Chronicling Denton History

Posted: August 3, 2015 in Uncategorized
Confederate veterans from the Sul Ross Camp pose in front of the Denton TX Courthouse during a 1902 reunion.

Confederate veterans from the Sul Ross Camp pose in front of the Denton TX Courthouse during a 1902 reunion.

If you’d like to get caught up on our Denton history feature “Back in the Day” that we contribute to Denton’s best arts & culture blog WE DENTON DO IT, here’s what we’ve been writing about since the last update:

The Confederate Soldiers Monument on the south side of the Denton Courthouse Square has again rightly come under scrutiny after #BlackLivesMatter controversies in the national news, but what is the deal with how the Confederate Monument got there, anyway? You can then check out the moving story of Denton desegregation via high school football in our ‘When We Were All Broncos’ documentary review, and the moving story of Denton’s Civil Rights Mavens of Integration who eased the transitions for schoolkids. There’s also an essay on important Juneteenth history that has shaped our African-American communities in Texas.

1918 UDC Confederate Soldier Memorial.

1918 UDC Confederate Soldier Memorial.

The amazing Women of Denton Past tells about some notable ladies-about-town, as does our “Ode to Denton Foremothers” done for Mother’s Day.

Denton had its fair share of wonky weather in 2015, which reminded us of “The Great Blue Norther of 1911” that was a wild winterpocalypse!

This past spring, we created a fun scavenger hunt true to the legends of Sam Bass Gold said to be hidden in and around Denton!

Denton also has a lot of weird offbeat Denton sites, which you can check out in our first installment and then volume two to plan your urban adventures!

Young Ladies of Denton's Quakertown district

Young Ladies of Denton’s Quakertown district

African-American History Month offers an important opportunity to look back at Denton’s own intriguing past for our citizens of color. Today we’re gonna look at the true facts behind the historical fiction White Lilacs (1993), Carolyn Meyer’s novelization of the forced eviction for Denton’s African-American Quakertown district during the 1920s. The haunting history behind Meyer’s story offers us critical reminders why Black History Month is so necessary to counter persistent political revisionism that impairs our public memory.

White Lilacs cover

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Denton TX is full of history and mystery, and a storied past full of “School Spirit” beyond just UNT and TWU. The detective work of founding father Sheriff C.A. Williams on “The Prairie Match Mystery” maybe could’ve changed history in 1860, and Denton’s Christian Women Interracial Fellowship did make history as “Civil Rights Mavens of Integration” in the 60s and 70s. There’s also some local food history about “Denton’s 1950 Foodie Flashback” over at our We Denton Do It “Back In The Day” column!

Jim Murphy of Denton TX, childhood friend turned informant.

Jim Murphy of Denton TX, childhood friend turned informant.

The name of Sam Bass lives on in Texas folklore as a beloved railroad Robinhood bandit betrayed in his darkest hours by his good boo pard, but such Wild West pulp fiction is betrayed by a haunted history of two Texas youths entangled in the post-Civil War Reconstruction chaos of poverty, desperation, and lawlessness. These ghosts of Denton remind us of a dark past when our outlaws became heroes.

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Denton TX is well known as a unique hangout with more than it’s fair share of eccentric local characters, but we wonder how many folks know that once a year we have a bonafide yuletide monster mysteriously walking our downtown Square on December 5? Pull up a chair as you click over to We Denton Do It, kids, and I’ll explain why Krampus the Christmas Demon is the real reason you better watch out and better not cry this holiday season!

Denton’s walking undead

Posted: October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Old Alton Bridge, a.k.a. "Goatman's Bridge"

It’s Halloween season, Denton ghost fans, and we’ve been sharing a few tales with our fiends at We Denton Do It about some of Denton’s most famous haunts! Many locals have thrilled to one of the variations of The Goatman’s Bridge tales that have frightened visitors for generations, but we’ve also got stories of Denton’s Ghostly Guardians who linger on to protect and serve our fair community (and a few link-backs here to our archives)!  There are many more stories to share so contact our DENTON HAUNTS Facebook page if you’d like to schedule a nighttime group tour of the beautiful Denton Square!! Stay spooky, my friends.

The Legend of Pops Carter

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
Denton bluesman Pops Carter

Denton bluesman Pops Carter

Denton has more than its fair share of local characters and big personalities, but few have loomed larger on Denton’s music scene than Tom ‘Pops’ Carter, who passed on to The Big Gig in the Sky in 2012 after 92 years. This September marks the crystal anniversary of the Denton Blues Festival, one of our community’s best music events, so in celebration of this landmark fête, you can read about “The Legend of Pops Carter” over at our We Denton Do It blog. And you may also take a gander at our look back at “The 1969 Denton County Woodstock” that was the far-out Texas International Pop Music Festival, or Denton’s forgotten “French Connection” to the 1848 New Icaria utopian colony!

Denton’s Haunted History

Posted: June 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

Crawford Store in Quakertown, 1900s

Although the DENTON HAUNTS GHOST TOUR has been sidelined for the spring and summer, the groovy fine folks over at WE DENTON DO IT have asked me to contribute to a bi-monthly history feature over at their website. So far there are articles on our city namesake Capt. John B. Denton, a story on “Ghosts of Elections Past” and a two-part “Juneteenth” reminiscence on the history of Quakertown and its legacy. I’ll be reposting expanded versions of those articles here as I can, but stay tuned for news on the this fall’s return of Denton’s ORIGINAL haunted history ghost tours at our Facebook page. Meanwhile, ghost fans, stay in the shade this summer.

If you have a group of 10 or more and would like to schedule a special event Haunted History tour, shoot us a line at!

Denton-trolleySpring is in the air, which means another season of DENTON HAUNTS is almost here! Beginning on The Ides of March (15th), springtime tours of DENTON HAUNTS offer *MORE* history and hauntings as Doc and Shelly trot out brand new tales about “Denton County’s Secret Haunts” and  “Denton’s Pioneers, Outlaws, and Painted Ladies.” Sharing the almost-forgotten people and secret places discovered in our archival research and interviews, these new-fangled stories will showcase the colorful personalities, vanished locales, and high-adventure history that forged the unique character of Denton County! Some of these DENTON HAUNTS include true accounts of our fighting frontier men and women, Civil War intrigue and tragedy, Old West lawmen and outlaw rogues, the brothels of “soiled doves”, quirky traditions, famous citizens and visitors, Denton’s cinematic legacy from Benji to Rocky Horror, UFO sightings, top-secret locations, The Quakertown stories, and some surprising trivia as well as distant memories (like Denton’s interurban trolleys, pictured above). Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on the tour schedule and special events since we will have more than a few surprises in store for our fans!

EDIT [March 15]: The Ides of March came with a few surprises, indeed, primarily the news that Ms. Shelly has decided to embark on her own ghost tour of Denton using our research. As this leaves us making many unanticipated adjustments, stay tuned to schedule updates and new tour information at our Facebook page. Meanwhile, please take a moment and consider voting for DENTON HAUNTS as “Best Kept Secret” in the DRC 2013 Best of Denton awards contest!!

Wintertime Denton Haunts

Posted: November 8, 2012 in Events, Tour info

Thank you to all our fans and visitors for another frightfully fun season of DENTON HAUNTS Ghost Tour! Although we aren’t going to be venturing out into the unpredictable Texas weather for our weekend public ghost walks, we are still available for booking private group tours of 10 or more for your favorite group engagements, clubs, organizations, or gatherings of friends and family! Just e-mail to reserve a date for your group to hear tales about Denton’s fascinating mystery and history! Heck, you could make a day of seeing Denton!

Meanwhile, we’ll be back in the spring with more public tours that share stories of haunted history, local legends, ghostly experiences, and almost-forgotten people and places! Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook for the latest updates!