The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Trustee, writer talks about Arlington history

Mineral crystals, underground gambling and World Series baseball help describe Arlington’s history.

TCC board member and author O.K. Carter discussed his book, Caddos, Cotton and Cowboys: Essays On Arlington, Feb. 12 on SE Campus.

“Over the years, it’s [Arlington] really had a number of different brands,” he said.

Arlington’s first historical encounter came when it was used as a train stop for the Texas and Pacific Railway, Carter said. Soon after, Arlington was known for its crystals that “could be found on drugstore shelves all over the country,” he said.

Arlington was then home to many homeless and single pregnant women who lived in the Berachah Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls. Here, the women found a home and a place where they could raise their children.

The city took a swift change in identity when Top O’Hill Terrace was formed, an underground casino where many wealthy west Texas oilmen and famous actors would come to gamble, Carter said.

“[The Top O’Hill casino] had all the food you wanted to eat, all the booze you wanted to drink and all the gambling you wanted to do,” he said. “It was kind of like an early Six Flags of sin.”

Angus Wynne altered Arlington history by building the Great Southwest Corporation in the 1950s. After building up Great Southwest, Wynne ran out of money to fund his industrial plant. He came up with an idea to raise money by building a Disneyland-like amusement park, Six Flags, Carter said.

“In six months, it [Six Flags] paid for itself,” he said. “Then it started really raking in the cash, and it became very quickly the largest tourist attraction in Texas.”

The Texas Rangers came to Texas, thanks to former Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff. Carter said Vandergriff brought in the worst team in baseball, the Washington Senators. Owner Bob Short needed to come up with $10 million to keep the team. Vandergriff told him that he would let Short keep the team, and he would buy the Senators’ television and radio rights for 10 years for $10 million, Carter said.

“The team didn’t do so hot at first, but even not so hot was a lot better than what the team was doing in Washington,” he said.

Carter also shared tips on writing. After writing, he said one shouldn’t go through the page over and over. He said to just go through and edit it three times. Once one starts writing, Carter said its best to write about stuff that can make money, not just stuff one wants to write about.

SE student Anndi Frizzell found the tips helpful.

“I found it very interesting what he said about the writing tips,” she said. “I learned a little bit more about editing and how to think about things.”

SE student Helen Stevenson said the history of Arlington was “fabulous,” and she was amazed about how far Arlington had to come.

“It taught me that even a small city in the middle of two bigger ones can really have an interesting history,” she said. “I would have never thought that someone would write a book about the history of Arlington.”

Ryan Moore

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