THE INTERURBANS

 

 

as remembered by Bill Phillips

A seldom remembered relic of Denison’s past is the interurban. However, it was an integral part of my life as a young boy as it rolled past our house on South Mirick. Interurbans ran like the proverbial streetcars. They went south on the hour and came into Denison on the half hour. I can remember the countless times sitting on the curb waiting for it to roll past so I could wave at the motorman and the passengers.

I got a job at Stanberry’s Grocery and Market across the street from our house in the summer of 1945 at the tail end of WW2 between my freshman and sophomore years. Other than a Dallas Morning News route I had the previous summer, this was my first real job. I went to work at 8:00 a.m. and got off at 6:00 p.m. six days a week. I made the magnificent sum of $12.00 a week, or 20 cents an hour.

My mother usually was very strict as to what I could do at night if I wasn’t up to a friend’s house or at a movie. I had taught myself to swim a couple of years before. She had seen me swim and was convinced that I could survive in the water without drowning. Therefore, it surprised me greatly when I brought up the idea of my riding the interurban to Sherman to go swimming at the Sherman Municipal Pool and she agreed to it. Bank in those days, you never thought of having trouble. Life was much more relaxed then and trouble was something which happened overseas.

Thus, I would get off at six o’clock and would have my swim trunks with me along with my towel. I would walk out of the store and walk across the street and catch the interurban for the ride to Sherman. If I remember correctly, it cost 21 cents for the round trip ride to Sherman.

The interurban station in Sherman was on the southeast corner of the square. You would get off there and walk about three blocks west on Houston to the pool. I won’t swear to it, but I think the pool admission was 35 cents. The Sherman Pool and the Sherman Municipal Auditorium were built with "WPA" money from the government. It was a Spanish style structure with the pool being an "Olympic sized" pool 50 yards long. It was quite impressive.

It was a great place to swim and dive. I went over there two or three times a week (in the late ‘50’s they made it into the SISD Administration Bldg. They filled in the pool and made it into a parking lot. Ain’t progress wonderful.

The pool closed at 10:00 p.m. That gave me time to walk up and catch the last interurban for Denison. That was always an exciting ride home. We would pass the last southbound interurban at Woodlake. The motorman would go like a "bat out of hell" to meet that southbound. I sometimes wondered how it stayed on the tracks. It made for quite an adventure. The ride from Woodlake wasn’t as exciting, but still speedy. He would sail down Mirick and let me out at my house. Portal to portal service.

On a cold winter night, or if it were raining, and you wanted to go to a movie, you could walk out and catch the interurban and ride down to the Rialto for a nickel. You couldn’t beat that.

It was sad when the accident near Vickery (north of Dallas then) caused lawsuit which resulted in bankruptcy and closure of the line on 12/31/48. An era ended. Now they are building essentially the same things as the interurbans, but they cost 500 times as much to build as the original. People never learn. But, for a young boy it was quite an adventure. I still relive those trips on the interurban. And think of days that will never return.

Bill

http://www.planoparks.org/sub_downtown/interurban_museum.htm

 

Above article from the DHS Class of 1949 Newsletter, July 2005

 

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