Reminder of Annual Meeting of the Membership Scheduled for 20th January 2018

The Annual Meeting of the Membership of the Linden Heritage Foundation will be held on Saturday, 20 January 2018, at the Linden Garden Club (300 E Houston St) starting at 2 pm.  All members are encouraged to attend and exercise their right to vote for 2018 Board of Directors.

The Agenda for the meeting includes:

  1. Welcome – Joe Lovelace, President
  2. Introduction of Nominating Committee Members – Joe Lovelace
  3. Nominating Committee submits Slate of Directors for election
  4. Explanation of voting process, tabulate vote, and announce results
  5. Review of Foundation financial statement
  6. Review of past and current activities
  7. Questions and Comments
  8. Presentation by Allie Anderson – Linden Main Street Director – “Our Past & Future”
  9. Refreshments & Visitation

The Board of Directors will meet following the Business Meeting to discuss:

  1. Election of Officers
  2. Goals for 2018
  3. Setting of Meeting Calendar – 2018

1934 Water Tower Christmas Ornament

Remember the 1934 water tower decorated with Christmas lights when you were growing up in Linden?  Then, Don Henley featured it in promo photos and on the cover of his “Cass County” album and made it iconic.

Now you can have a little piece of history for the holidays with a Linden water tower ornament for your Christmas tree.

Available in the following stores for $20 or by mail $25 (check, money order or cashier’s check only).

Carla Surratt                                                   Jo Anna Duncan

Carla’s Flowers & Gifts                                 Cass County’s Front Porch

P.O. Box 291                                                      P. O. Box 269

116 S. Main St.                                                 105 North Main Street

Linden, Texas 75563                                     Linden, Texas 75563

903-756-8017                                                  903/733-5915



Hotel George Damaged by Fire

Occupants Jump From Third Floor, One Man Breaks neck, Others Seriously Hurt in Daring Escape

Little did the citizens of Linden know how quickly their investment in a volunteer fire department and construction of the 1939 Firehouse would play in a significant downtown tragedy.

The Thursday July 27, 1939 Edition of the Cass County Sun, announced in a banner headline, “Hotel George Damaged by Fire, One Dead Others Injured”. The George Hotel, a three story structure was located on the east side of North Main Street.

Courtesy of Sue Lazara

“At 4 o’clock a.m., according to the article, the George Hotel was discovered to be on fire on the third floor. The fire apparently started near or in the linen room at the head of stairway. When the fire was discovered Mr. R. P. Fant rushed to the third floor to awaken guests.

He and all guests on third floor were trapped, cut off from the stair way and fire escapes. Miss Ida Mae Fant, his daughter, who was on the third floor and was among the first to awake and threw a coat over herself and fled to safety.”

According to her daughter, Nancy Max Belford, Ida Mae recalled escaping the fire and leaving behind a treasured ring given to her by her great-aunt. Amazingly the ring was recovered later in the debris, in a damaged condition.

“…Mr. R. P. Fant, Mr. And Mrs. J. L. Trammel, L. F. Lummus, Paul Horn Lovelace, Gerald Stephens Travis Skelton, Floyd Kitchens, Eddie Hogan, and Mr. Charlie Miller were cut off from the fire escape and had to jump from the 3rd floor windows.  Mr. Lummus, a traveling salesman from Paris, was instantly killed. Mr. Fant had 2 ribs broken, ankle broken and badly burned.  Mr. and Mrs. Trammel were carried to Atlanta Hospital by Allday Caver Ambulance.  The others, who leaped to the top of an adjoining one story building, we slightly burned and injured”” as described in the Sun.

Hotel George (circa 1930’s). Photo courtesy of Jo Miller

“The Linden Volunteer Fire Co. was on the scene quickly and did a fine piece of work, they held the fire in check until the Jefferson and Hughes Springs fire departments arrived…..  The supply of water in the city of Linden again proved to be plentiful with 3 sets of equipment running the pump and the tank supplied plenty water.  Linden and Mr. Fant are deeply grateful to each one of our neighboring cities who came to our relief in time of need and to our Local Fireman, all of whom regardless of the danger did such a fine piece of work in controlling and extinguishing the fire without greater loss.  This is Linden’s first fire to do any damage since the fire equipment was purchased.”   

“The entire 3rd. floor of the Hotel was gutted, entire building and all furniture damaged by smoke and water. Estimated loss $10,000 – $14,000 thousand dollars insurance carried, $10,000 on building and $4,000 on furniture.” 

“All recovered from their injuries except Mr. Lummus.”

Mr. Fant, can be hailed for his heroic act of going to the third floor to warn guest and exposing himself to serious injuries.

 2 November 1939 – Cass County Sun – Page 1

“The George Hotel was remodeled and opened for business under the ownership of Mr. R. P. Fant in November 1939.  Mr. Russell Law will have management of the hotel while Mr. W. A. Williams will be in charge of the coffee shop.  We are indeed glad to see the reopening of the splendid hotel and wish the management unbounded success.”

Loss of life and injuries plus further damage to the George Hotel and adjacent structures might have been greater but for the City’s expansion of its firefighting capacity.

Earlier Fires Prompted Linden to Build Fire Fighting Capacity

In 1930, the Post Office burned suffering a total loss, attributable to the lack of firefighting capabilities.

In August, 1933, the Cass County Courthouse was damaged by a fire of unknown origin.  Citizens salvaged what documents and other materials they could and but did little else but watch the courthouse burn.

Courtesy of Sue Lazara

As a result of the significant damage caused by these earlier fires, before the fire at the Hotel George, Linden was prompted to establish a waterworks along with a fire department and fire hydrants in the downtown thanks to the New Deal era programs.  Motivation for a decrease in fire insurance rates, implementation of more efficient fire protection became a priority for the town.

Linden Gets a New Fire Truck & Organizes a Volunteer Fire Department

On May 23, 1935, the Cass County Sun reported that Linden’s new fire truck “should be delivered here this afternoon or tomorrow.”  The following week’s publication described the new vehicle as “… a Ford V8 and has a pumping capacity of 500 gallons per minute.”  Furthermore, the article went on to describe that a volunteer fire department would be established within a week.

1935 Ford V8

Linden Builds Fire Station

26 January 1939 – Citizens Journal – Page 1

Linden started work this week on building a 24 X 30 stucco fire station for their fire engine, and the building will include office, storage room and sleeping quarters for two volunteer fire boys.

According to the Cass County Sun of February 16, 1939,The fire station will be completed by the last of this week and ready to house the fire truck.”

The truck “officially” entered the firehouse the following week:  “Did You Hear” – The fire truck as it moved into its new home Tuesday noon, near the water tower, this is a great improvement for our city. “(Cass County Sun, February 23, 1939, p.1).

Thanks and recognition go to our Linden Volunteer Firefighters of today who serve in the spirit of those who responded to the Hotel George fire.  These are modern-day heroes, best known for their willingness to risk their lives to save the lives and property of others.

Linden Volunteer Fire Department 2016 Wildflower Trails Photo courtesy of Jo Anna Duncan “Cass County ‘s Front Porch”

Credit is given to Gail Dorgan for providing this interesting history of Linden.  Transcription by Catherine Knapp.

Read the full transcription of the Hotel George Fire account in the Cass County Sun of July 27, 1939 see the Documents Section