Arlington Archives - Arlington Historical Society

Arlington Archives - Arlington Historical Society

1616 W. Abram St. (at the Historic Fielder House) Arlington, TX 76013-1709 817-460-4001 Geraldine Mills, Director [email protected] Web — www.histor...

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1616 W. Abram St. (at the Historic Fielder House) Arlington, TX 76013-1709 817-460-4001 Geraldine Mills, Director [email protected] Web — Facebook — “Fielder House Museum” Hours: Fielder House: Tues. through Sat. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or by appointment) Knapp Heritage Park: Sat. & Sun. 1-4 p.m.

In this Issue

Newsletter — JUNE/JULY 2015 Stories from the

Arlington Archives ! A prominent 1940 Arlington citizen, not willing to “take it” anymore, did something unusual! That citizen was R. L. Zerwer, Vice President and General Manager of Southern Ornamental Iron Works. Southern Ornamental Iron Works was one of Arlington’s largest employers in 1940. The plant and offices were located at 201 N. Cooper St., on the east side of Cooper, between the railroad tracks and W. Division St. The central Arlington Police Station is now on the southeast corner of Cooper and W. Division Streets. A conversation held in Mr. Zerwer’s office in late May 1940 somehow led to rumors that Mr. Zerwer felt reflected on his “character and integrity.” So some two weeks after that conversation, Mr. Zerwer purchased space in the Arlington Journal of June 7, 1940. Mr. Zerwer tells us that the conversation was ”with regard to the present European conflict.” Recall that on May 10, 1940, Germany had invaded France and the Low Countries in a “Blitzkrieg” operation that very quickly overcame all opposition. In trying to understand what was said that Mr. Zerwer felt reflected on his “character and integrity,” remember that “Zerwer” is of German origin. (continued on page 4)

Arlington Archives - 1940 Arlington citizen is not willing to “take it” any more— a story from the Arlington Journal of June 7, 1940 Can you match the Legendary Local with the proper Venue?



Two markers for National Register districts Old Town and South Center Street


Thanks to you, restoration of the upstairs of the Fielder House has begun


New - downstairs at the Fielder House— Faces of Arlington Exhibit


Expansion of classes of supporting membership in the Historical Society


Once again, 4th of July Award Ceremonies will be at Knapp Heritage Park


Can you match the Legendary Sports Local on the left with the Venue on the right? A. Edward “Whitey” Appleton

1. Led Arlington State College

B. Jim McElreath

2. Arlington High School’s

C. Nolan Ryan

3. Arlington High School’s first

Rebels to back-to-back Junior Rose Bowl victories (1956-57)

coach when they won the State football Championship (1951) African-American football player (1965)

D. Mayfield “Bull” Wor- 4. Arlington-born racecar driver for fifty years (1945man 1995)

E. Claude “Chena” Gilstrap

5. Legendary Texas Rangers

F. Dale Pointer

6. First major league baseball

pitcher who later was team owner (1989-2013)

player from Arlington (1915-16)

News from Arlington Historical Society JUNE/JULY 2015

P. 2

Two markers for National Register districts in the downtown Arlington area On Sunday afternoon, May 24, the City of Arlington Landmark Preservation Commission hosted the dedication of markers for two National Register districts in the downtown Arlington area, as described below. Old Town Old Town Historic District encompasses approximately seven blocks of late 19th and early 20th century residential properties located at the northern end of the Original Town plat of Arlington (1896). It includes early additions of the Fitzhugh and Collins Addition (1904), Thomas Heirs Addition (1907) and the Ditto Bone Addition (1907). This district is generally bounded by Sanford, North, Elm, and Oak streets. This cluster of buildings depicts examples of vernacular and nationally popular architectural styles from late 19th century through pre-WWII housing, including Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Bungalow, and Art Moderne. It has some of the earliest turn of the century examples of Lplan dwellings coexisting with bungalows and post-war tract housing. Residences in the neighborhood housed early pioneers, community leaders, merchants, and professionals. Kooken Elementary School has been the educational center of the neighborhood for over 100 years. The building represents one of the few examples of Works Progress Administration architecture in Arlington. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places February 4, 2000 South Center Street The South Center Street Historic District comprises a row of Craftsman inspired bungalows and ancillary structures along the east side of the 500 and 600 blocks of South Center Street. The majority of the dwellings display Craftsman and Classical Revival stylistic influences. It includes early additions of the J. Huitt Survey, J.W. Christopher Addition (1907), and William H. Rose Addition (1916). In 1916, W.H. Rose, a developer, merchant, and future mayor of Arlington, subdivided this plat of land and built the first home, located at 501 South Center Street, for his family. Mr. Rose perceived this as a desirable location due to Center Street being Arlington’s major north-south thoroughfare, easy access to the Interurban and downtown businesses and the close proximity to the future Grubbs Vocational College, now UT Arlington. The South Center Street Historic District encompasses the best remaining group of early 20th century bungalows in Arlington and represents an important link to the city’s past. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places May 1, 2003

News from Arlington Historical Society JUNE/JULY 2015 Thanks to your “over and above” support, restoration of the upstairs of the Fielder House is under way! To all who gave so generously during our 100th anniversary fundraising efforts look what your donations are doing!! The upstairs Cooper Gallery is getting a makeover - new paint, flooring and expanded archival space. The work should be complete in about three weeks. We will keep you informed of the progress and give our supporters the first look at our new Cooper Gallery. We are fortunate to have such a supportive membership. Your help has given us the opportunity to preserve and present the history of our town in a better fashion.

P. 3

What’s on display now at the Fielder House? In spite of the renovations upstairs, there is plenty to see on the ground floor. The current “Faces of Arlington” exhibit features the legendary W. T. “Hooker” Vandergriff, father of also legendary Tom Vandergriff. Come see personal photos, awards and other interesting memorabilia. Get to know the remarkable “man behind the man.” “Hooker” Vandergriff is our second Face of Arlington display. Our first was Morgan Woodward, TV and film star in “Western” roles. These exhibits will feature people, places, and things that make up our town.

Who or what would you like to see as the Face of Arlington?

We thank you.

Once again this year, we will host the awards ceremonies after the big 4th of July Parade - at Knapp Heritage Park. You are invited!

Also, come see what was salvaged from our time capsule, take a trip on the “inurban” (as some called it), and visit the businesses located on the Bankhead Highway.

The Historical Society Board of Directors has added three new categories (the last three in the table below) to the various classes of supporting membership. We invite business and other organizations to consider joining the effort to preserve and present Arlington’s rich history. Call 817-460-4001 Tuesday through Saturday 10am to 2pm and let Geraldine Mills explain how you can help.

Arlington Historical Society Supporting Memberships Class of Membership Family Lifetime Individual Lifetime Family Annual Individual Annual Non-Profit Organizations - Annual Corporate/Business Annual Corporate/Business and Individual Sponsorships

Amount $500 once $250 once $50 per year $25 per year $100 per year Depending on size - starting at $500 per year One-time amount, dedicated to a specified project need identified by the Historical Society

News from Arlington Historical Society JUNE/JULY 2015

P. 4

1940 Arlington Citizen had enough (from p. 1) The full text of the paid advertisement Mr. Zerwer took out in the June 7, 1940 issue of the Arlington Journal follows.

1947 photo of the plant and office . By this time the name of the company had been changed to Southern Industrial Steel Company. Note railroad tracks in the lower right part of the photo.

To Whom it may Concern: The undersigned has been requested to make a statement regarding numerous and sundry rumors that have been floating around Arlington for the past two weeks that reflect on my character and integrity. All of these rumors have grown out of a very small incident which took place in my private office at Southern Ornamental Iron Works’ plant, which office, by the way , is sound-proof. A gentleman from Fort Worth, whom I have known for twenty years, entered my private office and started a conversation with regard to the present European conflict. He plainly stated his views and I plainly stated mine. The conversation took place at about five o’clock p.m. and lasted not over two minutes, and was heard by no one except the two of us. Out of this two-minute conversation have grown rumors, statements, and misstatements that would fill volumes, that would implicate not only the two participants, but several foreign powers as well. Such rumors as have been circulated around Arlington are gross insults to the writer and his family. They are a blot and stain on a decent community and are cancerous in effect. The person or persons responsible for these rumors seem to have one ambition, and that, to make the City of Arlington the Gossip Center of the Southwest. If this condition continues to flourish, then it will not be long until the cancer has eaten everything except the bones and no one will care to live in such a community. (continued on page 5)

News from Arlington Historical Society JUNE/JULY 2015

P. 5

1940 Arlington Citizen had enough (from p. 4) A good many of my friends in Arlington have come to me with these rumors and I have told them briefly of the incident mentioned above and they have laughed at the ridiculous tales and rumors that have spread all over Arlington and surrounding cities and towns. I have invited Mayor Altman, as well as some fifteen or twenty of our leading business men in Arlington, to investigate these rumors to the limit and if I am guilty of any of them, I stand ready to be convicted; if I am innocent, then I most certainly expect to be acquitted. I will not mention here any of the rumors that have been going around during the past several days as all of them would just about fill the Arlington Journal, and Mr. Perry would not have room for worthwhile news, but I sincerely invite any citizen or citizens of Arlington or elsewhere to feel free to come to my office or my residence and I will explain in detail 1947 photo of the complex. By this time the name had been changed to Southern Industrial Steel Company. View is looking northeast. To get just what it is all about. oriented, note the railroad cars on the south side of the complex. Now, with regard to my status as a loyal citizen of the United States: I was born on a farm in Ellis County in 1900. My father was German and my mother was Polish. They married and came to the United States in 1881 and settled in Chicago, Illinois. Shortly thereafter, my father took out naturalization papers and became a citizen of the United States. He reared five boys and one girl. One of my brothers served his country overseas in the First World War, and was wounded for life; the other brother was in New York ready to sail for Europe when the Armistice was signed. When I was two years old, my mother died and left my father with three or four rather small children to raise. This meant that each one had to look out for himself the best he could and make his or her own way in the world. I was forced to make my own living from the time I was eight years old. I completed my high school education and saved enough pennies working on my father’s farm and elsewhere to pay for a business education. As soon as my stenographic and bookkeeping course was finished, I began work for Mr. Frank E. Austin, President of Austin Brothers Steel Company in Dallas, the man by whom I am now employed. I have worked for Mr. Austin for the past twenty-one years in one capacity or another. If there is anyone who doubts my honesty and integrity let that person call on Mr. Austin at 621 Republic Bank Building in Dallas, and he will supply any information that might be desired. I have never spent a minute in jail nor have I had a fight with anyone; and incidentally, I pay my bills when due. I would be willing to lay down my life in defense of the United States. Like many other American citizens, I do not feel that we should, as a nation, defend our country by sending our expeditionary forces across to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Neither do I feel that we, as American citizens, should be too quick to accuse our neighbors of Un-American activities. Most certainly, we should not participate in idle gossip and cause rumors to be circulated that would be harmful and cause embarrassment to those unjustly accused. (continued on page 6)

News from Arlington Historical Society JUNE/JULY 2015

P. 6

1940 Arlington Citizen had enough (from p. 5) Again, in conclusion, if there is anyone in Arlington or elsewhere who doubts my honesty and sincerity, let that person or persons submit facts properly substantiated to back up his or her accusations. These facts, if any, should be reported to Mayor Altman or some committee for proper investigation. I would gladly appear before Mayor Altman or such a committee to face the accuser or accusers, which the case might be. Lies and rumors can do much harm and I sincerely hope that my case will have a lot to do with suppressing such idle gossip that has been running rampant in our fair city for a good many days, weeks, months, and even years. Other rumors regarding the Southern Ornamental Iron Works and its employee have been circulated at various times that had no truth or facts back of them and have been originated from sources unknown. In order to quiet any further rumors about my having been arrested and placed in jail on Friday of last week, I wish to inform my friends, my fellow employees, and others who might be interested, that my wife and I were attending the funeral of her mother, Mrs. Agnes E. Orr, in Texarkana, Texas, and I was not spending a quiet weekend in jail.

May God forgive those who have a guilty conscience and a “waggin tung.” R. L. Zerwer Vice-President & Gen. Manager Southern Ornamental Iron Works Note: This article is from "Death Notices and Miscellaneous News Items from the Arlington Journal, Volume 4 - 1934-40," compiled by W. E. Keller, and published by The Arlington Genealogical Society, 2004 .

Answers to “Match the Legendary Sports Local with the Venue” Legendary Local


See this page in Legendary Locals of Arlington *

A. Edward “Whitey” Appleton 6. First major league baseball player from Arlington (1915-16)


B. Jim McElreath

4. Arlington-born racecar driver for fifty years (1945-1995)


C. Nolan Ryan

5. Legendary Texas Rangers baseball pitcher who later was team owner (1989-2013)


D. Mayfield “Bull” Workman

2. Arlington High School’s coach when they won the State Championship in football (1951)


E. Claude “Chena” Gilstrap

1. Led Arlington State College Rebels to back-to-back Junior Rose Bowl championships (1956-57)


F. Dale Pointer

3. Arlington High School’s first African-American football player (1965)


* Legendary Locals of Arlington, by Lea Worcester and Evelyn Barker. Get your copy from the Fielder House for $20, and thereby help fund interior restoration of this historic Arlington home.