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A HISTORY OF WICHITA FALLS ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT: BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF WICHITA COUNTY. THE MUSEUM OF NORTH TEXAS HISTORY.


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American Indian tribes including the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Caddo, Comanche, Taovayas, and Wichita travelled and lived throughout North Texas. The Wichita lived in grass houses in large villages. They grew many crops and, during the winter, traveled across the plains hunting buffalo and camping in tee pees. 1


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The Texas Ranch Roundup held in August each year is designed to replicate the big cattle roundups of the late 1800s and early 1900s. The participating ranches are full-time, historic Texas cattle ranches.

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The Kadane-Griffith Oil Company No. 1 Mangold “A� well flowed up to over 2000 barrels per day in the K. M. A. field. K.M.A. was named for Kemp, Munger and Allen, the landowners. The post office would not accept letters for a post office name and the name Kemp was already being used, so the name was changed to Kamay.

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The first passenger train arrived in Wichita Falls on September 27, 1882, which is celebrated as the city’s birthday. On that day, an auction was held to sell town lots on what is now the corner of Seventh and Ohio Streets. This image shows Wichita Falls in 1890.

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Joseph Kemp

Frank Kell

Joseph A. Kemp and his brother-in-law Frank Kell worked very hard to help Wichita Falls grow into a large city. They built several businesses in the city’s early years including railroads, cattle, oil, milling, electricity, trolleys, the Wichita Falls Motor Company, and banking. 5


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The Wichita Falls and Northwestern Railway was among several short-line railroads in Wichita Falls in the 1920s.v Its principal owners were the entrepreneurs Mr. Kemp and Mr. Kell.

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Hoping to strike it rich, two ranch hands robbed the City National Bank, located at 7th and Ohio Streets, on February 25, 1896. Fleeing on a single horse, the pair could not outrun the posse of citizens and Texas Rangers. They were captured outside of town that night and brought to justice. ~~~ Draw your own “bad guy� below!

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A growing town needed an easy way for people to get around before most people owned cars! Mr. Kemp started a company to run trolleys with electricity from his company. The first trolley ride in Wichita Falls occurred on September 15, 1909.

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Special trains ran from Fort Worth to Wichita Falls for $1.50 for people to vacation at Lake Wichita. A trolley ride from the railroad depot to the lake only cost a nickel back then! Lake Wichita boasted the pavilion with roller skating, ice cream parlor, and ballroom. It also had a boat dock, race track, carousel, ferris wheel, swimming pool, hotel, clubhouse, and baseball field to provide entertainment.

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J.D. McMahon drew up plans to build a multi-story building downtown during the oil boom. Instead of a 40-story building soaring 480 feet high, it was built in inches, so it rose to only 4 stories and 40 feet. The conman left town with over $20,000.

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The Wichita Falls Municipal Zoo opened in 1928. It had more than 300 animals including monkeys, zebras, lions, alligators, tigers and snakes. The star attraction was an elephant named Miss Sugar. The Great Depression brought hard times and the zoo closed in 1934. The Fort Worth Zoo bought Miss Sugar and gave her a new home.

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The Wichita Falls Spudders was a minor league baseball team from the 1910s to 1950s. The team was named for the oil field machine called a spudder that drilled in the area. The New York Yankees, featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, played an exhibition game in 1930 in front of more than 9,000 fans. Babe Ruth hit two home runs, but the Spudders won 9-6! 12


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Call Field was named for Loren H. Call, an early aviation pioneer, and was built in 1917. It served as a military training site for new military airplane pilots and mechanics. Call Field trained over 3,000 men for World War I and helped start the new field of aerial photography.

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Midwestern State University originally began as Wichita Falls Junior College, then became Hardin Junior College in 1922. It is now a public liberal arts college with a campus of 255 acres and 70 buildings offering many programs in arts, math, science and business.


Memorial Auditorium was built in 1927 to look like the State Fair Music Hall in Dallas. The bluff where the auditorium stands is famous as the location of the last sectional Indian battle in the area, fought in 1872.

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Gene Autry

Bob Hope

Elvis Presley

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In the early days, Will Rogers performed on the Memorial Auditorium stage. Other performances included Al Jolsen, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Duke Ellington, Ethel Barrymore, Helen Keller, Gene Autry and Bob Hope.


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Wichita Falls Regional Airport is a public and military joint-use airport. Its runways and taxiways are shared with Sheppard AFB. Famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart once visited. Pictured is Earhart next to her Auto Gyro during a stopover on June 16, 1931.

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Sheppard Field, named after Senator John Morris Sheppard, opened in 1941 to train pilots and mechanics for World War II. Today, as Sheppard Air Force Base, it continues to train men and women who defend our nation. It is also the training base for pilots in the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, which trains pilots from around the world.

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Rall and Ora Davenport opened Davenport Grocery in front of their home in 1926. The thriving store served area oil field workers and railroad employees. It continues to sell groceries to the citizens of Wichita Falls today and was honored as a Texas Historical Marker in 2012.

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The Wichita Daily Times, an afternoon paper, began publication May 19, 1907. In 1928 the Times Publishing Co. acquired the Wichita Falls Record News and continued publication of that morning paper. Today, the Times Record News is owned by the Gannett Company.

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Wichita Falls has had two historic tornadoes, one in 1964 and one on “Terrible Tuesday� in 1979. Today, we have early warning sirens that help keep us safe!

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Completed in 1986, the 54-foot man-made falls replaced the original falls that washed away more than 100 years ago. It can be seen and visited from Interstate 44 or you can walk the trail from Lucy Park.

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“Kiddyland,” as it was originally called, first opened in 1960 at the corner of Weeks Park Lane and Farm-to-Market Road 369 (Southwest Parkway). With attractions like the 1-mile Cannonball Train, the hydraulic helicopter ride, electric cars, a merry-go-round and Casey’s hand cars, Kiddyland was an instant success, selling more than 100,000 tickets in its first six weeks!

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The Hotter ‘n’ Hell Hundred bicycle ride began in 1982 as part of the Wichita Falls Centennial Celebration. It’s named for one hundred miles ridden in what is typically 100-degree weather to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Wichita Falls. HH100 is the largest single day bicycle ride in the nation. 24


We bring History to Life! Visit the museum at 720 Indian Avenue OR Jenny to Jet at Wichita Falls Municipal Airport 400 Armstrong Drive FREE ADMISSION Open Tuesday—Saturday 10:00 A.M.—4:00 P.M.

THANK YOU to the BBBS & Museum Boards and the following volunteers for donating their time and efforts: Mary Helen Maskill | Melissa Prigmore | Marcela Trice | Leanne Ray | Lori Wilson | Carolyn Kressenberg If you want a replica of any page or would like to purchase the original sketch artwork, please contact: Nicholas Schreiber | Immediate Past BBBS Board Chair | Marketing Director - SLA Architects | nschreiber@slatx.us SAWYER PRINTING_COLORING BOOK AD.pdf

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Color Something BIG! 2  

24 page coloring book dedicated to the history of Wichita Falls, Texas. All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wichita County and...

Color Something BIG! 2  

24 page coloring book dedicated to the history of Wichita Falls, Texas. All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wichita County and...