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CONTENTED COWS AND FLYING BULLS
Carnation Comes to Texas in 1929
Schulenburg, Texas

by John Troesser
babies on airplane - Schulenburg TX old photograph
A photo of the Plane that brought the bull to Schulenburg was also used in this fanciful collage by Leon Herzik. Presented to Dr. Peters, who had personally delivered 2000 babies in the Schulenburg area, Mr. Herzik probably photographed 1999 of them.
Photo/Collage Courtesy Schulenburg Historical Museum and Herzik Family
In May of 1929, Carnation Milk decided to build a Condensing Plant in Texas. This would be the first National Company of any kind to open a plant in Texas, hard as that is to believe. Wags of the day said that Texas was chosen "because contented cows can't stand discouraging words". Gail Borden, who lived in Galveston and had a county named after him in the panhandle, had chosen a site near here several years before. Borden's stamp of approval probably had something to do with Carnation's choice, since Texas dairies were thriving in Hopkins and Eastland Counties.

The otherwise peaceful community was delirious with joy. Grown men wept, women couldn't sleep (because of the men weeping), chickens laid colored eggs and children behaved themselves.


The Big Day

Not since the deliberate head-on collision of two locomotives near Waco did so many people gathered in one Texas place for one event. Local-boy-made-good Senator Russek was there, and even the Governor himself. Hand-cranked cameras were there to record the event and show it in theaters around the country, and hand-cranked ice cream was sold on Main Street, which had been closed to traffic.

Although it had been announced that bulls for breeding a superior herd were being shipped "express", no one imagined that one would (or could) be flown in. This was after all, only two years after Lindburg's flight and the mystique of aviation made pilots the highest paid profession after movie actors.
Schulenburg Texas Flying Bull
The baby bull's image was used to sell cigars in Schulenburg.

Photo Courtesy Schulenburg Historical Museum
The animal in the spotlight was actually a handsome Holstein bull calf, still wet behind the ears, with the cumbersome name of Carnation Badger Aero Lone Star.

The Flight originated in Oconomowoc, Wisconson where the locals spend their time inventing Native-American sounding names that when translated end up meaning something like Smithville. The plane was a Ford Tri-motor. Henry was briefly in the aviation business, as he was briefly in the railroad business. Suggested Company slogan: "Have you flown a Ford lately?" The plane landed in Ripper's pasture at High Hill.

From the Schulenburg Sticker: "This stunt which was one of the biggest advertising stunts in recent years, gained worlds of publicity for Carnation, our city and this bull." "This history making event will be told for generations." Here we are generations later - Editor.

Included in the crowd (estimated at 20,000), were other noteworthy Shulenburgers: The Stanzel Brothers came to see the plane and the Herzik family staffed their cameras, recording the event for history. The Sticker also reports that in addition to the bull and company officials, there was a pilot, and a reserve pilot-mechanician (?!) on board.

Never content to let a story end peacefully, our editor perused the Sticker for several more days and found that upon leaving town the next day, the plane took Myke Klein as a guest, and Henry Schaefer, as a stowaway. Upon arrival in [Smithville], Wisconson, the two men took a train to Toledo, Ohio, bought a Whippet (an automobile brand of the day), drove to New York and then returned to Fayette County. A letter received from their adventure closed: "Regards to Carnation City."

As the sun went down that day, (somewhere west of Flatonia) this chapter in Schulenburg's life was now over. Men stopped weeping, women slept, colored omelets were forgotten and children still behaved themselves, for this was Schulenburg: "the hometown you never had."

See Schulenburg, Texas
 
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