Friday, January 27, 2023

Town and family grow together

Allen Roach, Becky Humphrey, Ely Roach, Dr. Joe Roach Jr. (sitting), Jody Roach, Jenny Herrmann and Caroline Nichols (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

The history of the Roach family reflects the history of the Town of Flower Mound.

At the recent 98th birthday party celebrating Dr. Joseph Garland Roach, Jr., multiple family generations shared remembrances of both family and town events.

The original 202 acres, which became known as the Roach property, was bought in 1925-26 by Austin F. Allen of North Dallas. He was the father of Betty Allen, the future wife of Dr. Joseph Garland Roach, Jr. The property was south and west of The Mound.

Prior to that time, the Peter’s Colony Land Grant in the 1840s was the first European Settlement of North Texas, with Denton County being formed in 1846.

In the 1860s, the Chisholm Trail crossed through Flower Mound along the I-35W corridor. More than six million cattle were herded out of Texas during the 20-year period following the Civil War.

The largest rural school in Denton County, the Donald Academy, educated first through 10th grade students from 1877 through 1942. Flower Mound’s Yoakley’s Store opened in 1880 and survived until the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The Roach property was used for recreational purposes– such as dove and animal hunting. In fact, Dr. Joe and his wife never actually lived on the land.

Starting in 1952, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction on Grapevine Lake– consuming some of Roach’s property, as well as neighbors like the Tarwater family land– which was completed in 1953.

A prominent pediatrician, who was on the first Board of Trustees for Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, Dr. Joe and Betty lived in Dallas and had three children—Joseph Garland Roach, III; Lisa; and Allen.

In 1961, the Town of Flower Mound incorporated to avoid being annexed by the City of Irving.

Four generations celebrate Dr. Joe Roach Jr.’s 98th birthday, including Joe Roach III (left), Jude Roach and Jody Roach. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

Beginning in 1971, the land was used to raise families.

During his grandfather’s birthday party, Jody (Joe IV) said: “At one time, there were three separate homes on the 10-acre property.”

During the Roach family residency, the first Lewisville Independent School District school, Timber Creek Elementary, opened in Flower Mound for kindergarten through fifth-grade students in 1978. Then, Marcus High School became the town’s first high school in 1981; Flower Mound High School opened for the 1998-99 academic year.

Jody remembered that between kindergarten and fifth grade, he attended three different elementary schools, because “people kept moving to town, so they kept opening new schools.”

Joe III’s daughter Jenny (Herrmann) was a teacher at Marcus, is married to husband Michael and has two sons, Noah and Andrew.

Longest to live on the property was Dr. Joe and Betty’s son Allen and his wife Lizzie.

“We lived on the property from 1971 until Allen’s death in 2003,” she said during the birthday party celebration.

For her part, Lizzie sighted years of drought and then flooding– especially the 1980 flood on Halloween– as impacting life on the property. She also recalls finding dinosaur tracks and seeing tornadoes.

The most significant personal event for the Roach family was, “when the original family home burned to the ground on Jan. 20, 1991,” said Joe (III). “A total loss.  We lost everything but what we had on that day.  The house that burned was a three-story 1905 Victorian that my parents had moved from Fort Worth and fully restored.  It was a very sad day— that lasted for months.”

For his part, Jody said: “The biggest effect it’s had on me, is I’m not sentimental about ‘things.’  For my parents, there is no, ‘we only use the good stuff on special occasions’ rule.  Always use your good stuff.”

Dr. Joe, his son Joe (III) and grandson Jody (Joe IV) all agreed that the most impactful change was the construction of FM 2499, which was championed and overseen by neighbors, the Stewart family.

“The most notable change, was the expansion of 2499, particularly in regards to our property,” said Jody. “It brought the ability of Flower Mound to change in the way it has.  Without the ‘big road,’ as we called it when we were kids, I’m certain Flower Mound would have never grown and we wouldn’t have so many great neighbors.”

He added that the original two-lane blacktop road had little impact on the original property.

“I played in that creek when I was little,” he remembered. “That was a full creek all year long … I caught frogs and crawdads in there.”

His father added that the construction of FM 2499 led to topographic and many positive changes to Flower Mound.

“The biggest change is the land I dove hunted on as a kid has become a neighborhood with shops, restaurants and a Home Depot,” said Joe III. “I was blessed to raise my children on a great piece of land that served our families well for many years.”

His wife Metta agreed, saying she enjoyed: “Watching all the neighborhoods pop up around Flower Mound, bringing all the new neighbors.  Also, I love I can shop and eat a nice dinner without having to go to Dallas or Fort Worth.”

“Driving south on 2499 is driving on family land,” said Jody. “The last portion was 10 acres we recently sold to Realty Capital, developers of Lakeside DFW and Lakeside Village.”

The land is located west of FM 2499 and adjacent to the Lakeside Crossing Development already under construction to the north.

“We’re now equity partners with Realty Capital and Staubach Capital on a new Class A Office development,” said Jody. “That 10 acres was 50-50 with pasture and oak trees. Preserving the childhood creek and all but one of 50 specimen trees was important to us. I bet I climbed all those trees. We’ve been able to keep the natural topography as much as possible.”

The many generations who have been good stewards of their land can be proud of the future role Roach property will play in Flower Mound.

“It will always be home to me,” said Jody.

Like Joe III and Metta, Jody and wife Jessica, with their sons, Joe V (Jude) and Jake are town residents.

“Although we have lived elsewhere, Flower Mound is the kind of town we wanted to come back to and raise our family,” said Jody.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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