Hood County News – August 7, 2001


Will Fidler’s Store survive the new turn lane at the 377-171 intersection?

I admit I chuckled some weeks ago at reading a state highway department spokesguy’s comments to the effect that no Cresson businesses would be affected by the much needed, now-in-progress improvements to the highway 377-171 intersection.

My initial concern, expressed here some months ago after the state used eminent domain to claim right-of-way up to but not including the stone corner pillar of historic Fidler’s Store, was that the turn lane might be an invitation to a slipshod cattle truck or semi driver to ram or otherwise damage the old rock store, built in 1936 by the Slocum brothers of Cresson. The building became known as Fidler’s Store because brothers Calvin and Herschel M. “Pat” Fidler used most of it as a grocery for decades.

My concern was heightened when a Cresson resident told me that a state highway department employ at one point had said he hoped the turn-lane project could be completed “before any of those historic preservation people hear about it,” apparently because the turn lane or poles and apparatuses required for the turn lane, would be installed dangerously close to the corner of the old rock store.

Let it be said that many of my fears — I am one of those historic preservation people — have been somewhat alleviated by the work that’s already done.

While it would seem to have been virtually impossible to install a turn lane without poles on the corner in question, it appears that the pole installed last week was put in with the idea of actually protecting the building, however unsightly it may be as far as damaging the view of the building.

Jim Gordon, who owns J&S Auto Sales and the auto-tire business on the corner, is not one to complain, and won’t.

Whether Gordon’s business will be affected by the turn lane improvements, though, remains to be seen.

SIDETRACKS: About two dozen residents of Cresson, Bluebonnet Hills, Clearview Hills and Scenic Ridge attended the Aug. 31 Cresson Committee to Incorporate meeting. What they were told by committee chairman Jack Farr is pretty much what everyone expected — not to expect an election until at least October.

More likely, said John “Whizzer” Miles, who has done much of the footwork in getting the incorporation petition together and approved, is including the incorporation proposition on the early November general election ballot.

Farr said an Aug. 11 election date set by County Judge Linda Steen was voided after questions arose regarding whether a brief legal description of the land involved is sufficient or whether a full, “meets and bounds” survey is required before an incorporation election. Miles, who enlisted the help of Granbury attorney Steven J. Reid, said that according to state law pertaining to how unincorporated areas go about incorporating, a legal description should be ample. After the election — and if the incorporation proposition passes — a full survey costing several thousand dollars would be required…So impressed was Miles with Reid, whom he didn’t know previously and whose office he just walked into before being referred to Reid, that the former suggested that Reid, who was involved in Tolar’s successful incorporation bid, be retained as Cresson’s attorney if Reid wants the job…Sad to note the July 7 passing of Victor B. “Vic” Penuel, Jr., son of the colorful longtime Cresson School principal, pedagogue and athletics coach, in San Antonio. The younger Penuel, who attended the Cresson School where his dad and mother, Dixie, both taught, had written Helen Long of Cresson some months ago stating his desire to attend Cresson Homecoming this fall. However, after a much-anticipated trip to Spain in the spring with his wife, Mary, Penuel, who had battled inoperable prostate cancer for about a decade, died after an unexpected hemorrhage. Long said she hopes Mary Penuel and Victor B. Penuel III will be able to attend the homecoming in Vic’s absence.