Category Archives: Today in Texas History

Today in Texas History – December 15

Old Railroad Maps | TEXAS PANHANDLE & DENVER/TEXAS/FT. WORTH RR BY NORTHRUP 1888

From the Annals of the Iron Horse – In 1887, the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway became the first rail line to enter northwest Texas. The train was run into the new community of Cheyenne in Oldham County.  The line was nicknamed “the Denver Road” and operated in the Texas from 1881 to 1982.  The FWDC was chartered by the Texas legislature on May 26, 1873. The company would later change its name to the  Fort Worth and Denver Railways Co. in 1951.  The main line ran from Fort Worth through Wichita Falls, Childress, Amarillo and Dalhart to Texline where it connected with the Colorado and Southern line.

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Today in Texas History – December 12

Pin by John Daugherty, Realtors on Bellaire, TX | Pinterest

From the Annals of the Streetcars –  In 1910, the “Toonerville Trolley” streetcar line began operating between Houston and the suburban community of Bellaire .In 1909 the Westmoreland Railroad Company, directed by Bellaire developer William Wright Baldwin, began construction of a streetcar line between the intersection of Bellaire Blvd and South Rice Ave and Houston’s Main Street 4 miles to the east to improve transportation between Bellaire and Houston.  The line ran on the esplanade of Bellaire Boulevard. At the same time, the Houston Electric Company extended its south end line from Eagle Avenue down present Fannin Street to connect with the Bellaire line. The trip between Bellaire and downtown Houston required one transfer at Eagle Avenue.  Sadly, the line was abandoned on September 26, 1927.

Today in Texas History – December 11

From the Annals of the Chiefs – In 1737,  Spanish military forces captured Cabellos Colorados.   CC was a Lipan Apache chief who had staged repeated raids on the Spanish outpost at San Antonio de Bexar.  The historical record on Cabellos Colorados is scant but his name appears in Spanish colonial records as figuring prominently in a number of raids.  There was a raid in 1731 and again in 1734 when his band seized two Spaniards. He was also reported as haven stolen horses from San Francisco de la Espada Mission and killed Indians from the missions of San Juan Capistrano and Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña. After more raids in 1736 and 1737, he was captured and imprisoned at Bexar until October 1738, when he was sent as a prisoner to Mexico City.

Today in Texas History December 8

From the Annals of Intercollegiate Athletics –  In 1914, the Southwest Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was formed at a meeting at the Rice Hotel in Houston.  The name was changed to the Southwest Conference in 1925 and it existed as a major college conference until its dissolution in 1996.   The inaugural members were Arkansas, Rice, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma A&M, Southwestern, Texas A&M and Texas. Southwestern was a member for only one year and the Oklahoma schools were gone in less than a decade.  Major additions were SMU in 1918, TCU in 1923, Texas Tech in 1956 and Houston in 1972.  With the inception of the Cotton Bowl Classic at Fair Park in Dallas, the SWC Champion was the host team and the CBC featured several games that determined the then “Mythical” National Champion.

The death came quickly with Arkansas leaving in 1991 and Texas, A&M, Tech and Baylor breaking off to join the schools of the Big 8 in forming the Big 12 (now featuring 10 schools).

Red has always blamed the break up of the SWC on the scandalous Pony Express program at SMU largely orchestrated by former Poor Idiot Governor Bill Clements – a notorious scuzzbag of a businessman. After getting a death penalty sanction from the NCAA in 1987, SMU hung around the neck of the SWC like a dead chicken.  Red believes that if the conference had had the juevos to kick out the Mustangs and attempt to get a good replacement (like LSU or Oklahoma) the conference would be alive and well today.  Red suspects the specter of Clements kept that from happening.  Thanks for nothing Bill!

Red always thought that the SWC logo made it look like Texas had wings.

Today in Texas History – December 7

From the Annals of the Curators –  In 1955, the board of trustees of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts proclaimed that the museum would “exhibit and acquire works of art only on the basis of their merit as works of art.”  The proclamation was in response to what was known as the “Red Art” controversy.  In March 1955 the Public Affairs Luncheon Club, a local women’s group, had accused DMOFA and its director, Jerry Bywaters, of the dreadful sin of exhibiting the work of artists with communist affiliations and neglecting the work of Dallas artists.  The PALC reflected the incredibly conservative thinking of Dallas’ power elite.  In response, DMOFA removed works by acclaimed artists such as Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera. The attempt at censorship generated a strong response from the artistic community and the trustees’ statement and the support of the Dallas Morning News helped quell the controversy. .

Today in Texas History – December 6

From the Annals of the Gridiron – In 1896, Texas Christian University played its first football game.  It was an 8-6 victory over Toby’s Business College of Waco.  At the time, the school was called the AddRan Male & Female College and was located near Waco.  The school changed its name to TCU in 1902 and relocated to Waco in 1910.  The storied program has had its ups and downs, but the Horned Frogs are ranked as the 5th best private college football program of all-time behind such notables as Notre Dame, USC and Miami.  TCU has won two National Championships (both in the 1930s), numerous conference championships and has played in all of the major bowl games.

Today in Texas History – December 5

BEXAR, SIEGE OF | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)

From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1835, the Texas revolutionary army launched their first major assault on the Mexican Army units encamped at San Antonio de Bexar under the command of Gen. Martin Perfecto de Cos.  Cos had gathered his troops at Bexar following the defeat at Gonzales and was cut off from the coast.  By early December, the siege of Bexar had been under way for several weeks with action at the Espada Mission and elsewhere.  Morale was low on the Texian side with winter approaching.  However, reports from a captured Mexican soldier and escaped Texian prisoners alerted Maj. Gen. Edward Burleson of the Texian Volunteer Army that Mexican morale was just as low.  Burleson ordered a two-column attack. One attack was to be carried out by troops under the command of Ben Milam, and the other was to be carried out by those of Colonel Francis W. Johnson. On December 5, Milam and Johnson launched a surprise attack and seized two houses in the Military Plaza (one of the houses seized belonged to the in-laws of Jim Bowie). The Texians were unable to advance any further that day, but they fortified the houses and remained there during the night, digging trenches and destroying nearby buildings.  The Battle for Bexar continued with house-to-house fighting until December 10 when the besieged Mexican troops surrendered.

Map of Siege of Bexar from The Handbook of Texas Online.