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From the Desk of Andy Eads – February 2018

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Denton County Commissioner and Flower Mound resident Andy Eads. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

Hilltop Bridge Reopening This Month

In February, we will celebrate the reconstruction and reopening of the Hilltop Road Bridge in Argyle. This is an important safety improvement project, not just for local residents but also for everyone who traveled this route on a daily or weekly basis.

We partnered with TxDOT to rebuild the bridge to traffic in a timely manner. The estimated reopening date is Feb. 15, 2018.

Hilltop Bridge is a single span bridge that crosses the Loving Branch Tributary (located 0.4 miles north of FM 407 near Lantana) and is roughly halfway between Tudor Lane and Whitmore Road. The bridge was originally built in 1940 as an arch bridge spanning approximately 24 feet across Loving Branch, and last rehabilitated in 1975.

With a total life of 77 years, this bridge has served Denton County well, but now it is being replaced with a box culvert design utilizing four 8 x 6 foot boxes to span nearly 40 feet.

We appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this process and we thank you for supporting our capable partners at TxDOT.

Early Voting Starts This Month

Early voting for the March 6 Primary Election starts February 20 and goes through March 2. Check out the Denton County voter information website for detailed early voting information, including times and locations. Remember, during early voting you can vote at any of the voting locations, regardless of your voting precinct.

The filing period for a place on the General Election Ballot for the May 5, 2018, election opened January 17 and the deadline for filing is February 16. Follow this link for the form for candidacy, which can be filed any time up to that February 16 date.

Flu Season Continues

As you may have guessed with the number of people still suffering, flu season is definitely not over. Medical providers across Denton County have voluntarily reported more than 1,500 flu cases since October 2017, and still anticipate several weeks of high flu activity. In fact, the CDC indicates flu activity can last as late as May.

Denton County Public Health (DCPH) wants to remind you that the flu vaccine remains the most effective defense for you and your family. Remember, antiviral medications are a second-line defense against the flu. If you experience fever, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, muscle aches and headaches, visit your doctor immediately, and take antivirals if prescribed. These remedies can help you recover quicker and can potentially prevent you from being hospitalized with flu complications.

Continue your fight against the flu through regular hand washing, avoiding contact with individuals who are sick, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs, and stay home when you feel sick.

For weekly reports on flu activity in Denton County, visit www.dentoncounty.com/flu.

African American History Month

February is African American History Month, a national celebration that also provides opportunities to learn more about our local community. The national movement to honor and celebrate African Americans has inspired communities to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host performances and lectures.

In Denton County, we are fortunate to have several outlets to learn about local African American history year-round. Local libraries, universities and historical organizations, like the Denton County Office of History & Culture, provide wonderful resource materials, including oral histories, photographs and documents highlighting the African American experience in Denton County.

Visitors to the Denton County Historical Park (located at the corner of Carroll and Mulberry streets in Denton) can learn about Denton’s historic African American community of Quakertown and other early African American settlements across Denton County at the Quakertown House Museum.

The Quakertown House

In 1875, a group of 27 African-American families from the White Rock settlement in Dallas came to Denton. The families settled two-and-a-half blocks south of the courthouse and called the area Freedman Town. By the 1880s, these residents began buying property along Oakland Avenue and Pecan Creek in Denton, which they called Quakertown.

Quakertown became a “town within a town” and grew into a thriving community that held a school, churches, restaurants and businesses. However, in 1921 the City of Denton decided to construct a new city park in the location of Quakertown and forced the residents to relocate to Solomon Hill in southeast Denton. Many of the residents moved their houses from Quakertown to Solomon Hill.

The Denton County Historical Park’s Quakertown House was one of the few homes that survived the move from its original location in Quakertown to Solomon Hill. H.F. Davidson built the home in 1904 for Arthur E. and Docia Brewer.

From 1905 to 1916, M.B. Whitlock used the three-room house at 607 Bell Avenue as a rental property. In 1919, Quakertown resident C. Ross Hembry bought the property and continued to rent it out until he sold the land to the City of Denton for $2,700 in 1922 and moved the structure to 1113 E Hickory Street in Solomon Hill.

Once in Solomon Hill, Hembry continued to use the Quakertown House as a rental property until 1955, when ownership passed to his brother, Leon Hembry. From 1956 to 1971, renters continued to live in the property until Mattie Campbell purchased the home in 1973.

In 2003, the city made plans to remove the historic home and make way for a new house at this address. The Historical Park Foundation of Denton County took this opportunity to purchase the Quakertown House, with the goal of preserving the home as a museum to tell the stories of Denton County’s African American communities. They completed the purchase in 2004 and moved the house to the Denton County Historical Park, restoring it to its original condition. Restoration included removing some earlier remodeling that had taken place in 1922, restoring the roof’s original wood shingles, and retaining the integrity of the structure itself.

After completing the restoration, the Denton County African-American Museum opened on February 16, 2008.

The Woods House

The Woods House, located at 1015 Hill Street, is the last remaining Quakertown house in southeast Denton. In Quakertown, the house originally stood a block and a half away from the College of Industrial Arts (Texas Woman’s University) and across the street from the original Fred Douglass School. William Evelyn Woods owned the house, which he purchased for six hundred dollars, and rented out to residents while he remained on his farm located near Pilot Knob in Argyle.

In 1921, William Evelyn and his wife Alberta decided to move from the farm in Argyle to the house in Denton; however, during that same year the City of Denton began forcing residents of Quakertown to relocate to make way for a public park. With this decision, the Woods family sold their property in Quakertown and bought 8.8 acres on Solomon Hill. W.E. Woods raised his family on the property and cultivated the small acreage. After his death, his children divided the property and kept the historic home.

In 2015, Habitat for Humanity of Denton County purchased the property and approached the Denton County Office of History & Culture about saving the historic home, with the possibility of moving the structure to the Denton County Historical Park. The County accepted the donation and the Woods House will face one final move as it finds its new permanent home at the Denton County Historical Park later this year.

Did You Know?

According to the Denton County AgriLife Extension office, there are 3,203 farms in Denton County and farmland accounts for 383,533 of the 613,120 acres in the county. In addition, pasture and rangeland totals 237,175 acres.

The 131,894 acres of cropland in Denton County breaks down as follows: Hay – 59,092 acres; Wheat – 29,580 acres; Graze Out – 18,000 acres; Sorghum – 7,329 acres; Corn – 4,782 acres; Other – 2,557 acres; Idle, Sf, etc. – 10,554 acres.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is an educational outreach agency of Texas A&M University and is funded through a partnership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Texas A&M University System, and the county commissioners courts of Texas. Each county office is supported by Extension program specialists and research scientists in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University who provide programs, tools and resources that teach people how to improve the environment, strengthen their communities, and enrich youth.

Contact the Denton County AgriLife Extension Service office at 940-349-2882.

Connect With Us

We would love to have you connected to the county by subscribing to our newsletter. Just use this link and enter your email and you’ll be up-to-date on everything going on in Precinct 4.  Moreover, be sure and find us on Facebook.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is andy.eads@dentoncounty.com and my office number is 972-434-3960.

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