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[A Trolley Car of the] Mineral Wells Electric System

Description: A Major J. D. Beardsley (1837-1911)--a Canadian who fought for the Union in the Civil war--built an electric trolley line that ran from North Oak, south to the train depot, west to Pecan Street (NW 4th Avenue), south on Pecan Street, to the ridge in the Lowe Place Addition, west to Pollard Creek, where Mr. Beardsley (as Head of the Electric Company) laid out Elmhurst Park (q.v.). A cross-line on Hubbard street ran east to Elmwood Cemetery. By the end of 1906, Beardsley owned sixteen cars, running on approximately ten miles of tracks. It was reported that an interurban line to run to Millsap, Weatherford, and thence to Fort Worth was planned. In fact, speculation had been made that an interurban trolley system had been Major Beardsley's ambition right from the start. The route for this interurban was laid out by Major Beardsley. A man named Gid R.Turner proposed a rival line. A Weatherford newspaper of 1906 reported that an interurban line from Mineral Wells to Fort Worth was gleefully endorsed. If the interurban was not built from Weatherford, then it was asserted that it would go through Springtown, instead. A person from Mineral Wells had pledged $1,000 of the $50,000 required. Confused reports by 1907 had been made that the two enterprises were being merged, but Major Beardsley denied the report. (In August 1907, Turner was required by Weatherford to tell his intentions. He made no answer.) Neither line was ever built, perhaps due to the Panic of 1907, because by December of 1907, the Beardsley enterprise was declared "Dead.". Portions of the tracks were removed near the water wells dug by Mr. Ed Dismuke (q.v., in the description field.), by a syndicate of Beardsley's creditors, including D. T. Bomar, (who bought the railway and assorted properties at auction ...
Date: 1907?/1913?

[A Bottle-Shaped Advertisement ]

Description: This photograph shows an advertisement for the Gulf Texas and Western Railroad in the shape of a bottle of mineral water. In 1912, two gasoline-powered motor cars were added to the WMW&NW (Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern--not "Water, More Water and No Whisky, or alternatively, "Whiskey, More Whiskey and no Water" as some passengers would have it) rolling stock to provide passenger service to Salesville, Oran, and Graford. The Gulf Texas & Western Railroad,(GT&W)--sometimes referred to by locals as "Get your Ticket and Walk"--was built from Seymour through Olney and Jacksboro and contracted to operate motor coaches over part of WMW&NW north extension in 1912. The GT&W line joined the WMW&NW Railroad some 12 miles north of Mineral Wells. Although the contract for the use of WMW&NW system was signed February 6, 1912, actual operation over the WMW&NW line did not begin until March 27, 1913. The Gulf Texas and Western operated gasoline powered motor coaches, similar to the ones owned by WMW&NW, through Mineral Wells, Weatherford, Ft. Worth and on to Dallas. A round-trip from Seymour to Dallas was made daily by a 70-passenger gasoline-powered motor car. Completion of Morris Sheppard Dam and the impounding of Possum Kingdom Lake necessitated abandonment of the Salesville to Graford line (and consequently the entire GT&W line) by August 15, 1936. The reverse side of this Mineral Water advertisement indicates that the building of the railroad was underwritten by Beetham and Sons.
Date: unknown

[A Charter for the Interurban Road and Street Car Line]

Description: The Mineral Wells Electric System operated two electric street cars in the city of Mineral Wells from 1907 to 1913; one on Hubbard Streeet from NE 17th Avenue to SW 6th Avenue (later part of the Bankhead Highway), and one on Oak Avenue from NE 17th Street to SE 11th Street, thence Southwest to Elmhurst Park. However, two gasoline-powered 70 passenger (all-passenger--no freight) motor cars were operated by the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railroad (WMW&NW) between Graford, Mineral Wells, Ft. Worth and Dallas from 1912 to 1935. An electric interurban line was apparently the brainchild of a Majo" Beardsley, who had founded the trolley line in Mineral Wells. Although there was great enthusiasm for it (as reported in the 1906 Weatherford paper), the interurban line was never built. The entire project was declared defunct in 1908, with the bankruptcy of "Major" Beardsley, and the sale of his assets. The second part of this notice--the Army-Navy Sanitarium--never received final approval by Congress, either. The source of the notice remains [2017] unknown.
Date: unknown

[The "Doodle Bug" Interior]

Description: This photograph illustrates the interior of a McKeen motor car, known locally as a "Doodle Bug", with its dust-proof round windows. This one, owned by the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway, was an 81-passenger, 70-foot-long, 200-horsepower, gasoline-powered, motor coach. It traveled from Graford through Oran and Salesville to Mineral Wells, thence on to Dallas. It made a round trip daily from 1912 to 1929. A turntable at Graford turned the coaches around. There were two "Doodle Bugs" on the WMW&NW. The third similar coach, owned by the Gulf, Texas and Western Railroad (GT&W), traveled from Seymour through Guthrie, and Jacksboro to Salesville beginning in 1913. It proceeded thence over the WMW&NW track to Mineral Wells, and on to Dallas. The McKeen Motor Car Company was run by one William B. McKeen, who was both red-haired and described as "Flamboyant." He painted his demonstration cars bright red, and reproduced an image of them on his letterhead. He has been described as a "Hard-sell artist in an industry more accustomed to polite suggestion." He "Bombarded railroad presidents, big and small, with volley after volley of rapid-fire sales letters and telegrams, often following them up with personal visits." He was also characterized as being "Stubborn, strong-willed and very forceful." His motor-cars--with porthole windows and with a knife-front (which he felt would lessen air resistance, an idea that was vindicated much later)--were characteristic. His motor-cars were called a "Glorious failure" (even though 152 of them had been built) for the reason that McKeen was unfamiliar with the internal combustion engine (as were practically all of the railroad people of his time)--and he relied too heavily upon the crude models that were in fashion in his time. The light rails and branch lines that they were to run on became the occasion of many ...
Date: 1911/1935

[The Ground-breaking for the Peck City Railroad Depot]

Description: This picture illustrates a newspaper article (in the Mineral Wells "Index")about the ground-breaking ceremony for the Gulf and Brazos Valley Railroad depot in Mineral wells, Texas. The G & B V railroad ran from a junction on the Texas & Pacific Railroad main line at Peck City (2 miles west of Millsap) to Mineral Wells. The G&B V depot was on SE Mesquite Street, (now SE 1st Avenue) one block north of the WMW&NW depot. The G&B V contracted to use the WMW&NW tracks from Mineral Wells to the Rock Creek coal mines in far western Parker County, four miles east of Mineral wells. The G&B V ceased operation shortly after the Texas & Pacific Railroad bought the WMW&NW in 1902.
Date: unknown

[A Mineral Wells Electric System Trolley Car]

Description: A Major Beardsley, a Canadian who fought for Maine in the Civil War, (And reported by the Abilene "Daily Reporter" of 1905 to be of Gibstown, Iowa) was granted a franchise to construct a railway street system in 1906. He was also granted a 99-year franchise for the generation and sale of electricity in Mineral Wells. He also bought about 600 acres of land, and established three additions: Lowe Place addition, Lawn Place, Lawn Terrace, and Elmhurst Park, which came to sport a dance pavilion and a Casino. The Beardsley enterprise ended with the notice that the workers for his interurban (from Mineral Wells, Peaster, Millsap, and Weatherford) had not been paid. Beasley himself was in New Orleans at the time. Beardsley's trustee, a Mr. W.B. Smith,and the City of Mineral Wells, sued Beardsley's creditors. A judgment awarded Smith the sum of $15,000, and gave the City of Mineral Wells some sixty acres--which included Elmhurst Park. The legal battle continued beyond 1917, when the decision was reversed and remanded by the Court of Civil appeals for Texas. Number 23 trolley car is illustrated here.
Date: 1907?/1913?

[Trolley Tracks]

Description: The Mineral Wells Electric System (apparently a brainchild of a Major Beardsley, who started the whole operation) ran two trolleys from 1907 to 1913. Their tracks are shown here being laid along Hubbard Street, at the corner of Oak Avenue and looking east in about 1906. The electric street cars ran (1) on Hubbard Street from Northeast 17th Avenue to Southwest 6th Avenue; and (2) on Oak Street (now Northwest 2nd Avenue) from Northeast 17th Street to Southeast 11th Street, thence to Elmhurst Park. Pollard creek was dammed up to form a lake around which a casino, dance pavilion, race track for horses, and playground were built. Elmhurst Park, as it was called, was abandoned when the trolley ceased operations in 1913. The panic of 1907 (along with a great conflagration in Mineral Wells whose losses were estimated at about $100,000) apparently brought ruination to Mr. Beardsley's dream of an interurban trolley line to Weatherford and thence to Ft. Worth. Numerous lawsuits were subsequently brought against him and his trustee, lawsuits which continued beyond his death in 1911. It remains a mystery [in 2017] why the rival line planned by a Git Turner of Weatherford was not built, either
Date: unknown

The Fair Grounds and Race Track, Mineral Wells, Texas

Description: Shown here is a picture of a dirt horse-race track and fair grounds,located southeast of town. It is not known if thoroughbred horses raced, but sulkies are known to have raced here. This course was the first of its kind in Mineral Wells. Another track was constructed at Elmhurst Park, in the southeast part of town, after this one was torn down.
Date: 1900?

"Crazy" Water Crystals Plant

Description: The "Crazy" Water Crystals Plant was built in 1919. Mineral water was boiled down in the plant, until only the mineral crystals were left. The crystals became an early version of "instant food" when dissolved in water. Radio advertising in the 1930's over the Texas Quality Network, direct from the lobby of the Crazy Hotel, developed a market for the "Crazy Water Crystals" all over the world. This picture of the plant has been computer-enhanced.
Date: unknown

[Hacks at a Railroad Depot]

Description: Before the ascendancy of automobiles to public popularity, hacks met newcomers at the depot to take them to their favorite hotel or rooming house. This picture is probably typical week-end visitors from the Ft. Worth/Dallas "Metroplex" in Mineral Wells to drink the health-giving mineral water, and take the relaxing baths and massages. The men on the telephone poles were typical of the "spotters" who sought to deliver clients to local hotels and rooming houses. The photograph appears on page 44 of the "Time Was..." Second Edition.
Date: unknown

First Car of Shale

Description: "First car of shale" is the legend printed on the original photograph. The car bears the marking "H.M.X. 20" on the rear. The picture probably commemorates the opening of Mineral Wells' fledgling brick manufacturing industry, as the appearance of a gentleman wearing a tie and wielding a shovel suggests a celebration of sorts. His attire shown is typical of summertime 1930's dress. The photograph bears the legend that it was restored by A.F. Weaver.
Date: 1925?

[Unloading Grain From Box Cars]

Description: This picture depicts men unloading grain from box cars at the Mineral Wells railroad yards into horse-drawn wagons. During the days if the Great Depression years of the 1930's, grain and cotton were the principal cash crops of farmers around Mineral Wells, and the WMW&NW (Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwest) Railroad was a prime shipper of the crops to market. This photograph is featured on page 92 of A.F. Weaver's "Time Was in Mineral Wells," second edition.
Date: unknown

[The Dam/causeway]

Description: This picture shows the dam that formed Mineral Wells' first municipal water reservoir. This dam is probably the one that Thelma Doss refers to on page 51 of A.F. Weaver's "Time Was in Mineral Wells." Its erection was credited to banker Cicero Smith in that article. Located southeast of the Cullen Grimes School, it is in the G. P. Barber Addition. The lake was actually built by George P Barber, and the water impounded behind it is known locally as Barber Lake. The lake served to supply water for Mineral Wells until banker Cicero Smith and Ed Dismuke (owner of Famous Water Company) built a dam on Pollard Creek, west of the city, to form Mineral Wells' second municipal water supply, Lake Pinto. The original photograph is one of 17 (4 X 4) negatives that were discovered in an envelope from Charles W. Simonds (Route 5, Box 43, Norman, Oklahoma, 73069), postmarked "Aug. 4, 1975" and addressed to A.F. Weaver Photography. Some telephone numbers were visible on the envelope, as was the remark: "Father - C.W. Simonds (Clarence Winfield)."
Date: unknown

[ A Street Scene]

Description: This picture comes from one of 17 (4X4) negatives that were found in an envelope from Charles W. Simonds (Route 5, Box 43, Norman, Oklahoma, 73069), postmarked Aug. 4, 1975, and addressed to A.F. Weaver Photography. Also on the envelope, are some telephone numbers and "Father - C.W. Simonds (Clarence Winfield.) The scene is believed to show some of the large homes on the east slope of West Mountain, in the 600 block of NW 6th Street, taken at about the time of their construction. The home in the foreground appears to be the site of the former Episcopal Parsonage (the church adjoins the parsonage to the north (left of the picture).
Date: unknown
Creator: Clarence Winfield Simonds

[A Hill With Power Poles]

Description: This picture was taken from one of 17 (4"X4") negatives that were contained in an envelope from Charles W. Simonds (Route 5, Box 43, Norman, Oklahoma, 73069), addressed to A.F. Weaver Photography and postmarked "Aug. 4, 1975." Also on the envelope are some telephone numbers and a remark: "Father - C.W. Simonds (Clarence Winfield.) This picture is taken from East Mountain, Mineral Wells, looking east along Northeast 4th Street. The ruins of a foundation of a building seen at the end of the street about half-way up the hill was the Chautauqua, completed in 1905 and demolished about 1912. The lookout tower at the top of the mountain was blown away by a tornado in 1930. There is a sign below the crest of the mountain (It appears to proclaim the "Young Photo Garden", which was located at 309 N. Oak Avenue) approximately in the place where the "Welcome" sign was erected in 1922. The Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) built a youth center on this site in the 1970's, that is still standing at the present time [2008]. Several unidentified people are also to be seen in the photograph.
Date: unknown
Creator: Clarence Winfield Simonds

[A House in Mineral Wells]

Description: Writing on the side of the negative reads: "Vance Villa, Jan. 10, 1919, Mineral Wells." (The 1914 Mineral Wells City Directory lists Vance Villa at 811 N. College, which is now NW 5th Avenue. Mineral Wells actually did have a school in the 1890's, located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hubbard Street.) This picture is one of 17 (4"X4") negatives that were found in an envelope from Charles W. Simonds (Route 5, Box 43, Norman, Oklahoma, 73069) and addressed to A.F. Weaver Photography. It is postmarked "Aug. 4, 1975." Some telephone numbers and the remark: "Father - C.W. Simonds (Clarence Winfield)" also appeared on the envelope.
Date: January 10, 1919

[A Rock Outcrop on Mineral Wells "Mountain"]

Description: A rock outcrop, and vegetation typical of the hills (local custom calls them "Mountains") in Mineral Wells. Some of the houses of the town can be seen through the bushes. This photograph is one of 17 negatives that were in an envelope from Charles W. Simonds (Route 5, Box 43, Norman, Oklahoma, 73069), addressed to A.F. Weaver Photography and postmarked Aug. 4, 1975. Some telephone numbers and "Father - C.W. Simonds (Clarence Winfield)" were also on the envelope.
Date: unknown

[A View From South Mountain Toward East Mountain]

Description: A view from South Mountain, toward East Mountain, before the Baker Hotel was built in the 1929 is shown here. The Old Post Office building, built in 1912, is in the upper left quadrant. This picture is one of 17 negatives that were in an envelope from Charles W. Simonds (Route 5, Box 43, Norman, Oklahoma, 73069), postmarked "Aug. 4, 1975", and addressed to A.F. Weaver Photography. Also on the envelope were some telephone numbers and "Father - C.W. Simonds (Clarence Winfield)."
Date: 1912?/1929?

[A View of Mineral Wells From South Mountain]

Description: A view of Mineral Wells, looking north from South Mountain, taken after 1929, is pictured here. The front of the old Mineral Wells High School is visible in the lower left corner. The Crazy Hotel is just to the right of center. This picture comes from one of 17 (4X4) negatives that were found in an envelope from Charles W. Simonds (Route 5, Box 43, Norman, Oklahoma, 73069), addressed to A.F. Weaver Photography and postmarked Aug. 4, 1975. Also on the envelope were some telephone numbers and the remark "Father - C.W. Simonds (Clarence Winfield)."
Date: 1920?

[A Lady Viewing Mineral Wells From East Mountain]

Description: A lady is shown viewing city of Mineral Wells while standing on a rock formation. She is on East Mountain, looking southwest. A popular activity for tourists was to climb the mountain and view the city. The picture appears to have been taken about 1920. This picture is one of 17 (4"X4") negatives that were found in an envelope from Charles W. Simonds (Route 5, Box 43, Norman, Oklahoma, 73069), addressed to A.F. Weaver Photography, and postmarked "Aug. 4, 1975." Also on the envelope, some telephone numbers and "Father - C.W. Simonds (Clarence Winfield)."
Date: unknown
Creator: Clarence Winfield Simonds

[Lake Pinto]

Description: Many property owners in early Mineral Wells had their own water wells, but the city pumped water to a small standpipe on East Mountain for distribution to the city. When the wells became insufficient to supply the city's needs, Barber Lake 9it was later named "Lake Pinto) was built in the Barber Addition--in the northeast part of town--as Mineral Wells' first city water supply lake. Around 1905, Cicero Smith and Ed Dismuke built a dam across Pollard Creek west of the city to form Lake Pinto, the city's next water supply. Barber Lake, the City's first municipal water supply, can still be found southeast of Cullen Grimes School (built in 1920 at 1800 Northeast 1st. Avenue as Barber School, the name was changed to Cullen Grimes School in honor of a long-time principal when it was enlarged in 1942.)
Date: 1900?

Mineral Wells (1900)

Description: This article and photograph from the Weaver Collection appeared in the Mineral Wells Index in the late 1960's--or possibly the early 1970's. The newspaper attributes the photograph to the "Courtesy of Tom Green," and the research to "Bill Cameron." The article states: "This is the way Mineral Wells looked at the turn of the [twentieth] Century. The Scott Livery Stable, foreground, is occupies the area the Whatley Motor Company does today. Across the street at left was the two-story Holmes Hotel. The barn in the corner, in the center of picture, was the T.J. Green Transfer Company. Mat Birdwell, who purchased horses for the government, had his headquarters in the Green barn. Other spots include the Frost Lumber Yard, next to the Green barn; [the] old Baptist Church steeples, top left; [the] Presbyterian Church, top right, that burned 60 years ago."
Date: 1900?