Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Davy Crockett Needs Your Help

Davy Crockett Memorial Park that is. The City of Crockett recently applied for a matching fund grant with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to make some major park improvements. Unfortunately, we didn't receive the grant (insert frowny face here). Folks, our beloved Park needs our help. Much of the recreational activities we have (swimming pool, playground equipment, tennis courts) desperately need some work. Although we have made some great improvements, such as the new pond and picnic areas, we have a long ways to go.

My question to you is what are the things that you would like to see in the Davy Crockett Memorial Park? What activities do you and your family enjoy that we might could accommodate in the park? What could we provide in the way of recreational activities that interest you and your family? Before we begin the process of repair and refurbishing of existing equipment, we need your feedback. We hate to keep spending City resources on things that really don't get much use.

Let me give you an example. Each year we spend City money to repair and get the swimming pool ready for the summer, only to find that very few citizens benefit from the pool. The swimming pool is great but are there other things- splash pads, skateboard parks, basketball courts, etc. that may be better suited in the park? What have you seen in other cities that you say to yourself, we need that in Crockett?

We are in the process of creating a survey that we can use to get feedback regarding Davy Crockett Memorial Park. Informally, I see many people using the walking trail, as well as the picnic tables and pavilions but some of you use the park more than I do. Help us by letting us know what you think. Let's start working on improving the Davy Crockett Memorial Park and turn it back in to the showpiece it really is.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What In The World is DETCOG?

Well, I'm glad you asked! DETCOG stands for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments, an organization made up of representatives of the twelve counties in deep East Texas, of which Houston County is one of them. DETCOG meets once a month, in each of the respective counties in the COG. Walter Diggles is the Executive Director of DETCOG. Walter does an excellent job, overseeing an incredible number of projects ranging from issues involving aging, at risk youth, youth projects, housing, disaster recovery, the list goes on and on. Every county in Texas is part of a Council of Governments, but in my opinion, there is none better than the DETCOG.

The COG is responsible for facilitating federal money such as disaster recovery funds. It's a conduit for money that assist cities like Crockett with water and sewer projects, as well as other important items. Representatives from each community and county in the DETCOG make up the membership. We are fortunate to have our County Judge Lonnie Hunt as the First Vice President of the DETCOG Board.

Over the years, Houston County and more specifically Crockett, has benefited from it's involvement in the COG. In the very near future, the City of Crockett will break ground on a Civic Center addition project that will create over 3000 square feet for us to use primarily as a storm shelter. Until the time comes when we need it for that, we will have additional floor space to use as break out rooms or meeting rooms. This project is funded through federal disaster assistance money, facilitated by the DETCOG.

I appreciate all those that have unselfishly served as members of the DETCOG over the years. I myself have served as the Crockett representative to the DETCOG for almost a year and from what I can tell, we are certainly much better because of the efforts of those associated with the Deep East Texas Council of Governments. The picture is from a recent DETCOG meeting in Nacogdoches. With Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt, Houston County Commissioner Willie Kitchen and myself, is former Congressman Jim Turner.

Friday, October 1, 2010

From One Extreme To The Other

You have to love East Texas weather. Here is an example of just how much the temperature can change. The one pic was inside my truck on one of the hottest days I can ever remember, 117 degrees! That's hot! Of course, inside a pickup truck sitting in the glaring midday sun is like an oven.

But take a look at the other picture. I know it's sort of hard to see but can you make it out? Yep, you're right, it's a temperature reading of 9 degrees! That was last winter in January, when a friend and I were going duck hunting (and no, I'm not crazy) in the Trinity River bottom eight miles from Crockett. I snapped that picture in my truck about five o'clock in the morning, January 8, 2010.

So, what's that, a temperature change of nearly 100 degrees? Pretty amazing, but those of us that live in Texas have become used to the weather ('used to' is a relative term- thank God for air conditioning). Everyone has heard the saying that if you don't like the Texas weather, just wait a little while and it will change.

The last few days here in Crockett, the weather has simply been gorgeous. So, what do you do in East Texas when the summer heat dissipates and we finally start to see autumn on the horizon? Use your imagination, take a walk in the woods, go squirrel hunting, go to a high school football game, anything, just enjoy the out of doors.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

For All The Cooks Out There

Have you checked out the Houston County Heritage And Historical Cookbook? It is a great collection of recipes and interesting tidbits of historical information about our great county. The cookbook is full of wonderful historic photos as well.

The cookbook was edited by Crockett's own Dorothy Harrison, who years ago used to own a neat little restaurant in Downtown Crockett called the Tulip Tree. Dorothy served all kinds of delicious food, but her desserts were off the charts. One of her specialties was bread pudding (yeah, some of you know what I'm talking about, don't you?). I fancy myself as a bit of a bread pudding connoisseur (I'm not that smart, I had to google it to spell it) and Dorothy's version is one of the best. Some time back, Dorothy surprised us at home with a batch of her bread pudding. I rationed it like it was gold, and made it last as long as I possibly could.

You can get your own Houston County Heritage And Historical Cookbook by contacting the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce at (936) 544-2359. I don't know for sure but I bet they would even ship them to you. The cookbooks would make a great Christmas present for anyone that enjoys cooking or, just get one for yourself and you'll be the envy of your church potluck or dinner party!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good Pizza, Good Folks

In case you haven't heard, NickelTown Pizza is back up and running! Jon and Jenni Wichers are at the helm of this popular Crockett pizza joint, and doing a great job. Stop in for lunch or call in an order and they will deliver hot, fresh, delicious pizza right to your door.

They have updated the menu with new pizza varieties, and have some of the old classics as well. One of our favorites is The Southwest Ranch. Many years ago, when we first moved to Crockett, we frequented the old NickelTown Pizza, at that time owned by John Kistner. Every time we ordered pizza, we would get a side order of Ranch dressing. One day Amanda or I (I think it was really me) told John that he needed to invent a pizza that had Ranch dressing for the sauce instead of the traditional pizza sauce. A few days later, he called and said he had something he wanted us to try. And the rest is history!

Stop by for some great food and fun. They have a lunch special, which includes a mini pizza, salad bar and drink. And for all you Facebook fans, check them out and look for their Facebook specials. Pizza, salad, grilled Panini sandwiches, you can't go wrong with NickelTown Pizza, 2000 Loop 304 in Crockett, 544-ATAC.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Something New

As part of my I Love Crockett, Texas blog, I am going to try something new. When I'm out and about enjoying all this city has to offer, I will have with me a sign, as you can see here. Thank you to Rusty Conner and staff at Conner's Sign & Trophy near downtown Crockett, I am now official!

I would love to come by your location or place of business and get to know you and see what it is you do. Drop me a line and I'll make every effort to stop in, and when I do, we'll grab a quick picture for the blog. It will be lots of fun and I hope before long, folks will recognize the sign and think, yes, Crockett is a great place to live, work and raise a family. Folks have been asking me, "What's the blog all about?" Well, if we don't toot our own horn, then who's going to? This community has been great to me and my family, and we should all do our part and give something back. I just think we all have to do what we can to 'tell our story', and Crockett has an amazing story. So, if you're interested in being part of this effort, let me know through this blog, or email me at

We have a great deal to offer, and if we'll all do a little bit, it won't be long before others too learn what a unique place Crockett really is, and want to be part of this great community. So, catch the spirit and make the effort to go out and 'tell our story.' There are lots of reasons to love Crockett, but it's truly the people that make it great!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pat Green and the Piney Woods Fine Arts Association

Pat Green in Crockett, Texas? Absolutely! What a great show! Pat Green played to a packed house Friday night at the Crockett Civic Center. It was one of Piney Woods Fine Arts Association Special Events for the 2010-2011 season.

It's hard to believe that Piney Woods Fine Arts Association (PWFAA) has been around for 20 years. They have been bringing quality entertainment to us courtesy of a fine Board of Directors led by none other than Bryan Lake, our resident smartsy artsy guy (I say that in a good way Bry Bry).

Over the last twenty years, there has been some wonderful shows, and it appears that this season will be no different. Besides Pat Green, look for Grammy winning singer Aaron Neville in September, Asleep at the Wheel in December, country and western star Ronnie Milsap next April, and lots of other music and entertainment events in between.

Don't tell me there's nothing to do in Crockett! PWFAA has a season full of great acts, so give them a call and get your tickets. You can find out more about their full line up this year by going to their website, By the way, the Mask Girls had an awesome time at Pat Green too! The Piney Woods Fine Arts Association, just another big reason I Love Crockett, Texas!

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's a Monday

Yep, it's a Monday, and we're back to work after spending a few days on Galveston Island. We've called Crockett our home for 21 years now, having grown up in Pasadena, Texas. And I have to say, man, am I glad to be back home!

The traffic in and around the Houston area truly amazes me. It doesn't matter what time it is day or night or what day of the week you are travelling, there is a constant flow of traffic. I often ask my wife, "Where in the world are all these folks going?" All it takes is a trip to Houston or one of Texas' other 'big cities' and you know what I mean. It truly is a blessing to live and work in a small town, where you can be anywhere you need to in just a few minutes or so.

You may not know this but Crockett, Texas was one of the first cities in the nation to have a loop constructed around the city. We had our Loop 304 even before Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth or San Antonio had theirs! That's pretty neat!

And for many years (at least the twenty odd ones we've been here), Crockett has only had one stoplight (technically there are actually two stoplights at the intersection). That's right, the traffic light on Loop 304 in front of Wal-Mart is the second traffic light. Now some of you reading this will probably be saying to yourself, "Why would anyone want to live in a town with one stoplight?" Well, not that's its any big secret but the fact that we don't have bumper-to-bumper traffic is just another reason why I Love Crockett, Texas!

Monday, July 5, 2010

As American as Apple Pie

What a great day to be in Crockett, Texas! The Annual July 4th Independence Day Celebration was a huge success. From the little tykes on their decorated bicycles to the delicious apple pie, hot dogs and homemade ice cream, it was definitely an all American celebration.

And did I mention apple pie? There was a fruit pie baking contest and the winner again this year was Corrie Ainsworth of The Mercantile Antiques fame. But surprise, surprise-the second place winner was our own Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt. And third place went to the employees of the Moosehead Cafe (which is where we ended up after the parade for a slice of Joni's delicious pie). I was taking mental notes when Joni and the Judge were discussing their secrets to baking a pie. I learned that butter in the crust makes a good pie, and they both agreed you have to use Granny Smith apples, but Lonnie wasn't revealing what made his skillet baked apple pie a hit. But I don't want to get down on him too much, he promised me he would bake one for us!

I know our country seems to be under a great deal of strain right now but being part of the 4th of July Independence Day Celebration just made you feel good. It was important to be reminded that freedom is indeed, not free, and that in spite of everything going on in the world, we still live in the greatest country in the world! God bless the USA!

Thanks to the Downtown Beautification Corporation volunteers and all who helped organize this year's activities. I think this year's event was the best ever!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Memories of Davy Crockett Park

I remember as a kid coming to family reunions in Davy Crockett Memorial Park. We would all gather at the 'Senior Citizen Center' (that's what most of the locals refer to it as, the proper name is the Service Center for Older Americans of Houston County) . After all the hugs and pleasantries, the lunch meal would be served. Then, after stuffing ourselves with as much as you could hold on a paper plate, including dessert, we youngins would make our way off in to the park to explore.

There was a pen near the Senior Citizen Center that had Whitetail deer in it. There was the old armory complete with a real Army tank, and there was the Davy Crockett Memorial Bldg. According to Mrs. Billie Nichols Bennett, who by the way has a great historical web page for Houston County, in 1936, the State of Texas wanted to provide permanence to the Centennial observance by the erection of permanent buildings, monuments, statues, and grave markers. Every county in the state received a marker indicating the date of its establishment and the source of its name. Permanent buildings that received financial assistance from the Commission of Control included the David Crockett Memorial Building at Crockett. Mrs. Bennett's web page, in case you are interested, is

Unfortunately some years back, the Memorial Building, like many structures, was torn down, the reason being the cost of repair would have been more than the building itself was worth. But I know many have great memories of dances and parties that were held in the Memorial Building.

The Davy Crockett Park of today looks quite a bit different than it did back then, but there is still lots of things to do. There is a walking trail that meanders through the park, baseball and softball fields are abuzz with activity in early summer, and the City pool is alive with kids trying to beat the summer heat. And there's even a fish pond, that will hopefully host the first annual Take-a-Kid Fishing Day next spring. On any given summer evening, you will find folks enjoying the park, walking on the trail, swinging on the swing set, or just gathered up at a picnic table visitin'. Summertime in East Texas, you can't beat it, and just another reason I love Crockett, Texas!

What are your memories of Davy Crockett Park? I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Burger Friday

I stole that title from one of the food critics, Alison Cook, that writes for the Houston Chronicle, I hope she doesn't mind. I love burgers! From time to time, I'll review some of my favorite burgers in and around Crockett.

This week, my wife and I stopped by the Crockett Inn Motel and Restaurant for one of their cheeseburger plates. The Crockett Inn has been in Crockett for years, and has always been known as a great place to eat. They are located on SE Loop 304 next to the Crockett Civic Center/Porth Ag Arena complex.

After a glass and a half of iced tea, our burgers were finally delivered. What you see is what you get- a near 1/2 pound of beef, complete with all the 'fixins' as we say in East Texas. The veggies are always fresh, right down to the generous slices of tomato and onion. You know you got yourself a good burger when you have to finish eating it with a fork. The hand pressed patties are cooked to perfection, a big slice of American cheese blankets the meat, and everything settles up top nicely for a great burger experience. Man, am I full!

I wouldn't write home about the crinkle cut fries, they're not near as good as the steak fries they used to serve, but for a delicious, meaty, homemade tasting burger, the Crockett Inn Restaurant is the place to go. It's the perfect atmosphere for a quiet lunch for two or when you need a place to take the whole office. Just another reason why I Love Crockett, Texas!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"This Place is Rich with History!"

Yep, it sure is. I know all communities have interesting history, none more so than Crockett, the county seat of Houston County. Situated in the pine forests of East Texas, Crockett was a mecca of agriculture and is located on what was called the El Camino Real, or King's Highway. It was established on June 12, 1837 (which is why we, Houston County, celebrated our 173rd birthday last week).

I invite you to spend some time driving the beautiful East Texas roads in and around Crockett. Take what I call a "Marker Road Trip". What's that you ask? Well, our County is fortunate to have over 200 historical markers. That's right, over 200! And most were located due to the diligence and love for our community by a wonderful lady, Ms. Eliza Bishop. Ms. Bishop oversaw the Houston County Historical Commission for many years. She was the driving force in this community concerning history. Ms. Eliza as many called her, passed away but left a great historical legacy for all to enjoy. So get your camera batteries charged, load up the family sedan and spend a couple of hours stopping and reading the historical markers in and around our community. By the way, did you know we have a pepper tree growing in our midst that is over 160 years old?? :)

Care to take a guess where the historical marker in the picture above is located? That's right, on the east side of the Houston County Courthouse. I know the picture is a little hard to read (I was lazy and took it from the cool comfort of inside my pickup truck) but here is what it says:


Monday, June 21, 2010

Come Celebrate the 4th of July!

Come to Crockett, Texas and be part of a grand celebration. Every year since 1998, the Downtown Beautification Corporation hosts the annual 4th of July Celebration and Parade (we like our parades, don't we?). There will be homemade ice cream, pies, Cokes and hotdogs. Games will be provided for the kiddos. The festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. with the Annual Parade around the Square.

The Downtown Beautification Corporation began back in 1996 when a few interested citizens and merchants got together for the purpose of maintaining the character of Downtown Crockett. We wanted to see improvements done in around Downtown Crockett that would make our city a more desirable place to visit. We hired an architect, Vernita Bridges Hoyt, originally from Grapeland, who helped us develop a master plan to improve and beautify the Square.

After many months of reviewing data, surveys, interviews, and field research, the final plan was presented to the Mayor and City Council in April, 1997. The Downtown Beautification Master Plan received financial support from the City of Crockett, The Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce, Houston County, the Crockett Economic Development Corporation, as well as numerous private donations.

Since that time, there have been numerous phases of the master plan completed. One of the first was to increase parking in and around the Downtown business district. The City of Crockett demolished the old City Hall building that was situated just of off te square on South Fifth Street, and a public parking lot was created. Also, the City of Crockett and Houston County demolished what was left of a previous building and paved the lot next to the Moosehead Cafe, and another parking lot was created. Another phase was to make the Downtown Square a safer place for pedestrians, and with the help of TXDOT, the streets were re-surfaced and safety islands were created around the Square. Over the years, the Downtown Beautification Corporation also spearheaded an effort to add trash receptacles and benches in around the Downtown area. Other activities that we can thank the Downtown Beautification Corporation for is the annual Christmas lighting and of course, the 4th of July Celebration.

Since Independence Day falls on Sunday, the 4th of July Celebration will be Saturday, July 3rd. Don't miss this opportunity to show your patriotism. It's always a great time and another reason why I Love Crockett, Texas!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Back Porch to the Texas Forest Country

Crockett, Texas has been called the Back Porch to the Texas Forest Country. We are blessed to have a good portion of the Davy Crockett National Forest right in our backyard, and for marketing reasons, what was formerly called Deep East Texas has been renamed the Texas Forest Country. So, put that together and you find yourself smack dab in the middle of some of the most beautiful forest anywhere in the country!

The Davy Crockett National Forest is about 160,000 acres of beautiful East Texas forest, streams, woodlands and wildlife habitat. Approximately 90,000 of those pristine acres are actually located in Houston County, less than 20 miles east of Crockett. How long has it been since you've visited the National Forest, especially Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area? Well pardner, that's too long!

Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area, within the Davy Crockett, still offers hiking, camping, swimming, paddle boat riding, fishing, picnicking and just general good fun. They have a concession stand/snack bar that serves a delicious burger basket among other things. Why not make Ratcliff Lake a lunch stop some time? Grab your sweetie and go on a picnic lunch date, under the tall pine trees of your own National Forest. How's that for a unique setting?

When you have friends and family come for a visit, take them to the Davy Crockett National Forest. Go for a leisurely ride through Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area. Ratcliff Lake was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. which years ago, employed many men (and probably some of your kinfolk) from this county. It's worth seeing and there have been many improvements in the last couple of years-the roads have been repaved, new restroom facilities, as well as a remodeling of the bath house. I know firsthand the Forest Service personnel are working hard to provide a wonderful experience to those that visit the National Forest.

I know it's getting to be too hot to do too much out of doors in East Texas, but Ratcliff Lake and the Davy Crockett National Forest are a must see. Just one more reason that I Love Crockett, Texas!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cannoli in Crockett??

Absolutely! Where else but Crockett, Texas can you get handmade, fresh cannoli delivered right to your office? Gossett Street Coffee House owner Jenni Bruce-Wichers has moved her shop and it's now located inside KB Xpress (that's the one that has Taco Bell/KFC on one side and the convenience store on the other). They're located on the east side of Crockett at the intersection of Loop 304 and Hwy. 21.

Back to the cannoli. They are as my wife says, "to die for!" Special delivery was made directly to our office by Ashley Millican, and boy howdy, are they good! Delicious flaky crust, yummy filling with little chocolate chips mixed in, you got to try them! Not sure the delivery part is the norm, but I do know you can find them at her shop, if you hurry. As tasty as her cannolis are, I know it won't be long before you will wish you called ahead and asked her to hold some because they will definitely go fast. Thanks Jenni, you are another reason I Love Crockett, Texas!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome to I Love Crockett, Texas!

My name is Wayne Mask and I'm the Mayor of this great little city in East Texas. Crockett (yeah as in Davy) is a city with a population around 8,000 and we are the county seat for Houston County. You might be asking, where is Crockett, Texas? Well, if you are headed from Houston to Dallas, we are about mid ways between the two, a shade off I-45 to the east of Centerville. We call ourselves "Paradise in the Pines." Come visit and you'll see why.

I decided to start this blog to introduce the world to our community and showcase some of what makes this a great place to live, work and raise a family. Each week I will post about people and places in and around Crockett that I think make this the best city in the state!

Well, let's get started. This past weekend, we hosted the 74th Annual World Championship Fiddlers Festival and Steak Cook Off. We are proud to be home to the World Championship, and if you've never listened to old time Texas fiddling, you don't know what you are missing. The festival includes a steak cook off, arts and crafts, as well as an Antique Tractor show. Where else can you see all this, including an Antique Tractor parade? The picture above is Larry Skalicky on his antique Minneapolis Moline tractor. It was a huge success. The parade began at the Crockett Civic (home of the event) and made its way to the Downtown Square (yes, we have an authentic old time downtown square) and then back the Civic Center. Much fun was had by all, wish you could have been there. If you're interested, you can contact the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce, the host of the festival. Maybe we'll see you there next year!