a Pecan Shell |
you like railroads (and
even if you don't), Denison is your kind of city. Founded in 1872 as the connecting
point of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas ("Katy") and Texas Central Rail Lines, Denison
blossomed into one of the South's most important transportation centers, serving
as the first rail stop across from the Indian Territory - as Oklahoma was known
Goods from the seaport at Galveston
could be carried to St. Louis through Denison, and grain and beef from Kansas
and other points north could finally make their way to Texas
and the rest of the southwest via the Katy Lines.
Denison's spirit as
a fast-paced commercial hub could be found in its citizens as well as its architecture.
Dwight David Eisenhower, son of a Katy engineer and future commander of
the Allied Forces at Normandy (oh, and also a two term U. S. President), entered
the world in a white frame house in the humble part of town. The downtown area
housed saloons, hotels, manufacturing plants, banks, and plenty of culture. This
"new" town was giving Sherman, the Grayson County
seat, a definite run for its money in terms of activity and affluence.
of an Era
The decline of railroads signaled the end of Denison's boom days. At first, passenger
service fell sharply. By the 1990's, the huge switching yards were dismantled
and sold for scrap. The unusually large Katy Depot, which housed the corporate
offices of the railroad, fell into disrepair, but it has since been restored and
now serves as a mini-mall / special events center. When the new U.S. Highway 75
by-pass was built around Denison, the main thoroughfare also fell victim to progress
and now it only offers faint hints of the city that once was.
of a New Era
But by no means is Denison becoming a ghost town.
On the contrary, it is reviving itself into a historical showplace. Artists have
discovered Denison's progressive flair and now the downtown area hosts festivals,
galleries, shows, and even a wine tasting room (wine is not a far-fetched preoccupation
in this part of the state - in the 1880's, world famous local vintner Thomas V.
Munson saved the French grape crop from complete destruction by cultivating new
stock). Lake Texoma
is a recreation Mecca for Dallasites ready to leave the rat race for a spell.
A museum located in the old Katy Depot gives justice to the railroad that shaped
the town and Eisenhower's birthplace is now a well-visited state park.
Haunting Spots… Book
Hotel Here > Denison
Denison is the type of city that doesn't hide its past - in fact, you won't
see many new buildings around town. No doubt that Denison has a few ghosts hanging
around. Not only does the old abandoned high school in the middle of town probably
sport a disembodied prom queen or two, but the Traveler's Hotel located just across
the tracks from the Katy Depot can give a visitor Goosebumps. Built by a German
sea captain named Ernst Martin Kohl, who opened it as a grocery store and saloon
in 1893, it was converted into a hotel for railroad travelers in the 1930's. The
National Register labels the architectural style Prairie, but if you've ever been
to Central Europe, you'd think the building was a medieval fortress. The house
is four stories tall, made of solid stone and timber and laced with wrought iron.
Add to that heavy oak doors, stained glass windows, dark crawl spaces, a secluded
garden and a wooden porch roof almost two stories tall… you get the picture. By
the 1960's, passenger traffic abated so drastically that the hotel had to close,
and a succession of owners tried to restore the house (a daunting task considering
the unique style and size.) Currently, Christina Moon, a local realtor, is renovating
the hotel, hoping it can eventually be opened for tours by January 2003. She has
alluded to some odd coincidences and hints of haunting, although she won't elaborate…
suffice to say she is in love with the house and will surely do right by it.
Denison is an old town that is not dying, but is re-inventing itself. It
would be great if other by-passed towns in Texas would take the hint: don't destroy
history, but embrace it. By the way, the old high school (it makes up an entire
city block) is for sale…if anyone's in the mood to find ghosts.
Birth Place of a President by Archie P. McDonald ("All Things Historical"
State Park - 50 Park Road 20 Denison TX 75020-4878 903/465-1956|
Birthplace State Historic Site - 609 S. Lamar Denison TX 75021 903/465-8908
River Railroad Museum - 104 E. Main Street
Lake Park - Municipal park on Loy Lake Road, SW of the city.
fishing, and boating.
Hotel Here > Denison
Angel - Calvary Cemetery|
Photos Courtesy Justin
Texoma and the Denison Dam|
Impounding 89,000 acres of water, the dam itself is a mere five miles NW of Denison,
Texas. It borders on the Texas counties of Cooke and Grayson and on the Oklahoma
counties of Bryan, Love, Johnson and Bryan...
National Wildlife Refuge
Over 300 bird species recorded
11,300 acres of land and water on Lake
From US 75 between Sherman and
Denison, take FM 691 to county airport, FM 1417 North 1.5 miles. Follow signs
to the Refuge.Grayson
County Frontier Village - 903-463-2487
Open year round except Thanksgiving.
7 days a week 1-4pm.
Location of the annual Grayson County Holiday Lights
Vineyards - On Grayson County College west campus.
West of Intersection
FM 1417 and FM 691
Hotel Here > Denison
September 2002 © Robin
Author's Note: This time I sought out
Denison, TX, home of the Eisenhower birthplace, Lake
Texoma, and a major participant in Texas
Rail Road history. It has a fascinating history, many off-beat attractions,
and has that wonderful "lived-in" feel of many Texas communities. Denison's main
road, Highway 75, was bypassed in the mid-90's and therefore the downtown area
isn't what it used to be. However, it's rebounding nicely due to its civic minded
citizens. They truly realize the attraction of Denison's rail road past. - Robin
The Rialto Theatre in Denison|
December 1984 photo courtesy Billy
of Denison in 1874
Excerpts from Texas 1874: An Eyewitness account of conditions in Post-Reconstruction
by Edward King and J. Wells Champney, Cordovan Press, 1978
UFO by Mike Cox
The January UFO sightings in Stephenville
gave the national news media a brief respite from politics..., but the Erath County
incident isn’t the Lone Star State’s first rodeo when it comes to mysterious objects
in the sky...
25, 1878 - UFO Cartoon by Roger T. Moore
Texas Savior of the French Wine Industry
by Archie P. McDonald
Those who favor a glass of wine, especially French
wine, may not be aware of the debt they and the French owe to Dr. Thomas Volney
Munson of Denison, Texas.
The Traveler's Hotel|
courtesy Jay Goode
Texas Forum Subject:
Denison Weeping Angel
your wonderful page about the Weeping
Angels. I am sad to inform you that her arm was broken off sometime this
late winter or spring. I drove by and saw it , so sad! - Susan Hawkins, May
I was in Denison a few weeks ago and found
an old railroad station. Railroads and stations are one of my passions. Denison
has an old hotel, too, that must have seen a lot of life. - Regards, Jay Goode,
Goode Web Design, www.goodewebdesign.com, December 29, 2010
Razed- Denison 9/27/07
Old Denison high school being razed following several months of legal fights.
- Mike Price, September 26, 2007
Remembering the Old Denison High
I am Louise McLaughlin, a mixed media
artist. I am so sorry the community of Denison lost their battle to save the Old
Denison High School. As an artist, I would like to make a tribute to the people
who went to DHS. I want to honor the memory and events from the century-old DHS.
I am looking for historical information and pictures to form into a memorial,
an artistic representation of the history of DHS and the people and events that
help make Denison a great place to call home. If anyone can contribute images
or information on the school, they can connect me at: email@example.com Thank
You, Louise McLaughlin, September 19, 2007
Grayson County, Texas
Sherman is about
25 miles west of Bonham, and its "twin
city" to the north, Denison, is gateway to the Denison Dam which forms Lake Texoma,
one of the largest man-made lakes. I live in the little town of Bells,
ten miles east of Sherman. Then there is Savoy, two miles to the east of Bells
and Ector is between Savoy and Bonham. These are just the towns between Sherman
and Bonham on Hwy. 56 which was, until recently, Hwy. 82. Ten miles south on Hwy.
69 out of Bells is Whitewright. In
fact, this whole area is almost entirely made up of small towns where everyone
knows everyone else and most know their history and/or are descendants of the
founders. The Metroplex is rapidly making its way north and from McKinney
south on Hwy. 75 it's hard to distinguish where one town ends and another begins.
Being a "newcomer" to the area (only 33 years - raised in Lubbock),
I can't tell you a lot of history but all of these places are filled with warm
and welcoming people who love to tell stories of their towns. Hope you can get
to some of them before Dallas does.
Thanks for the great web site! - Margie Jackson, September 13, 2002
Hotel Here > Denison
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic
photos, please contact
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