Another First For The Lone Star State
Roadside Park On A Dirt Road
Athens Weekly Review
April 14, 1966
By Gurley Sanders
Athens Review Staff Writer
Texas was one of the first states to gain repute for roadside parks, where tourists can stop to relax for a while or to eat a picnic meal.
A Murchison woman, Mrs. Florence Rice, has formulated plans that are expected to secure another first for the Lone Star State. She is working assiduously
for the creation of a roadside park on a dirt road north of Murchison.
Nature supplied the chosen spot with a fine spring of cool water that has served several generations of area residents, and now Mrs. Rice is going after the
other necessary accoutrements, such as picnic tables.This is probably the only dirt road in Texas ever to inspire the blooming of a roadside park.
Tourism is not a major industry on this remote country road, a road that probes its way erratically through the woods from Farm Road 773 north of Murchison
to a juncture with State Highway 19 to the west; and the park will not be a state park, like those which are situated on well traveled highways, but a park created mostly by individuals.
Mrs. Rice is not seeking the tourist trade; what she envisons is a park that will provide facilities for picnics and family outings for people of Henderson County.
She said the spring will be curbed by the county and equipped with a hand pump to facilitate the extraction of its water.
For more than a century people have sprawled flat on their stomachs and siphoned up the refreshing water in the manner of a horse, or else dipped a cup or jar
into the bubbling spring. Cupped hands likewise served admirably well for the purpose. But Mrs. Rice is partial to modern conveniences and wants to simplify the procedure. To demonstrate to a photographer the complexities and difficulties of antiquated methods, she flattened herself before the spring in the fashion
employed by thirsty folks in the nineteenth century.
It is indeed a cumbersome way to get a drink. Perhaps a pump would be an improvement.
On the day that I was down there comparing the modern with the old, two county employees--W. J. Taylor and Levi Halbert-- were scraping the road with some heavy machinery that I couldn't call by name. Portions of the road were needing that thearapy, too.
Even without this manicuring, however, the road is far from impassable; and Mrs. Rice's park should be easily accesible to all who wish to use it.
I remember going to this park when I was a young girl growing up in the Bethel community. My grandparents and the New Walton Community news writer were friends. We often went to this park. I recently went by to look for the park but nothing remains of the park today except a empty spot where it once was located. I have asked a couple of people about what year the park was abandoned and they seem to think around the middle 1980's. The Arms cemetery is next to where the Featherston Park use to be. If you have any pictures or information about the Featherston Park I would love to post it here.
Contact Laura Gregory Roberts
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