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Martin's Radiator Shop

Dension, Texas


Tommy Martin

Martin's Radiator Shop

The Martin Family's Monkeys

Memories from "I Love Denison, Texas & Its History" Facebook

Tommy Martin

Steve Armstrong wrote: Martin's Garage was [at 500 North Houston Avenue] on the northeast corner of Morton Street and North Houston Avenue, and Bodkin's grocery was on the southeast corner. I lived at 105 East Morton. It was behind the garage.

Frank S. Martin Garage
Listing in 1959 Denison City Directory.
Note residential listing at the same address, 500 North Houson Avenue.

Belinda Burget McKee (DHS Class of 1972) wrote: I'm sure there is more than one Tommy Martin, but the one that I knew died a few years ago (2006). He was a big burly guy who never married and lived on Houston Avenue all his life. His parents had the monkeys in the cage there on Morton, at the side of their house. He worked at Johns Mansville and probably died of cancer due to the asbestos, or that's what he thought. He worked for us [at McKee's Steel & Trailer Parts] for four or five years and was very sick before he finally quit. I told him he needed to go to the doctor, and when he did, they did surgery, but it was all too late. He lingered for six to eight months in his sister's care. I was thinking he graduated [Denison High School] in 1962.

From Tommy Martin's obituary: "Tommy grew up and lived in Denison and always said this area left nothing to go seeking. Tommy was dearly loved by his family and many friends, several of them life long. Tommy loved life and people and nature, hunting, fishing, swimming, and music. A man of many talents." His parents were Frank and Martha Martin.

Larry Sarge McKee wrote: The guy I knew was Tom Martin that worked for Mike and Belinda [McKee] a while over on Houston Avenue at McKee's Steel & Trailer Parts. Tom's dad was Tommy Martin that had the radiator shop and monkeys.

David Gill (DHS Class of 1963) wrote: I remember Tommy Martin. He was always rather quiet, cordial, somewhat eccentric, but always nice to me. Neither of us were the "scholarly types," with Tommy seeming to me to prefer to work with his hands, but (in my humble opinion) his mind was as quick and sharp as anyone's in school. Tommy grew up in his parent's radiator shop and then took it over. His immunity to peer pressure was impressive. About those monkeys: I'm clueless but not surprised.

Steve Armstrong wrote: I lived at 105 East Morton when I was very young. The house was behind Martin's Garage. Those monkeys they kept scared the daylights out of me. The two large monkeys were Jasper and Rosie. I don't remember the babies' names. Mrs. Martin also had a pet skunk she kept in the house. (At the time, they lived upstairs in the Garage. Later they moved across the alley to a house.)

Valerie Dalton wrote: Mother often picked up parts for my dad when he owned Dalton's Garage, so we frequently visited Martin's Radiator Shop. Once when I was about 10 and my sister was about 7, we were standing near the monkey cage on a trip to the radiator shop. My sister kept getting closer and was trying to get the attention of the baby monkey. The mother monkey reached out and grabbed a handful of Vickie's hair, which scared me so much I grabbed Vickie and pulled her away from the cage. Of course the result was Vickie lost a section of hair from the top of her head!

Debra Hiner wrote: I remember the monkeys. My Grandma took us kids to see them one time. She didn't like the way they misbehaved and said, "Nasty monkeys!" She never took us back.

Sharon Vest Ward wrote: I was just in Denison a few weeks ago. Had my son's girlfriend (Ashley Richardson) in the car. We went down that street where the monkeys were. I told her about them as we drove past. Boy, what memories - they were great!

Debi Snider commented: I also remember the place with the monkeys in the cages. My dad used to take me by there. When I married my husband (who is not from Denison), we drove down the street one day, and I was telling him about the monkeys. I think he thought I was crazy!

Cynthia Mabary wrote: I have told several people about the monkey cage, and they think I'm confused with the zoo. Thanks to all, now I can know for sure there were monkeys living on that corner!

Mavis Anne Bryant asked: What zoo? The Park Hotel near Forest Park had a menagerie. And the Pickwick Hotel had another one. Also Kingston Drug in the early days had a baby lion in a cage.

Cynthia Mabary wrote: Any zoo will do.


Elaine Nall Bay
Grayson County TXGenWeb