two bedrooms, kitchen, living room and bath, this house is now 77 years old and the man who bought it has been restoring it. It is a block from the school.
In 1935, when I was two years old, my mother and daddy and older sister moved to Eldorado. It was soon after the Great Depression. Somehow Daddy put enough money together, with the help of my granddad, to build house, it had four rooms and a bath. It cost $1,600, (I have a coffee table that cost that much).
It was cold in the winter, no insulation in the walls, no air conditioning. The back yard was for a cow, chickens and a garden. We had a cave that was about 2 feet deep. Daddy had a job at the Cooper Gas Plant east of town.
we lived across from Grandmother and Granddad Christian, that was the best part of growing up. About a year after this picture was made, Nancy was born.
This was a good time for two little girls, a new house, Daddy earning enough money to keep things going, Mother was an artist and taught painting. She also canned our food, even things like tamales and fruit cake. She made all our clothes and was good at everything she did. She played the piano at the Presbyterian Church for several years and was blessed with many gifts and talents.
I started school in 1939, the teachers were very old and cranky. When WW 11 started there was rationing on sugar, gasoline, candy, black pepper to name a few things. (even elastic and rubber). Each family was given rationing stamps and was allowed only small amounts of necessary things. Mother had one pair of silk stockings that lasted during the whole war. Woolworth Store in San Angelo had a counter up front where workers repaired runs in stockings. (Women could also buy brown lotion to color their legs and then paint a ‘seam’ down the back, these were pretend stockings)
I could drive by myself when I was nine, kids drove the family car if they they had one. The main street downtown was always alive with people. On Saturday, everyone came to town. There was one picture show in the middle of town that showed the same movie two days in a row, mostly scary war pictures and then on Saturday, there was a cowboy movie. Mrs. Davis had a popcorn machine and a quarter paid for popcorn and a movie. There was no restroom and no water fountain. You went down to the Eldo Hotel if you needed to go. Kids walked home from the movie in the dark. We never thought about walking at night, it was a little scary crossing the school yard though.
The fast food place was Hamburger Bill’s, the aroma drifted down the street, the hamburgers were good and cost 15 cents. (I might add there were few fat people back then, I can only remember one or two while we were in school). There were two drug stores, they smelled like medicine and vanilla ice cream, then several barber shops and they really smelled nice. There were five grocery stores, two lumber yards, and at least eight filling stations. There was the Woolen Mill, the only one in Texas. J.B. Christian build it. I loved to go in there just for the smell, it had an earthy, lanolin sheepy smell, just wonderful to the senses. It is still stands here today but is only open for tours.
during the war, the mill made army blankets that were sent all over the world for our troops, they were dyed army green
Another business that has been here forever is the First National Bank. It was started in 1907 and this was the original building. Later the building was turned into a Pool Hall, no women were allowed in there). Now it has been restored and is a beautiful building where receptions and gathering are held.
the old bank is now used for social functions, it is the prettiest place in Eldorado. The present First National Bank is across the street and spans the block. (another of Frankie Lively’s pictures).
The finest homes were in Glendale. There were three doctor’s offices, no ambulance, people were loaded in a pickup or the funeral home’s hearse to be taken to San Angelo for an emergency. We had one dentist, Miss Nettie Isaac’s, her equipment ran on a treadle machine that she peddled while she drilled).
When I was nine, my sisters and I could ride the Oilfield Bus Lines to San Angelo by ourselves and spend the night with Grandmother. We would go shopping downtown at Woolworths and buy books for 25c, false fingernails, nail polish, and kiss proof lipstick, which was about the same as painting your mouth with the nail polish. The dream was going to the Texas Theater, oh what a place! Air conditioning, bathrooms and water fountains.
After the war, things changed fast, prosperity, new cars, refrigerators, air conditioners, good jobs and new oil was discovered. Eldorado was a booming town. There were five car dealerships in town at one time. Soon people started going to San Angelo to do business and buy their stuff. Slowly, businesses here closed. Television changed the way of life too, people stopped visiting with each other.
I was in the first class graduating in the new high school building in 1951. I could have lived anywhere, after college I moved back and stayed. I love this town~