Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Baylor History, Part Seven

Much has been written by others of the move to Waco from Baylor County in 1890, most compellingly by Wade Lloyd Wade in his 1912 memoir Get the Hell Out! The Wade Lloyd Wade Story. Current Baylor students may wonder what their own experience of college might have been like had it taken place at the old home in Baylor County. That site, of course, is in a part of the state where the sky appears larger, and which well into the 1950’s was largely an unfenced and wild land where buffalo, key deer, largemouth bass and wildebeests migrated freely in enormous herds. To have been a young man or woman in such a place would no doubt be a lesson in perspective and beauty as only the forces of God through nature can teach.

But, the University did move. The motivation for the move is lost in the West Texas sands, it appears. One theory holds that the move was motivated by a land speculator’s fraudulent claims: Specifically, that a man named Eugene Parks set out a dirt path near the Brazos and a large tract of land he had bought for pennies, called it “University-Parks Drive,” and sought to entice either a prison or University to the area. He personally appealed to an elderly Eric Tech, the founder of Texas Tech University, which sat in desolate Lubbock, a town which was attacked (and conquered) with regularity not only by the Comanche, but the French. Tech turned him down, as even then he was plotting to sell the school to the State of Texas at an egregiously inflated price. Huntsville, of course, won the prison. With a chunk of land to deal, Parks made a generous offer to Tiffany Baylor, who agreed to move the University and its 4,000 students to a town which barely existed but for a few Indian encampments and their “Red Man Museum” along the Chisholm Trail.


This is WAY different than what they told us at the Dr. Pepper Museum last month.

I still can't get over the fact that there wasn't really anyone named Dr. Pepper.
I would like to call shenanigans. You have posted a picture of the most wonderful place on earth in describing Baylor. Burkburnett is a small cosmopolitan town of about 8,000 residents. It was the first Boomtown in the state of Texas and the movie "Boomtown" starring Clark Gable was about Burkburnett (Also, Texasville starring Cybil Shepard was filmed there but nobody cares).
Unlike other rich oil towns Burkburnett has no old oil money. The town was apparently just unlivable during the oil boom. Nobody could drink from the wells and the streets ran black with oil all the time. Also, the people were a little rough. One of my favorite stories about Burkburnett is how wild it was. There was a leper sitting on the porch of a saloon in Burkburnett when the bartender came out and tried to "shoo" him away. The leper did not move. The owner then walked out and promptly shot him in the head in broad daylight in from of everyone then just kicked him off the porch.
As far as shooting in the head goes, Burkburnett's oil money left and was replaced with Preston dairies. It was a very large dairy operation serving north texas. Mr. Preston was the 6th Preston to head up the company when he was charged with federal price fixing and racketeering and lot of the executives in Burkburnett went to summer camp at Levenworth and Mr. Preston shot himself in the head. Preston was bought out by Oak Farms who closed the plant and many people lost jobs. Mr. Preston's sprawling middle of town estate has now been chopped up into mobile home parks.
I could go on and on for hours about the wonder that is Burkburnett but nobody cares. Just please do not let people think that Baylor has the oil and blood stained history of burkburnett.

mr. burkburnett
Thank you for the clarification, Mr. Burkburnett. The picture was for illustration purposes only.
I call shenanigans on the mobile home park thing, too.

I lived in Burkburnett. I went home there from Wichita General in '86. I got my first Puffalump in an Easter basket in Burkburnett.

The place is far from a mobile home park nowadays. Perhaps a country suburb with a couple mobile home parks, but there are bigger and better places to stay within the great city's walls.

That being said, I'm going to go ask my parents if we kept the mineral rights to our old house's lot in Burkburnett. I needs me some money.
"Mr. Burkburnett" needs to get his story straight before he decides to post comments about the wonderful town of Burkburnett and the Preston family. He is obviously a VERY NEGATIVE person!!!He could have chosen to write about many of the WONDERFUL stories about Burkburnett and the Preston's. It is a shame that you want to be a coward and hide behind the name "Mr. Burkburnett" and post distasteful blogs written by "MR. ANONYMOUS".
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