Strolling Through The Past – A Look Back Into the History of Navarro County

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1922 Produced Many Firsts in
Corsicana

By Stephen R. Farris
Special to the Navco Chronicle
stephen@thenavcochronicle.com

A lot of new and amazing things happened for the first time in Corsicana history during the year 1922. I’ll be skipping around a bit, so bear with me.
While doing a little snooping on the http://www.newspapers.com website, I was looking for something that had happened in relation to Corsicana in some of the old Corsicana Daily Sun newspapers from 1922. As usual, (squirrel) I got sidetracked because something else caught my attention.
A lot of firsts happened in Corsicana during the year 1922. For you car enthusiasts, the first car show was held on August 10, 1922. It wasn’t like the car shows of today. It was more in the area of a gathering of car dealers, and those associated with the industry, to get together and brainstorm a little. According to the news article, at least 55 men were present for the gathering, which was held at Allison Park at the end of North Beaton St. near the edge of downtown, and the first Interurban stop crossing Post Oak Creek, back from the north.
I’d never heard of Allison Park, and thought I knew about all of the parks that now call, or used to call Corsicana home. Apparently, Allison Park squeezed through the lining of my memory banks.
Apparently, Allison Park was a big deal back then. The first Navarro County Fair was held at the park in the fall of 1922. Like most modern day fairs, livestock was shown, but they also had a huge food category for the women of the county to bring in their best canned and baked products, ranging from pies, cakes, canned vegetables, and canned fruits. The Chamber of Commerce was involved with the fair, as well as all the clubs and service groups, and city/county officials.
The fair kicked off with a big parade downtown. People took great pride in decorating their vehicles and floats. They didn’t just hang a sign on the side of their entry like many do in parades now. No, these floats were meticulously thought out in design.
There was a queen coronation program, bands performed, and Fred M. Allison provided radio coverage (jumping ahead of myself) and entertainment from his radio station on North Beaton.
It was a big ordeal for the kids and adults of Navarro County, and lasted for more than 30 years until the event was changed to the Navarro County Youth Expo in 1958.

As I said, I got ahead of myself about Allison. On July 21, 1922, Allison opened up the first radio station in Corsicana. It was more than likely located on his property on North Beaton St. just at the edge of the downtown area, where the American Legion is now. According to the CDS article, folks could come to the station and listen to evening broadcasts from all across the nation. It was almost like going to the moving picture show, except there was no film involved.

However, it was not like the radio stations we’ve grown accustomed to. After all, radio was still in its heyday.

Thanks to Jon Ketcham for giving me a heads up on the proximity of Allison’s property at the edge of downtown. Goes to show you learn something new everyday.

It is also kind of ironic that you have two parks. One on each end of Beaton. And both starting with the letter A (Allison to the north, and Allyn to the south).

Well boys and girls, it’s been fun. Until next time, take care and enjoy the rest of your week.

(References: http://www.newspapers.com; CDS 1922, Navarro County History Facebook page)

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