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First Presbyterian Church in 1896

Description: Handwritten notes on this old newspaper clipping indicate that it was given by M. J. Graham to A. F. Weaver, and correctly reports that the church structure burned August 25, 1908. The article erroneously states that it burned July 4, 1914. The article appears to have been published in the Mineral Wells Index. The caption reads: "Crowd attends dedication of the wooden church as it nears completion in the summer of 1896, when the edifice was dedicated to the Lord and mankind. On July 4th, 1914, the church was destroyed by one of the most disastrous fires in the history of Mineral Wells, when 34 residences and hotels, for two blocks east and west, and four blocks north--from Hubbard St. to NW 4th Street--burned. Every place from Hubbard north to 4th Street except the Tygrett home. "The present church was constructed some two years after the wooden church burned, on the same site--the corner NW 2nd Street and NW 4th Avenue. Perhaps some of the youngsters in the picture are living in the community today [2013]. Picture made available by M. J. Graham from his file of papers and pictures on the history of Presbyterianism in this community. "Until the present domed brick church was completed, the Presbyterians held Sunday School and church on the lower floor of the Odd Fellow Building in the 200 block on North Oak." The domed brick church mentioned in the article was built in 1909, (at a cost of $15,000, according to the El Paso Morning Times of 1909) and was replaced by a third church at this location in the 1980's due to structural deterioration. Please note: The picture in this article has been slightly cropped from it's original form, which is also in the A. F. Weaver Collection with the title [First ...
Date: unknown

West Ward School Mineral Wells, Texas

Description: This photograph illustrates a view from the east of the West Ward School at the time of its completion in 1902. It was located just north of Mineral Well's first public school, the "Little Rock School", at 205 NW 5th Avenue. West Ward housed first through twelfth grades. Mineral Well's first high school graduating class (four students) graduated from here in 1905. High School classes were moved from here to the East Ward School when it was completed in 1906. Only elementary school classes were taught here at the time West Ward school was torn down, about 1930. The Lilian Peek Cottage, Texas' first free-standing Home Economics building, was built by the W.P.A. in 1937 just to the north of where the West Ward School had been located.
Date: 1902

[The Milling Sanatorium]

Description: Dr. H. H. Milling was the first of Mineral Wells' "rubbin' doctors." He operated the Mineral Wells Sanatorium at 315 NW 1st Avenue before building this sanitarium in the 2500 block of SE 6th Avenue - the old Millsap Highway) about 1929. The building was later sold and renamed Irvine Sanitarium. It now [2010] belongs to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, is located at 1400 SE VFW Highway (a branch of SE 6th Avenue), and houses VFW Post 2399. Dr. Milling also owned 60 acres on Pollard Creek in north Mineral Wells that were donated to the state of Texas to use as a State Park, which became SP8. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, the WPA and the CCC made several additions to that park to improve its recreational value: Bridges, a small dam, steps up the mountain, restrooms, etc., all using native sandstone. When Milling Park was determined by the state to be surplus property, it was deeded to the city and later renamed North City Park.
Date: 1935?

[A Group of men at Inspiration Point]

Description: A group of businessmen and ranchers are shown at Inspiration Point in the 1920's. From left, they are (unknown); Mr. Henry Penix; Mr. Bowman; Mssrs. Henry and Charlie Fowler. Note the spurs on the boots of the Fowlers, and the cigars in the hands of Mssrs. Penix and Bowman. Inspiration Point, overlooking the Brazos in Southeast Palo Pinto County about ten miles south of Mineral Wells, commands a vast panoramic view of the rugged river valley stretching for miles below the viewer. It was a noted scenic attraction during the heyday of one of America's most popular health resorts. Inspiration Point is not available to the general public at this time, as it is located on private property.
Date: 1930?/1939?

Lithia Well

Description: The Lithia Well drinking pavilion was located on the southwest corner of the Crazy block at 400 NW 1st Avenue. The roof of the second Crazy Well drinking pavilion can be seen to the left of the Lithia. The Mineral Wells Library maintained its second location in this pavilion. The First Crazy Hotel was built on this location in 1914, but burned in 1925. The rebuilt and expanded Crazy Hotel (Now [2008] a retirement home) replaced the burned hostelry in 1927. See also the following picture.
Date: 1900?

Standard [Park]

Description: The Standard Park not only boasted a swimming pool, but a movie theater and dancing pavilion, as well, for the entertainment of health-seekers. A trolley to it operated at 600 North Oak Street from 1907 to 1913. (Note the Kingsley Hotel above and left of the Standard, built into the side of East Mountain--later destroyed by fire.) First known as the Vichy Well and Natatorium, then later as the Beach, the Standard was torn down in World War II; and a USO Club was built here for soldiers at Camp Wolters. The USO building was given to the city after the war, and renamed the North Oak Community Center. The Crazy Water Festival Committee is currently [2003] attempting to restore the Community Center.
Date: 1913?

Famous Mineral Water

Description: The Famous Water Company, founded by Ed Dismuke (still located at 215 NW 6th Street) has been restored, and still [2007] sells mineral water. The large concrete bottle depicts the original shape of the container of the product sold. Dismuke also established a plant on the east bank of Lake Pinto, west of Mineral Wells, to manufacture his "PRONTO-LAX" Crystals. He organized the Mineral Wells Lakewood Scenic Railway in partnership with local banker Cicero Smith, whose gasoline-powered "Dinky Cars" operated quarter-hourly between Lake Pinto and Mineral Wells from 1905 to 1909. The Famous Water Company currently sells three grades of water: Regular, full-strength mineral water; deep (400 ft.) well water; and deep-well water that has been ionized and filtered by reverse osmosis.
Date: 1970?

Lithia Wells

Description: The Lithia Wells and Drinking Pavilion was located on the southwest corner of the "Crazy Block." (400 NW 1st Avenue, the current [2008]location of the Crazy Retirement Home). The second Crazy Well Pavilion is the large building the upper left of the photograph. Note the three burros next to the horse. Riding burros up a trail on East Mountain was a popular tourist pastime, in addition to drinking and bathing in the mineral waters. The Mineral Wells Public Library was located in the Lithia Pavilion at one time. See also the preceding picture.
Date: 1908?

Gibson Well, Mineral Wells, Texas

Description: The Gibson Well, in the 700 block of NW 2nd Avenue, was one of the first wells in Mineral Wells to establish a drinking pavilion for the convenience of its customers. In time it became one of the largest pavilions and parks in the city. The gasoline-powered "Dinky cars" of the Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway passed the Gibson Well (from 1905 to 1909) every quarter hour on their journey to Lake Pinto. The "Dinky car" tracks are barely visible in this photograph, but the well's extensive gardens had not yet been developed at this time. Drinking and bathing in the mineral water was believed to alleviate a variety of ailments and restore the body to health.
Date: 1905?

"Where the Famous Crystals Are Made"

Description: This is a photograph of a building with a sign that says, "Famous Mineral Wells Crystal Plant." There is a hill, covered in trees, behind the building. Writing at the bottom of the image reads: "Where Famous Crystals Are Made." Ed Dismuke, a druggist from Waco, came to Mineral Wells for his health after his family physician told him he only had a "short time" to live. After miraculously regaining his health, which he credited to the mineral waters of his new hometown, he sold water by the drink at the Damron Hotel, later opening his own company, The Famous Water Company. He also opened The Famous Mineral Crystal Plant on the east side of Lake Pinto in partnership with local banker Cicero Smith. The two also organized The Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway with its two gasoline-powered "dinky cars" named "Esther" and "Susie" after Smith's daughters. This is a picture of the plant where Famous Crystals, labeled "Pronto Lax" were made. Dismuke had outlived the doctors who had told him he only had a short time to live when he died at the age of ninety-four.
Date: 1905?

[The Gibson Well- - Souvenir Photograph]

Description: This picture appears to be a souvenir photograph of the Gibson Well drinking pavilion and park, one of the earliest mineral water supply spots in Mineral Wells. It grew into one of the larger parks and pavilions in town. The gasoline-powered "Dinky Cars" of the Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway passed here every quarter-hour (from 1905 to 1909) on their journey to and from Lake Pinto. The Crazy Industries had acquired the property by 1938, and it became known as Crazy Park, a beautiful botanical park. The mineral water industry became a victim of the FDA and the wartime activities during World War II. As a result, the mineral water pavilions, along with other parts of the local health industry, died a slow death. The First Christian Church now occupies the site of the Gibson pavilion.
Date: 1910?

Gibson Well

Description: The discovery of mineral water, and its reported healing powers, sparked an influx of health-seeking visitors in 1881-82. A flurry of drilling activity resulted in incorporation of the city of Mineral Wells in 1882, as water was sought to satisfy the booming market; so much so that no one remembers the order in which the wells were drilled. The Gibson well, however, was one of the early ones. Located at 705 NW 2nd Avenue, it grew into one of the largest parks and drinking pavilions in town. The gasoline-powered "Dinky cars" of the Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway passed by it every quarter-hour, from 1905 to 1909, on their journeys to and from Lake Pinto. The Gibson property was acquired by the Crazy. It was known as the Crazy Park in 1938, and it was made into a beautiful botanical garden. It is currently the site of the First Christian Church.
Date: 1910?

[Blind Nellie at the Austin Well]

Description: Colonel W. R. Austin came from Kentucky to Palo Pinto County about 1880, and settled on Staggs Prairie. When an infection in his eye responded to mineral water treatment, he established the Austin Well, later operated by his son-in-law, Tom Sims. Blind Nellie was a fixture of the Austin Well for years. She had an interesting history: A cowboy rode her into town one day, and auctioned her off to the highest bidder, J.H. Coleman, who bid a dollar and a half for her. Then Bob Kyle took Coleman's bargain off his hands, but Colonel Austin was the one who profited most from her when he devised a method that used her to "pump" water from his well. This unique method of bringing water to the surface was an added attraction at the Austin. Instead of drawing it up by hand or using a power pump, Blind Nellie was trained to walk around in circles, pulling the water up from below. She would pause long enough for the water to empty and, as if on a hidden cue, would go around again as the receptacle was lowered back into the well, repeating her performance accurately each time. In later years, when she became confused in her ritual, she was allowed to retire. In retirement, however, Blind Nellie selected a place in her pasture, and during the working hours of the day she repeated the ritual of walking her circle in a size corresponding to the one she had walked for so many years at the Austin Well. She died in 1912.
Date: 1900?

[The Carlsbad Well: Second Building]

Description: The original Carlsbad water pavilion, a two-story wooden building at 415 NW 1st Avenue (directly across the street and west of the Crazy pavilion) was built in the mid-1890's. This second pavilion, a red-brick building, replaced the original one at the same location. The Mineral Wells Scenic Railway ran its gasoline-powered "Dinky Cars" from 1905 to 1909 each quarter-hour on tracks that led north on N.W. 1st Avenue, and turned west on NW 6th Street. The Ben Hur was the last and largest of the "Dinky Cars". This picture was taken before the stained glass windows were installed in the pavilion, and before the Dinky Car tracks were removed. The pavilion was taken over by the Crazy Hotel for its laundry and dry cleaning in the 1930's after the Carlsbad closed.
Date: 1908?

[The Carlsbad Well: Second Building]

Description: Shown here is a picture of the second Carlsbad Well building, as it appeared around 1915. The stained (or painted) glass windows are shown installed, and the "Ben Hur" street car tracks have been removed. This picture appears in Weaver, A. F., "TIME WAS ...", 1st Edition, on page 63. The original Carlsbad Pavilion was on the northeast corner of NW 1st Avenue and NW 6th Street, directly across the street west of the Crazy Drinking Pavilion. The Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway provided a gasoline-powered motor car, a "Dinky Car", which provided service every 1/4 hour to Lake Pinto from 1903 to 1909. The "Ben Hur" was the last and largest of the "Dinky Cars" whose tracks, on NW 1st Street, passed the Carlsbad pavilion and turned west on NW 6th Street. The El Paso Morning Times of 1909 reports that the construction of the second Texas Carlsbad building will cost about $40,000. The equivalent sum in modern dollars is not known. The new building was to be "50 x 130 feet. It will be fire proof [sic] and steam heat [sic]." The building was taken over by the Crazy Hotel for the Crazy Laundry and Dry Cleaning after the drinking pavilion was closed in the 1930's.
Date: 1915?

Vichy Well Natatorium

Description: An off-season (Winter?) picture of the Vichy Well Natatorium, once located in the 600 block of North Oak Avenue, where North Oak Community Center now [2008] stands is illustrated here. The picture is dated the time around 1900. The Vichy well featured a swimming pool, which it labelled a "Natatorium." Later improvements, when the name was changed to The Standard Well, included a motion-picture theater and a pavilion for dancing. (Note the Dr. A.W. Thompson residence and the Mineral Wells Sanitarium on the right skyline.) A USO was built on this location In World War II for white servicemen at Camp Wolters. The USO building was turned over to the city at the end of the war, and became known as the North Oak Community Center. Preservation efforts are underway [in 2008] to restore the Community Center.
Date: 1900?

Texas Carlsbad Well

Description: The Texas Carlsbad Well, 415 N.W. 1st Avenue is illustrated, this picture taken about around 1908. This first Carlsbad pavilion was directly across N.W. 1st Avenue, west of the second Crazy well pavilion. The Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway ran down N.W. 1st Avenue between the two pavilions from 1905 to 1909 providing service each 1/4 hour to Lake Pinto. The "Ben Hur" gasoline-powered motor cars were the last and largest of the "Dinky Cars" in service on the tracks that are visible in this picture. This picture can be found on page 82 of A.F. Weaver's "TIME WAS ... ", first edition. A second pavilion, a modern brick structure, was added in 1909 and the original wooden building was later removed. The second pavilion was taken over by the Crazy Hotel for its Laundry and Dry Cleaning during World War II.
Date: 1908?

Sangcura Sprudel Wells

Description: The Sangcura-Sprudel Wells Drinking Pavilion was originally located at 800 NW Second Avenue. The building was later moved to 314 NW 5th Street, the porches enclosed, and it was converted into a rooming house. The Crazy Water bottling plant was built on this site in 1919. The rooming house that was the former Sangcura-Sprudel drinking Pavilion burned on December 5, 1973, just five minutes before Mineral Wells' annual Christmas Parade was scheduled to start.
Date: 1900?

[The Crazy Well]

Description: The first Crazy drinking pavilion was a small wooden building (in the center foreground of the picture) built over the well that supplied the water. The large two-story wooden structure in the picture was opened on April 14, 1900. This picture, however, was taken in 1908. The wooden pavilion was torn down around 1909, and replaced by a brick structure, commonly called "Crazy Flats", with rooms to rent. The building on the right of the picture (which would be across the street to the west of the Crazy Well) was the Carlsbad drinking pavilion. The tracks in the foreground of the picture were for the Mineral Wells Electric Railway trolley (1907-1913) that ran north-south on Oak Avenue. A second rail system, the Lakewood Park Scenic Railway ("Dinky Cars"), ran parallel to the trolley in this neighborhood but one block west, between the Crazy and Carlsbad pavilions. This picture is from A. F. Weaver, "TIME WAS in Mineral Wells", First Edition, page 10.
Date: 1908?

[Dismuke's Famous Mineral Crystals Label]

Description: One of the by-products of the water which made Mineral Wells famous was mineral crystals, which were shipped all over the world. Purchasers could dissolve the crystals in tap water and (reportedly) receive the same benefits from the reconstituted water as from the well water. The Famous Water Company and the Famous Crystal Company were founded by Ed Dismuke, a druggist from Waco who came to Mineral Wells for his health. The Famous Water Company is still in operation (under different ownership) and it is the only mineral water company in Mineral Wells at this time. Ed Dismuke is buried in Elmwood Cemetery. He died in 1957 at the age of 97.
Date: unknown