colten had claimed his first X Games gold, and both brothers were counting on bringing home gold and silver, although they argued over which of them would nab the coveted top spot on the podium. Caleb’s run was a breathtaking airborne feat that included a double backflip, but his snowmobile came up short on the landing, sticking the skis into the snow and sending Caleb tumbling to the ground. The 450pound sled followed, bouncing off of him as they rolled through the snow. Caleb walked away from the crash and was taken to the hospital, but a few minutes later, Colten crashed as well, crushing his pelvis. At the hospital, doctors discovered Caleb had bleeding around his heart and sent him to a hospital a few hours away. However, by the time he arrived, his heart had stopped and his brain had been without oxygen for about 20 minutes. Although they performed surgery for Caleb’s heart, doctors couldn’t do anything about the


This whole community of Krum has just been so supportive.

it’s been awesome.

brain damage he had suffered, and his family removed Caleb from life support a week later. “That was a very difficult time,” Colten says. Not only had he and Caleb been inseparable as brothers, they had been teammates, training partners and cheerleaders for one another for as long as Colten could remember. “Losing my brother is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life, but

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what made it worse was being injured at the same time. I couldn’t ride, and riding was the one thing I could do to make me happy. I had to lean on family and friends to get through it.” When he finally recovered enough to ride again, Colten returned to the practice area in the family backyard. It was the first time he would train without his big brother, and he recalls praying and talking to Caleb before riding again. “That’s where I feel closest to him,” Colten says. “I feel like when I ride, he is right there riding with me. That’s my happy place, being out there riding, and I just feel like he’s out there watching out for me now.” In 2014, Colten returned to the X Games, dedicating his ride to Caleb. More than 60 friends, family members and neighbors from Krum cheered him on and watched as he brought home gold in freestyle and bronze in long jump. From atop the podium to claim his gold medal, he explained that he had done his nearly perfect run for Caleb — and with him.

“Everyone was there to support me and help me get back on the horse,” he says. “My brother was an awesome dude, he was there for everyone and anyone. He was just the nicest guy. So the support of the community has been super, and I can’t thank everyone enough who has been there, not just for me, but for my brother.” Colten told his story in remarkable, personal detail in his 2016 book, Catching the Sky, which was a finalist for the 2017 PEN America/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. Written with Keith O’Brien, it is both a fascinating look at the brothers’ rise as adrenaline-chasing athletes and a touching, heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable bond they share. “It was difficult to relive everything to tell my story, but I felt it was a good way to do something for my brother,” Colten says. “To be able to continue his legacy and tell our story so I could spread the word to a lot more people — I really wanted to be able to do that.”

On His Own, But Not Alone Today, Colten continues pushing boundaries. During the 2017 X Games, he attempted a double backflip on his snowmobile, which would have been a first for the games. But when he over-rotated on the trick, the hard landing threw him from the sled; he was carted off the course and flown to a Denver hospital. After emergency surgery on his back to repair a dislocated T-12 vertebra, Colten began rehabilitation with help from the Road 2 Recovery Foundation, a nonprofit that gives financial aid to professional motocross and supercross riders who have sustained injuries. Unable to be kept away from his need for extreme action, Colten is racing dirt cars in the Lucas Oil Midwest Series until he is strong enough to climb back on a snowmobile. “I’m still working on getting my legs back,” he explains. “They’re still a little weak from nerve [damage] but I’m trying to get ready for the games in January.” And, he says, the support from family, friends and the community has been priceless. They were there when he and Caleb competed at their first X Games and still there when Colten returned to competition after Caleb’s death.

I feel like when I ride, he is right there riding with me.

That’s my happy place. Colten Moore executes one of his trademark backflips on a snowmobile. After breaking his back in 2017, he plans to return to the X Games in 2019.

“It’s meant so much to know that so many people are on my side,” he says. “This whole community of Krum has just been so supportive. It’s been awesome.” Colten doesn’t see his determination to push on despite loss and injury as extraordinary; it’s simply what he needs to do. And, he believes, it’s what Caleb would want.

“My brother always pushed people on, and I hope people can see me and what I’ve gone through and that helps them to never give up. I hope they can take a little piece of what I’ve done and use that to help them get through things. Everyone has their tough times, but the more positive you stay, the more you can get through them.”

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With Halloween around the corner, there’s no better time to look at some of Denton County’s spookiest urban legends, ghost stories and haunted locations. BY KIMBERLY TURNER ILLUSTRATIONS BY JIM FRAZIER


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Photo: Creative Commons by Renelibrary

etween Corinth and Argyle, there is an old bridge — 145 feet long, 14 feet wide, its rust-red steel bleached by the sun and tagged with graffiti. Built in 1884, it carried both horse and motor vehicle traffic for more than 100 years before it was replaced by a more modern concrete bridge. By the light of day, the bridge is mundane. Hikers and horses wander across with nary a second thought. By day, it is known as Old Alton Bridge. But after the sun sets and night falls, this historic monument goes by a different name: Goatman’s Bridge. If you dare, walk onto the bridge at night and knock three times on the weathered wooden boards under your feet. According to legend, you will hear the sound of hooves. A half-goat, half-man satyr creature will emerge, its eyes glowing, its horns sharp. It will warn you — in a low, menacing growl — to “Get off my bridge.” For decades, locals have whispered stories. High schoolers have dared one another to face the Goatman. Once the legend hit the internet, droves of paranormal investigators from Buzzfeed, The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and popular YouTube channels traveled to Denton County to probe the bridge’s secrets for themselves. The origin tale that’s told today is more tragic than terrifying. According to folklore, a black man named Oscar Washburn placed a “This way to the Goatman” sign on the bridge to advertise that he was raising and selling goats nearby. He was eventually hanged off the

side of the bridge by members of the Ku Klux Klan who were displeased with how successful his goat-selling business had become. Some versions of the story add an extra layer of heartbreak, claiming he disappeared from the noose and the angry mob turned on Washburn’s family, burning their home.

Old Alton Bridge near Argyle is home to one of the most frequently whispered-about urban legends in North Texas.


Like any wildly popular piece of folklore or urban legend, the Goatman’s Bridge story has morphed over time, and the latest version is simply not true, according to Shelly Tucker — author of Ghosts of Denton, acclaimed storyteller and “The Ghost Lady” in charge of the Ghosts of Denton haunted tours. “Something is going on out there. But the legend you find online? That’s hogwash,” says Tucker. “There are legends similar to it all over the U.S. because it’s got the necessities for a good tale — evil, tragedy, suspense. But I’ve talked to people who lived in Denton County decades ago, and they remember the Goatman story, but he never had a name. Someone else said there was a guy who raised pigs and one of his workers fell in love with his wife.” This ever-changing word-of-mouth game of telephone is standard for any good urban legend — from the babysitter getting a call from inside the house to the hook-handed maniac attacking teens on Lover’s Lane. It’s all in the telling. “If I tell you a story then you go and re-tell it, you’re going to tell it in words that fit your mouth, so it’s going to change a little bit,” says Tucker. “The more it gets told, the more it gets changed.” S E P T E M B E R /O C TO B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y



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Just because the Goatman legend isn’t real, doesn’t mean Denton County doesn’t have its fair share of creepiness. Recently, during a tour, Tucker says a book leapt off the shelf at Recycled Books, striking a 12-year-old tour-goer. “It had to go over another guy to hit him. Twenty people saw it, and no one was on the other side,” she recalls. To add a little extra weirdness to an already odd story, the book that hit him was called Signs and Wonders. Tucker went back and bought it the next day. “I got it to my car and thought, ‘What if it’s got something attached to it?’” she says with a chuckle. “So it’s still in my car because I’m afraid to bring it into my house. I’ve got the only haunted Honda CR-V in town.” In the years she’s been doing the tour, Tucker says books have flown from the shelves about a dozen times. Students who live in the apartments above the shop have regaled her with tales of phantom footsteps, moving objects and slamming doors. The building itself was constructed in 1899, using bricks from the courthouse, which was condemned after being struck by lightning. Before Recycled Books, Records and CDs moved into the space in 1990, the 119-year-old building had been home to the Wright Opera House, a saloon, the Majestic Theater, The Boston

Photo by Jim Allen

The 1899 building that is now home to Recycled Books is said to be one of the most haunted locations in Denton County.

It was the internet, she says, that gave the Goatman a name, but research via libraries, museums and other sources has not turned up a true life version of the goat vendor. “There was an Oscar Washburn in Denton County,” says Tucker, “but he lived in Pilot Point and was murdered by his brother-in-law. And he was white as the driven snow.” Mitchel Whitington, paranormal investigator a nd author of Ghosts of North Texas, visited Goatman’s Bridge to conduct his own investigation. “I had no real experiences other than a really uneasy feeling, which might have been because we were out there in the middle of nowhere alone at night. One of the things to first be wary of isn’t ghosts,” he laughs. “It’s where you’re walking, because horses go across there all day leaving little gifts, so if you’re there at night, you have to watch your step.”


North Texas and haunted Texas highways to A Ghost in My Suitcase: A Guide to Haunted Travel in America. “I’m one of those lucky guys who has a job they really enjoy. Writing about Denton County and North Texas was quite a wonderful experience. It turned out to be a place that had a wealth of information about supernatural activity, and people were very outgoing with it. They would talk about it and tell me their stories.” Shelly Tucker has traded in stories her entire life, but ghost stories were always her favorite: “I was a very early reader, so I was reading Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories in the third grade, and I translated them into the language I spoke then, which was third-grade Texan. Then I told all those stories to my friends and became the most popular girl at Cannon Elementary School. I got invited to every single slumber party so that I could tell ghost stories, and I learned the power of stories, the power to engage people.” Why ghost stories? “We just have this need, I think, to get scared,” says Tucker. “Scary stories are a way of learning to deal with your fears because you can walk away from a story. You can’t walk away from real-life things that are scary.”


Store department store and Kibler Office Supply Store. When Tucker ran across the owner of the building at a Lion’s Club meeting, she asked him about the spirits. “Every ghost story you’ve ever heard about that place is true,” he told her. “So you think it’s haunted?” she asked. “I know it is,” he replied. Some employees claim that a specter named Emma wanders the building, and customers have claimed that their search terms have been changed to “Emma” while they used the digital catalog system. Ghost hunters report disembodied voices, the feeling of being watched, spooky sounds, cold spots and of course, flying books.


Whitington and Tucker have something in common. They understood and appreciated the power of a story from a very young age. “Remember that one weird kid who was always in the back of the classroom reading books about ghosts?” says Whitington. “Do you ever wonder what happened to that weird kid? Well, that was me. These stories have always fascinated me.” When he became an adult, he began putting the stories into print and digging up more. He has written dozens of books detailing everything from haunted

Speaking of the need to get scared… when resident advisors check the UNT dorms to make sure everyone is gone for the summer, RAs at Bruce Hall and Maple Street Hall have to accept that at least a couple of their residents never, ever leave the buildings. UNT’s oldest dorm, Bruce Hall, has had some pretty famous residents, from Norah Jones to Don Henley. But none have been as famous as Wanda, a spirit who has become such a permanent part of dormitory lore that she has been honored with her own mural and a sign in the pool hall. Whitington explained Wanda’s history: “The story goes that there was a girl living in Bruce Hall back in the 1950s. She got herself pregnant, which was a shameful thing in those days. She hid it as long as she could, and when she couldn’t any longer, she went into seclusion and ended up going into the attic where nobody could find her. She had her baby there. She sat in a chair just looking out the window. That’s where they found her body. The story is that you can S E P T E M B E R /O C TO B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y




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Bill and the phantom of an elevator repair guy. Just a five-minute walk away, Maple Street Hall students claim a former resident named Brenda plays tricks such as turning on all of the lights on a floor, opening doors and going bump in the night. “Neither one of these ghosts — Wanda in Bruce Hall or Brenda in Maple Street — seems to be violent or the kind of scary you see on TV,” says Whitington. “They’re very mischievous and seem to be having a good time.”


Is Wanda real? Does Boiler Room Bill help students move into their rooms? We may never know, but most ghost stories we hear today do begin their long and complicated lives with a nugget of either truth or personal experience. Most of the eerie tales that Tucker tells on her Ghosts of Denton haunted tours start when some resident rushes up to her and says, “Hey, ghost lady!” From there, she begins to dig, searching through the archives and genealogical section at the Emily Fowler Library (also reportedly haunted), old newspaper articles and the resource room at the courthouse where she digs through letters,

Photo by Mike Morgan Photography

look up at the attic window and see her silhouette still sitting in the chair.” The cause of Wanda’s demise was either despair, death during childbirth or a botched abortion, depending on where you hear the tale, but one thing is consistent: She is considered to be a friendly but mischievous resident who means students no harm and wants nothing more than to be remembered. Students told Whitington stories of figures in mirrors, knocking on doors, heavy footsteps in the attic and more. Some residents have seen an apparition of a girl who disappears, and one RA had a series of blinds fall in every room he checked at the end of the semester. “She gets blamed for a lot of weird things,” Whitington says, “especially when the place is empty. RAs talk about hearing things. They say someone who isn’t really there seem to be messing with them, and it all gets blamed on Wanda. I couldn’t personally find a newspaper article or source that validated the story, even though everybody seems to accept it as true. There seems to be no real question that weird things go on in that dorm.” Bruce Hall is also allegedly home to Boiler Room

diaries and photos. She references historical books, and isn’t afraid to ask people if they’ve ever experienced anything in a location she’s investigating. She’s even gone to to research the real-life humans behind reported restless spirits. “The more you dig, the more stories you have,” she says. And Tucker has many stories from all over the area: the library, the courthouse, private homes, the Denton County National Bank Building, several popular bars and restaurants, the former Antique Mini Mall, the United & Holland Mattress Company, the Fine Arts Theater, the Campus Theater, KDNT radio, the Center for the Visual Arts… the list goes on and on, but our candle burns low and we have time for just one more terrifying tale.


Today, the former Le Blair Hotel is home to Giving Hope Incorporated. Tucker received a call from one of the organization’s leaders who said, “We brought in sage because we’ve got some activity in here and one of our clients said we were on your ghost tour. Would you come in and tell us what’s going on?” After a few days of research, Tucker showed up — death certificates in hand — and shared the history. The two-story brick structure was built as a 16-room hotel with a shared bathroom on each level. During the glory days of travel down U.S. Highway 77 in the 1950s, a second building served as an expansion. In its heyday, the Le Blair was, according to Tucker, one of the finest hotels in town. When the interstate came through and eliminated 77 as a thoroughfare, business suffered. The larger building was sold and became La Casita Mexican restaurant. The smaller building was eventually boarded up and closed permanently. After a kitchen fire at La Casita got out of control in 1969, fire fighters focused on the restaurant rather than the former hotel, which they believed to be empty. Tragically, it was not empty. Two homeless men had been using the structure as shelter and they perished in the fire. It was then the haunting began, and it has continued ever since. When the top floor of the former hotel was rented to a phone answering business, the crashing sounds and violent activity on the lower level drove an employee away from the job in just one night. Later, the owners decided renovate the space and live upstairs, but things did not improve. Every member of the family experienced loud sounds, tube radios and lights that turned themselves on and off, slamming doors and heavy footsteps. Tucker tells the story on her tours, and on multiple occasions, both guide and patrons have had the feeling of

having walked through sticky cotton candy. A professional ghost hunter on her tour laughed as he watched her try to remove what Tucker thought was spider web from her face. “He said, ‘You just had a paranormal experience, and I felt it too. There is no spider web.’ When I got home that night, my five cats just arched their backs and hissed at me,” she recalls. “They wouldn’t come near me.” For a period of about two weeks, strange things happened at the location during every tour. The cotton candy/spider web feelings continued. Photos of Tucker in front of the building showed “what looked like a giant medicine ball of light” in front of her. In another woman’s photo, the building appeared to be encased in “purple bubble wrap.”


Whether you are a believer in orbs of light and spectral spider webs or a skeptic who thinks all things paranormal are bunk, it’s hard to beat a night of learning local folklore, picking up on some historical facts and getting spooked by some creepy yarns during the Halloween season. Head to to book a spot on Shelly Tucker’s haunted history tour, or enjoy the Denton Day of the Dead Festival, the DFW Zombie Hunt or one of the other themed events listed in our "See & Do" section for some frightening fun this Halloween season. For more details on these and many other Denton County haunts, purchase Tucker’s Ghosts of Denton or Mitchel Whitington’s Ghosts of North Texas on Amazon. S E P T E M B E R /O C TO B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y



The 20th Annual Denton Blues Festival

When: September 14–16 Where: Quakertown Park, 321 E. McKinney Street, Denton Each year, the Denton Black Chamber of Commerce brings some of the most talented blues musicians to Denton for

two family-friendly days of music and fun. Blues fans travel from far and wide for this popular event, which also includes delicious food and local vendors with one-of-a-kind arts and crafts. This year’s lineup features Big Bill Morganfield, Muddy Waters Review, Zac Harmon, Carolyn Wonderland, Greg Smith, Shake Anderson, Little Elmo & The Mambo Kings, Cindy Maloney & Baloney Moon, Selwyn Birchwood, Fingerprints and Lori Dawn. Music starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with karaoke on Friday.

North Texas Giving Day Denton Blues Festival

When: September 20 Where: Throughout North Texas The nation’s largest community giving

North Texas Giving Day

day turns 10 this year. The annual event, hosted by Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), has brought more than $195 million into North Texas communities since 2009. Last year alone, $39,379,446 was raised for 2,723 nonprofit

Located in the heart of Downtown Denton. Bringing you ingredient driven cooking with local, farm-fresh ingredients. Our menu changes often. Inspired by what’s in season. Executive chef Sheena Croft has been leading the Denton fine-dining scene for almost two decades. Hannah’s experienced catering staff and advanced culinary team can create an unparalleled dining experience for any occasion or event, at your place or ours.






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organizations via 137,659 gifts. On the 10th anniversary of this important event, CFT is helping to organize 10 days of volunteering and scheduled giving from September 10 to 19 with a day of giving on September 20. Former First Lady Laura Bush is the event’s first honorary chair. Visit between 6 a.m. and midnight on September 20 to select a nonprofit to support.

Pumpkin Palooza

When: October 20, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a 5K race starting at 8 a.m. Where: Corinth Community Park, Corinth Celebrate the beginning of fall at Corinth’s third annual Pumpkin Palooza festival. There isn’t much this event doesn’t offer. This exciting community festival has live bands throughout the day, carnival rides, zip-lining, tethered hot air balloon rides and a nighttime balloon glow, face painting, a petting zoo, a classic car show, an inflatable corn maze, mechanical bull riding, bounce houses, horse rides and a pie-eating contest. And that’s before you even get to the pumpkin-related activities: a pumpkin patch with the perfect autumn photo op for the family, a carving contest, pumpkin painting and a pumpkin derby. Don’t forget to dress up for the costume contest! Even better? Parking, admission and most attractions are free, making an affordable event for the whole family. For more information, visit


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See&Do Celebrate Roanoke


When: October 13 Where: Oak Street, Downtown Roanoke It’s a wonderful time of year to wander down Oak Street to enjoy Roanoke’s great restaurants and boutiques. During this free annual festival, which runs from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., you can also enjoy some live music, fireworks and artisan vendors.

Kids will love the children’s area with puppet shows, magicians, clowns, bounce houses, balloon artists and much more.

Riding Unlimited’s Barn Dance Benefit

When: October 13, 6 p.m. Where: Riding Unlimited, 9168 T.N. Skiles Road, Ponder For 25 years, Riding Unlimited has been “turning disabilities into possibilities” with its equine therapy program for people with physical, educational, intellectual and emotional disabilities. The fourth annual barn dance raises funds for the nonprofit organization with live music, a barbecue dinner, live and silent auctions and opportunities to visit with the staff, volunteers and horses. The money raised supports the Riders Unlimited scholarship fund and helps keep costs low for therapy at the 49-acre facility. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door for individuals, or $175 for a table of eight.

Aubrey Peanut Festival

Aubrey Peanut Festival

When: October 6, 2018 Where: Aubrey Festival Grounds, 301 S. Main Street, Aubrey Aubrey residents have been celebrating the harvest of the peanut crop with this festival since 1986. Today, nearly 8,000 visitors come to celebrate the mighty nut with a 10 a.m. parade (theme: “A Peanut Shellabration – Where You Will Have a Shell of a Good Time”) and an entire day of free fun. Entertainment includes

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local singers, strolling magicians and a street dance featuring a live band. And, of course, there are peanut-related activities galore: peanut shelling contests, peanut butter sandwich eating contests, peanut spitting contests, a peanut butter cup relay and a visit from the “Peanut Man” himself. You can also get non-peanut food and shop more than 100 booths with arts, crafts and specialty items. For more information on attending or applying for a booth (deadline September 26), please visit Arts & Autos Extravaganza

We LIVE UNITED 4 Denton County

to help

Arts & Autos Extravaganza

When: September 8, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Where: 110 W. Hickory Street, Denton Join more than 10,000 of your Denton County neighbors for this fun annual event presented by the Denton Main Street Association. See stunning hot rods, classic cars, custom trucks and even motorcycles… but don’t forget the “arts” part of the day! Fine arts and crafts vendors, hands-on arts and crafts and live music will wow you while Chalk Fest competitors transform the sidewalks on the 200 block of West Oak Street into art. Head to to find out how to be part of the festival with either your car or chalk masterpiece.

1 2 3 4 to guide and



to advocate for overall

to make




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YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST UPCOMING EVENTS IN DENTON COUNTY magical twilight lantern parade. You need not sit on the sidelines for this one. Build your own paper lantern or puppet and join the fun as it winds around the square. When the parade is over, enjoy the last band of the night or get your ticket to the not-to-be-missed Cirque du Horror show, which balances Halloween frights with songs and delights in a way that is appropriate for the whole family. You can also spend some time in the pumpkin patch, brave the haunted house or take part in the costume contest.

Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival

Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival

When: October 27 Where: East Hickory and Industrial streets, Denton Skeletons and revelers of all ages fill the streets during this free, family-friendly festival that celebrates the harvest, Dia de los Muertos and Halloween. The Coffin Race has been running since 2012 and is one of the most interesting soap box races you’ll ever witness. Grab a spot along Hickory early for this popular event. When the sun goes down, enjoy a

Roanoke Writers' Conference 2018

When: October 5–6 Where: Roanoke Public Library The fourth annual Roanoke Writers’ Conference provides wordsmiths of all levels with inspiration, instruction, competition and constructive critiques. The conference is $35 for adults and $20 for teens. Friday evening, participants will enjoy

a dinner to connect with other writers before hearing a keynote from Nebula Award-winning author William Ledbetter. Saturday will provide opportunities to hone your craft by networking with publishing professionals, participating in the flash fiction contest, signing up for individual critique sessions or attending workshops and presentations. Visit rpltx. com for more information or to register.

Winter Gardening Workshop

When: September 29, 10 a.m. Where: Emily Fowler Library, 502 Oakland Street, Denton Get detailed tips on starting a winter vegetable garden. Local expert Jeff Davis will demonstrate how you can grow greens, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and more. This event is hosted by the Texas Yard Ninja, City of Denton Sustainability, Denton Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center and Denton Public Library. This class is free, but registration is required.

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Goatman’s Bridge Halloween Ghost Hunt

When: September 14 or October 26 Where: Old Alton Bridge, Argyle If you were intrigued by our urban legends story in this issue, head to the infamous bridge for your own investigation. Only 30 tickets are available, and only ticketed attendees will be admitted. The spooky evening includes a full night of ghost hunting with the team from Haunted Rooms America, snacks and drinks, instruction on paranormal investigations, ample time for investigation and use of equipment including EMF meters. Visit to make your reservation while supplies last.

How to BBQ

When: September 16, 1 p.m. Where: 8955 US-377, Argyle Hurtado Barbecue and Charred are teaming up to teach you the basics behind the

perfect brisket. They’ll walk you through the process from start to finish. Learn to properly trim and cook your brisket, select pellets and slice your meat. They’ll also demo a smoked mac and cheese. Enjoy some samples and take home some BBQ goodies courtesy of Charred.

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

When: Every day during October Where: 5100 Cross Timbers, Flower Mound Get festive this fall at the Flower Mound pumpkin patch on Double Oak Ranch. Choose from hundreds of pumpkins for your jack-o-lantern then get lost in a hay bale maze or take a fun autumn hayride. It’s good, old-fashioned fall fun for the whole family.

DFW Zombie Hunt

When: Select dates starting October 5 Where: DFW Adventure Park, 13055 Cleveland Gibbs Road, Northlake This creepy hayride aboard a five-ton military truck and trailer is like paintball without the risk of getting shot or dirty. Oh, and did we mention that there are zombies for target practice? Save our city this Halloween! Visit for ticketing and more info.

Worship with us in this special place... Give MOMS a Call 940-202-4940 STOP ON BY, WE’RE OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK! Monday-Friday 11 AM - 8 PM WEEKEND BREAKFAST Saturday and Sunday 8AM - 8PM Breakfast Served until 2!

-designed by renowned Texas architect O’Neil we celebrate on Sunday, Oct. 21, our 150th Anniversary of ministry and service. Worship at 10:50 a.m. At 2:00 p.m., a program of celebration with City of Denton and church leaders, historical reflections, and a special musical program.


(Disciples of Christ) 1203 N. Fulton, Denton / 940-566-4990 DE-1695866-01



Discover local history with us.





Denton County Office of History & Culture 110 W. Hickory Street Denton, TX 940-349-2850

Some goodbyes are more

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Open for Business


xciting businesses are always opening in our growing county. Welcome these new businesses to our community by paying them a visit. Griff’s Ace Grooming & Shave Bar, 105 Country View Drive, #100, Roanoke, 817674-9500. This classic men’s barber shop, which offers premium cuts and shave services as well as high-end grooming products, is setting up a flagship location in Roanoke. Fresh Morning Donuts, 703 Londonderry Lane, Denton, 940-383-8193. This hot new vegan-friendly breakfast spot — which specializes in doughnuts but also serves breakfast tacos, cinnamon rolls and vegan pigs in a blanket — closes at 1 p.m. and sells out of some items even earlier. Free Play Denton, 505 W. Hickory St., Denton. Pay the cheap $5 entry fee then play retro video games and pinball for free ’til your heart’s content at this fun new bar/arcade near the square. Parran’s Seafood to Geaux, 200 James St., Roanoke, 682-237-7955. This authentic Cajun restaurant peels and cleans every shrimp and catfish you order and only uses seafood from the U.S. and Gulf of Mexico. Camel Safari Adventures, Corner of Shiloh Road and FM 1171, Flower Mound, 214876-2258. Mary Beth and Wayne Connor want to share their love (and collection) of camels with the community. Their new business, set to open in September, will offer feedings, rides and more. The Market on Oak, 108 W. Oak St., #101, Denton, 940-514-1660. With olive oils and vinegars from around the world and Texas-made pastas, jellies, hot sauces and more, this shop is a smart stop for Denton County foodies.


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