26–50

From Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore beginning their affair in Richardson to Robert Rauschenberg, Janis Joplin, and Jimmy Johnson graduating from high school in Port Arthur

26 | Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore begin their affair

721 South Central Expressway, Richardson | December 1978

Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore became acquainted in 1978 while playing volleyball at their small church in Lucas. Bored by their marriages, they met for trysts during Allan’s lunch breaks at the Como Motel, where they carried on a torrid affair over the next ten months. The room cost $23.50 plus a $2 deposit for the key (all in cash, all in advance). In Evidence of Love, Jim Atkinson and John Bloom capture the Como’s mood: “The sleaziness of the place was what made it so illicit—and so much fun. The room was little more than a cubicle, ten by ten at the most, done in a tattered harvest gold. The curtains were drooping and frayed. The shag carpet was matted like dirty hair.” Less than two years after the affair began, Candy killed Betty Gore, who was not only Allan’s wife but had become Candy’s friend, by striking her 41 times with an ax in the utility room of her home. Candy then steadied herself, drove home, cleaned up, and promptly left again—it was her turn to pick up her and Betty’s children from the church day care. When the crime was discovered and she was ultimately charged with murder, the jury found her not guilty by reason of self-defense. Today the area has boomed with a wave of new residents who don’t even know the story. The Como appears frozen in time, though a room now costs $45, which presumably includes the use of the empty pool. — BDS

27 | J. R. Duncan builds Southfork Ranch

3700 Hogge Road, Parker | 1970

The most recognizable residence in Texas is a white Colonial-style house that two J.R.s built. Constructed by wealthy homebuilder J. R. Duncan in 1970, the 5,500-square-foot Collin County manse, originally known as Duncan Acres, was just a quiet rancher’s retreat when a producer scouting locations for a new television show called Dallas knocked on the door. In 1978 another J.R.—of the fictional Ewing clan, America’s favorite boozy, greedy, love-to-hate TV family—moved in. Even though the palatial property was only used for exterior scenes (most of Dallas was shot in studios in California), hundreds of thousands of fans mobbed the Duncans’s homestead. Rechristened Southfork Ranch, it soon became the most visited destination in the city. Duncan and his family, fed up with the stampede of tourists, moved out in 1984. It’s been almost twenty years since the soapy melodrama came to an end, but Southfork, which is now an event and conference center, still draws 350,000 visitors each year. — JB

28 | First episode of Barney is taped

200 East Bethany Drive, Allen | October 1991

In a small, plain studio, Sheryl Leach watched as a grown man, dressed in a purple-and-green dinosaur costume, danced before a television camera and sang, “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family.” It was the taping of a new show called Barney & Friends. A few years earlier, Leach, a former elementary school teacher and marketing executive from the Dallas area, had decided to make home videos for preschoolers, using a snuggly teddy bear as the star—until she realized her son loved dinosaurs. So she and her partners, Kathy Parker and Dennis DeShazer, created Barney. A Connecticut public television employee rented one of their videos for his daughter and was so impressed that he arranged for the video to be turned into a TV series. Barney & Friends debuted on April 6, 1992, and to just about everyone’s disbelief, it wasn’t long before Barney became Elvis for toddlers—with a slight touch of Mr. Rogers. —S. HOLLANDSWORTH

29 | Larry McMurtry begins Horseman, Pass By

West Hickory between Avenue B and Avenue A, Denton | May 26, 1958

Long before Larry McMurtry became Texas’s foremost novelist, he was just a struggling young writer roaming the halls of the English department at North Texas State College, in Denton. During his senior year, the Archer City native destroyed 52 short stories he’d penned over the previous two years. Though frustrated, he wasn’t deterred. On May 26, 1958, the 21-year-old McMurtry started writing again before returning home for the summer to work on his father’s ranch. Building upon two short stories that he had saved—one about a herd of infected cattle, the other about the death of an old rancher—McMurtry began crafting the iconic narrative that would eventually become his first novel, Horseman, Pass By. McMurtry’s alma mater is now known as the University of North Texas, but the English department is still housed in the Auditorium Building. — JB

30 | Union Sympathizers are killed in the Great Hanging

East bank of Pecan Creek, Gainesville | October 1, 1862

The Civil War revealed the divisions in late-nineteenth-century Texas politics. Many Texans wanted nothing to do with the Confederate cause, but they were shouted down by slaveholders and secessionists. In parts of North Texas, the region closest to the Union lines, the commencement of Confederate conscription in the spring of 1862 prompted a backlash. There was talk of resisting the draft. The commander of the local militia responded by rounding up dozens of the agitators. An ad hoc jury tried and convicted seven, who were quickly hanged in a field by Pecan Creek, between Main and California streets, and the executions inspired a mob to hang fourteen other prisoners. Nineteen more were hanged the following week. The “Great Hanging” was accompanied by extrajudicial killings in nearby communities, which suppressed displays of Union sentiment but did little to remedy the underlying rifts. — HWB

31 | First Confederate monument is erected in Texas

110 West Houston, Sherman | April 13, 1896

Sacred to the memory of our Confederate dead, true patriots, they fought for home and country, for the holy principles of self government—the only true liberty. Their sublime self sacrifices and unsurpassed valor will teach future generations the lesson of high born patriotism, of devotion to duty, of exalted courage,

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