THIS WEEK IN MODERN TEXAS HISTORY: June 7-13

After a brief early summer break, we’re back in the saddle and bring you this week’s installment of This Week in Modern Texas History. This week, we look at happenings in the years 1934 and 1951.

Three men robbed the Westbrook Hotel in Fort Worth of $2,000–consisting of cash and two diamonds owned by a guest. Wearing goggles and carrying old-fashioned six-shooters, they entered the hotel around 5 a.m. [Breckenridge American, Monday, July 9, 1934, p. 1]

Southwestern Bell Telephone Company asked for a rate increase in Bastrop, citing growth in the phone system. Southwestern Bell officials said that, in 1949, when they instituted the first rate increase in 30 years, there were 660 telephones in the city; the number had grown to 929 by July, 1951. The proposed rate increase was to $8 per month for business phones, $4.25 for residential, $3.50 for a two-party line, and $3 for four-party service. [Bastrop Advertiser, July 12, 1951, p. 1] 

In Elgin, the city voted to remain wet by only 23 votes in a prohibition election. A total of 785 voters showed up for the election. [Bastrop Advertiser, July 12, 1951, p. 1] 

Mayor W.H. Hannah of Rusk, along with local hospital officials, announced that state and federal approval for a ten-room annex to the Rusk Memorial Hospital had been gained. Construction on the $100k project was scheduled to begin in September. Part of the hospital expansion would be paid for with a $50,000 bond passed by citizens of rusk. $50,000 would also come from federal funding. [Rusk Cherokeean, July 12, 1951, p. 1] 

Linden Independent School District and New Colony Common School voted to consolidate, it was announced. In a 52-2 vote in the Linden district and a 25-14 vote in New Colony, voters overwhelmingly approved the consolidation. [The Citizens Journal (Atlanta, Cass Co.), July 12, 1951] 

Orange’s mayor, Joe Runnels, Jr., criticized the district attorney and a fellow city commissioner at an annual watermelon party he hosted for Orange citizens. One key issue Runnels was upset about was the recent raid on a crap game in the black section of the city. He encouraged the DA to look around the county for more important crimes to prosecute. [The Orange Leader, July 13, 1951, p1. ] 

Dunbar schools announced they would open Monday, July 16 and close for six weeks September 1 to ensure that school children were available for the coming cotton picking season. While the split terms had been used in the area’s black schools, this was the first time it the white schools in the region would operate under this plan. [The West News, July 13, 1951, p. 1] 

A large birthday cake, cut by construction magnate H.B. Zachary, signified the reopening of the Hondo Air Base with Texas Aviation Industries as a tenant. [Hondo Anvil Herald, July 13, 1951, p. 1] 

The first homes were completed and the first families had moved in to some of the 140 planned homes for the Whitlock Addition No. 2 in Carrollton. [Carrollton Chronicle, July 13, 1951, p. 1] 

A new discovery well was completed nine miles north of Coleman, the Ed Wats No. 1, in the A. Gobel survey. The well reportedly flowed 125 barrels in 24 hours. [Coleman County Chronicle, July 12, 1951, p. 1]

The first bale of the 1951 cotton crop in Jackson County was junned. Martin Kubelick, a farmer from El Toro, brought in the first bale. [The Edna Herald, July 12, 1951]

A three-year old girl survived a fall from the second story of her home in Timpson with no injuries other than a slight bruise. [Timpson Daily Times, July 11, 1934] 

The city of Boerne celebrated a brand new firetruck, which cost over $11,000 to purchase and outfit with over 2,000 feet of new hose. [Boerne Star, July 12, 1951, p. 1] 

Panhandle Independent School District was preparing for a July 14 bond vote to determine if the district would issue $495,000 in bonds for a new high school building. [The Panhandle Herald, July 13, 1951] 

Meyerhoff’s Store of Hallettsville was robbed of $2,000 in merchandise. Burglars entered through a side door by prying it open. This happened just a few doors down from the county jail. [The Tribune (Hallettsville, Lavaca Co.), July 10, 1934, p. 1] 

J.L. Buck became the first licensed plumber in the city of Mathis. [The Mathis News, July 13, 1951] 

Lester C. Sterne, 30, of Abilene, was sentenced to 99 years in prison after 12 ballots by the jury, which was split 6-6 over a death sentence. Sterene was on trial for robbing and beating two women–and attempting to chloroform one of the women. [Brownwood Bulletin, July 11, 1934, p. 1] 

Five holes of the Lions Club Golf Course were finished and open for play in Ozona. [The Ozona Stockman, July 12, 1934, p. 1] 

The first bale of cotton ginned for the year in Zavala County brought in $505. [Zavala County Sentinel, July 13, 1951]  

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Vince Leibowitz

Publisher & Editor at Contemporary Texas History
Vince Leibowitz is a journalist, author, and historian. He is the Publisher and Editor of Contemporary Texas History.

He lives in Colorado County, Texas with his two dogs, Lyndon "Puppy" and Senfronia.

He serves on the Colorado County Historical Commission and as Managing Editor of The Colorado County Citizen.

He recently secured a Texas Historical Marker for Etta Moten Barnett. the first black woman to sing solo in the White House. In April, 2019, he was named South Texas Press Association Journalist of the Year for Division I.
Vince Leibowitz
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