SUNDAY March 15, 2020
What a difference a week makes. Our thoughts and best wishes are with all affected by the COVID-19 crisis. As of today, some cities and counties have shut down high attendance public events for a couple of weeks. Others have not, leaving it up to event coordinators, venues, and patrons to make their own decisions and requesting they follow the Centers for Disease Control rules to keep COVID-19 from spreading further. Check with the venues before making a trip. We remain hopeful that we'll be on the healing side of this situation before too long.

In the meantime, there are plenty of enjoyable activities to keep you entertained in this week that holds the first day of spring. The Texas State Parks are open. Tyler's Azalea & Spring Flower Trail kicks off this Friday through April 11. Go find the fairy gardens in Davey Dogwood Park starting this Saturday. Take a nature walk at Mineola Nature Center. See a small venue concert or play. Enjoy art exhibits. Go visit small shops and buy something special for you or a friend. Drop off flowers or a gift basket for someone in a nursing home or others who may be in quarantine.

It's also a great time to catch up on some reading. The County Line ARCHIVES contain thousands of stories about the people, places, and unique aspects of the region. Take this time to explore online and set some plans for getaways in the Upper East Side of Texas this year.
See the dogwoods in Palestine. Photo by Larissa Loveless
On Thursday, March 18, 1937, a cold and wet winter yielded to a beautiful spring afternoon. Excitement was in the air. Several of New London’s students prepared to compete in the Interscholastic League competitions in Henderson the next day. The district expected a stellar performance. Just before school let out at 3:17 p.m., shop teacher Lemmy Butler flipped the switch on a sander. A deafening boom stopped time on the wristwatches of New London’s future.

Witnesses agree that the 253-foot-long school lifted several feet off the ground before crashing back down in a mass of broken concrete, twisted steel, and collapsed bricks. The massive explosion shook buildings and rattled windows 10 miles away in Kilgore. Hundreds of children and their teachers lay buried beneath the rubble.

The horror of this event led to enacted legislation requiring the addition of a foul-smelling chemical (mercaptan) to natural gas. This regulation was soon adopted worldwide and has saved countless lives. 
Located near the north shores of Lake Tawakoni in Hunt County, the little downtown of Quinlan, Texas, has a row of antique shops worthy of an afternoon drive.
With great views, a popular lake, downtown shops, attractions, and tasty restaurants, Jacksonville is a good travel destination.
The Remarkable Story of Olive Ann Oatman
Olive Ann Oatman died on March 21, 1903, in Sherman, Texas. She was born in 1837. Kidnapped by Mohave Indians in 1851 when she was 14, they tattooed her chin. She was rescued five years later. She married cattleman John Fairchild in 1865 and they moved to Sherman where they were respected members of the community. She is buried there in West Hill Cemetery. In November of 2011 the AMC Network series  Hell on Wheels  included a character, Eva Toole, who shared many traits with Olive Ann Oatman.  READ MORE from the Texas State Historical Association.
Greyhound Opens June 12
The movie Greyhound starring Tom Hanks opens in theaters June 12. The story was adapted by Hanks from the C.S. Forester novel. It is a World War II movie that follows a U.S. Navy skipper who must lead an Allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolf packs. Paris, Texas, native Blake Neely is the composer creating all the often-intense music that keeps the story moving. READ MORE about Blake Neely in the County Line archives.
Covering the Arts Across the Upper East Side of Texas
Lisa Tang writes about this Branson-style show that takes place in Palestine four times a year.
Katie McFarland repurposed a drive-thru bank facility into a coffee house. Photo by Sky High Perspective
In Jessica Dupuy’s book,  United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State, she has this to say about East Texas: 

"Texas’ roots — as part of the Deep South — begin in East Texas. While French exploration occurred in the late 1600s, settlement didn’t really take place until the 1800s, and the food in East Texas shows influences of the French-Cajun areas of nearby Louisiana, while signature Southern flavors predominate."

The book is available on , and her website, .  Check out her recipe for East Texas apple pie .

"If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor."
Feel free to send story ideas, poems, letters, and beautiful photography from the region to Let us know what you enjoy most about this area.
County Line Magazine
PO Box 608
Ben Wheeler, TX 75754
Office: (903) 963-1101
Text: (903) 312-9556