Sherman was once nicknamed "Fifth Industrial City of Texas*" in the mid-1920's when it was home to 54 industrial plants.
Cottonseed oil, flour and hardware were produced here, which helped it gain equality with the town of Denison, Texas as a rail center. Considering the competitive spirit between the two towns, this must have brought a good deal of pleasure to Sherman's residents!
In addition, there were '32 wholesale establishments, 410 businesses, six private academies and colleges, as well as six public elementary schools and two public high schools. The city was known to be one of Texas's leading educational and industrial centers'.
By the 1990's the town maintained about 40 companies, which produced items such as clothing, rifles, coffee, meats, hospital products and electronic components'.
*in terms of value of annual production it was actually ranked 6th
For more history see www.tshaonline.org
As we were leaving Sherman, we turned the car onto Pecan Street and noticed this distinguished Renaissance style building--the Sherman U.S. Post Office and Courthouse (1847).
It was designed by architect, James Knox Taylor, with F.L. Stevenson as contractor and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It continues to operate as a courthouse and post office.
Renaissance style reflects elements from ancient Greece and Rome and is a very symmetrical and orderly design. The arrangement of columns, pilasters and lintels resemble those which ornamented structures from classic antiquity.
*101 E. Pecan St., Sherman, Texas
The Grayson County Courthouse extends a long shadow over town square and is the third courthouse for Sherman.
The first courthouse the town established was of log construction (1846). When the town was relocated three miles from its original site, a more substantial courthouse was erected in 1876. However, this was torched during the Sherman riot in 1930.
The courthouse was destroyed in a fire intentionally set by a vigilante force who came after a black man jailed in the vault. He had been accused of assaulting a white woman, but before he could be sentenced was killed in the blaze. Newspaper reports of this event can be seen and read at The Red River Museum.
The present courthouse was erected in 1936 in the 'Moderne style", designed by architects, Voelcker and Dixon. The design features a simple form with no ornamentation and is of concrete and limestone.
For more history see www.shermantx.org
This imposing structure is the Travis Masonic Lodge #117, "charted by the Grand Lodge of Texas on February 10, 1852 and set to labor on August 28, 1852".
Their website lists these historical figures as former or present Masons: Solomon-King of Israel, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and Buzz Aldrin to name a few. Of course, I'm rather sure they were not members of this particular lodge.
Although this organization has always seemed shrouded in secrecy, their community outreach includes caring for the sick and providing homes for widows and orphans.
As Sherman's population grew, the Houston and Texas Central Railway brought their tracks to its door in 1872, which hastened business and industrial development even more.
A great effort was made to also bring the Missouri, Kansas and Texas rail line to town, but there just wasn't enough interest to 'subscribe a large enough bonus to attract' them. This would have made Sherman's markets available to the Northeast U.S. and to a national rail system.
While the town's plans fizzled, a plot was afoot to officially welcome the Missouri, Kansas and Texas line down the road a bit to Denison. Once the terminal was built, Denison was transformed into the county's rail and marketing town, creating "great civil jealousy' between the two places.
FYI: By the mid-1920's there were five railroads servicing Sherman, Texas. The Southern Pacific Railway now operates there.
*For more history on Sherman, Texas see www.tshaonline.org
As we drove up and down Washington Street trying to find a memorial to the Butterfield Stage Coach and Mail Route, we passed the Kidd-Key Auditorium situated in this lovely setting on North Rusk street.
This immense building is used as a performing arts venue, hosts art shows and festivals and makes a grand place for wedding parties apparently. This is a shared facility, with the Sherman Municipal Ballroom located upstairs.
We never did find the memorial we were searching for, but once I returned home to do a little research I learned more about the town of Sherman and found that Kidd-Key figures often in the town's celebrations.
*405 N. Rusk, Sherman, Texas (903-892-7205)
This memorial was erected by the Grayson Confederate Association to honour the Confederate dead and patriots who fought for their home and country. Some of the Ninth Texas Cavalry came from Grayson County. The memorial stands on the grounds of the Grayson County Courthouse.