Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cross Plains: A Year After the Fire

December 27, 2006 Tells a Tale of Survival

Driving up Main Street through the business district, the Christmas lights twinkle and shine and the store window sport holiday scenes and greetings. Some say the Higginbotham's store windows are the prettiest they've ever been. It's hard to tell that one year ago two days after Christmas half of Cross Plains was charred blackened ruins, the aftermath of a devistating wildfire that took two lives and destroyed 116 homes and the United Methodist Church. It's hard to tell - until you reach the high school and look across main street to lot after lot of vacant land, land that for decades was filled with homes and families.

Now dotted with new homes, construction, and FEMA trailers, Cross Plains has made an amazing comeback in a short period of time. This, despite the predictions of one Dallas paper that too much was gone of Cross Plains for the town to rebuild and bounce back. Some folks left, some moved a few miles out to the country, many have rebuilt or are rebuilding.

Gone, too, from Cross Plains are the old delipatated buildings - gas stations and business of times past left to disrepair and ruin. When cleaning up the aftermath of the fire, Callahan County's men in orange were dispatched to tear down and remove the town's building eyesores, as well.

Cross Plains has risen from the ashes. And while December 27, 2005, will be remembered as Cross Plains' darkest hour, December 27, 2006 tells a tell of survival, as residents gather for a Victory Celebration and Hamburger Supper.

Read what today's Abilene-Reporter News says about Cross Plains one year later

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Alpine: Hub of the Big Bend region

If highways are spokes connecting the rim of destinations in the Big Bend Region of West Texas, then Alpine is the hub of the wheel.

From Del Rio, two hundred miles of great highway take travelers to Alpine. And from there travelers can easily travel south to Big Bend National Park (80 miles), north to Fort Davis (26 miles), west to Marfa (26 miles), or east to Marathon (31 miles). But its geography may not be the chief asset of Alpine.

Now, with a population hovering at 6,500, Alpine is growing, but no one seems interested in too much growth and a loss of small town, friendly identity. Still, according to the Handbook of Texas, “Alpine is listed as one of the fifty safest and most economical places for retirement in the United States.”

Climate plays a big role in Alpine’s popularity, aptly named for the cooler temperatures there at 4,481 feet above mean sea level. (Del Rio International Airport is 1,002 feet above MSL.) “We have more than 400 motel and hotel rooms,” Austin enthused, adding that the lodging accommodations range from modern to historic.

Read the full story from

Read the Handbook of Texas Online Article on Alpine

Texas Wreaths Across America observation honors veterans

Ceremony held at Houston National Cemetery

TEXAS -- With honor and reverence for U.S. veterans, Capt. Eric Thompson of the Texas Wing's Thunderbird Composite Squadron opened the Wreaths Across America ceremony Dec. 14 at Houston National Cemetery with a moment of silence. The day started amid dense fog, but about an hour before the ceremony began the fog lifted and revealed a beautiful mild, sunny day. Five wreaths were laid by active duty and retired military personnel from each branch of the military.

A sixth wreath, representing prisoners of war and the missing in action, was Col. Robert Eldridge, Texas Wing commander, addresses the audience at Wreaths Across America at Houston National Cemetery. laid by former U.S. Marine Corps. Sgt. Ron Ridgeway. who was held in Viet Nam as POW or five years. He endured torture, loss of comrades and loneliness.

Read full article

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

San Felipe High School, Del Rio, Texas 1940 Football Team

View the Photograph

In the photo: Andres Sanchez, Manuel Castano, Efrain Longoria, Severo Fuentes, Jesus Cardenas - captain, Leopoldo Gloria, Petronilo Guajardo, Victor Contreras, Joe Martinez - coach, Cesar Padilla, Manuel Aguilar, Arturo Aguilar, Oscar Sigala, Felix Soto, Oscar Coronado, Ramon Mendez, Armando Fernandez, Marco Pena, Cipriano Sarzoza, Wenceslao Castellanos and Inocente Martinez.

More Del Rio, Texas Old Postcards and Photographs

More Texas Old Photos

Del Rio & Val Verde County Texas - TXGenWeb site