Fort Worth's Huge Deal

More than 4,000 acres of largely barren land evolve into a vital community as you travel through a century filled with potholes, side trips, erroneous directional signs and occasional dead ends. Fort Worth’s Huge Deal builds on historic and documented data to unwind a twisted legend . . . and track down events before and after 1889 news about a Denver entrepreneur and “the largest real estate transaction ever recorded in Texas.” The book’s account of Arlington Heights and Fort Worth’s Westside gives rise to several mysteries and a surprise conclusion. Read Fort Worth’s Huge Deal online at Ruff Brick Road or download the e-book as a PDF.

The Soldier's Chronology

The Soldier’s Chronology is about the U.S. Army’s prenatal culture and its continual change in elements such as organization, weapons, transportation, communications, uniforms, insignia, medicine, and aviation. This hardcover reference book contains 4,000 factual entries in time order about the Army’s evolution—about its men and women—not wars and generals. Although The Soldier’s Chronology is becoming harder to find, first editions reside at libraries in Australia, Canada, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Historical artifacts shown in the photo are identified on the book page.

Brick Travels

Brick travels for many reasons. Maybe someone built a brick structure in a town without a brick kiln. Perhaps somebody preferred the look of brick made elsewhere—or got a better deal on it, even with shipping costs. In such cases you’d expect to find a lot of those bricks in the area, especially after tear-downs and burnouts. Some brick, however, just show up with no simple explanation of why or how they got there. Their reasons for travel range from mysteriously accidental to obviously intentional.

If you have additional insights—especially about the unusual “Quatrefoil Perforation” or the brick that seems to be marked “U. M. P.”—please let us know.

Historic Aber Brick

This historic brick (c. 1890) was loaned to the Vanishing Texana Museum in Jacksonville, Texas, by the Ed Aber family of that community. The cross with equal arms that “turn” at right angles is an ancient symbol that evokes whirling motion—like two sticks bound together and twirled to create fire. During the very era that Aber kiln-fired this brick, the symbol had a surge of popularity in the Western world after it was discovered during Heinrich Schliemann’s excavation of ancient Troy. The so-called swastika symbol was also adopted by the 45th Infantry Division of our National Guard c. 1923.

New Book Nearing Completion

Much, much more about bricks and brickmakers is on the way. After ten years of research by Atkinson and Wood, Lives of Texas Brick is finally in its closing stages of proofing before submission to publication.

These 600-plus pages provide origins of Texas brick by place, time and maker, and then trace their evolution through technology to aid historians, collectors and archaeologists in the identification of Texas brick and their role in the State’s industrial development. Of the 254 Texas counties, 155 were found with documented history of at least a brickmaker, a structure made of local brick, a periodic brick kiln, or the founding of a full-scale enterprise—information most often procured from timely publications. Many abandoned kiln and pit sites are identified with locations and photos, and causes of failure are explored in relation to market and economic conditions.

Several brickmaking family dynasties are presented in depth, illustrating networks of family connections within the trade. Production methods for each time period are either described or provided by reference to an available resource.

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