Born and raised in Tyler, I'm still a resident of the city known to many as "The Rose Capital of
America". I've collected Tyler memorabilia for years and decided to share my collections through a
series of websites. This "memories" page is a logical addition to my other websites. If you did not
start from my Past Glimpses of Tyler, Texas home page, be sure to visit it to see my Tyler
I encourage you to e-mail and share your own memories of Tyler. If you would like to do so, please
see the submission section at the bottom of this webpage.
Enjoy these insights into Tyler's past!
Entries are shown with the most recent at the top. I am not responsible for the accuracy of any entry.
Submitted by Sherry Key Todd of Bossier City, Louisiana, on January 24, 2009
"My name is Sherry Key Todd. I was born at Mother Francis Hospital on May 30, 1956. My parents are Carol Brownlee Key and Charles L. (C.L.) Key. My grandparents were Albert Lee and Minnie Key, who lived on the Gladewater Highway, near Mr. McGuire's store. There were 9 kids in my dad's family: Hazel, who later married Leon Enos, Wanell, Verdean (who later married Henry McCaleb), Fayezell, H.F. (Buddy), C.L., Patsy, Ernest, and Betty.
"My mom's parents were William A. (Al) and Mary Nobles Brownlee, who lived on Duncan Street. My mom had one brother, Robert Brownlee, who was ‘most handsome’ at Chapel Hill High 3 years in a row in the early '60s. Dad graduated from Tyler High in '58. He was a projectionist at the Joy Theater. My mom worked at Skillern's Drugs, the Rose Garden Drive-in, and the American Clay plant. Both also worked at a rose nursery. Dad and his friend Connie Applegate made great music on their Gibson acoustics. Dad and Uncle Buddy had a Christmas tree lot up by Bergfeld Center around '60. I couldn't have been more than 5. It was cold, but exciting. We went to North Dixie Baptist Church. I went to Chapel Hill School in 1st grade. My dad got a job at KLTV, working with Kip Kippenbrock, Jack Rea, and Fritzie Rich. We moved to Shreveport in '62 when Dad got a job at KTAL-TV, an NBC affiliate.
"We took lots of trips back to Tyler to see my 56 cousins! I LOVED Fun Forest Pool and the A&W Root Beer Drive-in near there! I remember seeing ‘Love Story’ in '70, and ‘Mary Poppins’ in '67, at the Arcadia Theater. And The Tyler & The Majestic Theaters, on the square…so exciting! After the movies sometimes you could get a little loaf of bread.
"I remember the ‘Cher’ lookalike contest at Kmart! My grandmother Mary was a waitress at El Charro. She loved The Booterie. Many relatives' funerals were at Burks-Walker-Tippet. My cousin Debbie Allen was a cheerleader at John Tyler in '71. My cousin Jerry Wayne Hayes still lives in Tyler, out by Camp Fannin. He served in Vietnam, along with Uncle Buddy, who was a Green Beret. He died at 42. Both my paternal grandparents are buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.
"Der Weinersnitzel was a fave. ZZ Top played a Battle of the Bands in '68. I thought it was cool that my dad knew Robin Hood Brians. I went to Marsh Elementary during a brief return to Tyler in '68 (6th grade). I could get a Coke and candy at Mr. McGuire's for 10-15 cents. Captain Spaceburger was a teen hangout. I remember the Jesus freaks at Bergfeld Park, and the antiwar protesters. Both sides of my family lived in a big house on Gold Street, near Roberts Junior High. Caldwell Zoo was smaller then. Tyler State Park and Lake Tyler were fun and scenic. I almost drowned in Harris Creek. Daddy loved to fish there with my cousin James Albert Hayes. They'd fish all night. My uncles Henry McCaleb and Leon Enos both had successful gas stations, near the little skating rink where I spent countless hours. Luby's Cafeteria food tasted almost normal! Tyler's brick streets were so gorgeous. And the roses speak for themselves!
"Long live Tyler!"
Submitted by Holly Barry of St. Louis, Missouri, on January 23, 2009
"What a wonderful city! I miss it...sometimes! I grew up there. I’m the daughter of Ed Barry and Joyce Moore Barry Gibbs, and the sister of Kay Barry Davis and Jill Barry Wallace. My father and grandfather owned Ed Barry Meat Company, B & B Meat Company, and Ed Barry Seafood.
"Probably my FAVORITE place in Tyler would have been The Ballet Academy in Green Acres Shopping Center with "Miss Marcia" Grubb. I started dancing when I was 3 and didn't quit until my mid 20's.
"Who could ever forget: the Claim Jumper, Molitor's, Tyler Toy House, the Ice Cream Palace (oh, such fun birthday parties!), Monterrey House, the Shingle (with Mrs. Charlotte Ploesser, the best waitress around, who now works at Katie's on Broadway), Cinema I & II (I had my 'first kiss' there!), the dolphin fountain at Bergfeld Park, "Werewolf road", Tot-to-Teen, Spin-Out, Broadway Jr./Sr., "Little Country Day School" with Ms. Anna and Ms. Camille, Rosedale Skating Rink, El Sombrero, Burgundy Woods, and Action Dancewear?
"Ah, Tyler, Texas! What an AWESOME place to grow up. I wouldn't trade my childhood memories or experiences for anything!"
Submitted by James Hicks on December 14, 2008
"I am interested in Doc Witt's band. I used to hear my father refer to him in the 1940s when I was growing up. My father was in Naples and knew Doc Witt when he had a band in that part of East Texas. I am told Doc Witt had a brother, Jim Witt, in Mount Pleasant that was a dentist and a trombone player. I was also told that Doc Witt was a really good coronet player. I never met him, but I wish I could have. I do remember my father saying that he moved to Tyler. Also, I heard that he was associated with Tyler Junior College and that he died in the 1950s. I wonder if he made any recordings playing his coronet with his band."
Submitted by Carol Randall on December 5, 2008
"I remember Tyler.
"Wow, I remember going to the berry patch every summer to pick berries to help my mom and stepfather pay for school clothes, because there were 10 kids in the family. But we weren't lacking for anything.
"I remember the rose garden and the pretty roses."
Submitted by Sandra Farrell Herring on November 30, 2008
"My husband received your book as a gift yesterday. I was interested in the West Bow Cafe. My husband's grandfather (James B. Wyatt) owned the "Snack Spot" on Bow Street for a number of years. I was wondering if it could be the same cafe. I have a photo album that Ann Wyatt kept for years of the kids that ate at the Snack Spot. It has school pictures from kids that went to Marsh and Roberts Junior High (starting 1948, through the early 60s). She made notations on the back of some of the pictures, such as ‘gets married today Friday Oct. 25, 1963’. It was amazing that she kept up with the kids throughout the years.
"I was one of the first babies born (November 25, 1951) at East Texas Medical Center. My dad owned O'Neal Farrell Foundry on Highway 271 in the 1950s and 1960s.
Submitted by Andy Johns of Mansfield, Texas, on October 10, 2008
"Reading the name Kip Kippenbrock reminded me of two other media personalities from Tyler in the 1960s: 1) Grandad Rich of KLTV, and 2) Ed Smith from the "Wake Up and Live" program of KTBB.
"Another KTBB memory is the voice of Robert Main, a disc jockey in the early to mid 1970s."
Submitted by Dianne Dorbandt Johnson on September 23, 2008
"This is the most fabulous website I have seen. This brings back so many memories for me. I was born in Tyler in 1951. I will try to put together some memories of my own to share.
"Thanks for the memories!"
Submitted by Jim Appleby of Kennebunk, Maine, on September 17, 2008
"Great idea and nice website.
"My parents moved from Waco to Tyler in 1950 when I was 6 weeks old. We lived in north Tyler on Emerson Street for a few years until dad bought some land out west of town and built a small, two-bedroom house. I can remember riding on the fender of the trailer (which he had built) loaded with our furniture, moving into our new home. The road was narrow and a little bumpy, and we were only the second house in that whole area. Soon afterwards many more homes were built and I grew up with lots of kids of all ages in the neighborhood. Dad loved horses and had two sets of Shetland ponies. He made harnesses for them, as well as a miniature covered wagon. We used to take all the kids in the neighborhood on rides through the pastures, under the huge pecan trees, and had picnics on the hillside overlooking a small lake. Little did I know that just a few short years later I would be attending John Tyler High School on that very site. The small road that we first drove on to our new home is now a multi-lane highway known as Loop 323 and the surrounding area is filled with shopping centers and various businesses. Times change.
"Your website has conjured up memories of the daily bus rides all the way to Dixie Elementary for grades 1 – 6, then to Boulter Junior High for 7 – 9, and finally to the new John Tyler High School, graduating in 1969. I vividly remember that day when the first busload of black students was brought to Boulter Junior High. I was in the 9th grade. We were all nervous, not knowing what to expect or what was expected of us. We just knew that the courts had declared that something called desegregation was going to be enforced, which meant some black students were coming to Boulter. Our principal called me into the office and told me that since I was the Student Council President, I should be the first one to welcome our new students. He and I left his office and walked down the long hallway towards where some of the students who had just arrived were standing. Just before we got to them he stopped me, put both hands on my shoulders and said, ‘Just remember, as nervous as you feel, just think how they are feeling having to leave their own school and friends. How would you want to be greeted if you were them?’ I was still very nervous, but his words helped tremendously. Those words, and the Christian teachings of my parents, have served me well over the years as I’ve interfaced with people and cultures all over the world.
"Tyler was, and still is, a great place in which to grow up, and to grow old. Marching in the Rose Parade was always a highlight of the year, as was the fair and Friday night football games. Nothing in my world at that time was bigger than playing in Rose Stadium.
"Okay, the shorter version of memories: large dill pickles at the Saturday afternoon matinees; skateboarding (hand-made, of course); spending the afternoons swimming in Fun Forest; playing softball under the lights and afterwards having real, homemade ice cream (I got to sit and turn the crank); stopping at the bakery on the way home from church on Sunday nights and getting fresh, hot bread right off the assembly line (mom wouldn’t let us have any until we got home); cruisin’ with friends down Broadway ‘all the way out to the Loop’; and my first ‘real’ job as a sack boy at Brookshire’s.
"As I’ve watched my two sons grow into manhood, I’ve often wondered if they’ll look back on their ‘formative’ years here in Kennebunk, Maine as fondly as I do on Tyler. I hope so.
"Thanks for the opportunity to remember."
Submitted by Renee Wilson Baker of Chandler, Texas, on September 5, 2008
"I bought your book yesterday with those wonderful images of Tyler at Sam's Club. It is really great! If you ever publish another collection of images and memories, I would like to contribute to your effort.
"My grandfather was the late Mr. C.W. Berry. Berry Cigar & Candy Company and Berry Music & Vending were located on Locust Street, beside the railroad track, just off Broadway. A large portion of the original structure behind the warehouse burned about 15 years ago, but the original building is still there. It has served many purposes and was leased and remodeled as a nightclub after my father and President of Berry Cigar & Candy Co., Mr. M. B. Wilson, passed away in 1994. You may recognize the building by a Texas flag painted on the front. My brother still owns Berry Music, Inc. which operates from that location to this day.
"Anyway, there's so much to tell and so many great memories of growing up, spending summers working there, getting to taste the fresh candy sent over from the candy company, watching the ladies stamp the cigars and cigarettes, and pack them back into the cartons. We got to see all the latest and greatest assorted sundries that Berry would sell to its customers.
"My grandfather came to Tyler in the 30s, building on his family's heritage of general stores and merchandising in Colfax, Texas. He and my late grandmother, Mrs. Erlene Berry, were instrumental in the original building program for First Presbyterian Church. Before moving to their last home, the beautiful Spanish style two-story house on the corner of College and Third Street across from Bergfeld Park, they lived above the candy company when my mother was a little girl. My mother, Mrs. Janet Wilson, is still living in Tyler. She went to Gary Elementary, Hogg Junior High, Tyler High School, and Tyler Junior College. She was an Apache Belle!
"I've got many photos and memories to share from an era of cigarette machines, juke boxes loaded with 45 records, old time pinball machines, fresh packed candy, and real customer service. Thanks for your compilation of works, and I hope you will publish another volume."
Submitted by Beverly Brown Duran of Frisco, Texas, on August 19, 2008
"Wow, what memories this brings back.
"I went to Hogg Junior High and Tyler Catholic High School near Lee High School. I remember the Lee dances. What a great time. I remember the Uniques, Mouse and the Traps, and the great local bands. I saw a couple of the local bands, Lynn Groom was one, in Dallas during the early 70s. I would love to see pictures of the late 60s in Tyler. Oh, I remember Sonny and Cher at the Majestic (I believe)."
Submitted by John Wilkins of Oklahoma City, Olkahoma, on August 8, 2008
"I was born at Medical Center Hospital in May 1972 and was raised by my great grandparents. My great grandmother Ela Sheppard owned Flowers by Ela, across from the hospital. She owned the store for over 50 years before she sold it. The shop was where the new Medical Center Hospital building is now. I think it's the rehab building or something. It has been a long time since I have been there. We moved the store over off Loop 323, across from Robert E. Lee High School in that shopping center. It was from there that she sold it.
"I went to many schools in Tyler. I went to Moore, Bell, T.K. Gorman, and others before I ended up at Chapel Hill High School. I remember going to the Rose Garden Drive-in to see Star Wars with my mom and stepdad. I also remember Broadway Square Mall and the small arcade they had there at the end where J.C. Penney is.
"I found this website looking for drive-in movies in Oklahoma City where I am now. I was looking for something to take my 2 boys to that they have not seen. Thank you for this site. I have read the posts, and now I miss my hometown."
Submitted by Jill Steigman of Tyler, Texas, on June 15, 2008
"I love your site! I grew up in Tyler and still live here. I was born in 1958, and all my siblings still live here, too.
"We remember Playtown. I don't think we have pictures, but I think we have some film footage of the little train. I have tons of footage of the Rose Parades in the 1950s and 1960s."
Submitted by Maxine Evans of Tyler, Texas, on February 9, 2008
"Thanks for sharing your pictures, and I look forward to your book! I love pictures of the old buildings and the history. I participate in the history of Oakwood Cemetery, and we do the “Spirits of Oakwood” each March.
"I have read most of the ‘Memories’ page, and I love it reading about Johnny Gimble. It is so good to know where he is now and still fiddling. I am so glad we moved to Tyler in 1955, when I was expecting our first daughter. Dr. Willingham had his office upstairs in the Peoples Bank building on the square. The first escalator I ever saw was on a visit to him there.
"A wonderful memory for my 3 daughters and I is D. K. Caldwell. He and Mrs. Caldwell have done so much for Tyler. When we were in line for a movie at the Tyler Theater, Mr. Caldwell would come by and give the children shiny dimes or quarters He gave my daughters their first Kennedy half dollar, and we still have them. We owe a big thanks to the Caldwells for lots of good things in Tyler."
Submitted by Danny Garner of Carrollton, Texas, on February 9, 2008
"I just happened to run across this website and am so excited. I was born and raised in Tyler, graduating from John Tyler High School in 1971. My mom, who is now 91, still lives there. I collect articles on Tyler and look forward to reviewing all the testimonials and submitting one at a later date. Thanks a million for the memories!"
Submitted by Ruben Renteria on February 6, 2008
"I was born in the great city of Tyler on March 24, 1980, at Doctors Memorial Hospital, which was located at the corner of Kinsey Drive and Loop 323. A sad day in my heart when I saw it go down. Like many people here, I have left Tyler for other states, but home sickness for this small, east Texas city always drags me back home.
"Growing up on the north side of town, seeing things come and go, has my heart filled with so many childhood memories. Like the Super 1 Foods on Gentry Parkway: it changed names many times. I remember it being a Kroger’s at one point. Tyler used to have two K-Marts: one on Beckham and the other on northwest Loop 323. Piggly Wiggly on Gentry, the old Texaco gas station, and Gaslight Theater where movies where just $1.25, Fun Forest Park during the summer, taking a bike ride 18 miles from the north side to Tyler State Park for a swim on a hot summer day, and a Brookshire's and Eckerd's store in what is now our Tyler Municipal Court and Smith County Health Department. I also remember going to Mike's gas station just northeast of Beckham before the overpass to buy penny candy and our neighborhood store for sports card collectors. Many of the city parks have really changed, such as the old metal merry-go-rounds and construction digger you sat on to move rocks changing to plastic. As like everything else, my elementary school Douglas has been torn down and replaced by a new building that makes the high schools look small. One of the fondest memories of my childhood is a sweet old lady that lived on East Queen Street. The neighborhood kids knew her Grandma, and she was so nice and always there to gives us treats. Whether it be Halloween or not, she always had goodies for us. I never knew her name, but those were the good old days of trust. Also the Applebee skating ring was the place to be on a weekend in the early 1980s.
"Well, thanks for letting me share a bit of what I remember of this great hometown of mine."
Submitted by Teresa Strebeck of Gladewater, Texas, on December 12, 2007
"I was born at Mother Frances Hospital in 1953. We were renting a house on the old Chandler highway, on property owned by H. L. Whisenant, when he sold the property to build the Kelly Springfield plant. I went to Dixie Elementary through the 6th grade, not the “new” Dixie elementary, but the old one, on Greenbriar Road. I’m looking for others who may have gone there. I started 1st grade there in 1960 and left after 6th grade, to go to Boulter Jr. High. My teachers were Ruby Miller in 1st grade, Lucy Jane Loving 2nd, Bertie Miller 3rd, Mrs. Byrd 4th, Annie Lee Drummond in 5th grade, and Mrs. McCain in 6th. The principal was C. A. Honea, who lived right by the school. Everyone knew each other and it was a very special time. Anyone who went to the old Dixie during that time, I am one of the Sandifer kids."
Submitted by Gema Blanton of Tyler, Texas, on November 15, 2007
"I remember Tyler when it was still a small little town in the 1980s. We used to go to Gaslight Theater to watch movies. It is now the Salvation Army Shelter. We would go hang out at the water fountain in the mall and eat at the 'underground' WhatABurger. My mom would collect her Green Stamps every time she shopped at the Brookshire’s located what is now the Smith County Health Department."
Submitted by J.P. Langford of Tyler, Texas, on October 25, 2007
"I just remembered that when the Ideal bakery was going strong in the early years, some of my uncles worked there. There was a billboard on top of the building advertising their bread. The company used a baby picture of my cousin, Phillip Charles Langford, for advertisement and put that picture on every loaf of bread. I remember going by the retail store on the east side of the building and getting a loaf of hot bread. It was soooo good!
"Ah, those good old memories..."
Submitted by Marla Barron of Tyler, Texas, on October 5, 2007
"I've lived in Tyler since 1976, when I married and moved here from Marshall. My husband Randy Barron (graduate of John Tyler 1969) and his family have lived here all their life in the New Harmony community. He and his brother Kenny have been telling me stories from their past about Tyler over the years. Some that stand out and really impressed me was they saw Sonny and Cher at the Tyler theatre in the early 60's and also ZZ Top and Neil Diamond (early in their careers) in what they called pillow concerts in the TJC gym.
"I also had a cousin that lived in Tyler and during my visits in the 60's I remember when they lived on McMillan, we would walk up to the Skillern's drugstore in the Green Acres Shopping Center. They also lived in the Bullard-Gresham area and I remember they cleared off the spot where the mall is several times before the first building (Dillard’s) was built. I remember the lone big tree on that big empty lot. I have a memory of going to see the movie Willard at the Tyler theatre and remembering all the people dragging Broadway while I waited for my aunt to pick us up.
"My cousin and I would also go swimming at the Briarwood Country Club, and it seemed to be in a very remote area off a sandy dirt road. I thought what a strange place for a country club! Now that area is all really changed with the development of The Cascades, it sure isn't out in the country anymore. I also remember the Captain Space Burger's building, though by the time I was in Tyler it was some pool hall/club and then torn down. Some of my favorites back in the early 70's were El Sombrero, Der Wienerschnitzel, Monterrey House, and Red Ackers. On my first date with Randy, we went to Tyler State Park and that night to Putt Putt Golf. We also enjoyed going to the Tiki and the Shingle.
"My first job in Tyler was working at Statewide Insurance, which was on Shelley Drive. I have fond memories of the Ginsberg family. One was they took the entire office to the restaurant Tara House, which was an upscale place in a huge house resembling Tara from Gone With the Wind. I've seen a lot of business come and go, and it's sad to see progress sometimes. Like the toy store Moliters (sp?), Craddocks, Storkland, the Pelican, Pasquales, and the Ice Cream Palace.
"I rent a parking space from Mr. Rodney Kamel, and I have such fond memories of him emceeing the Lions Club talent show every year. My former boss, Garland Wright, was active in the Lions Club back then, and going to those shows and seeing local talent was very entertaining and such a good way to showcase local people.
"I work downtown for an architectural firm and to hear these stories of what use to be located here is so interesting. Thanks for this website."
Submitted by Tom Adams of Austin, Texas, on September 30, 2007
"I have enjoyed reading these pages and learning more about Tyler!
"My grandfather, W. T. Adams Sr., was head of the schools there from 1905 until 1916. He taught in Tyler and Omen before that. My dad W. T. Adams Jr. was born there. I am always interested in the Adams and Herrin (my grandmother's name) families in Smith county. I am interested in people who know anything about my family, but also when the first autos appeared in Smith and Cherokee counties. Does anyone know who owned the first car and what it was? My cousin, George Herrin, who worked there in the late 1920s has lots of stories about cars, but this was after 1928 or so. I assume someone had a car before 1920."
Submitted by Vicki Musslewhite of Tyler, Texas, on August 2, 2007
"I remember Bergfeld Park on Friday nights with Rodney Kamel as the emcee of the talent shows. He loved all of us kids so! At the East Texas Fair, Rodney Kamel had the best, greasy burgers in the world. He was a part of us kids' lifes for so long.
"I remember The Valients, a group from Chapel Hill who won the Battle of the Bands held at the American Legion Post downtown, where now the spot is a parking area for JURY DUTY! Steve and Mike Goodrich, Lindsey Carey, until Lindsey was killed in a motor bike accident. There is a plaque at Bergfeld Park remembering him.
"I also remember Neil-Simpson Drugstore and Kresses on the square.
"So many years ago, but some memories cannot and will not be forgotten."
Submitted by Bob Thornton of Longview, Texas, on July 30, 2007
"I was born in Tyler in June of 1941, went to Marsh for grades 1 thru 3, then Ramey for grades 4 thru 6. Roberts 7 thru 9 and Tyler high 10th & 11th. Then I quit, took my GED and went into Air Force. I lived on Shawnee, Lawton Circle, Center St. & West Bow. Where I lived on Lawton is now part of Caldwell Zoo. The Center St. house is gone as well, and so is the Bow St. house.
"I remember helping the Zoo employees catch a monkey that got loose and was on the top of a house across the street. Mr. Caldwell gave me a pheasant. I remember it being 112 degrees and running barefoot across tar streets. I remember seeing A.P. Exum on just about all the concrete in Tyler.
"I remember going to Dr. Neil's office when it was across the street from the newspaper company. His clinic delivered me at home and cared for me till I left. They moved to the small building just below Mother Francis Hospital. They were at that location when I returned to Tyler in 1962 and Dr. Jones delivered all three of my children. I remember going to camp Tyler, Lake Tyler, Tyler State Park. I loved fishing at Lake Tyler.
"I used to collect pop bottles & sell them so I would have 9 cents to go to the Joy theater on Saturday and see the double feature movie, serial, and comics, as well as news clips. I would ride my Bike from Shawnee downtown. I liked to go to Murphy's Jewelry & bike shop. I delivered newspapers both morning & evening all over north Tyler. I worked at Hughes drug store at nights mopping the floor. I watched the water tower there being built. I played at the Goodman House & the park around it.
"When I returned from the Air Force in 1962, I had a hard time finding a job, and I was married then. I went to see Ed James, a shop teacher at John Tyler, and he lined me up with a job at Sterling Faucet. I worked there only a couple of months during a remodeling phase. I went to work at Tyler Pipe in the pattern shop for about 4 years, and then went to work for Cherokee Foundry & Machine. I was part owner there, and we worked for USI Film products, Western Foundry, Tyler Pipe, Kelly Springfield, and American Clay products.
"I have enjoyed reading the other memories here and saw a person I remembered. Shirley (Mc Coy) Powers. Also recognized Tom Parsons, as I worked for T. J. Parsons when I was in high school. I worked at the Gulf station across the street from the Bow Street Motor Clinic. We used to shop at Green’s Grocery, and Nickel’s Grocery.
"I remember the old stone station on the right side of the fork of highways 110 & 69. I just keep remembering, and love this site. I now live in Longview, but visit Tyler often. I still meet a lot of classmates from 1959."
Submitted by Felix Tilley of Tucson, Arizona, on July 6, 2007
"I found this website by accident. I was looking up Kip Kippenbrock. He was a TV news anchor in Tyler in the 1950's. I lived in Tyler from 1953 to 1961. My family moved to Arizona in 1961. A few years later, Kip showed up on a Phoenix TV station, but he disappeared after a few months. I do not know what happened to him after that.
"I went to Gary Elementary, Bell Elementary, and Moore Junior High. Moore's son was some kind of superintendent in the Tempe, Arizona, school district.
"I remember the Rose Garden Drive-In in the 1950's. There were swings and a merry-go-round in front of the big screen. The place smelled of raw sewage, and I was careful where I walked. I think the stench came from across the fence, so there was probably not any health problems.
"My dad was a reporter for the Tyler Courier Times. My dad pronounced Courier as in French, and his co-workers and bosses did not like it."
Submitted by Brandi King of Jackson, Mississippi, on June 27, 2007
"I was born at Mother Frances Hospital on January 14, 1980, to Timothy Jack King and Angelique Nick. I lived off of Forest with my grandparents Patsy L. Nick and Howard Nick until I was five and then off of Old Longview Road near my Pawpaw Bob Stamps and Margaret Stamps and loved every minute of it!
"I remember going to D's Royal Coffee Shop and eating on Saturdays with my cousin and my aunt quite often. My Daddy always took us down the street to Wheelers and would let us pick out penny candy. I also remember going to Lake Tyler where the barges where. There was a little slide on the top floor of the green barge where you could slide off into the water (had to watch for the stump at the bottom though, he he!).
"I went to Jackson Elementary, Wise Elementary, and the great Chapel High Middle School! I loved going to Bergfeld Park and getting free lunches during the summer and playing on the dolphin. The Caldwell Zoo was so awesome, especially the otters! OOH! And the Chuck E. Cheese with the mouse hole under the huge TV! Great stuff!
"I loved going to the Mrs. Baird’s bread store and getting honey buns and snack cakes for 25 cents and going to the dollar movie on Saturdays. I got to see the Von Erichs wrestle at the Oil Palace and Big Foot crush cars! Tyler is a great place, and I miss it so much! I just visited this past week and it brought back lots of memories that I would love for my kids to be able to experience."
Submitted by Jack T. Bailey of Texas, on June 3, 2007
"Thank you for providing a place to chronicle our memories of our beloved hometown. Reading other submittals sparks memories of things I thought I had completely forgotten. Thank you to all who have submitted their memories of Tyler. This is truly wonderful.
"I attended Ramey, Orr, Boulter, and John Tyler. I remember our little league baseball team riding home, in the back of my dad’s pickup truck, from ballgames at Fun Forest Park and Municipal Stadium. When he would stop at traffic lights, we would perform a “Chinese Fire Drill” where we would jump out of the back of the truck and run a circle around it before the light would change.
"I remember camping out in the woods across the loop from my house on Martha Street and walking to the Hickory House to play the “Eight Ball” pin ball machine for a dime a game. Brewer’s Barber Shop on the Van Highway, Icees at Fauss’ Convenience Store on Bow Street, fishing at Lake Park, swimming at the Fun Forest pool, Saturday morning matinees at the Tyler Theater, and as I got older, Friday nights at the same venue. I remember having to go shopping with my mother on Saturdays at Mayer & Schmidt and riding the elevator to the second floor. There was actually an elevator attendant! Wow, the Crest Drive-In, Mr. J’s, Weber’s, and “drag” on Broadway. I particularly remember attending The Beatles’ “A Hard Days Night” premier at the Tyler Theater. What a spectacle, every girl screaming and shouting as if the Beatles were there in person!
"Most of all, I remember that Tyler was a good and wholesome town to grow up in, and I will always cherish the memories of my childhood there. We all long for a simpler time, and even though we can never go back in time, this is the next best thing. To all of my fellow Tylerites, thank you again for the memories. I love my hometown and wish nothing but the best for the City."
Submitted by Les Wagoner of Ovilla, Texas, on May 2, 2007
"In the summer of 69, I hitched a ride from Dallas to Tyler. I was 15 years old, not a runaway, but a kid that nobody wanted. I lived on the streets for awhile, and I remember hanging out at the Pig Stand at night until I could find a job. A waitress would bring me a hamburger knowing that I wasn’t able to pay for it. I told her I could not pay for it, and she would say just don’t worry about it. I soon got a job at Henry McCaleb’s Exxon on Erwin St. and Hwy. 69, working at night. Working the night shift was a gift, as I had nowhere to live, and it got me off the streets for the night. Soon after that, Henry helped me get a room at a local motel down the street, west of the station on the left, I can’t remember the name of it. I lived there for the next three years and continued to work at the gas station.
"Henry was a great guy; he would help anyone that he could. He passed away a few years ago. I will always be grateful for all he did for me. There was Gulf station across the street from the Exxon station, and the older man that worked at night kept an eye on me and would call me when I would fall asleep to tell me I had a customer out front. Another man that worked at the Exxon station was Lawrence Kirby. He went by just Kirby and liked to act like he was one tough guy, but he really had a heart of gold and would help anyone that needed help. Another fellow, Guy Bob, worked there during the day, and he and his wife would come to the station and keep me company during the evening hours. Back then, kids congregated at various places around town, and the gas station was one of those places. I had lots of friends. Kirby gave me a car to drive (69 Camaro, Hugger Orange, black vinyl top). Man, I wish I had that car back today. I had a place to live. I will never forget the kindness of the small town of Tyler and what some of the people there did for me. I left Tyler in 1971 and joined the military. Today, I have been married 35 years, have 2 kids & 5 grandkids, and my favorite hobby is restoring old cars like I used to work on while working at the gas station in Tyler. Living in Tyler gave me a chance grow up.
"I don’t know what I would have done had these kind people not helped me at that time in my life."
Submitted by Deborah Reed on May 2, 2007
"I also remember the fountain at the town square. I loved to go there with my Daddy (Thurman Craft) and my brother. The water would be all different colors at night and yes, I, too, remember that older men would sit around the fountain and play checkers."
Submitted by Rhonda McGwier of Midlothian, Texas, on March 5, 2007
"What a great idea for a web page: Memories of Tyler.
"Joe Mack McGwier, my father, was born in Tyler in 1935, to Louise and C. Mack McGwier. Ruby Faye Robinson, my mother, was born in Edom in 1937, to Jack M. and Inez Jones-Robinson. We lived in and around Tyler for many years. Both sets of my grandparents lived in Tyler.
"We called our grandmother Inez 'Mamaw'. She worked for the Tyler Candy Company for over 25 years. Many of those years she drove from Edom, until moving to the big city of Tyler. She resided on Hillcrest Street and attended West Erwin Baptist Church.
"Mamaw would always have candy on hand that she made at the Tyler Candy Company in her cabinets. She worked on the Peanut Paddies line but knew how to make all the candies. Sometimes my mother would take me to see Mamaw at work, and I could select any candy to take home. Warm candy off the line tasted so good. It was amazing to see how fast the line went, and never a candy missed being picked up.
"When Mamaw would come visit us in Grand Prairie, my sister and I would hope she would bring us some candy. We all loved the candy, including our dog. Once she had left her wallet or purse at home and paid the Dallas/Fort Worth Turnpike toll in candy. Boy, did they love it!
"Still today when I see Dickey's candy I think of Mamaw, who worked so hard to provide so much to those she loved. We lost Mamaw in April 2005, at the age of 93. Until her death, she would brighten up when my parents would treat her to a 'peanut rounder' as she called candy."
Submitted by Deborah Reed on January 2, 2007
"I remember the downtown square at Christmas. I started junior high at Roberts Junior High, but we moved to Lindale when I was in the 8th grade. I remember Lake Tyler and the highway to Kilgore if you wanted alcohol, because Tyler was in a dry county. I remember the Crest and the Apache drive-ins and going to the walk-ins to see Elvis movies twice on Saturdays for 25 cents.
"I remember the little park off Broadway (behind First Baptist Church). It had the little train we could play on, and the mansion museum you could go for walks through and step back into the past. I don't remember the name of that park, does anyone else?"
Note From R. Reed: The mansion she is referring to is the Goodman Museum, which is still on North Broadway. The park was on the museum grounds and also included an old fire engine and train caboose. These items for children to explore are no longer on the grounds.
Submitted by Sherroll Neill on December 22, 2006
"Someone mentioned Jo Carol Dennison being named Miss Texas. Miss Dennison worked for a law firm in Tyler and was sponsored by them in a beauty contest. She won and went on to become Miss Texas. She then represented Texas in the Miss America pagent and won! She later married Phil Silvers, the TV comedian."
Submitted by Penny Jensen of Warrenton,Oregon, on December 13, 2006
"I first arrived in Tyler from Oregon in July, 2002. The very first thing I noticed was the heat...it hit triple digits the day I arrived. The second thing I noticed was that the people were the friendliest and nicest I'd ever seen. I only lived in Tyler for three short years, but I find myself getting as homesick for it as I did for Oregon when I was away. So many times I wish I could run to Sam's (Texas' Best Barbeque!) on Hwy. 155 for his ribs and homemade potato salad, or to the Tyler Tortilla Factory for tamales. Believe me, nobody in Oregon can make decent tamales. Walking through Rose Rudman park in the spring, or better yet, on a summer evening with the cicadas screaming through the trees. Or watching lightning flash all over the county from the top level of the hospital's parking garage. I loved East Texas and while I was there, I felt that it was home."
Submitted by Bruce Keith of Highland Haven, Texas, on December 10, 2006
"Last night my wife, the former Blanche Elizabeth Long of Tyler, and I sat in a restaurant here in Marble Falls, Texas, with a nationally-known fiddler, Johnny Gimble, from Bascom, west of Tyler. He and I were both 1943 grads of Tyler High School. His father was a telegrapher for the Cotton Belt Railroad. He had a tin Prince Albert tobacco can attached to his receiver, so he could hear the incoming Morse code loud and clear.
"Johnny, his son Dick, and granddaughter Emily put on a musical Christmas show for a packed house in the Marble Falls historic Uptown Marble Theater. Many people will remember Johnny and his brother Gene as the Tyler Playboys while still in school advertising Rose Queen Flour for Howard Dodd Wholesale Company, a local food supplier in Tyler. They had a program on radio station KGBK. This powerhouse Tyler musician is best known for his stint with "Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys." He was named "Instrumentalist of the Year" by the Country Music Association 5 times and "Fiddler of the Year" by the Academy of Country Music 9 times. He has also won 2 Grammy Awards. This famous Tyler citizen performed last night at 80 years of age to a constant applause from an appreciative audience. His voice and music are still great."
Submitted by Addison K. Witt of California on December 7, 2006
"I was born in Tyler, at what was then Medical Center Hospital on May 4, 1966. My family had already lived in Tyler for many years as farmers. In fact, my great-grandfather had 15 children, and my grandmother, Irene Robinson was number five.
"I went to local schools, Robert E. Lee High School included. However I graduated from Whitehouse High School in 1984. That was also the same year I left Tyler and went to college. I did return to Dallas for four years before leaving for California, where I have spent 14 years.
"I recall so much about Tyler because it was truly the love of my life. I idealized farm living, enjoyed going into town as we did in the 1960's and 70's, eating at the hotlink stand and shopping on Broadway. I admit that I had a penchant for city living even way back then, and watching Tyler grow year after year was indeed a thrill for me. Some years past I bought a home just outside the city limits and quietly I will return to Tyler for short get-a-ways. Recently one of my grandmothers, who had been a life-long resident, passed and that brought me back to the Rose City.
"Tyler holds a very special place in my heart. Each time I return to Tyler, I remember those early days where I experienced my growth and joy as a child."
Submitted by John Murad of Dallas, Texas, on November 26, 2006
"I was born in Tyler in 1932. My father was known as Froggie ("mayor Spring Street"). During WWII, he had a cafe on the southwest corner of the square, across from the Peoples Bank. Later Kress' 5 & 10 moved in after the war was over.
"I went to Bonner School, Hogg Junior High, and then to Tyler High School (Class of 1949). Afterwards, I went on to TJC and UT Austin. In those days it was the only UT location. I was a combat medic in the Korean War. I served 2 years, and then went to North Texas State for a Masters in Microbiology and Texas A&M for a PhD in Microbiology. I taught at La Tech for 25 years and UT Southwestern Medical School for 10 years.
"I have a brother, Ralph, and a sister, Helen, both of whom were born, raised, and schooled in Tyler. Ralph has degrees in math and physics, while Helen was an elementary school teacher in Houston. We are all married with children and grandchildren, and some of us with great grandkids!
"I now live in Dallas with my wife Sameera who was a Tyler resident for 30 years."
Submitted by Bruce Keith of Highland Haven, Texas, on July 16, 2006
"I was born July 18, 1926, in Tyler at home on 614 East Oscar Street, now Rosedale Street. The doctor who made the house call was E.D. Rice. We moved from there to the Jim Hogg Highway, later Bow street, and then to Gentry Parkway. Our next home was on East Queen Street on the corner across from Queen Street Baptist Church. We moved from there to 711 East Queen, and that house still stands.
"My best friend was Otis Ray Brewer. He and I explored all of Smith County while still in Douglas School, located at the north end of the overpass. I guess you might call us engineers, for we teamed up with a few other students and moved a wagon and an outhouse to the school ground and installed them on the top of the school as a Halloween trick. We left a basement window unlocked in the boiler room to have access to the school. Out a second floor room facing Dixie Highway, we hung a dummy labeled with L.R. Herring, our principal, who we shared with Marsh School. It took a crew a lot longer to remove the wagon and outhouse than it did for us to install it. It was something when they put together a group of us to sing at KGKB and the Courier Times gave the public advanced warning.
"Tyler was surrounded with a lot of spring fed creeks and was a great place for kids to capture baby alligators. We got one good-sized one, and my mother gave it to the fire department on East Erwin for a small zoo they had adjacent to the park behind them, across from Sam R. Hill lumberyard. Old Sam owned a lake out on the Chandler Highway, and we used to go by and get permission from him to fish there. Out south of Tyler, off the Old Bullard Road, was Weakley Brothers Dairy, and they had a creek that ran south and eventually joined Mud Creek. It furnished a good swimming hole and plenty of fish. We used to take a frying pan, a pot, and a coffee bucket and some lard. We raided fields and gardens on the way, shot a rabbit or a few squirrels, and made a pot of stew. A favorite swimming hole was Peters Pond east of Tyler, off Old Kilgore Highway. It was very deep. We had no problem walking five or six miles in those days.
"The Depression made a lot of the people leave their cars in their driveway, because they could not afford the nickel-a-gallon gasoline and eight-cents-a-quart oil. Many oil wells east of Tyler had condensation tanks that separated the oil from natural gasoline. This lead-free gasoline was free for the taking. But you had to save enough gas to get out there.
"We moved from Queen Street to 1401 N. Spring Street and lived there until I finished Roberts Junior High. Our principal was J.R. Moore. Our teachers were Mrs. McCraney (science) and Mrs. Clinkscales (math).
"In 1941, we moved to South Beckham, to be closer to Tyler High School. F.M. Burke was the principal and Mrs. Roy Owens was his assistant. J.M. Hodges was school superintendent. Teachers I remember were Mittie Marsh (English), Mildred Williams (math), Mary Jernigan (history), Mattie Jones (English), Mary Bourne (Latin), Louise Glenn (music), and J.A. Poston (math).
"We went skating at Burns Lake Roller Rink out on the Gladewater Highway, had Friday night dances at the school, movies at the Tyler, Liberty, Queen, Majestic, and Joy theaters, and Doc Witt and the Municipal Band in concert in the band stand on the courthouse lawn. I remember the wagon yard on South Spring, where the farmers parked their wagons and sold produce, cattle, horses and hogs. There were two horse-watering troughs on the square. On the benches all the way around the square, old men gathered every day to discuss politics, tell lies, and occasionally sample some bootleg whiskey bought on East Erwin, about 3 blocks from the square. Kid Brothers Cafe, the Haddad Brothers Mecca Cafe, Malavansos Cafe, and Royal Confectionary were all great places to eat on the square.
"The war was on and about 3000 of Tyler and Smith County boys were in the military. Today many lay under crosses set up all over the world. After school, I went into the Navy and served in the Philippines, Okinawa, and Occupied Japan. In 1948, I married Blanche Long of Tyler, and we are still together after 58 years. Today we live in Highland Haven Texas. It is a bedroom city with no businesses, or even business lots, on the shore of Lake LBJ, eight miles west of Marble Falls."
Mr. Keith continued his memories on July 18, 2006, as follows...
"What Tyler was like in 1930's to mid 1940's...
"This is what I remember about downtown Tyler. Broadway did not go through; it was separated by the courthouse. Downtown businesses as I remember on the square, and I block off on each street, are as follows:
"West side of square, from north to south: Leon's shoe store; Malavansos Cafe; Caldwell, Hughes, DeLay & Allen department store; Peoples Bank.
"North side of square, from west to east: McClellans 5 & 10; Texas State Optical; Tyler State Bank; North Broadway Avenue; Citizens Bank; Irion Drug Store; Kresge 5 & 10; Lou's Hat Shop; Maxine's Ladies Shop; Tot to Teen Shop.
"East side of square, from north to south: Royal Confectionary; Arcadia Theater; Buck's Mens Clothing; Naylor's Department Store.
"South side of square, from east to west: shoe store; Kidd Brothers Cafe; Majestic Theater; paint store; Liberty Theater; Kamel's hamburger stand; South Broadway Avenue; dress shop; shoe store; hardware store; Texas State Optical.
"West side of South College, from square to south: Tyler Commercial College; Carnegie Library; Elm Street.
"East side of South College, from square to south: Britain Optical; Montgomery Wards (tires); Elm Street.
"South side of West Erwin, from square to west: Ladies Wear; Lindsay and Newsome Insurance Adjusters; Western Union Telegraph; Albert Fridkin Custom-Made Boots.
"North side of West Erwin, from square to west: Beer and Company Stock Brokers; Swann Furniture Company.
"South side of West Ferguson, from square to west: Lions Shoe Store; J.C. Penney; Singer Sewing Machines; Rich Tire Company.
"North side of West Ferguson, from square to west: Mayer & Schmidt Department Store; R.E. Bryan Book Store; Post Office.
"West side of North College, from square to north: Mayer & Schmidt Department Store; Tyler State Bank; Texas Power and Light.
"East side of North College, from square to north: McClellans 5 & 10; Story-Wright Printing and Office Supplies.
"West side of North Broadway, from square to north: Tyler State Bank; Neil-Simpson Drug Store.
"East side of North Broadway, from square to north: Citizens Bank; Palace Theater; Blackstone Hotel.
"West side of North Spring, from square to north: Tot to Teen Shop; pawn shop.
"South side of East Ferguson, from square to east: Royal Confectionary
"North side of East Ferguson, from square to east: Hix-Watson Drug Store; Tyler Hotel; pool hall.
"South side of East Erwin, from square to east: Warren Drug Store; Lewis and Haynes Grocery Store; Tom Wilson Hardware and Seed Store.
"North side of East Erwin, from square to east: shoe shop; restaurant.
"Some businesses I remember are: Coats-McCain Lumber Co.; Carlton Lumber Co.; Brogan Insurance; Burks-Walker Furniture Co.; Burks-Walker Funeral Home; Sears Roebuck on East Erwin where American Legion is; International Great Northern Railroad on East Ferguson in depot next to railroad tracks; Johnson Aircraft, maker of the Johnson Bullet Airplane, located at a small airport at the intersection of Old Kilgore Highway and Old Henderson Highway; Norden Bomb Sight Company, which made bomb sights for U.S. Bombers in WWII; Tyler Refinery, later LaGloria Refinery; Southern Creamery; Southern Ice Company; Tyler electric power generating facility, which furnished electric power for Tyler; Tyler Cotton Oil Mill, which extracted oil from cotton seed, by products were cotton seed meal and ground cotton seed hulls which were fed to cows (those last four companies were in a row on North Spring Street); on West Erwin, the Ideal Bakery; Woldert Pecan processing plant; Woldert Canning Company; Cotton Belt Railroad General Offices; Crescent Laundry; A.A. Laundry; Tyler Laundry; High School Pharmacy; Cox Drive-In; Talley Hamburgers; and the Tyler Mattress Factory on North Spring in the 1400 block. There was a small refinery on the west side of Tyler that reclaimed lube oil from filling stations. Most stations had a tank in front with a hand pump to fill a quart fruit jar with lube oil. Then, they would screw a spout on it.
"Tyler had a semi-pro baseball team called the Tyler Trojans. Their ball park was out at the East Texas Fairgrounds. The East Texas League had teams in Tyler, Longview, Palestine, Marshall, Canton and Paris.
"Tyler had a National Guard armory and stables at the fairgrounds. They were Troop F, 112th Calvary. Their notable achievements were eliminating Mexican bandits coming across the Rio Grande to raid and loot border towns. They were dispatched to Gregg County under martial law to shut down oil wells violating conservation rules. In WWII, they went to the Pacific to invade Tarawa, a Japanese island, and they took a lot of casualties. I talked to Sargent Charlie Toliver about the battle after the war, and he said a real hero was a young man, Jack Albert Johnson, who falsified his age (not uncommon) to get in and was killed in action. I do not know the details but it affected Sarge until he could not talk about it.
"We should remember the Confederate gun factory on South Bois d'Arc, the tannery on North Pabst Street by the creek that flows parallel to the Cotton Belt Railroad (when I was a kid the remains of the tanning vats were still visible), and the Yankee prison camp out on the Gladewater Highway.
"The school district administration consisted of the Superintendent (J.M Hodges), a purchasing agent, a director of curriculum, a head nurse, and a couple of clerks."
Submitted by Louise Craft Campbell of Tyler, Texas, on June 20, 2006
"I was born in Tyler in 1943 and still make my home here, so I too have many memories.
"I remember Bonner School, where I started the first grade. I do not recall my teacher's name, but I do remember Mr. May being the principal. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades I went to Marsh Elementary. My teachers were Ms. Snow, Ms. Richardson, and Ms. Jordan. I also remember Roberts Junior High and Ms. Beasley, who was my English teacher.
"I can remember the old square and courthouse, but the square after the change and the new courthouse I remember more clearly. I also remember stores such as Kress' on the southwest corner, and the Peoples National Bank and how windy that corner always seem to be, and the New York store, and the Booterie shoe store, and J.C. Penney's and Sears, and the small Lion's shoe store where I was working in 1963, when President Kennedy was shot in Dallas. And, too, the beautiful old post office just off the square on Ferguson.
"I remember going to the Joy Theater for 15 cents and watching Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Also, the small, round, red box of Spanish peanuts that would sometimes have a penny or maybe a nickel as a prize, and the all-day sucker that could last through watching the movie over again, if mama and daddy said it was okay. I also remember seeing ‘The Ten Commandments’ with my mama at the Liberty Theater.
"As a teenager I remember dragging Broadway with my best friend, Lucille, in her black 1963 Ford Fairlane and going to the Derrick number 1 and 2, sometimes stopping for a chocolate Dr Pepper, a vanilla Coke, or a bite to eat while watching closely to see who else was there. I remember the Rose Garden Drive-In and the Crest Drive-In, and the Rose Parade and East Texas Fair each September. One of my favorite memories is of Jay's Drive-In on Glenwood, where I met my husband some forty years ago.
"This is a wonderful website and has reminded me of many beautiful memories of being raised, and raising my own children, in Tyler, Texas. Thank you so much."
Submitted by Ranelle Jerome of Tyler, Texas, on May 30, 2006
"My parents and I first moved to Tyler from Dallas in 1976, when I was 12, and I was enrolled in Hubbard Middle School. We lived on Easy Street right off of Paluxy, which could then easily be crossed on foot, as it was still a two-lane road. We moved back to Dallas early in 1977, when my father needed medical attention that was unavailable in Tyler at that time.
"It wasn't until 1992 that I ever saw Tyler again, when my husband and I decided it was time to get out of the rat race of the big city and try to simplify our lives. It's very difficult to explain the flood of emotions I felt when we moved to approximately the same area I lived in as a child, and when my daughter began attending Hubbard Middle School in the fall of 2000. It was like a trip back in time! Our family had been through much and traveled extensively, and it seemed that it was destined for us all to be back in Tyler, and to stay this time!
"The changes that have taken place in the 14 years we've been back have been phenomenal. I'm glad we've found our home for life."
Submitted by Bill Pair on May 27, 2006
"My mom was on a TV Show in Tyler: 'Rico and Miss Merry.' Does anyone remember this? I was not old enough to remember. Her name was Mary Della Haines, and she has since passed away. It would be a treasure for anyone to recall and share with my family."
Submitted by Petet Thompson on May 5, 2006
"Across Broadway from where the mall now stands was a place called Bob-o-Links Miniature Golf. I used to live where the Golden Corral Restaurant stands today. Used to dove hunt where the mall is located. Man, we lived in the country! Owned the property where Towne Oaks apartments now is. Doved hunted there also! Loop 323 was a dirt road. Old Bullard Road dead-ended at where now, Grande Blvd is. Used to catch crawfish in the creek at the end of the road. Smokey Joe's Barbeque was located across Broadway from Steinmart. McPhails nursery was located at the corner of Troup Highway and Broadway.
"Memories, memories, memories..."
Submitted by Shirley (McCoy) Powers of Altus, Oklahoma, on April 2, 2006
"I am really glad for your website. I, too, was born in Tyler, Texas. I remember the smell of the Ideal Bakery, and the Brown Derby on Broadway. I went to Douglas Elementary, Chapel Hill, then Tyler High School, which was downtown. I also remember cruising Broadway with my girlfriends, and the all-night shows at the Tyler Theater. Does anyone remember Cole's Drive-in? They had the best hamburgers and fries, and, by the way, it's where I worked after school. I quit in the 11th grade, and worked full time and loved it. Also the brick streets around the courthouse. I really love the Rose Parade every year and try to make it. I left Tyler when I was 18, and go back every 2 or 3 years because I still have family there.
"Thanks for the memories."
Submitted by Debra Harrison Stearns of Dallas, Texas, on March 31, 2006
"I remember moving from Tyler to big bad Houston in 1965. What I remember about Tyler was going to the movie downtown on Saturdays for 35 cents. Going to the Christmas parade at the ole town square with my father and seeing Santa Claus. Going to the Frostie Root Beer stand. Going to Robert E. Lee High school football games. Taking dance lessons from Utah Grounds, and having Sandy Duncan in our home movies from dance recitals. Going to see Dr. Hank Moore for all childhood illnesses. Easter egg hunts at Byrd Park. Going to Tyler State Park for Sunday picnics. Trick-or-treating all over the neighborhood with no parents tagging along. Going to the Rose Garden Drive-In with my dad and brother and swinging on the swings in front of the big screen. Learning to swim at Fun Forest Pool. Watching the news reports on Christmas Eve showing Santa Claus’ sleigh on the weather radar coming to Tyler. The Apache Belles. Going to the East Texas Fair every year.
"It was a magical place to spend my formative childhood years growing up. I was lucky."
Submitted by Catherine Zeppa Di Matteo of Torino, Italy, on March 7, 2006
"Thanks for your great website. I was a little homesick for the Tyler of my past, so I went on the Internet hoping to find a photo or two. I found far more than I would have hoped for! Thanks so much for the work you've done. It is so wonderful to see what I haven't seen in years!
"I live in Italy and though I've been over here for almost 20 years, I still consider Tyler home. I was born there in 1960 and left when I went off to university. My father still lives in Tyler, and I see him every year or so, and of course I see Tyler, too, but a lot has changed since I was a child there.
"My grandparents lived in the Blackstone Hotel. My grandfather came from a small little town not far from Torino. I remember Sunday morning breakfasts in the dining room there, especially the home-made cinnamon sweet-rolls. They were so good! Do you by chance know of anyone who might have recipes from the Blackstone Hotel kitchen?
"All the postcards you have of the Blackstone was a real unexpected wind-fall. Especially to see the 1966 one, which is the way I remember the hotel. It would be a treat to see interior photos of the restaurant. I haven't seen that since the last time we ate there, and I guess that was about at the end of the sixties."
Submitted by Chuck Gee on March 6, 2006
“I was searching the Internet, like I have done for a few years now, trying to find out more about Santa's Rocket Ship. It came to Evansville, Indiana, back in the early 70's, and I got to ride on it. I have a postcard of it. It is different from the photo you have on your website, but the back of the postcard has Tyler, Texas, on it.
“Here is what I remember; I was very young though. I even called my little brother over the weekend to ask what he remembered of it, and all he can remember was that Mrs.Claus was pretty.
“It seems like we saw the ad for Santa's Rocket Ship in the newspaper. It was going to be in Evansville, and I believe it was going to be at the ABC Store. My mom packed me and my brother David up, and we went over to the store the night it was supposed to be there. For some reason the Rocket Ship couldn't make it that night, and we went back home. It was rescheduled to come back the next night. My mom took us back over to the store. I remember that my brother and I were the only kids waiting for it, since no one else showed up, and the Rocket Ship showed up late. I remember that Santa Claus drove the ship, and Mrs. Claus stayed up front. In the interior of the ship, everything was red crushed velvet. They also had Christmas music playing, and I remember it was lit up inside the cabin. I was thrilled to get to ride it, and it seems like they only went around the block, because the ride wasn't very long. At the end of the ride, we got a candy cane from Mrs. Claus and the postcard that I have.”
Note From R. Reed: Though I don’t believe I ever rode on one, I do remember seeing Santa's Space Sleigh in at least one of the annual Christmas parades here in Tyler (probably in the late 60s/early 70s). I have seen at least three different designs of these Santa vehicles.
They were the creation of Lloyd B. Laster, who lived in Tyler. He owned an automotive body shop here, and I assume his shop custom built the vehicles and charged for appearances. I have in my Tyler memorabilia collection a business card for his body shop and one for his Santa vehicle business.
If you have any memories or postcards/photos of these vehicles you could share, please e-mail me from the link at the bottom of this page!
Submitted by Robert Gilmer of Texas, on February 12, 2006
“My dad was transferred to Tyler in 1964 with the Borden Milk Company. The big smoke stack: is it still visible on West Front Street at the plant? I would start the 8th grade at Hubbard Junior High that next fall. That summer I stayed with my dad in a cabaña on the fourth floor of the Carlton Hotel by the pool. What a blast. That fall was the first year for the school. It was the first air conditioned school I ever attended and maybe the first in Tyler, I’m not sure. That’s where life began for me. My life-time friend Gary Schack and I met there. We expanded our friendship to include Steve Burch (Bat Man), Melvin Wiemkin, Casey Scurlock, Mark Zeppa, Rod Smith, Pete Mendolia, Charles Hobbs, Hal and David Fair, Scot Pace, the Romero Brothers, Chuck Heard, Mike and Bill Ruby, Greg Harkness, and on and on.
“I was too young to drive when we moved to Tyler, but boy could I ride a bicycle. I went all over south Tyler, mostly to work after school or chasing girls. I started at Lassiter’s on South Broadway when I was 12. It later became owned by Brookshire Grocery. Dulse Street went all the way to Green Acres Shopping Center, where I worked at Carter’s Food Store with my neighbor and close friend Greg Wilson, who lives in Tyler today. We used to grind Ice and carry it to customers’ cars and boats. Many of them would give us a beer or two (please don’t tell my mom). On Sunday, we would sell what we had collected Friday and Saturday (yes, we got caught).
“My parents were very close friends with Henry and Norma Fuller who owned Derrick #1 and #2. They seemed to be the two biggest drive-in hamburger eateries I ever saw. I lived on Samuel Street, which is one block north of Amherst. Amherst was still a red dirt road, and Samuel was the last paved street, going south on Broadway all the way to Loop 323. A blonde goddess lived next door: Gala Florey. She was a junior when I was in the eighth grade. She would come over and ask me outside to lay on the grass in the front yard and watch for falling stars. I really think she probably heard my heart beating. There is an office complex between Amherst and Samuel. If you notice there are a couple of huge trees left there. If you look real close you can see the remnants of a four story tree house built about 40 years ago.
“The Barclay apartments across Broadway from us were new. All the way out South Broadway was Weber’s Root Beer. It was owned by a man who became a great mentor for many of us wild and crazies. His name was Joe Bacille. Joe died a few years ago. I made a point to introduce all of my children to Joe and always thank him for trying to keep me and my friends out of trouble.
“I finished high school at Robert E. Lee in 1969. What a huge time to be a kid. Carl DeFibaugh was the principal. We called him ‘Bow Tie’ for obvious reasons. I spent a lot of time at the office. Later in life, I ran into Mr. DeFibaugh in Longview, while I was managing a store for Brookshire’s. He couldn’t believe I was still alive, much less still with Brookshire’s and had a college degree (ETSU Commerce 1974).
“Mrs. Carter was the registrar at Lee and would call my house to wake me and tell me to get to school before role was taken. Only later did I find out that the schools received funds based on attendance. I just thought she just liked me. I did like her and would tease her. Looking back, I thought Joe Humphries was really cool teacher. I took Algebra I two times. The last time was my senior year. I had a 53 average, and he passed me. I think it was part of a conspiracy to get me out of a lot of peoples’ hair. I was number 400 out of the class of 404. There was also Jim Pruit, an Aggie Guy who was my P.E. teacher. He was a great guy. Eugenia Tucker and Charlene Nichols were my favorites of all. We can’t leave out Mrs. Velma Graves, the chemistry teacher. She stayed after me all the time. Everything was ‘soup to nuts.’. I never quite understood that. She would say ‘Gilmer, you got to learn this atomic chart soup to nuts.’
“High school was a party most of the time. The music, the hippies and yippees, organic herbal enhancers, and Spiniata and Boone’s Farm were 89 cents a bottle. We could always go to Ma Pearls at the Kilgore line and buy beer. Cost a little more, but it was fair. Gas was about 37-43 cents, and $2 worth would keep you draggin’ Broadway till midnight. We had the good fortune of beating John Tyler High School all three years I was at Lee. It didn’t matter if you were a jock, head, geek or cowboy: we all stood up at football games and reverently sang out our alma mater....’Robert E. Lee, we raise our voices….’ I got beat up by Bill Loose from John Tyler my sophomore year. I ran into Bill just a few years ago, and we had the greatest laugh. I remember the night Chuck Heard and other Dare Devils went on a mission and placed a 3’ x 5’ Rebel flag on the courthouse and John Tyler flag poles. The Tyler newspaper picture caption read ‘Confederate flag flies over Smith County courthouse, first time in over one hundred years.’
“We not only had a great football team, but all the other sports as well, including the greatest band ever to hit a field lead by Mr. Pete Martinez. Let’s not leave out the Rebelettes, Had to have a date with a Rebelette every Saturday night. Our school had the absolute, without a doubt or exception, most beautiful ladies in the world and nearly all of them were true princesses. Lee Baskin, Denise Dodson, Emily Gordan, Mollie Loftis, Mandy Kreulen, Fenly Rice and my own pick, Debbie Young, are just a few that come to mind.
“I camped out across the U.S. for six weeks each summer from the 9th grade through my second year of college. I was always ready to get back to Tyler. On one such occasion, I came home to discover some guys I knew all got arrested for possession of herbal enhancers. Some went to prison, ruining their lives for what today earns you a ticket and a fine.
“With all of the fun going on, we all stopped in our tracks when that far away place called Vietnam struck too close to home. Yes, we lost some really fine guys. Doyce Miller, Larry Moore, Bill Bothwell and Gary Carter are who come to mind. Grief was always a phone call away.
“We had Cat Hill to go parkin’. We had Shangri-La to go skinny dippin’ out on Paluxy. Not to mention dancing on the patio at Tyler State Park with music from the juke box. We had Sandy Beach in the summers with Jimi Hendrix playing extremely loud on our Craig 4-track players. Drag racing on Whitehouse Road or Old Jacksonville Highway. We knew all of the Tyler cops by name, like Sgt. Frank Martin, Sgt Hitt, J.R. Wells and Bob Pierce. Then there were some not so popular: Vandergriff, Collard and Garrett. I figure life made the circle for them, like it does the rest of us.
“Well, didn’t mean to write so much, yet there is so much more to talk about. I skipped TJC altogether. Like all of you, there have been ups and downs. That’s just life. The greatest place to experience it was in Tyler, for me. If I have offended anyone, please understand it was unintentional. I hope life gives you great joy and peace.”
Submitted by J.P. Langford of Tyler, Texas, on November 23, 2005
“Thanks for all the memories!
"My name is J.P. Langford, and I was born on February 3, 1929, in an apartment house, close to Fun Forest, owned by the Strayhorns. My father was Jewel P. Langford, and my mother was Alma (Dudley) Langford.
"Times were hard back then, so we moved in with my grandparents, Rufus and Jippie (Mitchell) Dudley, who had a rose nursery about 5 miles from Tyler on the Mineola highway. I attended Swan school from 1934 to 1940, and Roberts Junior High for one year. I remember all the things that were going on in Tyler and the first soft ice cream I ever had, which was called frozen custard. I got it at the circus across from Bergfeld Park. My parents were considered the best team for budding and tying roses and were highly sought after during budding time. I believe their popularity was partly due to the "World Class Doodler and Board Mover", ME!!
"I remember my Dad borrowed $500.00 from Mr. Huey McClung just by shaking hands, and paid down on our house which was close to Mrs. Grant, Mr. Alford Richardson, Mr. Kirt Kay, and Mr. Solon Bickerdike, and a short distance from the Thedford's place. We moved to Pampa, Texas, in June of 1940, after school was out, then moved back to Tyler in 1947, as we were transferred to Price, Texas, by Dad's oilfield job. I married Eva (Ballard) Langford in 1949 at the Methodist Church in Overton, Texas. I then got a delivery job at the Crescent Laundry on Ferguson Street back in Tyler. I left for the Air Force on November 14, 1951, and came back to Tyler in 1972, which we call home today."
Submitted by Bob Lambeth, on October 15, 2005
"I moved to Tyler in 1955, when there wasn't a loop at all. I worked at Tyler Machinery & Supply, as thier water pump man . I worked on every water pump in Tyler for 20 years.
"I remember Tyler Rose Nursery and Starley Joe, Red Payne, and everybody that doodled roses, and Dr. Lyle. I also rode a gocart in the races where the mall is at today. Fritzy Rich was a racer there and a lot of guys around town. I remember ice cream at O'Neals ice cream parlor, Weingartens on S. Broadway, Gibsons Discount Centers, and Cox's Grill, the best hamburger in town, down the street from Tyler High.
"Those were the days. I'll always remember them. Thank you for letting me post these memories."
Submitted by Amy King-Caves of Jenks, Oklahoma, on October 9, 2005
“I have great memories of living in Tyler, Texas.
"I was born at Mother Frances Hospital in 1980. At the time my family lived in a house on Waverly, near Birdwell, which is off of the Loop. We moved to a house out past Noonday off of HWY 2868 when I was in Kindergarten. I went to Owens Elementary, Bullard Middle School, and Robert E. Lee High School.
"Although some might say that Tyler isn't the most exciting place to live, growing up my friends and I still had fun! Some of my favorite things to do were hanging out with my friends at the Sonic on the Loop, going to Hastings on Broadway, swimming at Hollytree Country Club, and eating snowcones at the snowcone place where Red Barn Square used to be. How unfortunate that most of that has been torn down. I was also on the Southern Bell Drill Team at REL, and that was definitely the most fun thing I was a part of. I am still friends with several people from Tyler, and we account that to living in a "bubble." We weren't "party friends," we had good clean fun together -- like being active at Marvin United Methodist's Youth Group together. We really think Tyler was a wonderful place to have grown up.
"Even though I'd lived out of the state for 5 years, when I got married, I still choose to have my wedding at Marvin, where I'd grown up. My parents still live there, and I love visiting them whenever possible, especially to go to Gilbert's El Charro to eat my FAVORITE food in the world: their guacamole!"
Submitted by Darin McCoy of Tyler, Texas, on August 7, 2005
“I was born at Medical Center Hospital in 1964.
“I remember watching the Brookshire's Warehouse being built. I lived across the street, which is Loop 323. It was only a 2-lane road back then and only a few cars every now and then. I remember Queen Street Baptist Church; my dad was a deacon there. Then there was the Tonkerburger... they had the best marble machines! My aunt was one of the ‘hippies in the park’, so I was there with her real often. Across the street there was the infamous Spaceburger (I liked the blipburger), and next door to that was the Zider Zee (did I spell that right?). Anyway it looked cool with the windmill on front of it. I remember dad getting us up in the middle of the night to go and see Curtis Carpets burning. It was a huge blaze!
“Tyler Texas was THE place to grow up. ZZ Top at the fair... airshows at the airport... running from cops at the lake...whatever happened to the ‘good ole days’?”
Submitted by Juanita Wardlaw of Tyler, Texas, on July 17, 2005
“It was such a delight to look at the old picture postcards. One of the cards was written by Dewitt M. Clendenin, Co A 68th Bn, 14 Regt., Camp Fannin, Texas. My former husband was stationed at Camp Fannin about the same time. Most of those guys there were from the northern part of the U.S., I think, and my husband was lucky that he was only 25 miles from home.
“The 1941 picture of the Smith County Courthouse is what I think I remember it looking like. I worked in the courthouse for six months or so with the AAA office (which was my second job after getting out of Tyler Commercial) (I transferred to the Rusk Co. office of AAA). The courthouse was beautiful and I cannot imagine the idiot commissioners tearing it down and building what they built. Someone who was living in Tyler at that time told me the name of the commissioner who was the leader behind it. Can't remember his name.
“I graduated Troup High School 5/1942 and started Tyler Commercial College 6/1942. I was 16 years of age! We would find notes on our desks left by the guys in the Signal Corps Class. I kept one note for years - may still have it - but never responded to any - too shy. As I looked at the picture, I wondered how many of those young men were able to return home after the war.
“One other event which I remember was the naming of Jo Carroll Dennison as Miss Texas on the streets of Tyler.”
Submitted by Krystal (Stevens) Frank of Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 10, 2005
“My mother's family was originally from Gresham. We moved back to Tyler when I was in third grade, and I lived there until I moved in 1983. I was a Hubbard Huskie and a R. E. Lee Red Raider; I graduated in 1975.
“I remember going to Camp Tyler in elementary school, getting a ice cream float or lunch at the old ‘5 and dime’ on the square, going to the library, swimming and fishing at Lake Tyler, football games at Rose Stadium, marching in the Christmas Parade and the Rose Parade as a Southern Belle, the Fair, cruising Broadway, movies at the Tyler Theater, and my mother and I shopping downtown at the Booterie and Mary V's.”
Submitted by Billy Fason of Jacksonville, Arkansas, on May 19, 2005
"Growing up in Tyler was a privilege. I attended Bell Elementary from the first through the fourth grades (playing baseball on the Bell Buffaloes), then a year at Clarkston Elementary (Mrs. Martinez), and on to Chapel Hill.
"My paper route in Tanglewood subdivision I loved almost as much as working at the Gaslight Pancake House on Beckham as the soda jerk (the Carnation Ice Cream Place). Later I worked as a meat cutter at The Country Market on Front Street.
"When I wasn't working or going to school, you could find me on Broadway, at the Rose Garden Drive In, or at the old El Charro's on Erwin. In addition, on some nights you might find me dancing away at the Plum or American Legion Hall. Then there was the time Sonny and Cher came to Tyler, and traffic was stopped on Broadway in front of the Tyler theater where everyone strained to see the two famous 'hippies'.
"On Sundays after church, Dad would take us to O'Neil's for an ice cream cone or to the Frost Top for their fresh-made root beer floats. What a treat that was for myself, brother, and sisters.
"Dragging Broadway, hanging out on the square, Hardie's, Weber's, or just sitting in one of the many parking lots along Broadway, waving at the traffic and trying to look cool. I remember when the fountain got 'soaped', and the bubbles ran down all the streets around the square. The soap line can still be seen on the side of the courthouse if you look close.
"Space Burger, Village Bakery, Joyner Fry for clothes, O'Bannon's young men's shop for our Tuxes, the super slide, Fun Forest, the State Park, and the event of the year, John Tyler vs Lee game. Now let's not forget the Green Acres bowling alley, where I met my wife of thirty-one years!!!!
"Great memories of a wonderful town filled with some of the best people I have ever known. Thank you for the website; only pictures and memories stop time."
Submitted by Reeves Gilmore of Houston, Texas, on May 15, 2005
"For the past 36 years, Houston has been my home. I was born in Tyler and spent my first 19 years on Belvedere Blvd. I remember most everything and everyplace mentioned on this website. I have been thankful always that I grew up in Tyler. Not too big, not too small. Just right.
"I fell across this website while thinking about my hometown and planning a family reunion occurring in a few weeks. I was happy to read of Raymond Smith's accolades for Mrs. Earline Burnett. I, too, was the fortunate recipient of Mrs. Burnett's knowledge and dedication. She was my sixth grade teacher in 1961-62 at Boulter Jr. High ... Ramey Elementary had no more room and sixth graders went to jr. high! She was my reading teacher for the seventh grade, too. I credit her with my love of language and words. With our geography notebooks and readings from Richard Halliburton's Complete Book of Marvels, she sparked a wanderlust that I live to his day. Travel broadens and opens the minds ... Mrs. Burnett started it all. My memories of Tyler always go back to the education I received. What a wonderful array of teachers I had at Ramey, Boulter, John Tyler and Tyler Junior College. Although I may not have appreciated them then, it is with an almost reverential tone that I say the names of Mary Alice MacKenzie, Mary Junell, Maxine Inteso and so many others. I am grateful for the foundation laid by these people. It has served me well.
"It was not all about books. The hot summers playing Monopoly under a shade tree. The fishing trips to the lakes. Sweetgum ball fights. Endless time on a bicycle and Fun Forest Park. After dark pranks on the neighbors. The occassional snow fall when Mother made snow ice cream for breakfast!
"No matter where I live or how far I travel, Tyler is my home."
Submitted by Raymond Smith of Tyler, Texas, on April 29, 2005
"I am a native Tylerite, born at Mother Frances Hospital, April 4, 1940. We lived on W. Cochran St. (the last block of Cochran) in Crescent Heights, a very nice part of Tyler and the west end of the city in the 1940s. While Fun Forest Park and Pool (and miniature golf range) were there, the surrounding area was fairly undeveloped, with farms on the Garden Valley Road. Bow Street (now Gentry Parkway) led out to Lake Park, a separate community at the junction of the Van and Mineola highways. Growing up in that area was nice; there were about 25 or 30 kids born between 1937 and 1944 in the immediate neighborhood of Crescent Dr., Englewood, and Cochran. This was before TV and air conditioning, so we knew and played with most of these kids. Most of the neighbors were Baptist, but we drove across Tyler to attend St. Paul Methodist Church, where my parents had joined in 1937 upon moving to Tyler.
"I attended the first session of Caldwell Play School in the mid-40s when it was in the back yard of the Caldwell home on Bonner St. I went to Marsh Elementary, 1946-1950, and remember the drug store, the candy store, and the grocery store across Bois d'Arc. Miss Sammie Hope Smith was my first teacher, and she and my mother remained friends until Miss Smith's death. My second grade teacher was a seemingly fierce woman named Miss Ophelia Kahey (she turned out to be really nice once I grew up). Dixie Richardson, in the fourth grade, allowed us to make fudge in class after studying the history of chocolate. Walking to and from Marsh in the fourth grade was nothing special, even though it was a mile from home. Tyler was safe for kids to be out without supervision then. When Ramey opened in 1950, I attended the fifth and sixth grades. I especially remember my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Earline Burnett, a dynamic teacher who instilled both respect for and curiosity about the world in her students.
"I attended Roberts Junior High from 1952-55, where I joined the band and the choir and began a lifelong love of good music. Those were the days of acne, shyness, and learning to dance!"
"Tyler High School was the only high school in town in the mid-50s. I was in the last graduating class (spring, 1958) before Robert E. Lee opened in the fall of '58. It was great going to school with kids from both Hogg and Roberts, not to mention the kids who had gone to St. Gregory through the sixth grade and then to Hogg. Several teachers are outstanding in my mind: Sarah Marsh, Mattie Alice Baker, Harrell Mason, Christine Tatton; one stands above the rest, though, Pete Martinez, the band director. Memories of sock hops in the gym and formal dances at the old American Legion Hall on East Ferguson, pep rallies, parades, out-of-town football games are still crisp after all these years. Of course, Friday night was football night, Saturday night date night with movies at the Tyler Theatre and driving up and down Broadway ("dragging"), going to the Derrick Drive-In across from Mother Frances Hospital or the Carnation Ice Cream shop on Beckham for a burger and Coke.
"I can remember when Tyler had a very good bus system and I rode the bus many times going downtown for a Saturday's amusement. The best sodas were at Good's in the Peoples Bank, close runner up was Neil-Simpson's soda fountain on N. Broadway, next to the original JC Penny. McClellan's 5&10 had a good lunch counter, as did Kress 5&10 on Erwin. At Kress, a large bag of popcorn was 10 cents, but you couldn't take it in the movie theatres. Kress had the best hot dogs downtown: $0.15 plain, $0.25 with chili and cheese. Mayer & Schmidt was the place for good clothing for every one but there were several good ladies clothing shops such as Kleins. Men had their own shops: Mayer & Schmidt had a separate men's store, also Hurwitz, Massad, and Joyner Fry. Joyner Fry was also the official scout uniform center, so most of Tyler's boys were there at one time or another.
"I remember the Mecca Cafe, Kidd's Cafe, Kellums, Jerry's, the Brown Derby, and the original El Charro on E. Erwin between Clayton and Mahon Streets. Hamburger places were everywhere, Shanghi Jimmies Chili Rice was popular, and it was wonderful when A&W opened a root beer stand on West Bow and Confederate. For ice cream, there was Mystery Mound and O'Neals, later there was the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor.
"Movie theatres: Tyler, Liberty, Majestic, Arcadia, Joy and the Palace were downtown. The first drive-in was the Starlight on East Erwin near where El Charro now sits; next came the Crest on W. Bow, the Rose Garden on E. Fifth, and the Apache.
"I regret the demise of the neighborhood grocery store, the mom and pop drug stores, O'Neals ice cream, the movie theatres and the convenience of having a gas station on most corners. Mostly, I mourn the loss of that sense of safety I had as a kid in Tyler: I could walk or ride my bike just about anywhere safely. I also knew that any neighbor who saw me misbehave could punish me on the spot and then I got it again when I got home. Then, neighbors genuinely cared for each other and all the kids."
Submitted by Susan Hudeck of Cuero, Texas, on April 28, 2005
"Wow! Lots of memories of beautiful Tyler. I went to Andy Woods, Hubbard Jr. High and Robert E. Lee. I had horses out on Bullard Road and we used to ride through the woods, camp...which is now the infamous Mall. Dragging Broadway...great fun and yes, it was Captain Space Burger which I believed turned into a night club called the Fox's Den or something like that. Fishing at Lake Tyler, skiing at the lake was such fun. The great restaurants like El Chico's near K-Mart, Monterrey House and Hardy's Hamburgers! There was a store downtown that I went to as a young girl and bought my clothes, I believe it was called Tot to Teen? I lived off of Paluxy and the Loop and that was one big huge red clay hill and the fun was to ride our bikes down to Skillern's. Remember that? I love Tyler and one day maybe I will move back. I love South Texas too..although very different. See ya at the reunion this year!"
Submitted by Tammy of San Antonio, Texas, on April 27, 2005
"I was born in Tyler, in January, 1969. My grandmother and her husband lived there, and my parents and I stayed there for a short while. I don't remember living in Tyler but I know I have always been very proud to have been born in the Rose Capital. I plan to visit there soon, so maybe I'll write again with new memories. Thanks for this website; it makes me feel connected to a part of my history I've never known."
Submitted by Dolan Gilstrap of San Angelo, Texas, on March 2, 2005
“I was born in 1933 on the old Chandler Highway, about two miles east of the Neches River. The old home place no longer exists, and today it would be about one mile east of ‘resume speed’.
“I have a lot of childhood memories, but the one that has made the greatest impression must be of seeing my dad get in the ‘T’ Model, releasing the brake and coasting down the driveway to get it started. He finally got tired of that and cranking it, and bought an ‘A’ model, then an Essex.
“I went to school at Dixie for 10 years, then transferred to Tyler High (class of 1950), the only HS in town at the time.
“We lived about a mile from the forks of the old Dallas highway on the Chandler hwy, northwest and across the road from Keels Potato Chip factory.
“On Saturdays during late spring and summer we would draw water from the well, put in a washtub, and set it in the sun. About 11 o’clock the water would be warm enough to take a bath. Then we would walk the mile to the city bus stop at the ‘Y’ and visit with Brownie Hooker at his Gulf station. We might catch the bus, but most of the time we would save the fare and walk up W Erwin just to inhale the aroma of the fresh baked bread coming from the Ideal bakery.
“My father, Tom Gilstrap, was a barber and worked at Donagey's barber shop on the corner of N Spring and E Ferguson where the Smith County Law library is now. Then, at Richburgs Barber shop on South Broadway. Richburgs shared the black and white tiled dual entry with Payne’s locksmith and was across the street from the Tyler Theater. Richburgs barbershop must have been a bank or jewelry store at one time, as it had a large walk-in vault in the back. He later moved to a new barbershop owned by Mr. Lacy. It was in the first block east of the HS on Front Street, and the first barbershop in Tyler to have air conditioning (ca 1949).
“We spent almost every Saturday afternoon walking around the square girl watching and then cutting across and through the courthouse basement so we would meet the girls on the other side of the square.
“We would check out the movies and, if our allowance permitted, go to the Liberty or Arcadia. It had to be a really good movie for us to shell out the high prices for the Tyler. The Joy and the Majestic usually had a double feature. If we went to the Joy we would usually spend some time in the book and model airplane store next to the theater. Sometime during the afternoon we would stop at Kamel’s café and get two hamburgers and a root beer for a quarter.
“I remember the Saturday morning matinees that had a stage show preceding the movies at the Majestic. The serials always had a chase scene with a car going over a cliff. I always wondered if I was the only one that noticed that the car in the chase and the car going over the cliff were different makes. I worked at the Majestic for a while running the projector. Strange, but after 53 years I still remember the make of the projector: a 35mm Arc “Peerless” Magnar “C”. I also ran the projector at the drive-in on the old Henderson Hwy. It had a Peerless projector also. Since I was familiar with the projector, I think that was the reason that I got the job.
“I remember a pool hall being above Kamel’s café, and we did not dare venture into this den of iniquity. I found out later all that was going on was betting on the pool games, and some of the kids in HS did that at the Lyon’s Lair. The Lair was a large old house and the senior hangout on N Bonner were the City Hall is now located. I graduated in 1950, worked for Perry Bro’s on the west side of the square, then Brookshire grocery store on East Erwin, and then for Sam R Hill Lumber Co.
“After getting my first car, a 1927 ‘T’ Model truck, we would cruise the square and South Broadway. I rebuilt the engine with parts bought from Sears at a cost of about $12.00 for four pistons, rings and rods, and put in new transmission bands. That is when I found out that my dad had an almost complete set of ‘T’ Model tools under the kitchen sink. I also found out that he had supposedly owned the first ‘T’ model in Tyler and maybe Smith County. He said it came in a crate on a railroad flat car. They had to uncrate it and put the wheels on it. We had a drag race between my 27 ‘T’ and Ben and Glenn Weavers 1924 ‘T’ Model on Front Street on the south side of the High School. I think about half of the students were either on the lawn or hanging out the windows watching the race. My memory fails as to who won the race, so it was probably a dead heat.
“I remember the all night Friday night tom tom’s beating on the square by the TJC band, getting ready for a Saturday football game.
“My cousin, Charles, and I joined the AF in Nov of 51, after finding out we were in the next draft call. Korea was hot and heavy at the time. We both served during the Korean ‘conflict’, but neither of us went to Korea. He got out after four years, and I retired after 24 years. He was killed in 1980 in a plane crash south of Denver.
“On one of my visits back to Tyler, I was surprised that the old Court House had been torn down. My grandfather, William Luther, helped build the Court House, planted a lot of the trees, and was part of the crew that hung Lady Justice on the top. I remember sitting in the balcony during the all-night singings in the main courtroom. There should have been a lynching of the people responsible for tearing it down.
“Lots of memories of Tyler in the 18 years I lived there before going into the AF. I still have a lot of kinfolk living in Tyler, and a lot of old school mates never left or have moved back. Being raised in the Dean and Dixie area I learned early on, never to talk about someone—they might be kin.
“Thanks to Robert Reed for the website. Brought back a lot of memories and bringing back more.”
Submitted by LaRue Foster of Deltona, Florida, on February 26, 2005
"As a Greek immigrant, Gus Malavansos (my maternal grandfather) came to this country in 1893 via Ellis Island virtually penniless, moving to Texas where his older brothers who had immigrated earlier lived. He stayed first in Corsicana, then moved to Galveston and missed the devastating hurricane of 1900 by two days because he had gone to visit his brother in Waco on Thursday before the hurricane struck on Saturday, September 8. He then moved to Tyler and first operated a candy kitchen, where he made and sold hand-dipped chocolate candy.
"Then about 1905 he opened the restaurant (called the Malavansos Cafe) you see in the pictures. He had the cafe on the corner of College and West Ferguson from about 1905 through 1937, when he retired. I don't know the vintage of the pictures, but I think they were probably taken in the 1920s or 1930s.
"In the 1915 Alcalde (the old Tyler High yearbook), I even found a joke that related to the cafe:
Q. Why is Mary Allen like Malavansos?
A. Because she deals in high screams. [ice creams]
I guess word play jokes were more common back then.
"He was very proud of his adopted country and was known for his generosity. In the 1930s when everyone who could buy or rent a rig was drilling for oil, men who were down to their last penny would come in the restaurant, and he would feed them, accepting their IOUs, which he tore up after they were gone. My mother was a teenager working in the cafe and asked her father why he did that because the IOUs could be worth a lot of money some day. He told her that this country had been good to him and he would never let anyone go away hungry, but that it would offend a man's pride to accept a handout, so he let them give him their IOUs.
"One other thing my mother told me: At one time before Smith County became totally a 'dry' county, beer could be served in restaurants, and he had a huge keg with beer on tap located at the back of the cafe. However, when a law was passed that beer couldn't be sold within so many feet of a church, he moved it to the front of the cafe since the First Baptist Church was only a block away. This would have been before Prohibition, of course.
"My grandmother was from Wesson, Mississippi, born Augusta Ellen Ford. From 1903 to 1908, my grandmother worked for Mayer & Schmidt, the department store across from my grandfather's restaurant. Then she moved to Dallas and became a buyer for Tiche Goettinger, traveling all over the country. My grandfather would take a train to Dallas (a really slow train stopping everywhere) every Saturday night, just to spend Sunday afternoons with her, then he'd take a train back to be ready to open the restaurant on Monday. She finally consented to marry him, and they were married April 7, 1912. She told me years ago that she had just had an appendectomy (which was life-threatening surgery back then) and finally consented to my grandfather's proposal when she was in a weakened condition recovering. She said she had lost so much weight after the surgery she had to pad herself to fit in the wedding gown. They must have made quite a couple -- he very Mediterranean with olive skin and black hair and brown eyes, and she a platinum blond with blue eyes. My grandfather courted her for eight years before they married -- now that's persistence!"
Note from R Reed: To see one of the photos mentioned above, visit my section entitled A Photographic History of Tyler, Texas.
Submitted by Mary Zorn of Tyler, Texas, on February 21, 2005
"I guess I grew up in the 'cusp of greatness' here in Tyler. I still remember my mother dressing up in a suit and pillbox hat, and us in our finery, to go shopping at J. M. Dyer's, where we had a charge account and everything was in a glass case. I also remember getting popcorn at Kresge's on the Square and going to see Santa in his little house on the Square and the Santa at T.G. & Y. I remember the 70's 'energy crisis' put an end to the lavish light show all over the Square and town.
"I also remember getting a thrill riding up and down the escalator at Montgomery Wards and getting candy at the Candy Counter if I behaved! Of course, the best baked goods came from The Village Bakery, and one of the thrills of my adult life was to sit down with Nadine Self at her home in Terrell and have her recount some of the requests she remembered from running the bakery with her husband, John.
"I remember the 'Hippie Culture' that was evident around town and how my parents never wanted to take us to Space Burger because they were scared of some of the teens there! We used to drive out to McGuffy's or eat a basket lunch at Neil-Simpson's or Good's Pharmacy.
"I remember how exciting Rose Festival time was because my family (for 4 generations) grew roses near Winona and Owentown, and we would have buckets and buckets of roses all through the house, getting them ready to send to the Rose Show and the Rose Parade. My parents and grandparents always went to the Queen's Tea, which was a big deal because it was by invitation only then.
"Generations of Tyler kids took dance from Dale Robertson, Utah Ground, Marcia Grubb, and Candy Crocker (the latter doing very well in the Miss America Pageant!). Helen Elbert, Christina Randolph, and Ivan Albright were some of the well-known piano teachers of my day.
"As I got to be an older child, I was allowed to spend the day downtown by myself, going from theater from theater watching movies. It was great when the Cinema I and II opened up in the early 1970's, because that was so much closer to home. After the movies, my mother and sisters would go to The Palace Ice Cream Parlor for a treat and then my sisters would beg to go to The Melody Shop to get a new 8-track.
"I remember going to visit my grandmother's friend at the fabulous Blackstone Hotel and gliding on the glassy wooden ballroom floor in my socks. I also remember going to the sale there they had right before the main building was torn down. My mother bought Martini glasses from the bar.
"My mother used to tell me of the wonderful dances they had at the Blackstone, and the bands who came to what is now a bingo parlor near Gulf State Lumber. Tex Beneke was my mother's all time favorite band then.
"I also remember how much fun it was going to the Carlton Hotel to go swimming. Once we went with Jerry Jeff Walker (of Mr. Bojangles fame...he was a friend of a friend of our family). My sisters and her friends were very giggly that day!
"I also remember getting out of school to go see President Gerald Ford at TJC and remember Bettina Gregory's report from Tyler that evening on the national news, saying how much people in Tyler loved the President and First Mama! These were the days of CB's and 'handles'! I remember my sister's friend rushing to B-Mart to get Frescas for the President and his group. I remember Lyn Nofizger sitting by Dr. Haskell Muntz and his wife right there in the back of Wagstaff Gym.
"I also remember Bob Hope coming to Tyler on Thursday October 12, 1972. I broke my arm that day but was determined to see him and threw a big fit when my mother wouldn't let me. Eventually she relented and Bob Hope walked right by me! I was 6 years old, and I was thrilled to bits.
"I also remember Josh Logan's lecture at TJC. Another thrill was having lunch with Michael E. Knight at the mall. Friends later took him to La Posada's on 5th Street, and some ardent fans flew back to Dallas from Pounds Field with him. I also remember when Kelly Ripa came to the mall as Sears was sponsoring her visit. This was long before she was with Regis, and we talked about her pet cat in her apartment, as there was no one wanting her autograph then!!!!!
"I had always had a crush on Donny Osmond and was thrilled to bits when the Osmond Family performed at Caldwell Auditorium in the summer of 1982. After the British group 'The Outfield' did their concert in the Summer of 1986, they went to the nightclub Tyler's (now Beall's clothing store), and my friend and I danced the night away with these guys who had a top ten hit at the time!!!
"I think the greatest 'Tyler Moment' I had was when I was in London, very homesick, when the lady next to me on the 'tube' (underground subway) started talking in an East Texas twang. She was a lady who lived in my neighborhood, and we had a nice, brief visit talking about all our mutual Tyler friends!
"THE ONLY THING my friends and family are puzzled about was the giant slide near Bergfeld Center, where Brookshire's is now. It was there for such a short time, and I was too young to ride on it!
"Tyler is a wonderful place to live and I don't think I want to live anywhere else!
"This is a fabulous website designed by a guy who lived 'right up the street' when we were all kids!"
Submitted by Mike Wieland of O’Fallon, Illinois, on February 9, 2005
"My family and I moved to Tyler in 1945 when I was four years old. Our first home was on Lawndale, one block from the Old Jacksonville Highway. About six years later we moved a few blocks to Camellia Street. I remember riding the school bus to Rice Elementary School, a little country school back then. I completed the 5th and 6th grades at Birdwell Elementary and the 7th – 9th grades at Hogg Junior High. After two years at John Tyler High, I attended Robert E. Lee High as a member of the first graduating class (1959). Lee was out on the south loop, all by itself. The John Tyler and Lee track teams went to Texarkana, Texas in 1959 and competed in a meet that involved teams from four states. The two Tyler teams brought back all five trophies – 1st and 2nd place, both relay races, and the high point person. (A more recent note – John Tyler and Lee had a well-attended 45th reunion together in October 2004). Other great memories include…the high school senior boys hunting down underclassmen and shaving a “T” on their heads (the other option was a few whacks with a paddle)….Webers Drive-in where I worked as a “soda-jerk”…the Brown Derby Restaurant at the NW corner of Broadway and the Old Jacksonville Highway (shaped like a brown derby hat)…the Tyler East Texans baseball games near the fairgrounds (wearing an East Texans’ T-shirt (cost $2) would give young kids free admission for the entire season)…swimming at Fun Forest pool – I also worked there as a basket boy one summer…swimming and dancing at Tyler State Park…the old courthouse with the worn steps and segregated drinking fountains and toilets…the Starlight, Crest and Apache drive-in theaters (50 cents for a carload)…the Tyler, Liberty, Majestic, Arcadia, Joy and Palace theaters downtown – I believe the movie at the opening of the Liberty Theater was “It Grows on Trees”…paying 9 cents to get into the movies…working at Howard Johnson’s on the north end of the Weingarten Shopping Center…enjoying the different flavors at O’Neal’s Ice Cream…drinking a cherry coke at the Derrick (and trying to look cool)…cruising Broadway...fishing and duck hunting at Lake Tyler…attending TJC and playing dominos (moon) in the student center (I believe the center was called the TeePee – my transcripts indicate I should have spent more time in the library studying)…going to the formal dances sponsored each year by various groups of high school students…recruiting the drivers for the jeeps that pulled the floats for the Rose Parade…working as a studio cameraman at KLTV from 1959 to 1962 and working with T.V. personalities like Glenn Rich, Ralph Coleman, and Kip Kippenbrock I joined the U.S. Air Force in 1962. During my 30-year career, I returned many times to visit my parents in Tyler.
"Thanks for the super website and the opportunity to share my memories."
Submitted by Sherry Barton Moran of Carrollton, Texas, on February 4, 2005
“I have great memories of Tyler. My grandparents, Janie and Hal Walker, had a boardinghouse on Ferrell Place, close to downtown. Mother came home to Tyler for me to be born in Mother Francis Hospital - Daddy was in the Air Force at Abilene. I went to part of 1st grade and part of 2nd grade at Gary Elementary, and one of my teachers was Miss Mary Locke. We were sent to England and I didn't get back until the last half of 4th grade. I wonder how far I walked from Gary to our house on Ferrell Place. I remember the football boys practicing on the field behind my grandmother's house - you could really hear the yelling! Tyler was safe enough that I was allowed to walk to the Carnegie Library by myself, and I remember walking up the stairs to get books. I loved that library! I could also walk to the Square and go to the movies by myself. There was a little bookstore next to one of the movies, with little steps going down to it. The Arcadia was a good one, also. My grandmother would take me to "window shop" at Mayer and Schmidt and then go home and sew me a dress just like the ones we'd seen, and use her treadle machine. My grandfather would go with me to the Square and we'd see the squirrels running around the Courthouse - I think one of them was known by name!
“I go back to Tyler from time to time, but it's not the same. My grandparents' house is gone - it was bought by a church group and torn down. Just the empty lot is still there. I'm glad the Carnegie Library is still there, but I miss the downtown I knew. Kids today don't know what they missed.
“Thanks for letting me relive my memories.”
Submitted by Tom Parsons of Tyler, Texas, on February 1, 2005
"Robert, thanks for a great website. I, too, was born and raised in Tyler. And, I am proud to say I still live there. Some of my earliest memories are centered around many of the places that are no more. Like seeing "The Greatest Show on Earth" at the Joy Theater on Spring St. across from Murphy's Jewelry store. I remember when So. Broadway ended a Rose Hill Cemetery. And eating at the Brown Derby. My dad owned an auto shop, Bow Street Motor Clinic, on W. Bow St. It is now part of Gentry Parkway. At the west end of the building the shop was in was Frank Glaze's Barber Shop. And west of that was the Lake Park Cafe where you could buy a hamburger for a quarter. Just east of the shop was Leon Greens Grocery Store. Leon was always behind the meat counter in the back where he would cut whatever cut of meat you wanted. When he wasn't cutting meat he was making chili that he would put up in blocks like a brick. And I am here to tell you you can't get chili like that today. Mary, Leon's wife, would be up front at the check out. You could buy groceries on credit back then. We didn't buy milk there, however. That was delivered to the house in glass bottles by the milk man. I remember when the Coke plant was built out on the Mineola Hwy. Us boys would go over there and they would give us free cokes. On Saturday nights we would go to the Crest Drive Inn on Bow St. or we would go see the latest John Wayne movie showing at the Tyler after eating a Luby's across the street. After the movie we might go to the Sears and Roebuck store next door or maybe the Montgomery Wards around the corner across from where the Tyler Public Library is now. My mother enjoyed shopping a Reagens where Rick's on the Square is now located. I still remember when the Carlton Hotel was built. It had a swimming pool on top. KGKB radio station was in the Carlton and had a window on the Broadway side that you could look through and watch the DJ. I thought that was about the neatest thing that ever was. I could go on and on. The memories are wonderful. It was a different place in time back then. We've made a lot of advancements since then. Life is a lot easier in a lot of ways. But, sometimes I just can't help myself. I long for those days when you didn't lock the front door or take the keys out of the car. When you knew all of your neighbors and everyone was there for each other. The times they are a changing!"
Submitted by Charlie Rose of Dallas, Texas, on January 31, 2005
“I also remember the Captain Space Burger big yellow flying saucer with all the little green men placed all over it. I've asked all my Tyler relatives if anyone ever got pictures of it. Does anyone know where to find such images? It was a great restaurant at least from my perspective. I think I was 10 or 11. Sadly, I remember it becoming something totally different after Space Burger closed.”
Submitted by Jan Landers of Glen Haven, Colorado, on January 30, 2005
"I grew up in Tyler and lived there until 1987...some of my memories include: Friday nights at Bergfeld Park where local bands would play and Rodney Kamel always made everyone laugh when he walked across the stage balancing a glass of water on his head......'dragging Broadway' and hanging out at Captain Spaceburger....Saturdays shopping with my friends on the square.....family visits to O'Neal's Ice Cream and Neil Simpson Drug Store.....Sunday drives around Tyler with my parents & sister, and stopping in at the Bakery on Erwin St. for warm, fresh bread that smelled & tasted heavenly.....summer fun at Lake Tyler swimming and fishing.....John Tyler/Lee games....drive-in movies (Apache & Rose Garden)......camping at Tyler State Park.....visits from my granddaddy who drove a U.S. Mail truck route from Tyler to Corsicana.....going to get ice at 'the Ice House' with my other grandfather.....living on South Boon Street till I was 9, close enough to walk to the East Texas Fair and the Rose Parade.....moving to west Tyler & riding the bus to Dixie School, that great old school with the rock wall all the way around it--we had the best 'end-of-school' picnics there.....the Tyler & Arcadia Theaters....going to Tyler Pounds Field Airport on Sunday afternoons with my friends to play pinball and watch the travelers come & go......walking along the railroad track from Greenbriar Rd. to near Bellwood Lake....Christmas lights and the parade.....Monterrey House, Tiki, Der Weinerschnitzel....Lassiter's Grocery Store & Weingarten's....Boulter Jr. High, John Tyler, TJC, and UT Tyler (which was Texas Eastern University when I went there and was in the old Roberts Jr. High building).....being a candy striper at Medical Center Hospital (now ETMC).....working with kids at Wee West Wing, the day care center for Medical Center Hospital employees....riding bikes to Stripling's Store on the Chandler Hwy to buy penny candy and 10 cent cokes in glass bottles......Fun Forest swimming pool on Saturdays in the summer....those wonderful brick streets..........so many memories.....thank you, Tyler!
"And thank you, Robert Reed for putting these websites together for the rest of us to enjoy! I heard about this from my dad, Roy Landers, and my cousin, Charles Wohletz. It was a pleasure to browse through the memories.....a true walk down Memory Lane...."
Submitted by Larry Farquer of Whitehouse, Texas, on January 18, 2005
"Thanks for the memories. (Bob Hope theme song)
"I remember some of these locations, prior to 1954.
The old Courthouse on the square, the Arcadia theater, Mayer & Schmidt on the Northwest corner of the square, etc., prior to Broadway being punched through.
Many other pictures too old even for me, of 1942 vintage.
Remember Mom telling me Tyler had a trolley line running down south Broadway. Remember seeing where red bricks filled in straight lines in the street, but can't remember the trolleys.
"If you have more, believe it would be worth sharing with everyone else,
Haven't seen anything like what you're doing, around here before.
Again, Thanks for the memories, look forward to seeing more."
Submitted by Betty Terrell Owens of Beaumont, Texas, on October 12, 2004
”I was born in Tyler right before Pearl Harbor, in the new Mother Frances Hospital. So my memories stretch over many years. While a child, one of my favorite things was to go to the Liberty Theater with my Grandpa on Saturday, while the family shopped on the Square. In junior high, my favorite place was the Library just a few steps from the Square. But when I reached high school, I loved the midnight movies shown each Friday night at the Tyler Theater, and standing in line in front of the jewelry store for what seemed like hours to get tickets, no matter what the weather. And looking at the engagement rings.
”There are many wonderful memories of the Tyler Theater. When Elvis's first movie "Love Me Tender" came to town, the line stretched all around the block to get tickets, and then we sat in the aisle in the balcony to see the movie. On Friday night, what a stir when the football team walked in with their new Football jackets. All the girls craned their necks to see the new design, and plotted how to get to wear one of them. Blue and white of course!
”My funniest memory of the Tyler Theater was when the Senior Blue Brigade Girls initiated their "Little Sisters" by yelling air raid. The "Little Sisters" had to hit the ground, put their arms over their heads, and be still. They caught us in the middle of Broadway Street, in front of the theater, and we covered the brick street with...it seemed...like fifty girls laid flat out, until the traffic backed up, until the Seniors turned us loose.
”Speaking of the Blue Brigade, at summer practice at the fair grounds in August, after two weeks of learning marching procedures, it was show time. Each group of about twenty girls, led by a couple of senior Officers would put on costumes and do a routine for the whole group. I would put the number of groups at about ten.......maybe more, maybe less.
”My particular group decided to be devils. Yes, devils. We wore black shorts and black sleeveless blouses. And we mixed up red poster paint by the gallon, met in the Rose Garden and actually painted everything that showed on us bright red. Took weeks for all that paint to come off the pores in our skin. What a sight, especially under that hot August sun.
”The Rose Garden brings back more memories of dances, formal gowns, made of yards of net and petticoats, floating around the Gardens under the moonlight, surrounded by roses.
” And then there was the dance where the disc jockey played "Battle of New Orleans" on double speed, and we all fast danced until we could hardly stand.
”Who could forget all those hours cruising up and down Broadway, seeing all their friends. And the times at Fun Forrest Swimming Pool. One summer day, the jukebox played nothing but Elvis's song "Don't Be Cruel" all afternoon long, over and over, and we loved it.
”Fall in Tyler meant football games, and real mums with blue and white streamers. It meant Church wiener roasts at Tyler State Park and hay rides in the country. It meant marching in the Rose Parade, and hoping to get to march in front of all the horses instead of behind them.
”I was lucky to begin my high school days at Tyler High School, and end them at John Tyler High School. In my heart I will always remember the wonderful times there, and the wonderful man I found there that I have been married to for forty-four years now. So good that we have combined memories of the town we grew up in, and the great times we shared in the Fifties.”
Submitted by Marie Dusek of Tyler, Texas, on October 6, 2004
"I was born in the country (now where Jim's Jewelry Store sits) and remember going downtown to my Dad's barber shop which was located next to Froggy's Cafe on North Spring Street. I remember the beautiful square and the friendly policemen who walked the beat. I remember watching the Ringling Brother's Circus parade from the railroad track on North Broadway all the way out to the area where Bergfeld Center is now located and the elephants setting up the tent poles for a performance. I remember the Camp Fire Grocery, located where South Broadway and Old Jacksonville Road made a vee (an antique shop sits there now) and the wonderful candy counter which was located inside of the grocery. I remember the Salvation Army playing and singing outisde my Dad's shop on Saturday night and then passing the hat. I could go on and on! "
Submitted by Jana Bowman of Hideaway, Texas, on October 6, 2004
"I am always proud to tell I was born and raised in Tyler. I remember Coats-Brown clinic on the corner of Broadway and Charnwood where I was born. I remember climbing the tall tower at the Cotton Belt rail yard. My grandfather, Ed Neeley, worked as a train engineer. Neil-Simpson Drug store had some of the best fountain drinks. My grandmother, Nell, ran the cosmetics counter. I remember Oakwood cemetery, where I have family buried, was spooky and still is. Town ended at the newer Rose Hill cemetery. Everything was wooded south of it. We used to keep our horses where the Old English village now sits. I loved the trampolines at Playtown, going to the Tyler theater to meet boys, swimming at Fun Forest and the old Carlton Hotel when we could get away with it, TeenTime at the YMCA, the Sugarshack at the Rose Garden, and lots of dances at the American Legion Hall. As a teen I remember a club on Front street, sitting on the floor watching ZZ Top perform. Wonderful place to grow up. Tyler has the prettiest oak trees in East Texas."
Submitted by Barbara (Stanley) Beall of Tyler, Texas, on September 28, 2004
"I was not born in Tyler, as my father was in the US Air Force when I was born, but I have been in Tyler since 1956.
I went to Marsh Elementary School for all 6 years and then to Roberts Jr. High for 6 weeks and then we moved to near Boulter Jr. High where I finished Jr High. I am a graduate of John Tyler High School.
All 3 of my children were born at Medical Center Hospital in Tyler and all graduated from John Tyler. I only have 1 son still in Tyler right now and he is an assistant store manager for Brookshire's. He started working for them when he was still a student at John Tyler.
Those of you who remember Fun Forest Swimming Pool I was there almost all day everyday as my grandfather was the one that was putting the chlorine and other chemicals in the pool. He kept the yard there mowed and clean. He also drained the pool every year and painted it. In the winter months he was working with the roses at the Rose Garden. You do remember the Rose Garden don't you?
I love Tyler and will probably always live here. I have lots more memories of Tyler just like most of you do.
Submitted by Lynn Fisher of Tyler, Texas, on September 27, 2004
"I loved the article about you in the Tyler newspaper and visiting your website. One of my favorite memories of Tyler is taking my children to the house on the square to visit Santa Claus."
Submitted by Jo Nell Williams of Lubbock, Texas, on August 22, 2004
”December 7, 1941, was different in little ways from other Sundays. We didn't go to church and didn't even listen to our radio. One of my cousins had a new Brownie box camera, and my parents invited relatives over to our house on East Bow Street for a day of visiting and photography. Christmas decorations were not yet out of storage, but plans were being made for the Holidays. Pictures from that day show young smiling aunts, uncles and cousins wearing short sleeves in bright sunshine.
”Our family usually walked to church early on Sunday afternoons to allow for neighborhood visits on the evening services. Neighbors were not outside as we passed, and we wondered where everyone might be until we turned the corner toward Queen Street Baptist, where a porch was filled with people. Mother thought someone had died, until we got into the yard and heard about Pearl Harbor. We were shocked, but the fighting was on the other side of the world from us: far, far away. We would not begin to understand until we saw the RKO news at the Arcadia, after images of the attack made a physical journey to our theaters.
”We listened to the radio with our friends that evening and, on Monday, schools brought all students together in the auditoriums to hear President Roosevelt's speech. We were fiercely patriotic and thought the war would be over quickly.
”One sure signal that our world had changed forever was seen the next day. All US flags displayed in Tyler were upside-down. The flag above the People's Bank could be clearly from the north windows at the high school, and teachers allowed us to look until we could bear it no more.”
Submitted by Jo Nell Williams of Lubbock, Texas, on August 17, 2004
”Tyler's parks were beautiful with well-maintained equipment. Roberts Junior High playground was filled with old-growth hardwood trees, and the city park across the street extended play area for two blocks.
”My friends formed a summer gang of teenage girls, and we defended our territory against boys until the year that the traffic bridge over the Cotton Belt rail yards opened to the public. This overpass connected North and South Tyler traffic, beginning at the curve on Valentine Street and extending to the business district beyond the yard. It provided us with bird's eye views for miles.
”Our idea of a perfect summer day was to walk over the overpass, on the wide pedestrian walkway, to pause directly over the rail lines where steam engines moved train cars below us. We each claimed an engine by the number on the cab. Mine was "Old Number 25." The goal of the game was to be directly above our engine as the smoke stack passed below so that coal smoke bathed our faces. We scored 5 points for this, but the engines were seldom under our portion of the bridge. Since membership in our gang grew faster than engines were available for assignment, new members were without a train. Our mistake was to allow an older boy into the group who spit over the rails and drew the attention of motor traffic and our parents. We were forced to play in the parks for the rest of the summer, without anyone having made a 5-point score.
”On our last day as bridge walkers, we had a 5-cent cheeseburger at Tally's Diner, which was located on the curve of Valentine Street and served the best burgers in Tyler.”
Submitted by Jo Nell Williams of Lubbock, Texas, on August 13, 2004
”I learned to keep an English notebook in order under the direction of one of the Marsh sisters. They were feared by students until classes began and remembered fondly by everyone when school was out. Their home on South Broadway was a landmark. We walked from the Square to Bergfeld Park on Saturdays, and the Marsh house marked the approximate half-distance to our destination. Their house was the first in my memory to have electric Christmas lights in the Great Depression. After ‘Gone with the Wind’ played at the Majestic, we began to call the Marsh home Tara.”
Submitted by Jay Allen of Costa Mesa, Califonia, on January 24, 2004
"1. Caldwell's Playschool and mini zoo. I went there from 1950-1951. Terraced grounds, lots of arts and crafts. Our maid, Sammy Giles, used to take me there.
2. Fun Forest swimming pool. The water reeked of chlorine, and they rented bathing suits, which they kept in wire boxes. Metal disks bearing a stamped number would be safety pinned to each grey, chlorine-bleached suit. Also, the little minature golf place with the nice snowcones.
3. My grandfather and grandmother's beautiful home at 2010 Belvedere. All kinds of pies baking, fried chicken, hand-cranked peach ice cream, gallons of iced tea, oiled dirt road in front of home...smelled great at beginning of powerful electric storms which were common in Tyler summers.
4.The MM Haws Roofing Company. I spent lots of time there playing with the dangerous sheet metal presses and shears...drinking 5-cent Dr Peppers and smelling lots of roofing tar.
5. Luscious Greenberg turkeys (still kicking) and fruit cakes.
6. A&W Root Beer...so good on a hot summer evening...drinking it on picnic tables accompanied by the sound of loud insects everywhere.
7. Running around trying to catch lightning bugs in jars.
8. Church on Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday night...my grandfather was an Elder at the West Erwin Church of Christ.
9. Chigger bites (ugh)...extreme itching only quashed by scratching them raw and dousing with Campophenique...and vicious grass burrs that got caught in the toes.
10. Choosing off people to drag race with at the Derrick. My cousin, John Glenn Steffee, is a legendary racer in Tyler...most famous ride...409 Chevy with emblems removed to make it look like a docile piece.
11. Endless fun with my wild uncle and aunt, Max and Mary Haws. Jeep rides, fireworks (military-grade explosives back then).
12. Trips to the movies several times a week...Arcadia, Joy, Tyler, Majestic. Eating fabulous items at Luby's, across from the Tyler Theater. How nice and cold those theaters were in the scorching, humid Tyler weather!
13. Eating...bar none...the best barbeque in the world at Dubb's Barbeque.
14. Cox's chili with my grandpa.
15. The Chuck Wagon hamburger place, where my grandfather asked for a burger without any mayo on it. They ignored his request, and he scowled and chucked it into the trash!
16. Bruce Motors, where my dad bought our 1950 Plymouth that took us to California in 1951.
17. Polished red brick roads, azalea trail, O'Neals Ice Cream, Robinette's Store, Joyner Fry, my grandmother's rose bushes...they don't make them that fragrant any more.
18. Walks in the woods, getting stuck in quicksand, shooting guns, armadillos, mosquitoes a-plenty.
19. Apache Belles when I attended T.J.C. in 1966. I got a blind date with one who had buck teeth!
20. Red dirt everywhere.
21. The scenic Neches River...fishing at Lake Tyler...lots of dirt dobbers droning around the boathouse.
22. Urban myths about water skiers and water moccasins. Trips to Dr. McDonald (terrifying), etc., etc.
"I could go on and on...lots of memories in Tyler."
Submitted by Keith Powell of Tyler, Texas, in 2003
"Born in Tyler in 1949. Recall the Santa Ride, Space Burger, old courthouse, Joy Theater, Mayer & Schmidt, the ice house. In checking Tyler history, I found out there was a brick factory on Vine Street south of Houston Street. Anyone recall Tricycle Willie (cop)?"
Submitted by Helga Strobel-Middendorf of Fuerth, Germany, in 2003
"I was a Rotary exchange student in 1968/69 and spent a wonderful year in Tyler. It is my second home. I come back often."
Submitted by Pat Ellison Skidmore of Palestine, Texas, in 2003
"Never got to live there, but always loved it. Visiting relatives, state park, old courthouse, Montgomery Wards on square, movie theatre. Wonderful town - still is!"
Submitted by Peggy Spoon-Riffle (location not given), in 2003
"My parents owned the Hickory House BBQ down the road from John Tyler High School. I remember going to my Granny Spoon's on Saturday night and walking downtown to see the squirrel on the square by the fountain. On Sundays, we went to Temple Baptist Church."
Submitted by Charles Wohletz of San Francisco, California, in 2003
"My mom & dad opened one of the first drive-in restaurants on Bow Street (Bob's Drive-In). My schools: Marsh, Roberts, and John Tyler; Saturday (Kid's Day) at Tyler Theater, Putt-Putt Golf at Fun Forest, Santa Claus parade around the square, Playtown, the skating rink, and Camp Tyler."
Submitted by Bennie Ruth Murray of East Meadow, New York, in 2003
"I was raised in Tyler, on the State Park Highway. My parents passed away, and my sister, Wanda Mae, and I still have their 12 acres of land and house there. My daughter, Cheryl, has wonderful memories of Tyler, as we spent every summer there."
Submitted by Bob Griffith of Austin, Texas, in 2003
"Before the mall was built, there was an old Go-Kart track in that same field."
Submitted by Debbie of Longview, Texas, in 2003
"Mr. J's, Weber's, Thursday nights when downtown stores stayed open late, Neil-Simpson drugstore, and Friday night football!"
Submitted by Merle Farkas of Pensacola, Florida, in 2003
"We lived in Tyler 1984-87, such a beautiful city. The flowers are so nice. We are hoping to return to Tyler to live soon. Just love your website."
Submitted by Laura of Ft. Worth, Texas, in 2003
"Anyone remember Turner's Hamburgers or the Chuck Wagon? These were both restaurants in the 60's."
Submitted by Jan Mell of San Antonio, Texas, in 2003
"I remember the theater on the main street that is no longer there. Tyler is now the home of my two children in college."
Submitted by K.P. of Laredo, Texas, in 2003
"When I was living in Tyler, it was beautiful everywhere I went. Now I live in Lardeo. I miss Tyler alot."
Submitted by Sandra Alexander of Lindale, Texas, in 2003
"I can remember the Rose Festival parade around the square. My mother and dad were married in the Arcadia Theater in 1932."
Submitted by Chuck Lambert of Leander, Texas, in 2003
"One of my earliest memories of Tyler is of Caldwell Play School, which was housed in the old John Tyler High School building. I used to love playing in the old, red pickup truck."
Submitted by a visitor in Texas, in 2003
"I remember waiting in line for 2 hours at the Tyler Theater to see Elvis in 'Loving You', and buying my first car at Young Motor Company."
Submitted by Gina Miller Richardson of Chesapeake, Virginia, in 2003
"I grew up in Tyler and also remember the Space Burger. My grandparents lived by tyler State Park, and we had so much fun swimming there. We usually visit twice a year. Our license plates read 'Tyler TX'. We love Tyler!"
Submitted by Russ Horton of Lawrenceville, Georgia, in 2003
"O'Neal's on Glenwood; Gary, Hogg Jr. High and JT; the 'Mesa'; parking at Bellwood; dragging Broadway and the Derrick; fun times at Lake Tyler with a couple of lady friends; Bottenfield's job; and leaving!"
Submitted by Ray Jackson of Grants Pass, Oregon, in 2003
"I lived with my dad - Papa and Mom - Angel and Lil Brother Boogie. Coming from the flat and midwestern states, Tyler was an awesome change for me. It seems as though everybody knew everybody."
Submitted by Ima Jean Beal King of Wilmington, Delaware, in 2003
"I was born and lived in Tyler until my teenage years. I often come to visit, and I'm amazed each time at the changes. I remember O'Neal's Ice Cream Palor and Southern Maid Donuts."
Submitted by Hal Gray of Rensselaer, Indiana, in 2003
"I took basic training at Camp Fannin in 1944. I wonder if there is anything left of the camp? There was a restaurant on the square called the Fiesta. Boy, were those Fiestaburgers great!"
Submitted by Ruth Ueckert of Tyler, Texas, in 2003
"I have moved back to Tyler for the fifth time (1994). My memories go all the way back to 1923, when we moved here from Cleburne, Texas. I have seen many changes through the years, but the memories of the circus unloading at 4:00 am at the depot on Spring Street stand out.
"The summertime Friday night band concerts on the square with Doc Witt and his band - everybody was there. On Halloween, everyone donned a costume and went downtown. Kids played all over the neighborhood at night in complete safety - doors were not locked and windows were left open!"
Submitted by Sheila Douglass of Eclectic, Alabama, in 2003
"Thanks for having the postcard of the Gary Public School Building on your website. Franklin N. Gary was the brother of my ggg-grandmother. This helps to see that he was an important person in Tyler, Texas."
Submitted by Scott Finley of Dallas, Texas, in 2003
"I remember marching as a Cub Scout in the Chistmas parades. They started at Andrews Reviere (I think) store, and I also remember when JC Penney and Sears were located downtown! The old Sears store now houses an antiques emporium."
Submitted by Billy Fason of Jacksonville, Arkansas, in 2003
"Dancing to 'The Uniques' at the American Legion Hall, dragging Broadway on the weekends, meeting wonderful people there, and just hanging out under the stars!"
Submitted by Virginia Reed of Tyler, Texas, in 2003
"My family moved to Tyler from St. Louis with the Cotton Belt RR in July, 1954. On earlier trips to find housing, we slept on the train and had hospitality rooms at the Blackstone Hotel for bathing.
"My husband later managed Green Acres Bowl from 1958-1976. Next door to it was Playtown, where I worked for a few months in the early 60's."
Note From R. Reed: Those memories were from my mother. If anyone has photos of Playtown, please e-mail me from the link at the bottom of this page!
Submitted by Karl Bowers of Bullard, Texas, in 2003
"I remember Captain Space Burger's flying saucer. I also remember before the the mall was built, that whole area was white sand."
Submitted by B. Hepler of Pardeeville, Wisconsin, in 2003
"Does anyone remember Santa's Super Rocket, Santa's Rocket Sleigh, or Santa's Rocket Ship? I understand these unique vehicles were the work of Lloyd Laster of Tyler, Texas. If anyone has information about them or has a story about them, I would love to hear it."
Note From R. Reed: To see a photograph of one of these vehicles, visit my section entitled
A Photographic History of Tyler, Texas.
Submitted by Janice Wininger/Taylor of Ponca City, Oklahoma, in 2003
"My grandparents, Owen and Julia Wininger, lived in Tyler, and I visited them often. I have fond memories of picnics at Lake Tyler and playing in the sand at their house on Bullard Road. There is now a church where the house stood.
"My aunt, Gertrude Dehonry, worked at the Crescent Cleaners during the 50's/60's. Tyler is a place of many childhood memories never tobe forgotten."
Submitted by Sherri Campbell of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in 2003
"Well, my memories are many. My dad, Frank M. Graham, grew up there. Mom moved there as a young woman (grew up in San Augustine, Texas), and they met and fell in love in 1950-51. He and mom immediately moved away after marriage and started a family."
Submitted by Mary Love Berryman of Tyler, Texas, in 2003
"I remember riding to town on the bus for 3 cents, 6 cents after I turned 12, and going to the Tyler Public Library where I would check out 4 books (the limit). Then I would read a book each day and go back to the library and check out four more."
Submitted by Edwina Young Moyer of Tyler, Texas, in 2003
"I remember the square before the fountain. Some of the older men would sit on the square and play dominoes under the trees. Also, going to the movies for 25 cents."
Submitted by Richard Goodrich of Tyler, Texas, in 2003
"I remember when you could go to the Joy Theater for 15 cents. My dad was manager of S.H. Kress downtown from 1954-1958."
Submitting Your Own Memories
I want your memories!
If you send a submission for this webpage, you understand and agree to the following:
You are giving me permission to use, free of charge, the submission on this webpage, or in any other work in the future, whether web-based or not.
I have the right to reject, or discontinue to use, any submission. I also have the right to edit any submission for content or length.
Submissions are posted on the website as soon as possible after being received.
I am not responsible for the accuracy of any submission.
While I prefer to include your name (or initials) and current location with your submission, I will honor your request to withhold either or both of these items.
Your e-mail address will not be placed on any e-mail list controlled by myself, nor will it be given or sold to others.
To e-mail a submission, please click here!
This webpage last updated on
February 20, 2009, by R Reed
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