Hidden History: Betty Jane Blazier Memorial Play Wall

Nestled in Quakertown Park between the Civic Center Pool and the Senior Center stands a rather unique, large, concrete wall. There are no clues on the structure as to its purpose, only a plaque that reads “In Memory of Betty Jane Blazier, 1915-1964, Teacher and Friend of Children”.

Incorporated into its long length are what appear to be tunnels, stairs, and random geometric shapes.  Is it an outdoor sculpture that should be admired from afar but not touched?  That description just does not feel right. The structure seems to extend an invitation to come and play, and in actuality that is what it is, a play wall.

Blazier 1962 Dadilian2

Photograph from the 1962 TWU Daedalian

The play wall was built as a memorial to Miss Betty Jane Blazier, who was an instructor for the College of Household Arts and Sciences at Texas Woman’s University for 18 years. She specialized in child development and nursery education and served as the director for the on-site nursery school. She was also one of the founding members of the Denton Unitarian Fellowship. Miss Blazier died on July 20, 1964, at 48 years old, after a five year battle with breast cancer.

Funding for the project was organized by the Unitarian Fellowship who commissioned Dr. Richard Laing, then a member of the North Texas State University (now UNT), art faculty to create something that children would enjoy as a memorial to Miss Blazier. The play wall was specifically designed to help children develop a sense of mass and form and to encourage children to participate in active play.

The City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department built the foundation and the sand enclosure for the memorial. The structure itself was constructed by Alvin Ellis, under the supervision of Mount-Miller Architects. The project had the approval of the Municipal Complex architect O’Neil Ford. The play wall was dedicated in a public ceremony on December 13, 1970.

DRC 06 Oct 1970

So, the next time you are at Quakertown Park, take a moment, and yield to the call of the wall, just stop and play.

Are you curious about the history of any other places in Denton? Stop by the Genealogy and Local History Department at the Emily Fowler Central Library and let’s see what interesting information we can find.

Laura Douglas
Emily Fowler Central Library

When It’s Summer

FlowerI remember when I was a kid in school, one of the first things that would signal the end of the school year was the smell of cut grass drifting in through the open windows.  I still love that smell (though I feel bad for those who are allergic).  That smell made me want to run outside and read.  I did enjoy playing outside, although I also loved just sitting outside and reading, while the sounds and smells of summer made their ways around me.

lounge chairAt home, I would drag my parents’ old brown fold- out lounge chair (the ones that you had to click into place and you would have to inevitably adjust, like, 5 times before you got it in the right position while being careful not to pinch your finger) out of our shed and plop down on it with a stack of books.  I would choose one and spend some time just reading in the sun until I got too hot.  Then I would move to our front porch or under the old apple tree (Yes, we really did have an old apple tree.  Sounds idyllic, but it was quite old and somewhat dangerous.  It got cut down at some point.)

I would also do this in college and up until the time I had kids (minus my dad’s chair).  Now I rarely have time to lie in the sun and read.  Though sometimes I do still try.  Sometimes I accomplish this task.  Sometimes for longer than five minutes.  Sometimes.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite books that I read during various summers.  Every one of these titles take me back to a specific summer.  Anyone else have books that reminds you of a specific time?

Summer Sisters   A Walk in the Woods   The Ruins   The Secret Garden   The Geography of You and Me   Uganda Be Kidding Me   Into the Wild   Tess

Here are some titles I am looking forward to reading this summer and making memories with!  (Maybe with an old chair and an apple tree…but more likely with two kids, the dogs and a hose, not necessarily in that order. 🙂 )

Ministry   Button   Theft   Little Sister   The Sisters Chase   Slice   Ginny   Beautiful   Sycamore   Long Haul   American   Lying   Almost Sisters

Also, some of my favorite summer soundtracks (for when you’re not reading):

Plans   Toad   Owl   Crow   WPA   Fast   Love   Group Shadow





Dawn Terrizzi
Emily Fowler Central Library

Chess at the Library

This summer we are fortunate to be visited by a former U.S. Women’s Chess Champion,
Dr. Alexey Root! During the Family Chess Challenge, Dr. Root will play chess with 10 players simultaneously and anyone who can win against her gets a free copy of her book, Prepare with Chess Strategy. The Family Chess Challenge will be held at North Branch Library on June 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. and at Emily Fowler Central Library on July 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. Join us for your chance to challenge a chess champion!

Denton Public Library also has many books about chess which are available for checkout. (Click here to see what is available in the catalog.)


Opportunities to Play Chess at the Library:

Chess Night
For ages 7 to adult at all skill levels.
Mondays at North Branch Library from 6 to 8:45 p.m.

Family Chess Challenge
This is your chance to challenge Alexey Root, a former U.S. Women’s Chess Champion!
Dr. Root will play 10 chess players simultaneously. Anyone who can win against her gets a free copy of her new book, Prepare with Chess Strategy. Players will be seated first-come, first-served as other players finish their games. All ages welcome.
Sat 6/17 North Branch 2-4 p.m.
Sat 7/22 Emily Fowler 2-4 p.m.

Family Chess Challenge Dynasign


Sarah Fullwood
Library Marketing

Terri’s Farewell

It just so happened that my turn at a blog post came the same week I am leaving my post as Director of Libraries at the Denton Public Library. So here is my shout out to a great community and a stellar group of people – those who work inside the libraries and those who visit the libraries.

One of the best things I have learned, is it’s never about me. The work we put in at the library happens for one reason only, to serve our community. While I am proud of the things we have done in the past ten years, we wouldn’t have produced, created, hosted, and made available any of those neat things if the community didn’t want or need them. We truly exist to serve.

It seems that we usually get things right because feedback from our customers consistently tells us we do. That’s not to say we are out of ideas or are tired of listening! We can accomplish some really great things with the support and direction of our community. Listen, act, listen some more. It’s a great formula.

Soon, there will be a new Library Director in the pretty office at Emily Fowler Central Library. And out at Jazzfest. And visiting a school, a nursing home. Please welcome this new person! Let them know what makes Denton, and Denton Public Library, special. Listen to this new Library Director as they share some new, great ideas. And mostly, support your library. Let others new to your neighborhoods know what delights are available to them! Send a note to your Council member and let them know what the library  means to you.

It has been my pleasure to serve this community. I am honored to have worked with some of the finest, most talented people anywhere. I know their good work will continue.

Terri Gibbs, Ex-Libris

Moving Season is Here

It’s the end of May and that means it’s moving season for many Denton residents. According to the Atlas Van Lines Move Data, May through August are peak moving months with over 425,142,335 pounds of home items moved just over summer 2015 alone.  Moving can be a dreadful, exhausting process, especially when you’re moving long distance and have little ones at home.  If you’re dreading your move (and I know I am), come check out what we have to make the process a little easier on you.  

Jacket    Jacket (1)

Moving with Kids       Renters' Rights

Something to read with the kiddos:

Moving Day      Moving Day by Meg Cabot      Henry and Mudge


-Sarah, South Branch Library

Source: https://www.atlasvanlines.com/Infographics/seasonality-of-moving 

Paper Marbling Classes

This has been an ongoing passion of mine for quite a while now. I rarely get the time to marble the way I would like to because of a full-time job and seven-year-old, but I really need it and so somehow manage to fit it in. My attempts range from slap-dash to methodical depending on the circumstance. In the end though, it doesn’t really matter because they look beautiful (to me) and this is why my kitchen floor is speckled with paint.

You can marble the surface of many things: paper, wood, glass, vinyl records, leaves, shoes, clay pots, scarves… The only thing that may have to change is the type of paint and  how you would need to prep the surface. Then there is practice – lots of it.

Marbled paper fan

What can you do with all your marbled papers?

I’ll be teaching a couple of classes this summer on marbling.

The adult marbling class will be on Thursday, June 22nd at 6:15 p.m. We’ll be using acrylic paints. The first 30 minutes we talk about the process, then do a few demonstrations and then everyone gets to marbling. You will probably be able to do 3-4 marbled papers in that time that you can bring home.

There’s a Suminagashi marbling class on Tuesday, June 13th at 2:30 p.m.  Suminagashi is a cheaper/easier method of marbling that takes less setup time and is pretty straightforward. The colors are not as brilliant as with acrylic, but if used with patience and the right paper, the end result can be quite beautiful. You also need a steady hand to hold the brush and just barely touch the surface. And no sneezing. This is very important as it will cause your pattern to move (joking, but serious).


Marbling is meditative; watching paint float on the surface and then manipulating it is wonderful fun. I think that is more satisfying than laying the paper on the surface, but that’s another surprise: seeing what you get.

Registration is required – so I know how much supplies to bring (there’s a lot of supplies) – but anyone may come in and watch! Please remember to wear your play clothes.

Suminagashi Marbling, for ages 7+

When: June 13th 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Where: Emily Fowler Library

Paper Marbling Class for adults, ages 16+

When: June 22, 6:15 p.m-8:30 p.m.

Where: Emily Fowler Library

~~Leslie Couture, Special Collections

This and That at North Branch Library

Had a baby?  Need help with breastfeeding?  The Breastfeeding Support Group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. The group is led by Catharine DeMore, a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor and Susan MacKenzie, IBCLC, RN, CPN, RLC, who will guide you through the breastfeeding process and will answer any questions you may have.  Different topics are discussed at each meeting. Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed during the hour.  Siblings are always welcome.

Breastfeeding Symbol

Are you into Crafts?  Finish It Friday is a group of crafters that meeting at North Branch Library on Friday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.  This is a come and go program. Crafters bring the project they are working on, whether it is a fiber craft, needlework, jewelry making, beadwork, etc. and visit with each other, share tips and experiences, and show their finished project.  Adults of all ages are welcome.  The group meets under the Forge neon sign.  Hope to see you there!

NB_Finish It Fridays_4_21_17 photo 1

Did you know that the North Branch Library had a Tissue-Dyeing Silk Scarves program?  Yes, you can use a special tissue to dye silk scarves.  The library provides the materials.  Mary Cresson led the class and those attending created beautiful scarves.  Many attending had the intention of giving the scarves away as gifts, but after seeing the results decided to keep them for themselves.  Here are some of the scarves creations:

12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 1   12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 2   12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 3   12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 5   12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 8

Carmen Grant
North Branch