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!