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

March 2011By Comments

26 | Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore begin their affair
721 South Central Expressway, Richardson | December 1978

27 | J.R. Duncan builds Southfork Ranch
3700 Hogge Road, Parker | 1970

28 | First episode of Barney is taped
200 East Bethany Drive, Allen | October 1991

29 | Larry McMurtry begins Horseman, Pass By
West Hickory between Avenue B and Avenue A, Denton | May 26, 1958

30 | Union Sympathizers are killed in the Great Hanging
East bank of Pecan Creek, Gainesville | October 1, 1862

31 | First Confederate monument is erected in Texas
110 West Houston, Sherman | April 13, 1896

32 | Sam Rayburn is buried in Willow Wild Cemetery
1220 West Seventh, Bonham | November 18, 1961

33 | Don Meredith beats the Winnsboro Red Raiders 47–8
1 Tiger Drive, Mount Vernon | October 8, 1954

34 | The Phantom Killer attacks
Richmond and Cowhorn Creek Road, Texarkana | February 22, 1946

35 | Scott Joplin gets free music lessons
831 Laurel, Texarkana | 1878

36 | Confederate Missouri comes to Texas
Corner of Crockett and Bolivar, Marshall | November 1863

37 | George Foreman trains to reclaim title
Along Blocker Road, Elysian Fields | January 1987

38 | Forest of derricks leads to martial law
Corner of Main and Commerce, Kilgore | 1931

Photo by AP

The first real indication of the massive oil field that lay beneath East Texas came in 1930, when Dad Joiner struck oil with his Daisy Bradford No. 3 well. Over the next year, as more discoveries confirmed just how spectacular a play it was, speculators, investors, and drillers flocked to the area. In one infamous section near downtown Kilgore known as the World’s Richest Acre, no fewer than 44 wells were spudded. Eventually, the pressure driving the oil to the surface began to fall dangerously low; meanwhile, so much crude had been taken out that the barrel price plummeted to 13 cents. Governor Ross Sterling summoned a special session of the Legislature to cap production, but a federal court intervened, so the governor declared martial law. Production finally resumed at a more measured pace, under the watchful eye of Texas Ranger Manuel Gonzaullas (“El Lobo Solo”). When the federal courts again stepped in, saying that the governor’s closure was illegal, the oversight of mineral production in Texas was given to the state’s Railroad Commission, which effectively set global oil prices for the next forty years. —HWB

39 | Junior-senior high school explodes
10705 South Main, New London | March 18, 1937

40 | Earl Campbell switches to offense
1120 N. Northwest Loop 323, Tyler | August 1973

41 | The hamburger is invented
115 Tyler, Athens | Late 1880’s

42 | Columbia falls to Earth
215 East Main, Nacogdoches | February 1, 2003

Photo by O. Rufus Lovett

It had been seventeen years since the Challenger disaster when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. Debris rained down over 28,000 square miles in a line that extended roughly east-southeast from northern Navarro County, across the southern edge of Toledo Bend, and into Louisiana. But the place that became the focus was Nacogdoches, where more than 1,200 fragments landed in playgrounds and pastures and lawns. One large piece fell to earth behind the Commercial Bank of Texas on the lot between Main and East Hospital streets, blowing open the doors of the building. A bronze medallion not far from the bank’s drive-through window now marks the spot where the great hopes of the shuttle program once again collided with the devastating realities of tragedy and loss. —BDS

43 | Stephen F. Austin enters Texas
Texas Highway 21 and the Sabine River, near Milam

44 | Charlie Wilson dies
1201 West Frank Avenue, Lufkin | February 10, 2010

45 | Texas carries out the first execution by electric chair
Huntsville Unit, Huntsville | February 8, 1924

Photo by AP

Prior to 1924, executions in Texas were carried out—hanging was the usual method—by individual counties. But in 1923 the Legislature authorized the use of the electric chair and ordered that all executions take place at the penitentiary in Huntsville, also known as the Walls Unit for its tall walls of red brick. A brand-new, prisoner-built electric chair (later known as Old Sparky) was installed in an area of the unit located off what is now the infirmary, and on February 8 a man named Charles Reynolds, from Red River County, was the first to be put to death. That same day, Ewell Morris, George Washington, Mack Mathews, and Melvin Johnson would be electrocuted as well. (These first five also represent the most executions carried out by the state in a single day.) Old Sparky was in commission for forty years, until 1964, when Joseph Johnson of Harris County became the last man executed in Texas with the electric chair. Starting with Reynolds, Texas has put a total of 825 individuals to death, hundreds more than any other state. And though the method has changed (lethal injections began in 1982), all of them have drawn their last breaths at the Walls Unit. —DC

46 | James Byrd Jr. is dragged to his death
Along Huff Creek Road, Jasper | June 7, 1998

47 | SMU recruits Jerry Levias
2720 Glenwood, Beaumont | April 1965

48 | Babe Didrikson practices for the Olympics
850 Doucette, Beaumont | 1928

49 | The Lucas Gusher erupts
Approximately one mile south of Texas Highway 69, just west of Spur 93; Beaumont | January 10, 1901

50 | Robert Rauschenberg, Janis Joplin, and Jimmy Johnson graduate from Thomas Jefferson High School
2200 Jefferson Drive, Port Arthur | May 1943, 1960, and 1961, respectively


Read the entire story of 175 moments and places on our list.

To visit every place on our list—or tell us what we missed—go to our Terquasquicentennial Blog.

Check out videos from six locations, including Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

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