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Texarkana
Texas - Arkansas
May 19, 2007

by
Paul Ridenour

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Texarkana was always one of those towns I drove through to get to somewhere else.  Charles A. Steger, an East Texas historian and McIntosh family researcher from Atlanta, Texas, wanted to show me the Texarkana he knows.  I have worked for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) since 1985 and H. Ross Perot was still around.  EDS was founded by Perot in 1962 and he sold it to GM in 1984 for $3 billion.  GM and Ross did not get along and the GM board kicked him out for an additional $700 million.  I always knew that Ross was from Texarkana and Charles was going to show me the Perot sites.  I also wanted to see the Scott Joplin historical marker.

Atlanta, Texas, by the way, was founded by people from Georgia.

 
A deer in the early morning near Douglasville, Texas


Law's Chapel Cemetery - Charles A. Steger will be buried with his cat that lived 22 years and its ashes are currently in a marble container


Marker on the side of the road for an officer who was killed


Texarkana Cotton Compress - H. Ross Perot's father made his fortunes here and Ross worked here as a kid


The Whitaker House - Benjamin F. Whitaker (1845-1916} was a Texas Senator from 1893 - 1897


Scott Joplin Mural on the Perot Theatre parking lot


The Perot Theatre - H. Ross Perot remodeled the old "Saenger Theatre" in honor of his parents


The second Dillard's - if you look hard enough, you can see "Dillard's" written above the Regency House sign


State line between the Texas and Arkansas flags - the new Post Office is the building at the end of the street


Lily - in yards and cemeteries

While my wife was having lunch in Dallas with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas at their yearly convention, I was at Alamo hero Jim Bowie's statue in Arkansas.

Scott Joplin
(November 24, 1868 - April 1, 1917)

Black composer Scott Joplin, often called the "King of Ragtime Music," was born in Texarkana, Texas, five years before the town site was platted in 1873.  His family lived in this vicinity, and he attended nearby Orr School on Laurel Street.  His early musical training came from his father, Giles Joplin, an ex-slave who played the fiddle, and mother Florence Givens Joplin, who played the banjo.  By tradition, a German music teacher realized Joplin's talent and gave him music lessons.

Joplin left home at age 14 and wandered through the Midwest entertaining in saloons and honky-tonks.  In the 1890s, he was one of the originators of ragtime, a rhythmic new musical form that combined black and white musical traditions.  Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag," published in1899, launched ragtime as a national fad.  Joplin defended ragtime against those who called it frivolous and worked constantly to refine his music, which included over 30 piano rags.  Demand for ragtime had declined by 1917, when Joplin died in New York City.

Joplin's background is revealed in his most ambitious work, the black folk opera "Treemonisha," set on a plantation "Northeast of the town of Texarkana."  It was not produced until the 1970s, when a revival of Joplin's music inspired public recognition of his genius.
(1976)


The Scott Joplin Texarkana Historical Marker's big lie "Scott Joplin...was born in Texarkana, Texas, five years before the town site was platted in 1873"

Scott Joplin was born near Linden, Texas, not Texarkana.  Charles A. Steger was the first person to discover that when he found the census record.  Here is the Davis County, Texas, census record of 1870:


Notice the Post Office is in Linden


Scott Joplin is 2 years old here

Scott Joplin did spend his childhood years in Texarkana but he was born near Linden, Texas, in 1868.  The Texarkana historical marker was erected in 1976 and Charles tried to warn them that their marker was going to be incorrect.

On the 1880 census in Texarkana (Bowie County), Scott is living there at age 12.  Linden is going to erect a historical marker soon that will indicate that Scott Joplin was born in Linden.  Linden is also the birthplace of Eagles' drummer / singer / songwriter Don Henley.

 
The Ace of Clubs house - shaped like the ace of clubs

The legend is that the builder of this house won the money in a card game via the ace of clubs.  It is not a true story.  One of the ladies who lived here had 500 pairs of shoes and most of them came from Neiman-Marcus in Dallas.  The shoes are still in the house.


The dry moat around the house was used for air conditioning


Beech Street First Baptist Church - carbon copy of Gaston Avenue Baptist in Dallas - Mike Huckabee was pastor from 1986 -  1992 and later became the Governor of Arkansas, after President Bill Clinton's buddy went to prison


Leaning more towards the right [photo by Charles Steger]


Location [state line / post office] of President John F. Kennedy's first "Ask Not" speech in 1960 before becoming President of the United States


Charles Steger was watching Kennedy's speech about where that silver car is parked


Taking a picture of myself in both states - I enjoyed jumping across state lines


My "Ask Not" speech, or how it might go in 2007 - "Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you - Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, social security, cradle to grave "Hillary Healthcare," and amnesty for illegal aliens."
[photo by Charles Steger]


St. James Episcopal Church


Lunch - ribeye and chocolate pie


H. Ross Perot's parent's house and where he grew up

We went to the State Line Cemetery where Perot's parents are supposed to be buried.  We could not find them.  Charles figured that the graves must have been moved to Dallas within the last 3-5 years.

Update:  Yes, an Internet search found that they were moved to Dallas.  Charles is not happy about that.  Here are the graves that were moved:

G. Ross Perot (1899 - 1956) Body exhumed and moved to Dallas area
Lula May Perot (1897 - 1979) Body exhumed and moved to Dallas area
Ross Perot, Jr. (1924 - 1927) Body exhumed and moved to Dallas area

 


Magnolia


The Wadley Home - My mom used to volunteer at the Wadley Blood Bank near Baylor Hospital in Dallas


Bryce's Cafeteria - where Barbara Walters interviewed Ross Perot when he was running for US president in 1992


Christus St. Michael's Hospital - where Charles had his quadruple heart bypass


$1,000 solar powered "blinking red light" stop sign - just think how much it would cost to power everything in your house


Gordon McLendon's home in Atlanta, TX - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_McLendon

Gordon's first broadcast was heard by few when he was an announcer for an Atlanta High School and Linden High School football game.


Gordon McLendon's father's theater and the first McClendon Theater - downtown Atlanta, Texas