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Monday, July 21, 2008

Places In The Heart: Rogers Hotel/First Farmers Bank

Roger's Hotel July 2008-The spot of pioneer Emory Roger's Cabin.

Rogers Hotel was used as the location of the First Farmers Bank in Places In The Heart. It was filmed on the first floor/lobby and the bankers desk was near a front window. One of the camera angles from the point of view of the banker ,Albert Denby, showed the activity outside on the square at Main st and College st. You also could see the lower part of the courthouse in the background. The trees have grown since then. (I believe Brooks and Dunn filmed a segment for their upcoming special right in front of those trees.) From that low camera angle , I doubt they would have used that shot if Places In The Heart was filmed today. The trees would have covered up the courthouse. GPS location is 32 deg 23' 08.70"N 96 deg 50' 23.24"W



---Places In The Heart:Viaduct/Railroad------

The Viaduct on highway 77 in Waxahachie was a background scene early in the movie Places In The Heart. The railroad has changed considerable. The one track stops (use to head south towards Italy) and the functioning BNSF does not go through the same pair of pillars as the movie. It goes through the two pillars north of the movies track path. The BNSF curves a little to the east then goes Southeast to Bardwell and then on to Corsicana. Trees have grown up on the southern side of the tracks and you can't really get a clear picture of the track path in the movie. The old telephone poles are gone. I have seen a telephone pole on the east side of the bridge. The other direction


Looking at this picture you can see two tracks but the one on the right stops and has been pulled up. It ran by the train depot closest to the creek. This track would have paralleled the current walk path. The track on the left is a current functioning Burlington Northern Santa Fe track and curves to the left between the pillars which are to the left (North)of the movie pillars the tracks once went through. The single rail in between the tracks is just lying there don't think it serves a purpose

You can see the lights to Paul Richard's Field (Jungle Park in the olden days). The trees have grown since then.




Royce Spalding confronting Wylie in places in the heart filmed circa 1984

Interesting the more I get into the story of Places in the Heart I am finding more clues to the actual family Heritage of director Robert Benton who is related to Spaldings from Waxahachie. Maybe he showcased the Viaduct in the background because it reminded him of his relative W. A. Spalding. W. A. Spalding has turned up in many articles of research. He wrote many historical papers that are found in Library. I assume it is W. A. Spalding Sr who would have been 62 at the time Jr was only 14. It appears Sr. is the resident Engineer who officially opens the Viaduct December 12, 1931 in the below WDL article. (Note that an outsider technically the first person to drive over the viaduct)

Bridge Opening Today
from Waxahachie Daily Light December 12, 1931
The opening and closing of Waxahachie viaduct is scheduled to be turned over to traffic officially at 2:00 P.M. today. It was "off again, on again Flannigan" with the big bridge today. People rode over it a while; then they were shut off from it; then they were to travel over it again.
Division Engineer Rice had authorized resident Engineer W.A. Spalding early today to turn traffic on the bridge officially at 2:00 P.M. At this hour the City and County officials were to be the first to journey over the viaduct; but other folks beat them to it, for a maintenance man from Dallas came here and removed the gates about 11:00 A.M. from each end of the over-pass. And a stranger tourist was the first to travel over the long bridge; then the contractor closed the bridge, for the formal opening. So at 2:00 P.M. the city and county are to have a chance to make the official opening.
The bridge, nearly a quarter of a mile in length, concrete and steel, connects Elm Street with Rogers Street, passing over the Katy and T. & N.O. R.R. and Waxahachie Creek, White Way lights will illuminate the viaduct at night.

Places in the Heart:Spalding Home

Built in 1900 the Spalding's Home in Places In The Heart is located off FM 813. The actual address is 5035 FM 813 near Rockett, Texas. It can not be easily seen from the road and has a private drive. (I would caution anyone trying to park along 813. The location of the house is on a curve and no shoulders.) It is owned by the Gibbons family. Still looks like it's in similar condition as when used in the movie. I believe that other smaller movies were shot here also. When I zoomed in I could see the unique stained glass windows.

From the road you can see the white picket fence and the screened in porch. It is 2096 sq feet with native pasture around it. The GPS coordinates are 32 deg 27'28.16"N 96 deg 46'54.67"W.

Image from the 1984 movie.I think the color difference from the current house is because I think the movie was shot in early morning or late evening and gave the house that off white color or grayish look.

There is a beautiful field on down FM 813 towards Palmer that would have been a great spot to film the cotton picking scenes. I don't know if it was used or not..

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Places In The Heart:Five Points Cotton Gin

Off of Fm 876 near what I believe is called Walker's Triangle , there is what's left of the 5 points Cotton Gin. It was the setting for two great scenes in Places in the Heart. The first is when Edna Spalding goes with Moze to buy cotton seed. The Cotton Gin owner, W. E. Simmons, tries to pull the old switch-a-roo with the seed. But Moze, who "knows about most anything there is to know about farm'n cotton", catches Mr. Simmons' trickery. The second time is when Edna comes to sale the Cotton. She goes into the the office which is still there and currently it appears someone lives there. This time Moze tries to help Edna but the owner pulls down the window shade to the office so Moze can't listen or communicate to Edna. Edna uses her wit and her knowledge of how Mr. Simmons could gain some bragging rights among the masons by having the first bale of cotton in the county. She gets her 3.75 cents per pound which was over the going rate of 3.5 cents a pound at the time.

There is machinery missing since the movie and the grass is grown up. A fella owns the triangle portion of the property where two roads form a V shape.

GPS Location is 32 deg 16' 45.13"N 96 deg 54' 01.19"W

Friday, July 18, 2008

Places In The Heart:Bethel Methodist Church

This church was used in the beginning and the end of the movie. At the end was an emotional scene about forgiveness. It's a very interesting peaceful setting. Many Sims are buried in the cemetery across the road from the church and the God's acres pavilion was used in the second dance scene. I believe Ellis County Commissioner Heath Sims is a current member of the Church. The Sims were early settlers of Ellis County and founders of the Bethel Church. I believe N. P. Sims is Heath's Great Great Uncle. The church is in the vicinity of the community of Boz.

I sneaked a picture of the inside through a small clear rectangular piece of glass on the door. Wood floors and wood pews are still their like in the movie. GPS approximate location is 32 deg 17' 44.45"N 96 deg 54' 53.45"W

This video is spliced with my video of the current appearance of the Bethel Church. Notice the large bushes are gone beside the entrance. There is also a bar across the circle stained glass dove picture in the movie but not now. Also in the movie the beautiful windows are open as is the front door for air circulation. Now the church has ac.

Places in the Heart: :Tornado Road

I believe the curve is where Wayne(Ed Harris) drives around to get a glimpse of his extramarital lover, Viola Kelsey (Amy Madigan), the school teacher. In real life Ed Harris and Amy Madigan later married.

Emanuel st (use to be called Hackberry) at the end of East Marvin in Waxahachie is the location of the School tornado scene in Places In The Heart. I believe that their are new houses built since the movie and an older two story that was moved to the spot. Goats are grazing on an open field south of the curve.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Trip To Bountiful Bus stop at Ennis st and 878

The Trip To Bountiful filmed in Waxahachie is the movie by Horton Foote that finally gave longtime actress,Geraldine Page , an Academy Award. She played an elderly lady trying to make one more trip back to her girlhood home in Bountiful, Texas. Kind of slow movie to for most guys but a universal story for those heading towards the end of their life and those who imagine what the end days of their life might feel like. In this bus stop a few of the bus passengers must be dropped off to be picked up by another bus. As they sit at the front of the store a fella that works there asks the folks if they now what Corpus Christi means and they don't so he tells them it means the body of Christ. I always thought there is some kind of message there. Now the movie location is a barber shop called Barbers and Beyond and it usually has phat cars parked there with there phat rims. Pretty stark difference between the folks in the movie that were sitting there waiting for their bus. The approximate GPS coordinates are 32 deg 23'34.74" N 96 deg 49'32.55" W

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Largest Tree Girth In Ellis County?

There are some nice sized trees in Ellis County but I personally have never seen any bigger than the big old tree in Getzendaner Memorial Park on the east side near the kids maze. It's so big that one limb is held up by a support. I measured the girth of a few trees in Ellis County that I thought would be close to this tree but the closet one was in the park near the Mathews bridge but it was 9" short in girth. I try to measure 5 ft from the ground to get the girth. This tree has to be hundred plus years. It's girth measurement is 178". Which is 14.83 feet. Now I imagine that if their are larger trees they are going to have to be in creek bottoms or cemeteries or parks. Places where there is a good water source and that the old settlers wouldn't have chopped them down or modern home builders couldn't bulldoze them. There is a huge girthed tree on Main street in Waxahachie that I have not measured where the fountain is but it's not near as pretty has the park tree. If you have knowledge of a huge tree let me know.

approximate gps coordinates 32deg 23' 34.74" N 96 deg 51'51.20"W

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tredway and Friends at the Chautauqua


The evening of July 5th was the beginning of hopefully something special. Though only a small crowd from 5:30 pm to 10ish pm, it was something that is needed in Waxahachie. Talent and and even wishful talent needs a place to spread it's wings. Randy Tredway has a vision to bring Waxahachie into the music world. I stopped by after work and gave a listen. I left to go searching for the Beauty Shop house used in Places In The Heart. No luck. When I came back with my grape snow cone, I found my long time family friends Alan and PJ Searsy(PJ is the director of the Waxahachie Community Theater.) I heard some Hippy look'n fellas sing about making love under the catfish moon. Absolutely great fun! I noticed a fella named Harold had been sitting in the back playing a saxaphone since I had left 3 hours earlier. Harold added a nice compliment to the songs. I believe he is in his 80's and I thought I heard was Randy's Granpa. My favorite song was the one about "if want to ride with the devil he'll be wanting to drive". Something like that. I really enjoyed the lyrics and the music. I am really looking forward for the songwriter's concerts to catch on. Hopefully we can get some writers to write about the rich History of Ellis County.

Tredway plans on having the Songwriter Concerts once a month from now on beginning with the July 5, 2008 performance.
“The songwriters that we have been talking about performing at Chautauqua are excited about performing there because of the history of the place. People like Will Rogers have performed there,” Tredway said. “We have had nothing but support from the city and we believe that we can make this happen. However, we need the community supporting us by coming out to the event.”-Randy Tredway

MARCH 14th



Friday, July 4, 2008

Midlothian July 3rd 2008 Fireworks

Went to the Brookshire's parking lot last night and watched Midlothian's disappointing display of fireworks. Of course they were using the new football stadium so it did give a wider range of viewing spots. People were in the stadium parking lot,the softball field, the middle school, and Brookshire's parking lot. It would have been an interesting site from the bypass view. You can see straight into the stadium from the 287 bypass. I don't know if it was a weak performance or I just enjoyed it better when I could go to my friend's house on avenue K and sit in his drive way and watch the fireworks. But hey you spend millions of dollars on a new stadium you got to give something different to the non-football/athletic citizens.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Citizen's National Bank 140 Years Old Today!

Serving generations of area families for over 140 years.
First building in Waxahachie

"On July 1, 1868, as the Civil War closed, Ferris & Getzendaner Attorneys-at-law began to offer banking services "that would add something to the meager compensation that might come from the practice of law." The money to meet this business had to be taken peri­odically by horse and rider to Houston through bad lands infested by robbers and mur­derers. Their original bank building was a double-room wooden structure, but from these crude beginnings 128 years ago, the acorn that today has become the Citizens National Bank was planted. Then, as today, the bank had become a good neighbor, and a vital spark to the economic growth of Waxahachie."-taken from a 1996 pictorial book of Ellis County.

The first depositor was R. A. Davis on July 10,1868. Davis was also one of the founding members of the town of Waxahachie in 1851. He deposited $230.75 of hard money(Gold and Silver probably.) First the bank was called Ferris and Getzendaner until June 25, 1884 when it became The Citizens National Bank of Waxahachie. At this time the bank had capital of $100,000 surplus of $50,000 and a profit of $54,000.-History of Ellis County

First President :1868-1887 Captain Getzendaner