||The town moves
Glover reminded the residents of a mistake in 1877 made my Cold Springs
residents when they rejected the opportunity of God's blessing them with
the present Houston East and West Texas Railroad, etc, "and instead of
accepting said road they actually drove it away and things have naturally
He also appealed for a building of brick and stressed that the residents
of the community could manufacture the material themselves. Whether
this was his idea or merely an echo of talk making the rounds is anybody's
However, just as important or more so at the time, was the widespread demand
of 'good roads', a need that was instrumental in the creation of a "Booster
Club," the 1915 equivalent of a Chamber of Commerce, to further the needs
of the community.
Good roads in the county was high on their list of priorities, and the
next two years were to see remarkable improvements to local roads, thanks
to the voters who approved everyo one of several road bond issues.
The reason for this sudden concern with roads was probably due to the rapidly
growing popularity of automobile owners. The number of people converting
from the horse or mule to the gasoline engine was increasing at such a
rate that the diehards felt obligated to form a club call the "Soriful
The really big road issue was a proposed road from Lufkin to Houston and
the people of San Jacinto County were determined that it should go through
the county and Cold Springs. While the commissioners were touring
the state, other local leaders were attending a meeting at Livingston concerning
this proposed highway. When the commissioners returned, they
set a bond election for July 21 to finance a road to Cleveland.
Liberty County said they would build the remaining three and a half miles.
"The era of rail road building in Texas has past, " wrote the Times editor.
"There will be but few railroads built in Texas in the future, but the
next quarter century will be the building era of public highways; and pioneers
in this enterpirse.....Where the first public highways are made there will
be the center of thrift and industry. The most prosperous rural districts
in Texas are those that have the best in the way of public highways..."
Meanwhile, a commitee to determine the site of the Cleveland road were
working on it even before the election, but the pointed out one ticklish
porblem: since the site of the courthouse hadn't been chosen, they weren't
sure where to begin it. It still hadn't been chosed by the time the
successful bond election had come and gone. (Cold Springs voted 94
to 0 on the $48,000 bond issue.) The Polk County Enterprise declared
that this road would be the first link in the Lufkin-Houston highway.
Finally in August, five months after the fire, a $50,000 contract to build
the courthouse was let. The site had still not been chosen, but it
was already understood it would be on higher ground. Again from the
Times: "It is hoped that when the Court House is completed several other
nice buildings will be built. This with other enterprise means that
our town is on the eve of prosperity."
Finally a spot was chose, or rather, donated. The Times reports that
on October 9, J.M. Hansbro (the editor's uncle) went into Cleveland to
draw up a deed to donate several lots over to the county for the courthouse
site. The property has been in the family since it was first granted
to Hansbro's grandfathers, Col. Robert Rankin, a pioneer settler of the
The commissioners also put the old town square up for public auction, in
spite of a push to turn it into a public park. By the next week,
streets at the new town site were being graded and a contract was accepted
from Price & Williamson of Houston to build a concrete structure and
a starting date of Jan 1, 1917 was determined.
But it was the end of January before building materials started to arrive
By the, the people had other things on their mind. The county election
was coming up and politics was on everyone's tongue. But work continued.
While laborers worked on the foundation, work also began on a brick kiln
near N.R. Dodson's home to make brick for the courthouse and a second one
would follow a few months later. In March, a year after the fire,
the concrete work had begun. Residents could take pride in the fat
that they would have the fourth largest courthouse in the state.