I’ve worked here a looong time and sometimes I could just kick myself for not getting pictures of some of my customers because I just miss the heck out of some of ’em. One of my favorites was Bill Lynch. He would mosey on into the genealogy department with his blue eyes, straw hat, and kilowatt smile. Before he’d become a genealogist, he’d been a longtime developer in Denton County and would tell me bits of local and historical lore. Even offered me a Yankee dime, once.
One day – probably 2008 – he decided to tell me how Running Bear Road got it’s name. I grabbed a quick piece of paper and scribbled down the story. Here is what he said (and I hope I got everything right).
According to Mr. Lynch, before Lake Ray Roberts was built, he bought 80 acres in that area and sold the land off in lots. He had to build one road and he named it Running Bear Road. He meant for the road to be named Running Bare, but the County would not let him name it such.
The name comes from an incident in his past when he was a boy. He liked to skinny-dipping in one of the local creeks. His mother did not like him to do this because he would inevitably come home muddy. One day he was once again skinny-dipping and heard his father coming (or thought he was coming), so he ran out of the water – not stopping to pull his clothes on. He made it to the road when he ran out in front of a group of people. They were the Shepherd family and lived nearby. Bill did not think, he just ran. And ran. Instead of making for the other side of the road and cover (himself), he continued to run naked down the road. Later, the Shepherd father saw Mr. Lynch’s daddy and told him that his son could “run like a jackrabbit!” And so he decided to name the road after it, although that was not where the incident occurred.
Here’s to kids, skinny-dipping, and longtime memories.
P.S. Here’s a photo of something that makes me think of the aftermath of that day. I ran across it while looking for something on The Portal to Texas History website; it is a beautiful photo in the collection of Tarrant County College Northeast Heritage Room.