Depot In Frankston To Be Museum
FRANKSTON -- This second largest town in Anderson County owes its birthright to a railroad.
The eyes of the Frankston area this July 4 are on the 1901 Frankston railroad depot. It has been renovated and converted into a museum-library as a community Bicentennial project financed by public donations.
The revamped depot is the site of a celebration to be held in October for its dedication -- and Frankston has good cause to celebrate.
Two of its most widely known and useful citizens have become important figures in the history of Frankston.
Dr. M. A. King, an octogenarian, has made house calls in the area for more than half a century, remaining active this year.
Quanah Price, retired after 42 years as editor of the Frankston Citizen, is receiving just acclaim for his book, "Country Editor," published this last spring and already a best seller in its area.
In historical notes Price prepared for the Bicentennial of Frankston, he tells how his hometown evolved.
Frankston could have been Kickapoo -- an historic earlier town four miles south. Texas militiamen from Fort Houston won a battle at Kickapoo against Indians and Mexicans in early days. When the railroad came through, Kickapoo merchants picked up and moved to it at Frankston. It could have been Ayres, as its first post office was called in honor of popular Dr. W. A. Ayre. Or it could have been Frankport, which was the name of the school district prior to the 1930s.
Frankston derives its name from Frankie Miller, who as a young woman donated land for the downtown City Park.
A block of land bounded on three side by businesses and on the south by the depot was set aside by Miss Missler when the town was founded in 1901.
Reagan Jones, Frankston native, who also taught there several years, in 1925 wrote a history of Frankston.
Jones wrote that Frankston is located on land that was part of the old Sam Miller homestead owned by J. C. Holcomb.
The townsite was surveyed in 1900 by the Texas & New Orleans Railroad, which then was being built between Dallas and Beaumont.
One wail of the J. C. Holcomb house -- only one in the town when it was established -- is incorporated into the modern home of Mrs. Brady Saunders at Murchison and Holcomb streets.
The T&NO tracks reached Frankston in 1901. Freight trains with a passenger coach attached turned at a wye on the south side of the track. The depot -- now renovated -- was built in 1901 and E. L. Jones became the first depot agent.
The Holcomb house remained the only home in Frankston until August, 1901, when C. P. Jones and wife moved to their home on Miller street. A little later, S. E. Beard occupied an adjacent house.
Perry, Boyd and Jones jointly purchased from J. C. Holcomb a two-acre block for $45, and A. J. Perry, W. H. Boyd and C. P. Jones in the summer of 1901 built the first large business house, a long wooden building on the southeast corner of the square.
S. E. Beard was the first postmaster of "Ayres" when the post office was located in that same building.
Other early businesses were Burtis-Robinson Drug, Mead Grocery, Devereux & Garrison General Merchandise, W. M. Burtis Furniture, and J. M. Cook moved his business in from Kickapoo.
Land for school and church purposes was donated by Dan R. Murchison, Athens. The first two school terms (1902-03) were taught by John Brown and two assistants in a three- room wooden building.
J. M. Cook was president and J. H. Robinson cashier of the bank organized in 1905.
John E. Davis, later of Mesquite, founded the Frankston Ledger, managed by Henry Marlin, in 1902. The name was changed first to The Renovator under a new manager and finally by J. M. Emerson to the Frankston Citizen, published, by the McKee Sisters before Quanah
Frankston's 1901 T&NO Railroad Depot, renovated by popular subscription as a
Bicentennial project, is the July 4 celebration site, now transformed into a museum-
library. (Staff Photo by Ernest Jones)
Country Editor (Retired)
Quanah Price, in front of his Frankston home, with a copy of his popular new book, "Country Editor," containing the cream of his editorial wit during 42 years as editor-publisher of the Frankston Citizen. (Staff Photo)
Editor Recounts History Of Town
Price began his 42-year stint as editor-publisher of the Frankston Citizen..
The first passenger train went through Frankston May 17, 1903.
Oil was found in the Fairway Field, between Frankston, Poynor and Fincastle, in 1960. Due to technological developments in oil recovery, oil continues to be a vital factor in Frankston's economy.
On Dec. 11, 1930, "the First State Bank of Frankston was robbed of $11,000 by four gunmen. Ray Perry and the late Mrs. Carrie Watkins, the only employees in the hank at the time, were locked in the vault. Quanah Price, who worked there then, was off duty for lunch.
Officers overtook the bandits south of Poynor. Two officers, C. C. Slaughter of Frankston and C. E. Emerson of Poynor, were wounded in a shootout. The four robbers later were captured and sent to prison.
In 1972, Kathleen Fitzgerald, Frankston teacher, wrote a supplement to Frankston's history. She noted the town is centrally located at the juncture of U. S. Highway 175 and State Highway 155, within 25 miles of Tyler, Jacksonville, Athens and Palestine.
"There are approximately 40 business firms, five industries and one bank within the city limits," she wrote .... "In recent years, cattle ranching has replaced farming on a broad scale...
"Many residents are descendants of the original settlers... These people continue to cling to the traditions of their ancestors.. There is a very minute percentage of resident families who are not affiliated with one of the four major denominational churches...
"Swimming, boating, fishing, skiing and other water sports are extremely popular, due to the very near accessibility of Lake Palestine .... "
Lake Palestine, in fact, has provided a major impetus to Frankston's recent and prospective growth.
Development of resort communities surrounding the huge lake -- one of Texas' greatest recreational attractions -- continues at a fabulous pace.
Hundreds of homes -- many of large and permanent types -- have been built in idyllic wooded sites spreading from the lakeside. Other hundreds of mobile homes and campers abound around the lake.
Frankston has derived large benefits from these new residents and the business they have generated. Frankston Independent School District shares with LaPoynor and other districts the influx of students from the Lake Palestine area.
Thus Frankston has many good reasons for this Bicentennial celebration.