The national champion Texas Live Oak Tree, largest living member
of its species, stands in Rio Frio in the yard of the old Leo Stover
home,now owned by Eva Slover Sanderlin of Knippa and Phillip
Slover of Ft. Worth. The tree was measured by the Texas Forest
Service in 1988. It had a circumference of 23 feet 10 1/2 inches with
a 52 foot vertical spreadand a crown spread of 99 1/2 feet.
According to the big tree Index, this total of 363 points makes it the
National Champion. Since this tree grows onlyin the Texas Hill
Country, it is thought to be the largest tree of its kind in the world.
As well as a major tourist attraction for the Frio Canyon, the tree
has been important in area history. Situated on an early Indian
trail, it was a campsite for Lipan Apache and other roving Indians.
When settlers began coming to this country, tired pioneers found
welcome shade beneath its branches. A.J. Potter, early Methodist
circuit rider known as the "Fighting Parson"' also preached
beneath the shade of the tree. John Leakey, founder of the town
that bears his name, could not forgo the temptation to rest in the
shade if the old oak tree when he drove the first wagon into the
by Elaine Padgett Carnegie
January 12, 2011
In 1954 Highway 83 doubled as a football field in front of the old Leakey Drug Store. The kids played
football in the street in the afternoons and parents would call Joanne or Norris Fisher to check and make
sure their children were there! The kids would begin to meander home and as 5:00pm rolled around Edith
Childress would call and have them send Tollie home for supper from the pool hall out back where he was
Elsewhere in the world Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio, wives were moving back into the
workforce and the economy continued to grow. "Father Knows Best" was popular, Bill Haley and the
Comets “Rock Around The Clock" topped the charts, and Elvis Presley cut his first commercial record. Car
engines got bigger and more powerful and gas cost 29 cents a gallon. The first mass vaccination of
children against Polio began and Brown v Board of Education makes segregation in US Public Schools
When General Motors produced it's 50 millionth car, the Boeing 707 took it's Maiden Flight and Swanson
introduced the first TV Dinners; Mrs. Mabel (Fisher, Norris’ mom) was cooking in the small kitchen, an
ancient air conditioning unit cooled the store and heat was supplied by one small propane heater. To the
left as you walked in were rows of shelves laden with something for, “anything that ails ‘ya” and just about
anything else you may have had a need for. The Leakey Drug Store was open from 7:00am till 10:00pm and
was the community gathering place for 26 years. They served up a mean meal, had Rx, vet, fishing and
hunting supplies; kept an eye on the kids, patched up the sick, supported the local teams and had broad
shoulders and caring hearts for the entire community. After home games they would open late and have
cherry limes and malted milks waiting when the crowd arrived. By the time the sixties rolled around many
people had purchased television sets from the Leakey Drug Store and TV Westerns were the favorite. Like
the post-war world in which they reigned, you could always tell the good guys from the bad, and none of
the guns were fully automatic. Gunsmoke, Roy Rogers, The Virginian, and Big Valley. There was still a little
western in Leakey too. Mr. Pullin, affectionately known as Uncle Pooh-Pooh worked at the Bushong place.
On days off he would tie Lullabelle (his horse) to the china berry tree to the left of the Leakey Drug Store
and hitch a ride to Uvalde. Nine times out of ten he came home snookered and Lullabelle would faithfully
carry him home; until the fateful day that Lullabelle forgot to turn and Uncle Pooh-Pooh woke up in Camp
Wood. The Sheriff had to bring him home and Lullabelle had to walk home by herself! The kids “cut a rug"
to the jukebox and there was a sense of happiness and peace in this world. I could almost feel it as she
told me about recognizing the kids voices without having to look up, and automatically knowing what they
would want! Mrs. Fisher summed it up pretty well when she told me… “We lived in the best of times!"
None of that much affected life here though, not then anyway. The kids put in their orders for lunch and
Norris and Joanne would have it waiting for them. Even kids who were not in school that day would slip in
the back door for their lunches and when Dud Sansom, (Superintendent) would walk in, “those truant
children would scatter leaving their food behind”,
Mrs. Fisher chuckled as she fondly remembered. Norris Fisher sold the first
television set purchased in Leakey and installed one at the Drug Store. On
Wednesday nights the entire community would gather to watch wrestling on
the TV, sip their soda’s and rip and holler!
The first drug store in Leakey was located on what is now a vacant lot
beside Alamo Grocery and was owned and operated by Lewis Casey, who
also served as Mayor, electrician and doctor. Naturally, when the Fisher’s
opened their business in 1954 that distinction passed to Norris Fisher and
he was nicknamed “Doc Holiday”! Joanne said they studied and learned how
to make those “butterfly bandages” and anything they could handle, they
patched up at the store!
|THE OLD LEAKEY DRUG STORE
Lt. Baum of the 264th at Ft. Sam came to Leakey on Friday to say "Thank You"
for asking them to participate in the parade. He brought plaques of
appreciation and a picture of all of the troops that particpated. We are the ones
that are thankful! Thank you to all the troops that participated in our July
Jubilee parade!!! In the pictures are Lt. Baum, Jack Hallum, Debbie Darter, my
aunt who helps me each year with the parade and was instrumental in getting
the soldiers here and myself. Thank you to everyone who helped with the
parade this year!! It was awesome!!
|FOUR YEARS OF
THE HILL COUNTRY HERALD
OLD TIME CELEBRATIONS by Julie Becker
January 26, 2012
Lora B. Garrison was the guest speaker at the Real County Historical
Commission meeting held on January 21, 2012. The first meeting of many this
year, Garrison relayed stories of ‘ole. She opened by stating “ From his
lemonade stand Luke Large was calling out COME AND GET IT, cold lemonade
made in the shade, stirred with a spade, by an old maid!!!” Garrison said
everybody would come for refreshments, drink from a cold tin cup and then
set it back for the next person. She spoke of a number of early pioneer ranch
rodeos, barbecues and all night dances. All that attended thoroughly enjoyed
Garrison’s stories and you can tell from the picture above she “dressed the
part too!” There was a lively discussion about having a Centennial Calendar.
After much input, it was decided to have a calendar for the Nueces Canyon
|We, at the Hill Country Herald would like to thank each and everyone of you who
make it possible for us to bring you our paper. We appreciate our readers,
advertisers and contributors for allowing us to do what we love, which is...bring you
our paper! We look forward to many more years of service to this Community
and her wonderful people.
The Hill Country Herald Staff
|RIO FRIO OAK BY
December 18, 2010
The age of the mammoth oak has been determined at 3,670 years by
counting the rings of the smaller branches. It has been known as
the "Rio Frio Oak" because of its location and sometimes as
"Methusaleh", because of its great age. Probably it was more
commonly known as "The Schoolhouse Oak", since the first canyon
schoolhouse was underneath the old oak tree. After the civil war in
1866 Theopalis Watkins and W.F. Smith dug an irrigation ditch from
the mouth of Flat Creek through Rio Frio, diverting water from the
Rio Frio. They formed the Lombardy Irrigation Co., and the town of
Rio Frio became the Mecca of the Frio.
|Copyright 2013 Hill Country Herald All rights reserved.
LOST IN THE FIFTIES”…THE OLD LEAKEY DRUG STORE"
and one for the Frio Canyon. What a year its going to be!! Special guest was
Leakey ISD 4th grader, Skyler Blalock who was recognized for his growing
interest in local history. Please plan on attending the next Historical
Commission meeting on March 17th to hear Wanna Lou Lloyd and Mary Lou
Ward present “You Can’t Talk Over a Wire!” See you there!
To encourage doctors to remain in Leakey the Fisher’s offered six months
free lodging above the Drug Store and were successful for a while! She
remembers one day a gentleman came in pale and shaken with his hand
wrapped up. She helped him upstairs to the doc. He had severed his finger
while moving his car seat backward. Dr. Gentry and Mrs. Fisher retrieved the
severed finger, the doc sewed it back on, in the room above the Drug Store
and when it was healed; the finger was good as new!
Dwight D. Eisenhower was our President and Sir Winston Churchill was
Prime Minister. White Christmas and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers played
at the “Movie Theater”; people were reading The Lord of the Rings Series by
Tolkien, Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming. The first nuclear submarine was
christened the “Nautilus”, Russia opened the world's first atomic power station
near Moscow, and Germany introduced the Mercedes 300SL coupe, with its
gull-wing doors. Here in Leakey, old cypress log benches lined the sidewalks
and people, mostly men, sat there to visit and chat. The kids ruled the sidewalk
from Hill’s Restaurant (where the Annex building is today) to the Brice’s
Supermarket (where Alamo Grocery is currently located).Toddlers in diapers,
baby walkers and laughing happy children were a common sight along that well