Ozona, Texas

The Texas weather in the summer of July was taking its toll. Dad was driving on I-10 on his heat and while I navigated for him, but since its basically 10 there wasn’t really nothing much to do. Mom and Sam got hungry and we stopped over to Dairy Queen and had our lunch there. It was pretty packed consider it’s a weekday and basically in the middle of nowhere. As I check the GPS it said “Ozona,” thinking that this place was old and had historical significance (as most Texas towns) Me and my family decided to explore its downtown after eating. 

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Ozona by I-10

Indeed it was a small town it wasn’t hard to find the main square and there were plenty of parking. Dad park and we all got down and sat underneath the shade of trees. Here is a brief history about the small town from the town website itself.

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Davy Crockett

Crockett County has a unique history to share. It was named in 1875 to commemorate the illustrious David Crockett of Alamo fame. He was killed in battle March 5, 1836, 5 months short of 50 years after his birth in Tennessee. He never trod the soil nor beheld its beauty, but he is forever linked to the county that proudly bears his name.

Crockett County is the eighth largest of 254 counties in Texas and covers over 3,000 square miles of ruggedly beautiful west Texas. The one and only town within its boundaries is Ozona, which is known as “The Biggest Little Town in the World,” with about 3,500 persons calling it “home”. The town is un-incorporated and, although being rather isolated from other towns, is quite independent. Ranching and oil/gas businesses keep the economy steady and school activities keep everyone involved.

Crockett County is proud of its heritage, and the Museum on the square shelters the artifacts and shares the stories of its inhabitants from 10,000 B.C. to present day. To the traveler, a stop at the Museum promises a new appreciation for this area of West Texas, as the stories are told about how E.M. Powell acquired a lot of acreage around present-day Ozona. He had surveyed a lot of West Texas and the State paid him in land. He came out to see what was his and found a tree–just a live-oak tree–and Ozona grew up around this tree which still stands.”

There was an imposing monument dedicated to Davy Crockett and that was where my family decided to sit and enjoy the hot, humid weather. The monument was made of white stone.

At the bottom of the monument is a marker to its sculptor.

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Davy Crockett Monument

William Mozart McVey (1905-1995)

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Marker for McVey

A versatile sculptor of people, animals, birds and religious symbols, McVey attended the University of Texas and taught art there and at Rice University. He played football at Rice under the legendary coach John Heisman in 1924. McVey studied and taught at Cranbrook Art Institute, graduated from the Cleveland Art Institute, was a U.S. Air Force Major, in World War II and taught plane and ship silhouette recognition to allied forces.

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Family beside the monument

Outstanding sculptures include: Winston Churchill, British Embassy, Washington, D.C., the frieze at the base of the San Jacinto Monument, Houston; James Bowie, Texarkana, Texas; bronze doors, University of Texas Memorial Museum, Austin; bronze doors, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C.. This Art Deco style sculpture of David Crockett, hero of the Alamo, was done in 1938.

 

 

Along the park was another statue dedicated to the Pioneers of Crockett County and there was a memoriam dedicated to them.

“‘The Tie That Binds’ by Judy Black, December, 1996. A Heritage Appreciation sculpture dedicated to the pioneers of Crockett County.” 

Aside from that there was a large, wooden gazebo on the middle of the park. We didn’t approached it and instead look around and the town seemed so deserted than you could hardly see anyone on the streets. The stores were closed or look abandoned, and one of the reasons it was empty was it was too hot for them to come outside.

Ozona National Bank

We first approached the Ozona National Bank with its gigantic columns fronting the building. Here is what written in the marker located on the right side entrance.

“Constructed for county’s first financial institution. Organized by cattle and sheep ranchers and the town’s doctor.

During construction of Native stone building, banking was done next door in store of L.B. Cox, Vice-President. Directors were Dr. A.W. Clayton, S.E. Couch, WM.P. Hoover, Robert Massie and J.B. Moore. J.B. Reilly was cashier. 

The second floor is owned by the Masonic Lodge.”

Then we came across a nice building which seemed to be a church so I came closer to read the marker and to my surprise it wasn’t about the building but something totally different.

Ozona’s First Water Well (Drilled 1891)

Focus for Civic life in early Ozona, city founder E.M. Powell provided the water well equipped with 18-foot windmill; a water trough, and a small cypress tank.

At first meeting of Crockett County Commissioners Court, July 22, 1891, under a Live Oak near the well, the Sheriff was instructed to operate the city water works. At the time, tents housed most homes and stores, and water was hauled from city well – often by children using toy wagons. In a few years homes had private wells and windmills. A modern system piped water throughout the city in the early 1900s.

After reading the inscription I went to the most beautiful and largest building in the square. The county courthouse itself. The Crockett County was organized in 1891and named after Davy Crockett. The first courthouse was a wood frame structure built in 1891.

Crockett County Courthouse

Built in 1902, second courthouse for the county with American Gothic architecture, planned by Oscar Ruffini of San Antonio. Material is fine stone quarried nearby on Meyer and Couch Properties, cost $30,000.

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Courthouse

Early day community social center, and used for Cowboy dances, Box suppers, Christmas trees, and Roundup celebrations. In 1909 Arc light was added to the steeple, to signal the Sheriff and guide the travelers into the town.”

After admiring this building we went across the street to the town’s museum and to our dismay it was close. Wasting no time in our journey we looked once more at the town square and found a couple more markers with one of them containing a bit of history.

Fort Lancaster C.S.A

“Site 33 miles west on U.S. 290. Upon U.S. surrender Texas forts start of Civil War. Made part Confederate far western frontier line. Occupied by 2nd Texas Cavalry on supply line to and from Arizona-New Mexico. Campaign 1861-62, intended to make Confederacy an ocean to ocean nation. When regular patrols to guard supply trains and check Indian activities grew dull life spiced by camp newspaper and nightly sport of shooting pesky coyotes.

A memorial to Texans who served the Confederacy

Now that we saw all the markers in this area we ventured on westward hoping to reach the New Mexico by dusk.  In the little time we spent on this quiet town I already got an idea of what it is. From the founding of the town to being sit of the county. If you ever passed by the interstate a quick drive through or visit to their museum is a must.

Here is the link for more information:

http://www.ozona.com/history

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Say Cheez!

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