Forgotten Landmark–Tracks of Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway, Mineral Well, TX

Tracks of Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway (NW 2nd Avenue, between NW 4th and NW 7th Streets)



The gasoline-powered “Dinky cars” of the Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway provided service from Mineral Wells to Lake Pinto. There were four cars used, including “Ben Hur” and “Esther”. This railway operated from 1905 until 1909. (Current track photos below text)

The Mineral Wells & Lakewood Park Railway was chartered on March 1st, 1907, and began operating on May 12th, 1907. The railway operated on 2.5 miles of track, with a gauge of 4 feet and 8 ½ inches, using electricity.

The Mineral Wells Electric System operated two electric street cars in the city of Mineral Wells from 1907 to 1913; one on Hubbard Street from NE 17th Avenue to SW 6th Avenue (later part of the Bankhead Highway), and one on Oak (now NW 2nd) Avenue from NE 17th Street to SE 11th Street, thence Southwest to Elmhurst Park. However, two gasoline-powered 70 passenger (all-passenger) motor cars were operated by the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railroad (WMW&NW) between Graford, Mineral Wells, Ft. Worth and Dallas from 1912 to 1935. An electric interurban line was not built.

Streetcar Tracks at NW 7th Mineral Wells P1010306 P1010305


Forgotten Landmark-Taylor & Howard Building, Leigh, TX

P1010219 P1010220

Leigh (10.6 miles north of U.S. 80 on FM 134 at FM 1999)

Leigh, also known as Antioch, is on a site said to have been the location of a large Indian village. In the early 1840s, J. J. Webster built a plantation home, Mimosa Hall, a mile southwest of the site; Webster’s descendants occupied the house until 1984, when the property was sold. The community of Antioch, which had a predominantly black population, was founded before 1900 and was centered on the Antioch Baptist Church. In 1900, the forerunner of the Louisiana & Arkansas Railway was built through Antioch, and Reverend James Patterson built a restaurant and a general store on land adjoining the railroad. Residents of Blocker, three miles to the northeast, moved to the railroad community. Antioch was renamed Leigh in 1901, after the wife of John W. Furrh, who owned much of the land on the railroad, and that same year the Leigh post office opened. In 1904, Leigh had one school with five white students and four schools with 297 black students. By 1914, the community had a population of fifty, three general stores, two cotton gins, a drugstore, a blacksmith shop, and telephone service. After attaining a peak population of 126 in the 1920s, Leigh declined to 100 in 1930, when it had a church, two schools, and three businesses. The railroad was rerouted to the north in the 1950s. By 1978, Leigh had two churches (St. Paul’s Episcopal and Antioch Baptist), a community center, the Antioch Cemetery, and a number of dwellings.[i]

[i] Leigh, TX; Texas State Historical Association;


Point of Interest:

Mimosa Hall (9.4 miles north of U.S. 80 on FM 134) (Private)

Virginia-born John Johnston Webster (1796-1854) brought his family to the Republic of Texas, petitioning for land on which to establish a home in 1842.  Built in 1844, Mimosa Hall was part of a 3,000 acre plantation. The estate and one-hundred and fifty acres that went along with it was deeded to Douglas V. Blocker within a partition deed in 1932.  Blocker continued to own the property until 1984 when he sold it to Michael Howard. At some point, Michael Howard deeded the property to his son Nicholas Leon Howard III, who then deeded it to his mother, Virginia Dyke Hamilton in 1989.  Virginia sold the home in 1993 to the present owners, Andrew and Katherine Ann Hirsch. The Hirsch family have maintained the home and kept it in pristine condition. The front façade remains in its original state but the remainder of the home has had many changes throughout the years as well as a rear addition which was built on in 1932.[ii]

In 1844, Webster’s son-in-law, the Reverend George F. Heard, became the first person to be buried in the cemetery at Mimosa Hall Plantation. He was followed by Mrs. Mirriam (Brown) Webster. Other notable graves include those of the Reverend William Moore Steele and five Webster slaves or ex-slaves. Veterans of several wars also are interred here. The wall surrounding the oldest graves was constructed by plantation labor.  The cemetery is located southwest of the house on private land.

[ii] Mimosa Hall; Stephen F. Austin University Center for Regional Heritage Research;

Forgotten Landmark–Former Hotel de Ville and Museum,Dieppe, Normandy, France

Hotel de Ville and Museum4



Former Hotel de Ville and Museum (5-6 Boulevard de Verdun)

This structure housed paintings, local curiosities, and a collection of furniture, autographs, and sketches presented in 1889 by Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921), the composer.


This post is the first in a series as we develop a new set of historic travel guides to northwestern France, based on earlier guides such as Muirhead’s North-Western France (1926) and Murray’s A Handbook for Travellers in France (1899)





Forgotten Landmark-Decatur Water Works, Decatur, GA


Decatur Water Works–Mason Mill Park, 1340 McConnell Drive, Decatur, GA.

Below is a record of the first development of the Decatur Water Works from the Atlanta Constitution (March 17th, 1907)

Atlanta firm gets contract — Walton & Mangum will install Decatur waterworks machinery

“At the called meeting of the town council of Decatur on Monday evening the contract was let to Walton & Mangum, at Atlanta, for the installation of the machinery for the waterworks, the building for the pumping plant and the laying of the pipe line at a cost of $10,000. The work is to be completed by October 1.”

Located in the southern end of Mason Mill Park, this site was certified as a historic location on Wednesday March 15th, 2006.  Although covered with extensive graffiti, a large part of the waterworks’ structure is still present.


We Support–Dunwoody Preservation Trust, Dunwoody, GA

Dunwoody Preservation Trust (DPT) was founded in 1994 with organization funding provided by Dunwoody Homeowners Association. It is a 501(c)3 organization chartered to preserve the history and heritage of Dunwoody through various means. These include acquisition and/or underwriting the maintenance of historically significant properties, documenting historical and current happenings, providing education on Dunwoody’s past and contributing  to the general beautification and functionality of Dunwoody.

In fulfilling these roles, DPT has been responsible for saving the Cheek-Spruill Farmhouse in the center of Dunwoody and converting it into an event facility. Additionally, in 2005 DPT took the idea of acquiring the historical Donaldson-Bannister House and Farm to DeKalb County officials. This multi-building three-acre property in the heart of Dunwoody became available and DPT designed an acquisition plan with its owners and the County that resulted in preserving this property for future generations. Now, the Donaldson-Bannister Farm is owned by the City of Dunwoody and was the benefactor of the funds raised during Lemonade Days 2012. The DPT has been successful in placing both the Cheek-Spruill Farmhouse and Donaldson Bannister House —
as well as the Isaac Roberts House on Roberts Drive — with the National Register of Historic Places.

Other activities that DPT has spearheaded over the years include the “Replant The Dunwoody Forest” program after the 1998 tornado that resulted in raising more than $250,000 and planting over 25,000 trees to begin the recovery of the natural resources that were lost. DPT researched and compiled The Story of Dunwoody 1821-2001, a 500+ page chronicling of our heritage, and The Silent Storytellers, a 250+ page book identifying over 4000 historical gravesites in Dunwoody. DPT has also produced a thirty minute DVD entitled Dunwoody: the History & Heritage – 1821-2003. These publications and productions provide opportunities to expand awareness of our history and heritage. Additionally, DPT led the effort and assisted in the funding of the tree
planting and landscaping of Ashford Center Parkway.

DPT has also assumed the responsibility for the maintenance of New Hope Cemetery where a number of early settlers and Confederate soldiers are buried. DPT was also actively involved with DeKalb County to ensure that a master land use plan developed for Brook Run Park preserved the integrity of the natural beauty of this 102 acre area. This included incorporating venues and activity opportunities needed in the North DeKalb area such as the inclusion of a plan for a world class playground which was opened in October 2005.

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Forgotten Landmark–Lower Crossing of the Arkansas, Howell (KS)

Lower Crossing of the Arkansas

Lower Crossing of the Arkansas Arrow

Lower Crossing of the Arkansas (0.5 mile south on 102 Road at Arkansas River)

Caravans wishing to take the Cimarron Cutoff crossed over the Arkansas and headed southwest toward Santa Fe just to the east of this road bridge. This “Lower Crossing” (the “lower” crossing being geographically closer to a river’s mouth) had, according to the Sibley survey team, superceded the crossing five miles east at the Caches by the time of their 1825 survey.  Wagon ruts are visible in the field east of the roadway, south of the crossing, indicated by the yellow arrow.

Forgotten Landmarks–T.S. Haun House and First National Bank Building, Jetmore, KS

First National Bank Building (Main Street and Highway Street)

This structure was erected in 1888.  In 1892, P.A. Simmons was President and C.E. Wilson was Cashier.  The bank that that time had deposits in excess of $31,000.

T.S. Haun House (Main Street, on west side next to the First National Bank building at Highway Street)

In 1879, lawyer and rancher T.S. Haun constructed the first house on the Jetmore townsite. The T.S. Haun House is a vernacular two-story, hand-hewn limestone building with a simple gable roof. An upstairs office was used to establish the county’s first newspaper and leased by county commissioners for offices and a courtroom after Haun helped establish Jetmore as the county seat. In 1882, Haun surveyed and plotted Jetmore on land that was part of his original claim designating sites for the courthouse, school, and two churches. Haun also donated land to be auctioned to raise funds for the construction of the courthouse. In addition, Haun served a term as county attorney and was elected to the state legislature in 1887. [i]


[i] National and State Registers of Historic Places; Kansas Historical Society;

Forgotten Landmark-Indian Battleground (old Island Park), Larned (KS)

Forgotten Landmark-Pawnee/Cheyenne Battleground, old Island Park, S. Main Street at Pawnee Creek, Larned (KS)

On a site formerly known as Island Park, this battleground was where a bloody conflict between the Pawnee and invading Cheyenne under Chief Black Kettle was witnessed by Colonel Henry Inman in 1860 while on his way to Fort Larned. According to Inman, the Pawnee chief had him tell the enemy that the Pawnee were waiting for them on the willow-covered island between the two streams. As the last of the Pawnee reached the island and disappeared behind the willows, 200 Cheyenne warriors led by Yellow Buffalo advanced, chanting their war song, and plunged into the stream with a shout of defiance, holding their rifles and powder bags above their heads. The Pawnee allowed the Cheyenne to approach within 10 feet before half of them blazed away with their first volley in the very face of the foe. As soon as they saw how many men had been hit the other half followed with the second volley. Then each Pawnee, who, in addition to rifle and bow and arrows, carried two pistols, kept up a steady fire.

Leaving many dead and wounded, the Cheyenne withdrew, only to renew the attack in greater force under Black Kettle, but again they were repulsed with great slaughter, losing fifty men. The Pawnee reported one dead and two wounded, and at sunset remained masters of the field. “But while a victory for the Pawnee, the battle settled nothing,” wrote Inman, “for Black Kettle remained and his Cheyennes continued to hunt on the Pawnee grounds.”

Indian Battleground