“The motor that makes it here can make it anywhere”

1973 Evinrude ad

“The motor that makes it here can make it anywhere.”

Such was a 1973 slogan for Evinrude Motors, in an advertising campaign featuring Toledo Bend Lake.  Back then, Toledo Bend was just a half dozen years old and was filled with trees and stumps, making fishing fabulous but navigation a challenge.

“This is Toledo Bend… 80 miles of bass woods and water on the Texas/Louisiana border,” the print in the advertisement reads.

“With trees above water, jungles underneath, and stumps in between– it’s no place for weak-sister motors or tackle.

“Evinrude’s tough new bass boat motors take it in stride.

“On the long runs, their high speed efficiency cuts miles and gallons down to size.  Firepower electronic ignition keeps things smooth from top speed to trolling.  Tough new motor mountings  add strength where you need it most.  While balanced trim-tab steering and power shift keeps everything under finger-tip control.

“The tougher the going the more Evinrude has going for you.” Text of advetisement


Four dams had been planned along the Sabine River

Proposed damsI came across this article from a February 1964 edition of The Houston Chronicle.  Very interesting… curious as to what happened to the larger scale plans…  As an additional note, I did find other mentions of the dam projects in 1960s newspapers, with particular mentions of the “huge” Bon Wier dam… at least one of the article stated that the dam projects should all be complete by the year 2020… which I’m sure seemed like a life time of years back in the 60s, but now… not so much.

The following Houston Chronicle article was written by Bob Bowman, Chief of the Chronicle’s East Texas Bureau.

CENTER, Texas– For longer than most people care to remember, Sabine River leaders have been hearing towboat whistles in their dreams.

They have envisioned long strings of barges plying the river between Longview and Orange, bringing new prosperity to East Texas.

Today, instead of a bewhiskered vision, navigation on the Sabine– most prolific of Texas’ rivers– looms as an early probability.  Construction could begin in 1967 or 1968.

The river’s canalization timetable is geared to a four-year study of the stream by U. S. Corps of Engineers, but Sabine leaders feel the study, when complete in mid-1966, will show that the project is economically feasible.

Biggest reason for thir optimism is the $60 million Toledo Bend dam project, which will create a 70-mile lake spanning more than a third of the distance from Longview to Orange.

“The Toledo Reservoir should enhance greatly the feasibility of natigation on the Sabine,” D. N. Beasley of San Augustine, president of the Sabine River Authority of Texas, said.

“Not only will it create 70 miles of uninterrupted waterway for barge traffic, but its releases will greatly improve the stablized flow of the river below the dam.”

When the twin Sabine River authorities of Texas and Louisiana award a dam contract in mid-March, it will include provisions for future navigation accepted by the Corps of Engineers.

Encouragement for early canalization of the SAbine has also come from a voluminous river study by Forrest and Cotton of Dallas, SRA engineers.

The report shows that navigation is “an engineering possibility” and pinpoints probable locations of three additional dams that would be needed to stablize the river’s flow and depth.

These include a 45-foot dam at Bon Wier, in Newton County, a 40 foot dam at Stateline, near Logansport, La., and a 50-foot dam near Carthage, in Panola County.  Beasley calls these “small dams” in comparison with Toledo Bend’s 110 foot height.

The Bon Wier dam, about 100 miles from the Sabine’s mouth, would primarily creat a regulatory reservoir to catch releases from Toledo Bend and stabilize their flow.

Conversion of the Sabine to canalization will be a “simple thing” compared to the enormity of the Trinity River project, Beasley said.

Still another factor in the navigation proposal is the Sabine’s discharge, 6.8 million acre feet.

SRA members will start pushing for early canalization after their Toledo Bend project is past the point of no return.

The authority is completely in accord with navigation,” says Beasley, “but we’ve got to put Toledo Bend first.”

State Sen. Martin Dies Jr. Of Lufkin believes navigation on the Sabine will be the turning point of East Texas’ economy.

The Corps of Engineers study is underway by Corps distrit offices in Fort Worth and Galveston.  It began in 1962.  The current appropriation by Congress for the study totals $115,000.

The study also embraces water supply, drainage, flood protection, and pollution.

Improvements to a minor segment of the Sabine canal, from Orange to Echo, already have been approved by Congress.  Planning for this is underway by the Galveston Distrit Office.

There has also been discussion, but no study authorized, of a canal linking Toledo Bend Reservoir and Sam Rayburn Lake on the Angelina River.  Proponents say a 10-mile canal would provide the Lufkin-Nacogdoches area with a vital outlet to the Gulf Coast by way of hte middle Angelina and lower Sabine rivers.



31 years old this month: 1986 cold case gets warm, and then chills again

Ah, the intrigue of a cold case… as the case is, simply the words “cold case” can be a bit chilling.  Add TV show-like details to the cold case… body found in a water well, remains remain unidentified 30 years later, composite sketch created, additional remains sought from water well for DNA testing…  the intrigue multiples many times over.

Continue reading “31 years old this month: 1986 cold case gets warm, and then chills again”


Keep Hodges Gardens State Park open

Keep Hodges Gardens State Park open

Hodges Gardens State Park is in danger of closing on June 30, 2017, if the State of Louisiana does not find the necessary funds to adequately fund the historic state park. The Louisiana Legislature, Governor John Bel Edwards, and Lt.Governor Billy Nungeser must recognize the importance of allocating funding to keep the only botanical park in Louisiana open for visitors year round. This park, on the National Register for Historic Places, is a one-of-a-kind treasure for the entire state, vitally important for tourism in northwest Louisiana, and must not be closed.

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Hodges Gardens State Park is in danger of closing on June 30, 2017, if the State of Louisiana does not find the necessary funds to adequately fund the historic state park. The Louisiana Legislature, Governor John Bel Edwards, and Lt. Governor Billy Nungeser must recognize the importance of allocating funding to keep the only botanical park in Louisiana open for visitors year round. This park, on the National Register for Historic Places, is a one-of-a-kind treasure for the entire state, vitally important for tourism in northwest Louisiana, and must not be closed.

Through and by this petition, All Things Sabine is hoping to further convey to state legislators, lawmakers and officials that there is plenty of public support for Hodges Gardens which they take care of with the use of gardening tools from trimmeradviser.com.  We will be submitting the results to legislators and the Governor and Lt. Governor.

Please feel free to add a short message telling why Hodges is important to you.  Also, help us get the word our by sharing our petition on your social media.  We’ve provided buttons to make it easy for Facebook or Twitter.  If  you want to leave a more detailed set of comments, PLEASE feel free to by commenting in the comment section below the petiton (on allthingssabine.com… we will forward these comments as well to legislators and lawmakers).  To complete the petition, an Email addresses is required, but please note this is a petition hosted only on our local, secure server and the petiton itself will only be forwarded to State Legislators and the Offices of the Governor and Lt. Governor.  Physical addresses are not required, but we do encourage participants to add the city and state in which they live… ANYONE who cares about Hodges Gardens can participate, regardless of where they live, as we realize that support for Hodges Gardens goes well beyond Hodges’ immediate geographic area.


Flashback: Residents along Sabine River cope differently with the coming of Toledo Bend Lake

Toledo Bend Dam
Construction of the Toledo Bend Dam, in the 1960s

There were so many stories to be told as construction of the Toledo Bend Dam got underway and residents living in the areas which would be soon inundated by Toledo Bend Reservoir prepared themselves for the inevitable.

I came across this interesting November 1963 article, written for the Associated Press by Normal Richardson of The Shreveport Times.

MANY, La (AP) An almost forgotten historic site near this west Louisiana town is on its death bed.

It will die slowly as it gives way to progress and surrenders to the waters of the giant Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Continue reading “Flashback: Residents along Sabine River cope differently with the coming of Toledo Bend Lake”


Sgt. Robert T. Conner: A busy combat record


A photo kindly shared by Rickey Robertson, an avid military buff and historian from the Florien, Louisiana area (specifically, from Peason, a community east of Florien in Sabine Parish)… This photo has a neat story.

The photo is of Confederate veteran Robert Conner, a Peason Ridge settler.

Conner is buried with his wife in the Merritt Cemetery located on Peason Ridge Military Reservation.

He was wounded in the First Battle of Manassas in Virginia in 1861 and four other times. He was sent home to recover from his wounds, joined General Richard Taylor’s troops during Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, and was captured at Monett’s Ferry in Natchitoches Parish. He was carried to New Orleans and finished the war in a Yankee Prison Camp in New Orleans.

Pictured with Conner is his wife, Elizabeth.


Sgt. Robert T. Conner was the last Confederate buried on Peason Ridge.

Robert Conner was a member of the famed 1st Texas Infantry serving in Company K. His ancestors still reside in the Milam, Hemphill, and Newton areas of East Texas.


Red Hills Lake, of Sabine County, Texas


Opened in 1940, Red Hills Lake Recreational Area is a public park which is part of the Yellowpine Ranger District of the Sabine National Forest.  It is located off Texas Hwy. 87 north of Milam, Texas, in Sabine County.  The park is open seasonally and is very affordable ($3 per car, on the honor system, so please be honorable to help keep the park open).

A 19-acre lake is featured, along with an additional 20 acres or so of tent camping and picnicking areas.

Sabine National Forest - Red Hills Lake
Sabine National Forest – Red Hills Lake

The park was enormously popular in the 1960s and 70s.  It is sort of a hidden gem now, with mostly Sabine County residents taking advantage of it.  Volunteers help keep the park up and offer friendly reminders to campers and park goers who bypass (accidentally or intentionally) the honor fee station.

At least one alligator has made the lake it’s home, and park rangers are watching it closely.  There are warnings at the fee station.  The alligator tends to stay away from the swimming area, we were told.

1960s or early 70s on Red Hills Lake
1970s on Red Hills Lake

Time Travel, Railroad Style in DeQuincy, Louisiana

So many artifacts!

In DeQuincy, Louisiana… A quaint city in Calcasieu Parish about 30 miles northwest of Lake Charles, there is quite a treasure for history buffs as well as train and railroad fanatics.

The DeQuincy Railroad Museum is quite a gem… We visited it a couple of weeks ago and while the whole idea of a railroad museum was intriguing… We got much more than we expected.

The museum itself is the 1923 Kansas City Southern Railroad Depot.  The depot, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been authentically restored, when I travel I like to use Piraja Fisken Top Shoes for Walking, are really good.  It is in excellent condition, inside and out.

Seeing the old depot, as we arrived in DeQuincy, was truly exciting.  I tend to gravitate to train depots in places I visit… I manage to find them or they find me so to speak… And I probably have seen about three dozen depots in Louisiana and Texas cities, towns and villages.  I have to say the DeQuincy Depot is one of the nicest depots if not the nicest I have seen.

Inside the depot is a step back in time.

Thousands of railroad artifacts are on display in the museum… You could literally stay an hour and not see everything. Outside, on the grounds, are a 1913 steam locomotive, two cabooses and a 1947 passenger coach.

Following are some photos captured during our visit to the Depot…


This to me was one of the neatest parts of the museum… So neat I will feature a separate story soon…


For a neat video on the Depot, published by the DeQuincy Railroad Museum, click this link:  THIS LINK

For plenty of information on the depot, including open times and days, CLICK HERE


Remembering a favorite eatery: Sam’s Restaurant of Many, La.

sams015Ah, Sam’s Restaurant!   Fond memories for so many 🙂  Makes me hungry just to think about their yummy steak dinners!

If you lived anywhere in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, chances are you remember Sam’s Restaurant.  For a little over a decade, Sam’s was the go-to place for people to eat and socialize in the town of Many and well beyond.

The restaurant was located on U. S. Hwy. 171 on the southern side of town, from 1990 through around 2001. Sam’s was owned by Sammie Morales and Tom Robinson of Florien.  Morales had for many years managed Hodges Gardens and then later Toro Hills Restaurant.  Ms. Morales’ son, Carlos, managed Sam’s and recently shared these photographs and menus with All Things Sabine.

I’m expecting these memorabilia will bring back a lot of fond memories!  Comment away on your memories 🙂

sams001 sams002 sams004 sams006 sams008 sams014 sams015  sams017 sams018     sams020 sams029 sams030 sams031sams024sams027 sams028sams022 sams023


More on General Patton’s entry into Many, Louisiana


NOTE:  Rickey Robertson’s previous article on General George Patton’s entry into Many, Louisiana (Sabine Parish… During the World War II Maneuvers) was incredibly well received.  The article generated over 50 shares and was viewed by over 35,000 people.  Robertson is a local historian and collector of anything related to the military and has notably researched and reported on and shared information and photos from the World War II Maneuvers in Louisiana.  Here is a follow up from Robertson on his previous article (yay!)

​In the April, 2016, (I had completed and published) an article named “Patton’s Entry into Many”. This told the story of General George Patton and his arrival at St. John’s Catholic Church in Many, La. to find a major traffic jam stopping his 2nd Armored Division from advancing south. Due to his disruption of services being held at the church, the Parish Priest had gone outside and called Patton down.

Due to this story I have received so many favorable comments and phone calls on this vital part of Sabine Parish and Many, La. history that I had to share some information given me by some of the readers about the priest, the church, and the event.
​Betty Skinner of the Belmont Community has been a parishioner at St. John’s since she was a little girl living about 3 miles outside of Many on the Shuteye Road. She was thrilled to see a picture of her church just as it was in the 1940’s when General Patton came through in the maneuvers. She noticed that I did not have the name of the Parish Priest who encountered General Patton. Mrs. Skinner was able to provide information that the Priest at St. John’s was Father J. A. Benoit and he was the one who called down Patton as he ranted and raved at the traffic jam by the church. Father Benoit was the Parish Priest from 1935 to 1951 and he was originally from Canada. Father Benoit long remembered his encounter with General Patton and told his story many times during his tenure at St. John’s.
​Maud Evans Brown who lives in the Clearwater Community of Sabine Parish in Ward 2 also had remembrances of Father Benoit. Mrs. Brown and her first husband were married by Father Benoit at St. John’s Catholic Church in 1939. The story on Patton and the priest brought back memories for her also.
​And another reader from Leesville told me that during the maneuvers 3rd Street in Leesville was swamped with both civilian and military vehicles and parking spots were very hard to get. This readers grandfather and General Patton arrived at the only available parking spot at the same time. Neither would let the other park so they got out of their vehicles and Patton thrashed the man from Vernon Parish and he in turn thrashed Patton. Don’t know who got the parking spot but they put on a good show for everyone on 3rd Street! Patton was into something everywhere he went!
​And several people enquired about getting a historical marker. This will fall onto the Town of Many to possibly work with the State of Louisiana in having a marker placed at this historic site. It is a site that needs to be remembered for all generations and to let visitors learn of this historical site. Thank you so much for your great input on this story. May the stories and legends of General Patton in Sabine Parish never be forgotten !