Cross Plains Celebrates 100 Years

All year long Cross Plains has been presenting a series of celebrations and events to mark its Centennial, culminating with a big parade that was held yesterday. Here is a nice write-up about the event by Jeff Craig at the Abilene Reporter-News:

For residents of Cross Plains, Saturday’s centennial celebration was a chance to celebrate a resilient community’s ability to survive and thrive after 100 years — but it hasn’t been easy.

Cross Plains has survived the arrival and departure of the railroad, an oil boom and bust and a devastating wildfire in 2005 that destroyed more than 100 homes. But on Saturday, the city celebrated the tenacity to overcome those hardships.

“We do seem to have a survival instinct,” City Manager Debbie Gosnell said. “When we had the wildfire in 2005, everyone decided that we couldn’t lose our town. Our citizens rolled up their sleeves and got to work.”

She said no resident moved away after the fire.

“It’s a community that takes care of its citizens and works to support each other,” she said. “This community loves each other and the town.”

Saturday’s celebration included a parade, a ceremony at the veteran’s memorial, a ribbon-cutting for a new medical center, the distribution of commemorative wooden nickels and the dedication of a footbridge over Turkey Creek, the original townsite.

Saturday’s celebration, however, was just another chapter in the yearlong Cross Plains celebration. Arlene Stephenson, a member of the Cross Plains Centennial Planning Committee, said the celebrations actually began on Jan. 11, the official anniversary.

Earlier this year, a re-enactment skit told the story of the city’s founding, from the auction of lots by Col. Rufus J. Lackland, to the construction of the city’s downtown district. A float in Saturday’s parade advertised a festival centered on the city’s most famous former resident, “Conan the Barbarian” author Robert E. Howard.

Another float paid homage to city’s founding in 1911. Mayor Ray Purvis said Saturday’s celebration was a chance to look back at those early days, but also to look forward.

“We have survived 100 years. We’re in the right place,” Purvis said. “In the future we need to do more of the same and keep rolling ahead.”

Longtime resident Burlie Taylor, who is Callahan County’s Precinct 4 justice of the peace, said Saturday’s celebration was a testament to the people who have called the city home for the past 100 years.

“The length of time people live here is something else. People come here and they stay,” Taylor said. “We may fight amongst ourselves, but when it comes to Cross Plains we stick together. It’s a very caring town.”

Bobbie Johnson, owner of Johnson’s Dry Goods downtown for more than 40 years, knows exactly why Cross Plains has survived a century and is prospering today.

“It’s a lot of hard work, we’re all farm people,” she said. “Everyone works hard to make this town great.”

Next up is a fundraising dinner with a special guest speaker!