In the unsettled land west of Fort Griffin in Shackelford County, the first white man to settle in the area around Lueders was Indian Agent, Jesse Stem. In 1852 he established a farm on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River about six miles downstream from present day Lueders. He made the first attempt at agriculture in 1853 with crops of corn and oats. In February 1854, he was killed by renegade Kickapoo Indians.
There were early ranches around Fort Phantom Hill in southeast Jones County, but Indian raids during the Civil War forced the frontier back east, and the area was not settled for another 15 years.
Then in 1877, M. McDaniel settled in the area. Two years later, in 1879, he was joined by August Lieb, who established a home in western Shackelford County, about one mile east of present day Lueders. Lieb set to work clearing land and preparing for his future existence.
Meanwhile to the south of Lieb's property, Thomas O. King (1848-1897) found a stone house on the banks of a creek later called Chimney Creek. He didn't know who built the house, but King added a room and called it his home.
At about the same time, two other men, Captain S. O. Larche and A. D. Marcup, arrived in the area. Captain Larche settled down the Clear Fork River some few miles from the Lieb home.
Captain Larche also built a home on the banks of what is now called Swenson's Jog. The same year, Marcup built a stone house four miles east of the site of Lueders. All four men were ranchers and cattle were their source of livelihood.
It was some three years later, in 1882, that Eric P. and Swen Albin Swenson, sons of Swante Magnus Swenson (1816-1896), assumed operation of the vast holdings of their father in the area north and west of the four early settlers. Carl Gustaf (Collie) Seth (1858-1938) managed the ranch for twenty-six long years. The first wire fence in the area was put up by the Swenson Enterprise in 1885.
The land south of present day Lueders was called B. D. Ranch. The area east was W.O. Pasture and, to the west, was open country.
As the years passed, the settlers turned to farming on a small scale. Lieb was one of the first to clear an area for farming. Then in 1889, William J. Herrington (1852-1932) and E. M. Douthit (1863-1919) arrived in the area. These early settlers started farms with cotton and feed as their main crops. Distant markets were only one difficulty facing the pioneer farmers. They hauled their cotton into Albany and Abilene, both more than 20 miles away. Also about once a week they rode into Albany or Abilene for their mail.
A group of men: W. J. Herrington, Toney Berryhill, Henry Lieb, A. J. Breland, J. M. Roberts, and E. M. Douthit went to Abilene for lumber and built a school house. This was about 1895 and before the town of Lueders existed. The school was called Arlington School and was near where the present school is. Another room was added to the building in 1903. Miss Ida Crow was the first teacher and Herrington was the trustee. Soon, the need for an even larger school was being felt. A handsome, two-storied, hand-chiseled stone school was built in 1911. Later, Miss Crow taught at Post Oak.
The following explanation of how the town name of "Lueders" came about was found in the papers of Benjamin Ulysses Fox.
During the year 1844, B. U. Fox's grandfather, Adolphus Fuchs, then pastor of a church in Koelzow, Mecklenburge, Germany, decided to move to Texas. A friend of his who was Burgermeister of Marlow, a nearby town, went to him and said, "I have some land deeds which were allotted to my brother Frederick Lueders, who died on the battlefield of San Jacinto in Texas. I do not ever expect to make use of this property, so if you will accept them, you are welcome to them." Adolphus Fuchs accepted them.
The Webb and Hill Land and Cattle Company was instrumental in getting the Texas Central Railroad right of way extended from Albany to Stamford. Webb and Hill were hired to secure the necessary rights-of-way through Shackelford and Jones Counties. Carl Goethe, of Cypress Mills, Texas, wouldn't grant an easement to Texas Central unless the railroad agreed to build a station on his property. Texas Central Railroad agreed to his demands, primarily because of the excellent river crossing nearby, and thus Lueders came about. One of the tracts of land was located in Jones County on the Clear Fork of the Brazos, and the town, just west of the Clear Fork, which was built sometime in the late 1890s, was named Lueders; it being on the Frederick Lueders tract. Sam Webb is given credit for naming the town of Lueders. The firm of Webb and Hill bought the property from Carl Goethe (1835-1912) and Wilhelm George Fuchs (1838-1903) and laid out the town of Lueders. W. G. Fuchs was a son of Adolphus Fuchs and was related to Carl Goethe.
It was a thriving town, once having a population of over 700. In the 1890s more men poured into the area to make their homes, wire fences were stretched, and a school was built for their children.
The Texas Central Railroad came into the area at the beginning of the century. The first train came through Lueders on February 11, 1900. At one point there were two trains daily in each direction. With the railroad came stores, doctors, stone quarries, a lumber yard, and of course a post office.
The first postmaster was Richard L. Newman, appointed on May 4, 1900. The Lueders post office has been selling money orders since 1902. John Hill Sharbutt (1879-1971) was appointed postmaster February 14, 1920. Lucion Wilhite was postmaster in the 40s and 50s. Erma Reves took the job about 1959. Carl Thornton was Rural Route One carrier and J. C. Eubanks, Sr. was Route Two carrier. R. C. Winkles took over on Route Two and Dixie Bennett took over for Route One. Mary Ann Brown was a postal clerk from 1943 to 1956.
James H. Vaughn was an early settler in the Lueders area. He and his son George helped clear the main street of Lueders of scrub brush and trees. George Vaughn was a cobbler and had a shoe shop in Lueders for about 40 years. His shoe shop was located just south of the Hocus Pocus building. George Vaughn died in 1942.
J. P. Morris (1845-1920) had the first grocery store in Lueders.
Hugh William Ham (1857-1944) came from Cisco to open the first general store in 1900.
The first lumber yard was built by D. J. Olinger (1859-1925). R. B. Spencer and Company operated the lumber yard after Olinger. The Rockwell Brothers chain took over the lumber business in 1907 and moved it to its final location.
Bryant-Link, a chain of hardware stores which had its inception in Anson in 1884, built the first stone business house in Lueders in the spring of 1906. It burned down in 1923. In 1925, Lee Cauthen and C. G. Seth built a combination grocery store-service station of stone on the same location where the Bryant-Link building had stood.
Among the doctors Lueders had were: G. C. Dial (1832-1917), I. Z. Brown (1865-1930), E. Lee Loudder (1874-1931), Newton F. McDonald (1875-1944). Robert Dunlap (1880-1932), Glenwood E. Merrill, C. W. Williams, and S. W. Bailey. They weren't all there at the same time. Dr. Dial also had the first drug store. Dr. Loudder's wife, Vada Loudder, gave piano lesson before he died in 1931. After he died she continued living in Lueders and continued to give piano lessons, at least until the 50s. Dr. Brown had an office in a small brick building, just about where Jack Felts later had a service station. Dr. Bailey had an office in Shipp's Drug Store, but by 1941, he had an office in Abilene. Dr. McDonald moved to Stamford. Dr. Merrill was in Lueders in the late 30s; his office was also in the back of Shipp's Drug Store. He moved to San Angelo about 39 or 40 and died in April 1942. Dr. Williams was practicing medicine in Lueders in 1944. He lived right across from Rockwell Bros. Lumber Company and had an office in Williams Drug Store. He also had an office in Hamlin, and he was killed in an automobile accident while driving from Hamlin to Lueders. He was the last doctor Lueders had.
The first Lueders Cemetery was located about one-half mile northeast of where the Methodist church is now. Limestone layers here made it difficult to dig graves; therefore, a new site was chosen. Land for the new Lueders Cemetery, also known as the Clear Fork Cemetery, was donated by John M. Roberts (1849 - 1942) and Tom King's son, Clark Henry King (1876-??), of the King Ranch. The cemetery is located about three miles southeast of Lueders on the Jones/Shackelford Counties line. The earliest known permanent grave marker dates back to 1907 but there are probably earlier markers that are no longer readable.
The old Lueders Cemetery was abandoned and not fenced or kept up. The tombstones and markers were either vandalized or destroyed by grazing cattle. Unfortunately there are no records of those buried there.
The first stone quarry was opened in 1901 by Adolph C. Fox, another grandson of Adolphus Fuchs and a brother of F. U. Fox. A. C. Fox managed the quarry, and B. U. Box had a grocery store where the quarry workers could buy groceries on credit. Wagons, heavily loaded with stone, could be seen throughout the surrounding territory. Slabs of limestone would also be shipped by rail. Lueders limestone was rated as the second best in the entire country and was very much in demand.
By 1912 there were three quarries in Lueders. Lueders limestone can be seen all over this country. Many colleges and universities such as Texas Tech, SMU, TCU, and the University of Texas have used Lueders limestone for construction. In Tulsa, Oklahoma there is a carving of the Last Supper constructed from Lueders Limestone. Former Governor John Connally's ranch house is built of the stone. Then in 1923 another deposit of limestone was discovered about one mile north of Lueders. President George W. Bush's ranch home in Crawford, Texas is also built of Lueders stone.
The first cotton gin in Lueders was built in 1905 by E. G. Ivy (1873-1930). Later Lueders boasted of three cotton gins. One of the gins was an all electric one run by Guy Douthit. Another gin was the Farmers Co-Op Gin which was probably the last one to close. In the 30s to 50s, the cotton was ginned and then all the gins moved their bales to the "Cotton Yard" that was just south of the refinery. In the Cotton Yard, the "Cotton Weigher" would weigh and grade the cotton by taking a sample from the bales. The Cotton Weigher was an elected official. Austin Ham was a Cotton Weigher for a number of years in the late 30s and early 40s. The average weight of a "ginned" bale was around 500 pounds. It would take an average weight of 2000 pounds of un-ginned cotton to produce this. Buyers would then inspect and buy the cotton they were interested in. The purchased cotton was then moved to the cotton wharf at the railroad depot. It was then shipped out to the various cotton mills the buyers worked for.
At one time Lueders had two drug stores, two dry goods stores, and a printing office where a weekly newspaper, The Lueders Vanguard, was published. The paper was owned by Col. Richard H. McCarty, who had moved his "old" printing press from Albany. Col. McCarty had started the paper prior to 1908. He sold Lueders Vanguard to Tom Smart, who along with his brother, Earnest, operated it several years before disposing of it to enter the drug business. Later newspapers were the Two County News, Leader, and Lueders Messenger which was founded in 1923. The publisher was Frank H. Herrick. The editor in July, 1924 was Gertrude Sharbutt. By August, 1924, the Lueders Messenger had closed and Mr. Herrick had moved his family and paper machinery to Albany. None of these later newspapers lasted more than a few years each before folding. The last newspaper in Lueders was probably The Lueders News. It was published in the late 30s and early 40s by Homer Hutto.
Around 1920, $250,000 was spent on the Clear Fork of the Brazos at Lueders in building a dam and spillway for nearby Stamford for their water supply. The name of the lake formed by the dam is Lake Penick. It was named for Colonel Robert Lee Penick (1860-1944), one of the most interesting characters in the history of both Lueders and Stamford. The Stamford News stated in 1924 that the entire bond package for the construction of the project was over $500,000. Lueders shared water in the project until Lake Stamford was built in the 1950s and then the water flowed the other way in the pipeline. There are several creeks that flow into the Clear Fork near Lueders: Post Oak Creek, Cottonwood Creek, California Creek, Deadman's Creek, Chimney Creek, Hog Creek, Flatrock Creek, and Elm Creek. An overflow (flood) of the Clear Fork in September, 1932 damaged some of the low-lying area around Lueders. Colonel Penick and his daughter Lilias had to be rescued from their summer cottage on the western shores of the lake. The Lueders "Riverside Park", which is located on the Clear Fork River, was just about wiped out during the flooding. The acreage for the Lueders Park was given to the city of Lueders by Webb and Hill.
The Baptist Encampment may have been established prior to 1900. It was originally called "West Texas Union" and then became known as the "Lueders Baptist Encampment." It was some of the area damaged by the 1932 flood. It's now known as "Big Country Baptist Assembly."
Again in 1957, the Clear Fork flooded. Robert Sanders rescued Brother Littleton and his wife from the Baptist Encampment by boat. Brother Littleton was the Encampment Manager at the time. The first high school graduating class from Lueders was in 1912. The school that was built in 1911 burned down one spring night in 1935. The auditorium was saved with minor damage. The auditorium had been built in the 1920s and served the community for such things as musicals and plays.
Construction of the new school was begun in the spring of 1935 and was completed in the fall. In the meantime, school was held in the churches and the auditorium.
In Texas during the late 1800s and early 1900s, public education was a family affair. Rural families concerned about their children's educations got landowners to donate plots of land. Building sites secured, farmers and ranchers then united their efforts and built one-room school houses.
No construction bonds were issued. No Texas Education Agency reviewed bidding procedures. Families saw a need and worked together to build schools and hire teachers.
The Gilmer - Aiken Act of 1949 required consolidations of school districts throughout the state.
The first school buses were purchased in 1935. The bodies of the buses were mostly made of wood. Before the buses, country students were on their own for getting to school. With the change in the Texas School Rule that there had to be a school within walking distance of every child and the advent of school buses, area schools began to consolidate with Lueders beginning with Bumpass Hill in 1935, followed by Hastings in 1946, Berryhill and Nugent in 1950 and Swenson in 1952. Bumpass Hill was located about five miles southwest of Lueders and Hastings was about three miles south of Berryhill. Although this was the formal consolidation, the high school students had been transferring to Lueders since 1935. Some students from Rock Dale and Willow Creek had also transferred into Lueders. The Post Oak School consolidated with Albany instead of Lueders. The era of the small schools had come to an end. The size of the schools that consolidated with Lueders varied; in 1938 Berryhill had 39 pupils and three teachers. Nugent was probably the largest; it had six rooms and an auditorium. The Nugent School was built in 1922. In the mid 50s Slim Willet and other county music performers still held shows in the auditorium. The Nugent School had been called Green Valley until it had consolidated with The Rising Sun School a few miles east of Nugent. There had also been an earlier school called the King School about three miles north of Rising Sun.
Play Day was started in Lueders about 1933; some say because of the large absenteeism with students playing hooky on April Fools Day. Whatever the reason, it became an annual event with a large participation by the community. The school buses would run and the students would just go directly to playing or to different races and games. Some of the merchants would donate prizes to be awarded to winners. Parades were held several years with floats on Main Street. The last Play Day was April 1, 1953. Lueders received a lot of complaints from area schools, whose students would play hooky and attend Lueders Play Day and compete in the various events, but Play Day probably ceased because of changes in Texas school rules.
The new elementary wing and the lunch room/auditorium were completed in time for the 1952/53 school year. Mrs. Ina Moorehead and Mrs. Nollie Weeks Lawrence Burton cooked for many years in the Lueders cafeteria.
There were three bus routes during the 1950s: Berryhill, driver was Elmer Cox; Nugent, driver was Otho T. Burton; and the West route, driver was Burk Vaughan.
It seems like Charlie Helmer was the school janitor forever but it was only 25 or 30 years. Charlie was already 58 years old when he started working as the janitor/custodian in 1935. He served in that capacity until about 1961. When the weather was cold, Charlie would come to school and light the gas radiators that were in each room so that the rooms would be warm when the students arrived. He would go back home, sleep a few hours, and then go back and open up the school before anyone else arrived. Teachers would come and teachers would go, but Charlie was a constant fixture for the students that attended Lueders Schools. He took pride in performing his job. The Lueders School Annual of 1957 was dedicated to "Mr. Charlie Helmer." Charlie died in 1963.
The school colors for Lueders were black and gold. It's not sure when they were adopted but it was prior to the 1930s. The school mascot was the "Pirate" and the sports teams were called "The Lueders Pirates." The school song was adopted in 1944/45 and the melody and some of the words were based on Cornell University's "Far Above Cayuga's Waters." It's generally agreed that Frankie Parsons, a young teacher from Ranger Junior College, wrote the words.
C. O. Bragg replaced Claude T. Berkman (1909-2001) as superintendent. W. T. (Troy) Denham arrived in Lueders in 1950 and then in 1951 became superintendent. Mr. Denham was replaced in 1958 by Samuel Worthham Crow.
Some of the high school teachers in the mid 50s were: Mrs. Cowger, English; Mrs. Pat Denham, Bookkeeping; T. A. Sharp, History and Science; L.B. Howard, Math; John Hayton, Texas History and Civics; Mrs. Mary Varley, Homemaking (her husband Jesse was grade school principal); Truman W. Kidwell, Vocational Agriculture; and Bill Plyant, Vocational Agriculture. Bill Plyant replaced T. W. Kidwell.
The class of 51 was the first 12 year graduating class. Before that students had gone 11 years and prior to that, 10 years to graduate.
Mrs. Maurese Vinson's first-grade class in 1953 had 54 students in it, all in the same room. The baby boom had struck Lueders!
Some of the high school coaches at Lueders during the 1950s were: Grady Baker, 50/51 to 51/52; Leo B. (Red) Howard, 52/53 to 55/56; Paul Mosley, 56/57 to 57/58 and John Hayton, 58/59 to ??. Howard's football record in 1952 was 0 and 10, 1953 was 2 and 8, 1954 was 6 and 4 and 1955 was 9 and 1. Mosley's record in 1956 was 0 and 10. The last year Lueders played 11 man football was 1956. By the end of the season they only had 13 players. In some of the games, because of injuries, Lueders had less than 11 men on the field. In 1957 they switched to six-man and were pretty successful with it, winning district in 1958 and regional in both 1959 and '60. When they switched to six-man, they had a completely new set of opponents. The first couple of years this caused some confusion. The team was scheduled to play Gordon away. Because Gordon had no field lights, the game was to be played at nearby Strawn. The team and a lot of the town folks had driven over to Strawn; as they pulled up to the stadium they were surprised to find a game already in progress. They were a day early; Lueders and Gordon weren't set to play until the next night! For many years Stanley Vinson was the "Voice of the Pirates." The football games would be rebroadcast over Stamford's radio station, KDWT (1400), on Saturday mornings.
The field lights had been installed at the football field about 1946. Then in 1948, concrete bleachers were constructed for the home team on the east side of the field. About 1952 volunteers installed a low fence around the field made from steel cable that E. R. Smyth had donated from one of his pulling units. It was too worn to be used on his rigs but is still standing today.
About 1953 a baseball field was laid out just west of the football field. The backstop and fence were made mostly of used oilfield equipment. It was complete with dugouts and bleachers for the audience. They turned one row of lights around from the football field and installed some more for the outfield and you had nighttime softball. Softball was played several nights each week. There was no charge for attending but a collection was usually taken up to pay for the electricity. Bleachers were also erected on the visitors' side of the football field. The old quarter-mile track had been around the football field. A new quarter-mile track was graded around the softball field with railroad ties for the edges. While Howard was coaching at Lueders, he started the annual "Brazos Valley Relays" invitational track meet. The track meet was successful and continued on for a number of years. Lueders had a long-time reputation for producing fine track and field athletes. In 1936 Ray Rushing won state in the mile and later attended a national meet in Washington D.C. From 1953 until she graduated from Lueders in 1958, Rose Culver dominated the Abilene area in track and field. She won state several times in sprints and the long jump. She twice participated in national track meets. In 1961 the Lueders boys track team won the state track meet in Austin. Rex Garvin was a member of the '61 team and was later captain of the Baylor University track team.
The Lueders community was made up mostly of farms with a few ranches and oil fields thrown in. Cotton was king around Lueders. In earlier years Jones County had been the top cotton producing county in the state. During the 50s, if the crops were good, Lueders would turn out school or at least the afternoons so students could help pick the cotton. If school hadn't been turned out, some of the farmers would have kept their kids out anyway.
Joe Carroll Hester (1900-2004) moved from Iowa Park to Lueders to establish a refinery about 1932. It was first called Freeman Hampton Oil Refinery and then changed to Paragon Oil Refinery. Paragon later became associated with Texaco. The Lueders refinery was changed to the Panhandle Refinery during the 30s. It was a 300 barrel plant and had 11 storage tanks. J. C. Hester was listed as president, J. C. Hines was vice-president, and J. H. Freeman was secretary-treasurer. Others, who moved from Iowa Park to work at the refinery, were J. W. Beasley, J. E. Moreland, Ben Modgling, and E. E. Apple. Charlie Burns was the superintendent. In November, 1937, Panhandle spent $80,000 improving the refinery and making of it a cracking plant with a capacity of 1,000 barrels per day. The improvements made the refinery a $100,000 plant and increased the number of employees by fifty percent. The refinery burned down once during the war years (about 1942). In 1950, Panhandle Oil Refinery in Lueders was sold to Ray McGlothlin and became Lueders Refinery and Petroleum Products Inc. When the refinery sold, some of the Panhandle employees moved back to the Wichita Falls area to work for Panhandle Oil there. Some of these employees were Lon Backus, Silas (Sy) Verble, Charles Reed, Gordon Helmer, Clyde (Jack) Counts, Fred Hines and Ben Modgling. Charlie Burns retired. Panhandle Oil later became Fina Oil. Carroll Hester continued to work at the refinery after it was sold. Carroll, his wife Connie, and daughter Carolyn lived in Lueders until the mid 50s when they moved back to Iowa Park. Among the products the refinery produced were naphtha, regular and hi-test gasoline, and diesel fuel. The refinery got a lot of its crude oil through its four-mile pipeline to Bluff Creek, four miles to the east. They also bought some of their crude oil from local leases and it was trucked in. Some of the local pools were the Ivy, Jennings, Martin, and Cook. Their finished product was shipped out in tanker trucks. They later produced jet fuel for Dyess Air Force Base.
Ray McGlothlin and Sons sold the refinery to Art Tucker in December of 1958. The refinery operated twenty-four hours a day by utilizing three shifts of men. Over the years the refinery had hundreds of employees. J. J. (Skinny) Bledsoe was manager and the senior man present for a number of years, as Ray McGlothlin did not live in Lueders. Bert Foster was office manager. Bob Counts was superintendent. Arlie Fuqua and Claude Wills were on operating teams. Adolph Olson and Shad Beal worked as chemists in the lab. Harold Backus was a boiler operator. Henry Burkman was a plant operator. Clyde Presley, Jessie Ray Ford, Doyle (Goose) Dillard, and Vernon Click were on operating teams. Doc Williams, Clifford Cowan, Carroll Wayne Mullins, and Buck Newsom were on the loading docks. Biggon Wills, Floyd Shott, Arvil Barnes, Kenneth Stanford, Glenn Commons, and Jimmy Lackey were yard crew. Buddy Felts was a driver. Ethel Lunn Bounds worked in the office from 1955 until 1970. Other office employees were Donald Ray Kelley, Birdie Swenson Daniels, Christine Purcell Hanson, Karolyn Oman, and John Venable. Some other employees were Cleo (Cherry) Burkman, L. E. Wilhite, Frank Koch, Ernest Weeks, Harry Prince, and Thomas Murray. Some of the local teachers and college students would work at the refinery during summer months. The refinery closed about 1970. A lot of the Lueders employees went on to work at the new Debco Refinery on the Anson highway, just north of Abilene. Debco changed to Pride Refinery later.
Rueben Nance had an ice house on the north side of Main Street where the Winkles Grocery Store was later. The ice was made in Stamford, and they had a refrigerator facility to keep it cool in Lueders. Howard Latimer delivered ice for Reuben Nance during the 30s. The advent of home refrigerators put the ice house out of business.
Lueders was incorporated in 1948. The first mayor was Homer Thomas. One of the first things the city did was to purchase a new fire truck at a cost of about $6000. Everyone was quite proud of the fire truck, and the Lueders Volunteer Fire Department was organized. The first house to catch fire after that was the old Dunlap house that the Jake Register family was living in. The Register family consisted of Jake, his wife Ollie, daughter Patty Ann, and sons Donnie J. and Mel. It was on the street diagonally across from Rockwell Bros. Lumber Company. The fire truck and volunteers rushed to the fire, and then they couldn't get the equipment to pump water. Every time they started the pump, the engine would die. They kept trying to get it to pump water; meanwhile, the house burned to the ground. Afterwards, they found a closed valve that should have been open. It was the talk of the town for awhile.
Some of the mayors that followed Homer Thomas (1895-1982) were Sam M. Pliler 1902-1976), Robert Counts (1911-1985), J. L. Hart, Jr., Morris Hill, Glenn Odell (1900-1978), William E. (Buster) Winkles (1909-1974), and Delbert Moore (1911-1993).
Now that Lueders was a city, they had to provide for the upkeep of the city streets, instead of the county doing it. The city purchased a road grader but had trouble finding someone to operate it. It became kind of a community grader, and various people would take turns running it.
The Hocus Pocus Building, a two-storied stone building that stuck out in the street, was built about 1915 and got its name from The Hocus Pocus Grocery Store that was once in the building. This was a chain of grocery stores. After the store closed, the sign stayed on the building a long while and the name stuck. It was built by John Nelson Loop (1854-1938) and was also known as the Loop Building. Hiram Olson later had a grocery store in the building. Hiram Olson also had an appliance store in the same location. During the 30s there was a drug store on the lower north end of the building. People would drive up, honk, and get curbside service from their cars. Anything they sold could be delivered to your car. There was a hotel on the second floor. Smokie Flemings owned the hotel for awhile. A feed store was on the south end of the lower floor. The building was probably torn down in the late 60s, when the state condemned the property, so that the highway could be widened.
The Winkles Hotel, built by Houston Ham about 1928, was two blocks north from the corner where the Hocus Pocus Building was. It was more of a rooming house.
Lueders had a movie house that burned during the 1930s. It had been located just south of the Hocus Pocus Building. Tom Putnam was either the owner of or involved with this theater. The concrete foundation can still be seen. Arthur (Art) Names had a tent show that traveled around northern Texas, performing plays that Art had written. Art's ex wife, Maurine, their three sons, and her new husband were in his plays. Then about 1944 Art set his tent up permanently in a vacant lot on the north side of Main Street in Lueders where he would show recent films and between features would still perform some of his live act. His son Jean was a clown. Art died in 1945 and his twin sons, Jean and Jack, stayed on in Lueders, showing movies in the tent and attending high school. Jean married Beverly Jo Delwaide of Lueders.
A new movie house was built about 1947. The name of the new business was the Texas Theater. The Texas Theatre was operated by the Virgil Elmer Davis (1900-1964) family. It was a family operation; his son, Horis, would run the projector. They had speakers mounted on a car roof and would drive down the street playing music and announcing what movies were playing. The Texas Theater featured cash "Hot Seat" drawings on weekends. Horis Davis married Ollie Petty of Lueders. About 1949, the Davis family sold out to a Mr. Blaylock and moved to Moran to reopen a theatre there. The Texas Theater burned down in 1950. After the theater burned, the closest movies were in Stamford where you had your choice of the Grand Theater, Palace Theatre (a few doors west of the Grand), State Theater, or the H and H Drive In.
Roberts Sanders ended up with the property where the Texas Theater had been. The property was adjacent to his garage and he installed a car wash there.
Most people have heard the saying, "No dancin' in Anson." Well, there wasn't any dancing in Lueders either, but it was only a short drive to one of the best dance halls in the area. Going east out of Lueders, Bud Martin's was on the left just as you reached the Clear Fork River. They had a large, hardwood dance floor that good dancers loved. Bud Martin's was family oriented. They had a restaurant in the front of the rock building and the dance hall was towards the rear. There was a platform for the band in the dance hall and they also had a large fireplace. The Martin family lived in the second floor of an adjacent building. Bud Martin's heyday was the 1930s and '40s, but they were still having dances there with good bands in the early '50s. Bud Martin died in 1962. The property is now owned by the Baptist Encampment. Recently, the encampment caretaker lives where the Martin family used to live.
There was square dancing for awhile at the American Legion Hall about 1950 but it was only for a year or so.
About 1946, there was a tent skating rink set up about a block east of the refinery on the north side of Main Street. It's not known how long they stayed in Lueders, but eventually, they moved on to other towns. For a year or two, around 1950, there was a skating rink on the south side of the main street going east out of Lueders. It was just about opposite where the American Legion Hall is now. This skating rink was operated by a couple of the Schooler brothers. A new skating rink, Skateland Rink, was opened in the mid 50s, about three blocks west of the school. It was operated by L. E. Wilhite. They would have a "male only" period where the skating got pretty rough. After a skater broke his leg, Coach Howard issued a ruling that no football players would skate at the rink.
There were two barbers. John Scott's shop was on the north side of Main Street. John's son cut hair with him. Oscar B. Diggs' shop was on the south side. Diggs coached Little League teams during the late 50s. The first Little League team in Lueders was in 1956, complete with uniforms that had sponsors on the back. Diggs had earlier teams that he had coached that were called "Diggs' Dodgers." After Diggs and Scott closed, there was another barber in town called Midnight Barbers. It was run by James Whitehorn. His shop moved around a bit, first in Diggs' old place and then in a nice limestone building across from Cap Terry's. He could be found in his shop late hours, hence the name. For the ladies there was Ruth's Beauty Shop and Lake View Beauty Shop which was operated by Pearl Ham.
During the fifties there were basically three churches in Lueders: the Baptist Church, Revs. Melvin Byrd (Dec 1944-Mar 1951) , Buren Higdon (Apr 1951-Jul 1952), C. W. Hedreck (Oct 1952-Sep 1954), Miles B. Hayes (interim),Gene McCombs (Aug 1955-1958) and Oscar Fannin (Aug 1958-1964); Church of Christ, Bros. Bob Wilkerson (late 1940s to early 1950s); Harold Mobley (mid 1950s) and Dwight Holland (late 1950s); and Methodist Church, Revs. Oran D. Smith (about 1948-1952) and then C. B. Melton (1952-1957).
The Methodist church was the first church constructed in Lueders although there had been worship services for a number of years in the schoolhouse and people's homes. The trustees of the first church, built in 1908, were Henry Lieb, E. M. Douthit and D. J. Olinger. In 1941 the church was torn down and moved to its present location. The bell at the Methodist Church is the one that was originally at the Post Oak School. Joe Delwaide did most of the masonry work on the Methodist church.
The Baptist church was completed in 1909 and was remodeled and enlarged in 1936. Prior to 1948, when they got a baptistery, the Baptist Church conducted baptisms in the Clear Fork River. Most were baptized at the encampment grounds or Lieb's Crossing, north of the encampment.
The land for the Church of Christ was donated by Webb and Hill and the church was built in 1909. The congregation built a new structure of rock veneer at its present location in 1945. In 1953, a new building was raised near the parsonage for study rooms, a library, and entertainment.
Of course, the Ericksdahl community had the Bethel Lutheran Church with Dr. Hugo B. Haterius as pastor from 1919 to 1968. Nugent also had three churches.
Dave Reves was sheriff of Jones County, but the closest thing to law that Lueders had was a night watchman. Even before Lueders was incorporated they had a night watchman. Merchants would pitch in to pay his salary. Collie B. Walls (1884-1935) was one of the earlier night watchmen. Collie was working the night he died, December 6, 1935. George Newell was night watchman probably from the late 30s to late 50s. The jail was quite small, built of stone and located just west of White's Texaco Station. About 1952, a new city hall and annex was constructed and a jail was included in one of the rooms. Oil field sucker rods were welded to make the cage and they used the door from the old jail. High school students, Carol Felts and Everett Ray Smyth, were admiring the new jail one evening and George locked the door on them, turned out the lights and left. Well, Carol and Everett Ray managed to squeeze through the bars, crawl out a window and beat George back to his car. This caused them to weld some smaller rods between the larger ones to prevent a real prisoner from escaping. Marie Watkins recalls George Newell, who was her grandfather, doing the same lockup trick on her and some girl friends one night. He let them sit in the dark awhile before buying them some ice cream and turning them loose. According to Dave Reves, over the years there were several "real" prisoners in the jail. Pop McBride (Ruth Foster's dad) replaced George Newell as night watchman. Dave Reves was sheriff sixteen years, from 1953 through 1968.
You could usually find the night watchman somewhere on Main Street. He would open up Shipp's Drug Store at night so you could buy a frozen treat from the freezer box and you would just put your money in a small box there. Shipp's Drug Store would fill your prescription and maybe offer you some advice on what medicine to take. There was usually a pin-ball machine against the back wall. After Lueders no longer had a doctor, O. T. Shipp would sometimes give simple injections (such as penicillin) and treat and bandage small wounds for local people. Of course, some of the people couldn't afford a doctor. He was later chastised by officials for "practicing medicine without a license." Owen Twayne Shipp died in 1973.
The best place, miles around, for fountain drinks was Smart's Drug Store. Erna and Mary Smart were usually behind the counter. A lot of kids spent all of their spare spending money on root beer floats and other exotic drinks. Their regular drinks were five and ten cents. For a quarter they would make you a extra-large cherry limeade in a milkshake container. Smart's Drug Store also served as the bus stop and early morning buses would drop off the Fort Worth Star Telegram and the Abilene Reporter News.
In the 30s, the Fort Worth Star Telegram was brought into town with a car pulling a trailer loaded with newspapers, headed west.
Before it was Smart's Drug Store, N. I. (Doc) and Blanche Williams had a drug store in the same location. Doc was a pharmacist. Doc's father was C. W. Williams, MD; Dr. Williams had his doctor's office inside the drug store.
In a pinch you could buy gasoline directly from the refinery at night. During regular hours you had your choice of Cap & Myrtle Terry's Gulf Station, White's Auto Supply & Texaco Service, Jack Felt's Station, Robert Sanders' Garage and Station, Mitcham's Station Grocery and Market, or O. B. West Grocery and Station and Modern Courts.
Over the years, the Lueders motel was operated by several groups of people. One of the more colorful was Herbert Newberry who operated the combination motel/filling station/convenience store from the late 40s to the early 50s. It was rumored that while you were filling your vehicle with gas, you could also get a bottle of bootleg whiskey, and pay for them both at the same time. Mr. Newberry's enterprise was successful enough that he was able to go up to Detroit and buy a new 49 Cadillac at the factory. The Newberrys moved back to California in the early 50s.
For your banking needs, there was the Farmers State Bank, which had been the Lueders State Bank. Some of the bank presidents were: Rex Ford, Wayne Smith, O'Neal Parker, Charles Wade, Morris Hill, Sam M. Pliler, and Thomas Roger Putnam (1883-1954). The Lueders bank is one of the few that did not close its doors during the depression. The bank, which had opened in 1908, finally closed about 1990.
You could have your car worked on at Fred Sides' Garage, Robert Sanders' Garage, or Shorty's Garage ("Shorty" was Connie Ruth's dad, Walter Graham). Shorty's Garage later became Jimmy's Garage (Shirley Youngquist's dad). It burned down in 1959, and the community pitched in and helped Jimmy rebuild. You could also buy a new Henry J automobile at Fred Sides.
In the spring of 1948, Dixie Bennett arrived in Lueders to open the first West Texas Utilities office in Lueders. Dixie was the local manager and WTU was located in the northeast corner of the Hocus Pocus Building. Dixie Bennett married Dorothy Mae Mercer in September 1948 and they settled in Lueders. Not too long after this, there was a fire in the upper apartments of the Hocus Pocus Building. The fire department managed to save most of the building. They ended up taking off the back section of the second floor. If you looked at the building from the side, it was in kind of an "L" shape. WTU moved to a new location on the north side of main street, just about straight across from the drug store.
The Bennett family moved to Rotan to start a business venture and in 1951, William "Charles" Story and his wife Robbie moved to Lueders to become local manager of West Texas Utilities. Robbie was the bookkeeper and cashier. The Story's son Bill was in the class of 65.
The Dixie Bennett family later moved back to Lueders where Dixie worked some for the refinery and then became a rural carrier for the post office. The Bennett's three girls all attended Lueders Schools. Linda "Jo" was in the class of 67 which was the last class to graduate at Lueders. Jimmie was in the class of 69 and Myra Jane was a couple of years behind that.
If your oil well needed service, you could call either E. R. Smyth, phone #8 or Bill McCown, phone #87. Their pulling units could pull your rods and tubing, replace the pump, or whatever was needed to get it going again.
You could have welding done at J. C. Wills' Shop (Anna Fay's dad) or Oscar L. Ekdahl's Blacksmith Shop. Butch Lewis worked for Oscar during his senior year in high school.
The Lueders Five and Dime Variety Store was run by Lela Mae Smith.
You could buy your hoe or other hardware from Herrick's Hardware, run by Ralph Herrick. They also carried some sporting goods.
Julian and Nancy "Jane" Lambert operated the Telephone Office out of their home, one block north of Main Street across from the Baptist Church. Their children were Norman, class of 58; Betty, class of 60; and Johnny, class of 63. Mr. Lambert did the outside work and Mrs. Lambert did the inside. With Mrs. Lambert as the operator you got personalized service. If someone you were calling wasn't home, she would let you know and also probably where they were! A new office was built on Main Street in about 1956. They later sold out to RTA.
You could buy your insurance from Putnam Insurance.
Rockwell Bros. Lumber Company carried everything you needed for building and construction. W. H. Pettit was manager in 1941, and Cecil McCurdy was manager of Rockwell Bros. during the late 40s. Albert McCurdy, class of 53, was Cecil and Mary Ellen's son. The McCurdys left Lueders when Albert was just starting high school. They moved to Cisco, where Cecil managed the Rockwell Bros. Lumber Company there. Later Bob Moore was manager of Rockwell Bros. in Lueders. Other Rockwell Bros. employees in Lueders were Bunk Bounds (Billy's dad), and Hugh Gafford (Charles and Patsy's father).
For your dining pleasure, you could try the Campus Cafe, school hours only, and run by Otis and Vesta Davidson. Otis was known as "Ode" and Vesta was "Mama Ode." They had the Campus Cafe from the late 30s to the early 50s. Ode also operated an oil field casing crew. Later, Mary Zips had the Campus Cafe. Mary was Marilyn and Bill Zips' mother. There was City Cafe, located on the south side of Main Street. Bill Bailey made a great bowl of chili! Bill and Erma Bailey's children were: Betty, Shirley, and Larry. The Baileys had a country store just across the river, on the left, before moving into Lueders and opening the City Cafe about 1946. The Baileys lived in and managed Winkles' Hotel/Boarding House. The boarders took their meals at the City Cafe. The Baileys moved from Lueders to Big Spring in 1956. Their old space on Main Street has remained vacant to this day. Mrs. Meil's Cafe was on the north side of Main Street. Delphia Meil was Reba Gayle's mother. It later became Mrs. Griffith's Cafe. Still later there was Shirley's Cafe. It was on the north side of Main Street, across from the post office. Shirley was Mrs. Evetts, and Shirley's had a juke box! Oscar Diggs' wife, Linda, opened Diggs' Cafe next to the barber shop.
You could always run over to Stamford for a hot dog or hamburger and milkshake at the Super Dog, go on down the road to Tom's, or go on into the square to Nat's Cafe.
Before this, in the late 1930s and '40s, there was Hub Brown's Hamburgers. Hub's was located first in a small space just east of the bank on Main Street. There were only five or six stools at the counter. Hub was soon famous for his hamburgers and moved to a larger location across the street just west of Fred Sides' in what was once a variety store. Hub would have his hamburgers cooked, stacked, and ready to serve to his lunch-time crowd. Hub was ahead of his time with fast food! Hub and Cora Cook Brown's children were Mary Ann Brown (class of 42), who went on to work in the Lueders post office, and J. D. (Onion) Brown (class of 45) who after graduating from Lueders, went on to make "Little All-American" at ACC playing football. Later, West Texas Utilities was in the same location. Herbert L. (Hub) Brown died in 1973.
You could have your clothes dry cleaned at Delux Cleaners, run by the Jim Evetts family or do your laundry at Zora's Laundry, run by Zora Latimer. Ennis and Mary Fitzgerald had a laundry just across the road from Zora's. About 1952, Gale and Wilma Jo Finke took over the Fitzgerald Laundry and operated it a year or two. Gale Finke also worked on a casing crew for Ode Davidson. Chester and Ethel Petty Prince purchased Zora's Laundry about 1958. Later, Earl and Fannie Petty Shelley operated the laundry that had been Fitzgerald's Laundry. It was the wives that managed the laundries while the husbands were busy with other professions. The two Petty sisters were in competition with each other.
Gale Finke also had one of the first TV shops in town. It was located first in the Hocus Pocus Building and then on Main Street, just east of the drug store. Gale helped setup the tall TV antenna that E.R. Smyth had by his house. It was the tallest TV antenna ever in Lueders! They used Mr. Smyth's rod and tubing unit to raise the antenna. Gale was doing TV business in Lueders when the first Abilene TV station went on the air in 1953.
You could get all your clothing needs from Herrick's Dry Goods run by Herman Herrick. You could even buy your "cotton sack" there. They later became Vinson's Dry Goods.
Brothers--Frank H. Herrick, Herman Ezra Herrick, and Ralph Herman Herrick, Jr.--were all Lueders businessmen and were the sons of Ralph Herman Herrick, Sr. and Mary Franci Booth Herrick. Ralph Herrick, Sr. (1851-1933) taught school in the early days at several area schools.
In the thirties, Fox Grocery was still doing business across from where Cap Terry's was. Aycock Grocery was on the north side of the street, Red and White Groceries was on the south side and H. E. Olson had a grocery store in the Hocus Pocus Building. During the forties and fifties there were usually three or four grocery stores in Lueders. Charles Withers had a store on the south side of Main Street just west of where the drug store was. Roy Aycock still had a grocery store on the north side of the street just east of where the post office was on the corner. About 1944, Roy sold out to E. R. Smyth and Ernie Smart who then, just a few months later, sold to Glenn Odell and Buster Winkles. Bobby Jack Fleming, class of 47, remembers working as a stock boy for both Roy Aycock and Buster Winkles and Glenn Odell. Bobby Jack says he was sold along with the business. Bobby Jack worked his way up from stock boy to meat cutter. Buster installed a locker plant for frozen food. Later, Glenn and Buster split and Buster took over the store. Glenn Odell bought the Bell Grocery which was also on the north side of the street just west of Shipp's Drug store. The sign read "Odell Grocery & Mkt" and below that was "Red & White Food Stores". About 1949 this grocery store became Seaman And Webb Grocery and Market (Swede Seaman And Charlie Webb). Aycock Red and White Grocery and Market (later Felts' Grocery) was located on the south side of Main Street. Other places you could buy your groceries were O.B. West Grocery and Station & Modern Courts and also Mitcham's Station, Grocery, and Market.
You could get feed for your critters from Lueders Feed Store in the Hocus Pocus Building run by Willie Parker in the early 50s. Across the street was another feed store operated by Paul Koch (Linda's dad).
The first train ran through Lueders on February 11, 1900. Over the decades the railroad had played a big part in Lueders history. It carried people and supplies into Lueders and hauled limestone, cotton, and grain out. The Bud Matthews stop, between Albany and Lueders, was mainly for loading pens where as many as 100,000 head of cattle were shipped annually until the railroad closed in 1967.
Stanley L. Vinson, Sr. (1897-1944) was the depot agent at Lueders in the years around 1930. His son, Stanley L. Vinson, Jr., gave credit to the railroad for meeting Maurese Putnam, who became his wife. Maurese Vinson was a teacher at Lueders for many years and Stanley partnered with his father-in-law, Tom Putnam, in various business enterprises. Stanley took a large part in community affairs.
The closing of the railroad coincided with the tearing down of the Hocus Pocus Building and the consolidation of the Lueders and Avoca Schools.
The Texas Central Railway Company was charted on May 30, 1879 to serve as a feeder line to the Houston and Texas Central Railway Company. Although originally chartered to run from Ross Station, near Waco, in McLennan County to the center of Eastland County, the charter was amended to allow the company to extend to the state line in Sherman County.
Between 1879 and 1882 the Texas Central completed 177 miles between Ross and Albany. In December 1881 the train steamed in from Cisco to the new end of the line in Albany. In the 1890s, the independent Texas Central projected extensions westward to Las Vegas, New Mexico. However, the only construction undertaken by the company was the 38 miles between Albany and Stamford. The extension ran through Bud Matthews, Lueders, and Avoca.
The Texas Central was acquired by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company of Texas (Katy) in 1910, but continued to be operated by its own organization until April 30, 1914. Effective May 1, 1914, the Texas Central was leased to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company. For the next fifty-three years the Texas Central was operated under lease. The last Katy train arrived in Waco on November 29, 1967.
The Lueders train depot closed in 1964, before the railroad stopped running. Buster E. Brown was the last railroad agent in Lueders. Buster was the agent from 1941 until they closed the depot in 1964. Buster and Louise Brown's daughter, Janice, was in the class of 63. The Browns moved to Gorman in 1964. Willie Parker purchased the depot building in Lueders and had it moved to next to his house. He then moved his feed store operations to the old depot building and operated his feed store there. William Calhoun (Willie) Parker died in October of 1966. His widow sold the depot building to Dwain Hale, who now teaches history at Cisco Junior College, for $300.00. Dwain then paid $1000 to have it moved to about six miles west of Cisco, just off of I-20. It sat there until about 1989, when Dwain sold it to Miller Beer Clear Fork Distributors of Abilene for $10,000. The depot building has been moved into Abilene, completely restored, and sits at 101 Fulwiler Road in Abilene. It's just a block or so north of Business I-20 west. The Texas Central Railroad still operates 26 miles of track between Gorman and Dublin.
The passenger part of the Katy, referred to as the Doodle Bug, probably stopped operations, as least between Stamford and Cisco, in the early 50s. Going down to meet the "Doodle Bug" was kind of like meeting the stage coach in the old west. A crowd would be there to meet each train. During the war years (World War II), everyone would wave as troop carrying passenger cars would pass by. Arledge Field was an Army Air Corps training base in Stamford. Several Lueders citizens worked the night shift at Arledge Field. The pilots in training felt a challenge to fly under the Lueders railroad bridge on the Clear Fork. If caught, they were "washed Out" of flight school.
The Lueders population held pretty constant for many years. In 1960 the population was 654. The rapid dwindling of the rural population around Lueders was devastating to the city of Lueders. By 1970, the population had declined to 511.
The last high school class graduated from Lueders in 1967, and Lueders consolidated with Avoca in the summer of 1967. The name was changed to Lueders-Avoca, school colors to black and red, and the school mascot to the Raider. They did keep the Lueders school song. Maybe Avoca didn't have one.
High above old Brazos waters
Out where things are bright
Stands our noble alma mater
Towering in her might
Keep her colors ever flowing
Sing her praises o’er
Hail to thee our alma mater
Hail to black and gold