A Road By Any Other Name

Is still a road.

That stunk, I apologize.

Someone called a while back and wanted to know if Bonnie Brae Street had once been called Avenue I. They were looking for the place where someone once lived, but couldn’t find the street.

Guess what? It was.

Once upon a time, the name for the road was split with Scripture dividing the two names. The northern part of the road was – and still is – Bonnie Brae and the southern part was Avenue I. The people who lived along the length decided, and rightly so, that they would like their street to have one name and went to the City Council. The Council passed an ordinance to get rid of the dual names in 1961. So, Avenue I was no more, except in people’s memories which can be rather long.

Sadly, no song exists about Avenue I – or its’ glory days – although there are some who might remember the way it used to look. I would like to hear a description of that from someone (drop me a line?).

The first mentions – that I can find – of Avenue I are in 1919. As for Bonnie Brae – other than the literal term for a “a pretty hillside” –  it was once known as the Bonnie Brae Stock Farm. The 30 acre homestead, located “1-1/2 miles west of the courthouse on the turnpike” was owned by Chas. H. Smoot. This farm raised prize-winning Jersey cows, Hampshire and Shropshire sheep, and Broughton rams. Mr. Smoot purchased the land in 1914, but put the farm up for sale in 1920 and by July of 1925 had started the “Bonnie Brae Addition” with his first open house prominently advertised in the Denton Record-Chronicle.

1940DentonMap002

1940 Map of Denton, Texas, Denton Chamber of Commerce.

As subdivisions were added, a new arterial road was needed to reach State Highway 24 – something we all know now as University Drive, or US380 – and Bonnie Brae was lengthened, but it needed some serious straightening out first – judging by the map below.

1958 map of Denton, Texas.

Part of a 1958 map of Denton, Texas

And here is a aerial photo from our collection of the same road taken in 1964 looking west over UNT. If you look just in the background, just left of the middle you can see the strange configuration of the road and the still open fields. To see a larger copy check it out on the Portal to Texas History.

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View of UNT campus in 1964 with Avenue I/Bonnie Brae in the background.

I swear, the excitement in this town never ends.

-Leslie Couture

Special Collections

 

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In The Weeds 8.16.17: We’re Hungry!

We have four old menus for local businesses here in the Special Collections Dept at the Emily Fowler Library: The Flying Tomato, The Duck Inn and Jim’s Diner. We think “The Tomato” example is from the early 2000s after they were no longer franchised and the “Flying Tomato” menu is from the mid-to-late 1990s. The Duck Inn menu is probably from the early 2000s, as well. Finally, the Jim’s menu is maybe from the early ’90’s? We would love to hear from anyone who knows who worked at any of these establishments. Contact us at the email below.

The Duck Inn existed for nearly 60 years at the same location in Lake Dallas from 1945 to mid 2000’s and were known by the famous and funny motto, “Duck Inn and Waddle Out!” The Flying Tomato was established in 1984 at 1226 West Hickory Street on a location formerly occupied by The Crossroads Club and Bullwinkle’s. Jim’s Diner existed at 110 Fry Street from 1980 to approximately 1997 and was the sight of many a performance and poetry reading from some folks you may have heard of like Brave Combo, Little Jack Melody, and Norah Jones.

Now, without further ado, here they are and we cannot be held responsible for your hunger pangs…

DuckMenuOutside

DuckMenuInside

Here’s an ad from the January 2, 1958 Record-Chronicle advertising the newly “Rmodeled” (oops!) Duck Inn:

DuckAd

Two Tomato menus, donated by Melinda Rule:

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TomatoMenuInside

TomatoMenuBWoutside

TomatoMenuBWInside

Here’s a 1986 Alec Williams photo of the Flying Tomato during the Fry Street Fair of that year:

Tomato

Finally, the piece de resistance: a hand drawn menu from the late and much lamented Jim’s Diner at 110 Fry Street followed by a Denton Record-Chronicle photo, both courtesy of Martin Iles:

JimsMenu

JimsDRC

Many thanks to Melinda Rule, Martin Iles, and Alec Williams for their contributions.

(I had too much fun tagging this blog post with words like, “Gutbuster”, “catfish”, “hushpuppies”, etc.)

Written by Chuck Voellinger. For questions or comments please email me at chuck.voellinger@cityofdenton.com. Thanks for reading!

Death and Dessert Book Club

Our Death and Dessert Book Club has been active for almost 10 years!

This mystery book club does not choose a specific book every meeting but a fun topic. The members can read any book that falls in the category and then share their thoughts at the meetings. It is a wonderful way to find new authors and share your favorites.

With our new catalog we can now share lists of recommended books (and so can you!). We are now adding the Death and Dessert Book Club Lists to the catalog.

To find these go to the library catalog at http://library.cityofdenton.com/

Log in

Choose “List” in the dropdown menu and enter “Death and Dessert” you should then get mystery lists from the book club.

Here are a few of the favorites:

Senior Sleuths

I’ve Been Framed (Art Mysteries)

Rue Morgue (Forensic Mysteries)

Kilt Dead (Scottish Mysteries)

The Death and Dessert book club meets at Emily Fowler at 7PM on the first Thursday of the month. The next meeting is on August 3rd.  We will be discussing “Do Not Disturb (Vacation Mysteries)”

If you have any questions about the book club (and first time members are always welcome) please call Kimberly Wells at 940-349-8796 or Reka Reynolds at 940-349-8257.

The Library Brings The Rock!

I love Rock and Roll! I love Dave Grohl. I love the fact that he survived Nirvana and Rock when most of his peers either bailed out or died. It was his mom. Her fortitude. He had a place to come home to when the wheels came off. There was a room waiting, a warm smile, a meal, home cooked, or not. It doesn’t matter what you’re into, if your mom is there, you’re lucky; even if you’re a Rock Star. Read the book and learn about love.

WJS, aka, Library Lackey

 

Grohl

Small Business Owner? The Denton Public Library has your back!

The Denton Public Library is pleased to have a number of excellent resources (FOR FREE) to help you succeed in starting your own business:

Reference USA: This is a database of 49 million businesses and 274 individual consumers to help you identify the perfect potential customer for your business.

Lynda.com: Need a refresher on using QuickBooks? Have a staff member who needs training on Blender, but no money in the training budget? Lynda.com is the database for you. Thousands of webinars on every topic a business owner can dream of!

Small Business Support Group: Have you ever stood up and given your 30-second business introduction (AKA elevator speech) to a group of other business people? The Small Business Support Group is a friendly, nurturing environment to practice your networking skills and learn from others.
North Branch Library
2nd Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

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SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives)
Make your free appointment with a business mentor! Start working on your business plan or find funding.
Call Kerry Montz at 940-349-8757 to make your appointment.

Questions?
Call Kerry Montz (Business Outreach Librarian) 940-349-8757 or Randy Simmans (Small Business Marketing Expert) 940-349-8741

Vacation Resources at the Library

I just had a week long vacation back in March, but I’m already craving my next one. Though I don’t know when that will be, or where it will be to just yet, I’m satisfying my current craving by looking through some of the library’s vacation resources. Whether your plan is flying out of country and you need to learn a new language, need a guide book of restaurants, hotels, and attractions, or want to know the history of the location you’re visiting, the library gives you access to a plethora of resources, both physical and digital.

In-Flight French     Costa Rica     Mannahatta

If you’re like me, you want to keep your vacation as cheap as possible. For me, that means taking advantage of roadside attractions, camping, and keeping a cooler full of food for all my meals. Keeping things low budget like this allowed me to take a great trip from Oklahoma City to Santa Fe traveling along Route 66. This adventure stands out in my memory because of the many quirky and unique roadside attractions along the way. I never needed to spend money on entertainment when I was looking at a giant spider made out of trash and an old VW Bug or a 30 foot tall soda bottle.

Route 66     Road Trip USA     Adventure Handbook

Visiting National Parks, National Forests, or State Parks is another way to keep expenses down. There is only a small entrance and camping fee, but once you are in the park, there are indefinite opportunities for adventures. Whether you prefer day hikes, multi-day backpacking trips, fishing, birding, swimming, off-roading, or biking, state and national parks hold adventures for all types of travelers.

Hiking     Camping     Day Hikes

I know that my ideal vacation is not the most preferable, but using the library’s resources can help you plan your ideal getaway. Next time, when you need help planning your vacation, check out one of the many resources that the Denton Public Library has to offer!

Sara Davis
Library Assistant I
Emily Fowler Central Library

Wear Them Shoes

The title refers to one of my favorite Patrick Sweany songs, the lyrics of which keep popping up in my head whenever I think about my two jobs: being a municipal employee and working in the part of the library where preserving the past is in the job description. The image is relevant for both jobs.

Employing 1,383 people, the City of Denton is one of the top five major public employers in Denton, Texas. After working for the City for 20 years, I visualize it as a gigantic puzzle with many missing pieces as employees retire, leave, or die. The collective memory of numerous individuals who might be able to provide the answers to those questions that each and every person who lives in a city or works for a city has (or might have had).

The Denton Public Library keeps some of that history of which many items are on the Portal to Texas History website. Our newest collection, the Denton Municipal Collection, features various photos, newsletters, and documents from the early 1900s to the present. The collection is still growing and we will be adding new items each year as we “harvest” items from the different departments and individuals as they retire. We also encourage former City of Denton employees to contact us with items they would like to preserve or have added in this collection.

The newsletters are a wonderful addition and provide helpful context to these bits of historical and government happenings, such as this article that was in the Spotlight in Dec. 1966. It discusses the framework for the round room in the Civic Center, which was originally known as the Community Center.

Spotlight Dec 1966

The photos on the Portal cover the 1910s and upward, although we have yet to upload all of them. The photo below is one that will be added next year. According to the stamp on the cardboard holder, the negative was developed in October of 1973. I  used the library’s subscription to Newspaper Archives to search the Denton Record-Chronicle for apartment fires in 1973 and came to the conclusion that this fire took place on Tuesday, October 2, 1973 at the Cedar Crest Apartments located at 223 Avenue G – these apartments still stand, but are now called Vendi Place.  In the article, a student had a cooking fire, put it out and went to class, however the flames traveled up the vent and started burning in the attic.

Fire at Cedar Crest Apartments, October 2, 1973 in Denton, Texas.   (Courtesy of the Denton Public Library)

Many of the people in these photos have no information written on the back and there are no accompanying notes, so if you know the name of someone in a photograph, or have something to add to the content, please contact us at genealogy@cityofdenton.com.

COD_Slides030Carroll Boulevard at Hickory Street, looking south – before it was widened to 3 lanes.

COD_Slides024

Looking at the corner of Locust and Hickory when Craven’s used to be behind the Denton County National Bank (now Wells Fargo).

 

For items that are on the Portal, their website has a link in the record of each item that says, “Corrections & Problems,” which allows you to add comments that they forward to us.

Thanks for reading and please take a look at the collections. Or come by the library and take a look at some of the items in our display case at the Emily Fowler Central Library. We’re open 7 days a week.

Oh no, now I’ve got a Beatles song stuck in my head…

Leslie Couture, Special Collections Department