Friday, July 1, 2011

Elliot's new area: Wichita Falls, Texas

In his June 20 email, Elliot reported that he would be transferred to Wichita Falls, Texas.  My first thought was of the classic Glen Campbell song, Wichita Lineman.  But Elliot is not in that Wichita, and as far as I know there is no classic country hit song about Wichita Falls.  I know absolutely nothing about Wichita Falls, Texas, so let's take a little tour and see what's there.

The official website of Wichita Falls is a great place to start.  It says:
The City of Wichita Falls is comfortably nestled in the North East corner of the Panhandle/Plains area of North Texas. Wichita Falls is an economically progressive city home to commerce and industry with worldwide interests. . . . By most accounts Wichita Falls can be summed up with two words, pleasant and comfortable. This is a family oriented city conveniently located within two hours of two metropolitan areas with populations exceeding one million citizens; Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City.  Wichita Falls has a population of approximately 104,553, is the county seat of Wichita County and considered the population center of North Texas.
There's lots more about Wichita Falls, including many pictures and videos, after the jump.

There is much to do in Wichita Falls.  There is the Castaway Cove Waterpark, which may be the coolest place to be on the 4th of July, since temperatures are predicted to be 103!

The River Bend Nature Center looks really interesting, with lots of bugs, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, including the Mexican Milk Snake (pictured).  The Nature Center is not far from Lucy Park, a 178-acre regional park in the heart of Wichita Falls on a bend in the Wichita River.

One of the features of Lucy Park is The Waterfall:
This 54 foot man-made falls, completed in 1986, replaced the original falls that washed away more than 100 years ago. Visitors enjoy miles of landscaped, lighted, all-weather walking trails. Lined with benches, the paths wind along the Wichita River from the Falls to the beautiful 170-acre Lucy Park, complete with log cabin, pavilions, pool, duck pond and Lucy Land Playground. The falls can be seen and visited from I-44 or you can walk the trail from Lucy Park.
There are also plenty of places to eat in Wichita Falls, including the Jalapeno Tree Restaurant, home of the Star Dinners, Ronnie's Burgers (watch the video!), and the ever-present Mazzio's Pizza, famous for delivering while tornadoes rage.

And if Elliot has free time on P-days for a little culture, there are several museums in Wichita Falls, including the Kell House Museum, the Museum of North Texas History, and the Wichita Falls Railroad Museum.  He can also take in the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre, the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, or the Wichita Theatre & Opera House.

Elliot will hopefully see one of the strangest sights in Wichita Falls, The Littlest Skyscraper:
It started out innocently enough, but then most swindles do. In 1919, Wichita Falls was a crowded place. While area businessmen were enjoying the first of several region-wide oil booms, offices were located wherever space could be found, and ""coat pocket"" business addresses were as common as anything made of bricks and mortar. Investors practically stood in line to buy stock in a construction project proposed by a Philadelphia building engineer, the plain-looking tenant of the Newby Hotel, a man whose given name has been lost to history. He probably was a genuine building engineer or he could never have presented his $200,000 (c. 1919) project so convincingly! Contracts were signed, money changed hands and construction began on the lot next door to the clever visionary's hotel address. Trouble was, none of the investors seemed to notice that the Philadelphian's blueprints, which called for dimensions measured in square feet, were actually executed in square inches until after the property, still standing after 80-plus years, was finished. By then, the Easterner had long checked out of the hotel, taking the bulk of his ill-gotten $200,000 along. (A quaint antique shop, Antique Wood, now calls The Littlest Skyscraper its home.)
If Elliot sticks around Wichita Falls through August, he'll get to see the Hotter 'n Hell 100 bike race, an annual event whose name says it all.

Finally, here are a bunch of pictures of places in and around Wichita Falls, followed by several videos.  Enjoy!

Pictures of Wichita Falls

-- Wichita River

-- Lucy Park

-- Pagoda in Lucy Park

-- Entrance to Lucy Park

-- Goose in Lucy Park

-- Memorial Auditorium

-- Midwestern State University

-- Sikes House

-- Sikes Senter Mall

-- Vernon College

Videos about Wichita Falls

Here is "Best of Texas 2010: Wichita Falls," a video produced by the Wichita Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Here is "Welcome to Wichita Falls," a video slideshow produced by the Wichita Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Here is a video of Terrible Tuesday, April 10, 1979, when a devastating tornado hit Wichita Falls.

For King of the Hill fans, here is an excerpt from an episode where Hank and Bobby encounter a couple of residents of Wichita Falls, who believe that the best thing about Wichita Falls is that it is so close to Oklahoma!

And finally, even though it's the wrong Wichita, here is Glen Campbell performing his classic "Wichita Lineman" on the Smothers Brothers show. It's great to see him in his prime, especially in light of his recent health concerns.


  1. Great post!! You are the best missionary dad blogger, EVER!

  2. Thanks! How could you not love a post with videos from King of the Hill and Glen Campbell? :)

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