Here, a sturdy
old gin has found a new life as an entertainment venue that draws crowds from
all over East Texas and performers
like Mark Chestnut, Pee Wee Walker, and Gary Busey.
And the sounds of
the Saturday night music and comedy go out on the air waves of the best named
rural radio station in Texas--KMOO of Mineola.
Youíll find it at 99.9 on your radio dial.
The old cotton gin sat unused
beside U.S. Highway 69 since the 1970s, when it stopped ginning cotton for Rains
Countyís farmers. But about five and a half years ago, Brent Cason and his mother
and father, Lena and Joe Ben Cason, saw something different in the dirty, neglected
With the support of Pointís
people, they turned the gin into The Cotton Pickiní Theater and opened it to music
performers of all kinds.
Today, each Saturday night, the old gin comes
alive as people drive to Point
for some of the best entertainment in East
While country music is the mainstay at the gin, the second
and fifth Saturday nights of each month are devoted to gospel music. And on the
fourth Saturday night, the Rural American Idol contests pulls in contestants from
all over the map.
Performers come in all size and ages, from three years
old to 85.
No one really knows when Pointís
gin was built, but it probably dates back to Pointís
town began as a flag station and post office around 1880 on a section of the Missouri,
Kansas and Texas Railroad from Mineola
to Greenville. Residents proposed
the name Riceís Point for William
Rice, a Kentuckian who settled in the area, but the post office rejected the
name and several others because they were already in use.
In 2006, Point
opened another landmark, also related to the communityís farming heritage. A large
monument, sitting beside the old cotton gin, was built to recognize the birth
of the National Farmers Union by Isaac Newton Gresham at Point
Founded to address farm issues during a time when America was
courting the American industrial revolution. Gresham was a small town newspaper
editor who was sympathetic with the problems faced by small farmers around the
turn of the century.
Today, the NFU has a membership of 250,000 farm and
ranch families in 26 states and continues with Greshamís mission of protecting
the economic well-being of farmers and ranchers and their rural communities.
the Point gin keeps on ginning--not
with cotton, but music.
The other day, however, Joe Ben Cason found a
survivor of the old cotton days--a live boll weevil.
one knows how he survived or why he stayed.
Maybe he just liked the music.
July 29, 2012
Bowman's East Texas >
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
Topics: Texas Theatres
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Towns | Texas