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A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers

Bob Bowman &
Archie P. McDonald, PhD

East Texas Industries /
Business / Towns

  • Who? Hoo Hoo. That’s Who by Bob Bowman 1-12-09
    Separated by more than 200 miles, Gurdon, Arkansas, and Lufkin, Texas, share a unique legacy: the Concatenated Order of the Hoo Hoo, an international fraternity of lumbermen...
  • Labor Day by Archie P. McDonald 9-1-08
    Most of our national holidays commemorate civic events or religious observances; Labor Day celebrates the concept that work is noble and worthy of honor for its own sake...
  • Chautauqua by Bob Bowman 8-18-08
    Dominating Getzendaner Park in Waxahachie, a large wooden, octagonal-roofed pavilion stands as a symbol of entertainment and enlightment in the days before movies and television...
  • The forgotten forests by Bob Bowman 6-23-08
    A new book published by Jane G. Baxter of Nashville, Tennessee, and Dan T. Barnes of Trinity, Texas, has captured the appearance of the old forests that existed in the early 1900s.
  • A good ol’ store by Bob Bowman 2-11-08
    Losing a community institution is like losing a good friend. Such was the case when the Poynor General Store closed last summer in the Henderson County community on U.S. Highway 175...
  • Kirby Lumber Company by Archie P. McDonald 1-21-08
    My father-in-law, B.L. Barrett, was born in Fuqua, graduated from high school in Kirbyville, and married Edna Idell Bass, born in Warren. What does Fuqua, Kirbyville, and Warren have in common?: saw mills operated by John Henry Kirby.
  • History and sawmill tokens by Bob Bowman 1-14-08
    "...Inside was the finest and most complete collection of sawmill tokens--the rarest kind of tender in early East Texas--that I have ever seen, including any museum. Buster, 80, who retired from the Lufkin post office in 1990, has been scouring East Texas for the tokens since 1995. Amazingly, he has collected nearly 260 tokens, most of them from sawmill communities that have vanished..."
  • Remembering school days by Bob Bowman 11-19-07
    Few things stir the nostalgia of our lives as the days we spent in our schools decades ago.
  • The Kelly Plow by Archie P. McDonald 9-10-07
    Early in the nineteenth century, American farmers broke the soil pretty much the same way as old English grangers or even Biblical tillers did—with wooden plows...
  • Gaceta de Teja by Archie P. McDonald 8-6-07
    Readers of the Dallas Morning News, Tyler Telegraph, Gilmer Mirror, Jefferson Jimplecute and every other newspaper in Texas may not know about the journalistic ancestor they share. That was a single issue of the Gaceta de Tejas, or Texas Gazette, and here is its story.
  • The Cotton Bowl by Archie P. McDonald 5-7-07
    East Texans claim Dallas-Big "D," as we once said-so a story of the Cotton Bowl falls into our area; well, at least the stadium is located in Dallas' east side, in Fair Park...
  • The Emporia Mystery by Bob Bowman 3-29-06
    In the early 1900s, an explosion and fire spread throughout the old Emporia sawmill in south Angelina County. An estimated 30 sawmill workers, most of them black, are believed to have perished in the conflagration...
  • The Piney Woods by Bob Bowman 12-11-06
    In view of an economic development group's plan to change the image of the piney woods of East Texas with a new name, perhaps a look at the history of this part of Texas is appropriate...
  • The First County Agent by Bob Bowman 11-27-06
    In the early 1900s, during a time of low crop production and a depressed farm economy in East Texas, Tyler and Smith County pioneered a concept that celebrates its 100th anniversary this year--the county agricultural agent.
  • The first "over water" oil well by Bob Bowman 10-30-06
    n the early l900s, 27-year-old Walter B. Pyron, of Blossom, Texas, a production foreman for Guffy Oil Company, noticed gas bubbles rising from Caddo Lake.
  • Air Conditioning by Archie P. McDonald 7-3-06
    When someone asks my wife how people lived in Texas before air-conditioning, she says that no one did. That is partly true and partly false, but we can all agree that the a/c makes surviving Texas’ summers a happier experience. The old timers coped, however, and here is how.
  • Nethery's Store by Bob Bowman 6-11-06
    In hundreds of small towns in East Texas, the general store was the hub of the community--a place where neighbors visited, made purchases of everything they needed, and usually put it on credit. Few, if any, of the old general stores remain today. Most were simply victims of changing times. However, in the little town of Milam near the Texas-Louisiana border, you can sample the flavor of what old general stores looked and felt like.
  • East Texas Savior of the French Wine Industry by Archie P. McDonald 6-5-06
    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
  • Pink Palace of Healing by Archie P. McDonald 5-8-06
    University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Kinkaid School by Archie P. McDonald 4-24-06
    When I attended French High School in Beaumont, Texas, early in the 1950s, we "country hicks" from the north side of town looked across town at students in the tonier Beaumont High School, many of whose students lived in the affluent westside along Calder Avenue. It would have been above our station to know that Beaumont Highers felt the same way about the scholars at Kinkaid School in Houston.
  • Gilmer, Texas by Archie P. McDonald 3-11-06
    It is presumptuous for a native of Beaumont and long-time resident of Nacogdoches to be writing about Gilmer, Texas. Only admiration for my long-time friend and publisher of the Gilmer Mirror-and being able to take advantage of the research of Mary Kirby - provides the courage to do so.
  • Why did they call it that? by Bob Bowman 3-7-06
    Don't let anyone tell you that the people who picked names for some of East Texas' earliest communities were not imaginative or lacked a sense of humor.
  • Brotherhood of Timber Workers by Archie P. McDonald 1-16-06
    Those engaged in a common activity often refer to themselves as “brothers” or “sisters,” but the Brotherhood of Timber Workers refers to something rare in East Texas—a labor union.
  • The Boll Weevil by Archie P. McDonald 1-1-06
    The boll weevil found its home, much to the chagrin of East Texas cotton growers.
  • All Journalism is Local by Archie P. McDonald 12-26-05
    "Tip O’Neil reminded us that 'all politics is local.' Millard Cope taught us that the best journalism is local, too."
  • A Christmas Treat by Bob Bowman 12-19-05
    "Stars top the sixty replica derricks, helping Kilgore maintain its title as the state's official "City of Stars." Kilgore is also among the stops on the Holiday Trail of Lights, which includes Marshall and Jefferson in East Texas and Natchitoches and Shreveport in Louisiana."
  • The Poinsettia by Archie P. McDonald 12-11-05
    Every Christmas your house and mine brightens with the seasonal introduction of the poinsettia plant with its red and green leaves and tiny yellow blooms. Perhaps you would like to know how such came to be.
  • A steamboat’s Tale by Bob Bowman 9-18-05
    The Ruthven
  • Demise of a town by Bob Bowman 6-14-05
    "In the 1960s, Camden -- a sawmill town tucked away in the tall pines of northern Polk County -- held a special place in history. It was the last company town in East Texas..."
  • Sharecroppers by Archie P. McDonald 4-24-05
  • Shacklefoot by Bob Bowman 4-1-05
    The community existed two centuries ago as a robbers den perched on the Texas side of the Sabine River somewhere near the present-day settlement of Patroon Bay on Toledo Bend Reservoir.
  • Why Did They Name It That? by Archie P. McDonald 3-9-05
    Cut and Shoot, Texas
  • Bet-A-Million Gates by Archie P. McDonald 2-16-05
    John Warne Gates, a native of Winfield, Illinois, became associated with three of Texas’ most important items: barbed wire, railroads, and oil.
  • Nazis in East Texas by Bob Bowman 1-1-05
    German POWs providing labor for the lumber industry in East Texas during WWII.
  • John Henry Kirby by Archie P. McDonald 12/20/04
    Founder of a firm that eventually operated sawmills in the heart of the pineywoods and controlled 300,000 acres of timberland...
  • The Four Towns of Onalaska by Bob Bowman 10/15/04
    This year, as Onalaska celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding, townspeople are discovering more about their past, including the fact there are four Onalaskas in the United States
  • Braniff International by Archie P. McDonald 9/7/04
    "Long before American Airlines moved to Dallas or Continental dominated Houston, Braniff flew the skies over Texas."
  • Webster's Buck by by Bob Bowman
    The San Augustine Tribune, publisher Webster Hays and his buck.
  • Texas First Cattle King by Archie P. McDonald 2/23/04
  • Inventing the Oilfield Pumping Unit by Bob Bowman 1/20/04
    The invention of the counterbalanced pumping unit -- the most visual piece of machinery in today's oilfields.
  • The Front Camps by Bob Bowman 1/6/04
    Today, they're little more than trails or clearings in the forest. They were logging camps - the short lived and sometimes mobile communities which supported the earliest East Texas sawmills.
  • Air Pioneer by Bob Bowman 12/03
  • Forestry Education by Archie P. McDonald 10/19/03
  • A Geography Lesson by Bob Bowman 11/02
  • Hemphill, Texas by Archie P. McDonald 7/7/02
  • Old Concord by Bob Bowman 6/8/02
  • San Augustine by Archie P. McDonald 5/10/02
  • Almost a Houston by Bob Bowman 1/31/02
  • Holiday Day Trips by Bob Bowman, 12/2/01
  • New Birmingham and East Texas Iron by Archie P. McDonald, 9/15/01
  • Turpentiners by Bob Bowman, 7/15/01
  • Saratoga by Archie P. McDonald, 7/10/01
  • Wonder Why They Named it That by Archie P. McDonald, 5/5/01
  • Radio Days by Bob Bowman, 4/22/01
  • The 50,000 Shoeshine by Bob Bowman, 4/8/01
  • Homer Bryce by Archie P. McDonald, 2/18/01
  • Lyne Taliaferro Barret by Archie P. McDonald, 2/4/01
  • When Oil Became An Industry by Archie P. McDonald, 12/24/00
  • The Pioneer Paper Machine by Bob Bowman, 11/5/00
  • The Lone Star Brand by Archie P. McDonald, 10/8/00

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