Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

April Fool’s Day 1952

Some of the April 1, 1952 Tacky-J’s headlines were: Ag Building Collapses, English Staff Goes Too; Shack Burns Down as Crowd Cheers; Atom Bums Plan Poetry Contest; Eager Beaver Cunyus will Dismiss Classes; and President Howell Gets Caught with His Pants Down! All in fun, the Tacky-J “tried to poke fun and do take offs on almost all departments and many of the students”! Some Daffynitions were also given including Agriculture Building: The John Tarleton Mule Barn, and Library: A place where all students go to get rid of their excess meanness – never to study!

Included in the 1952 Tacky-J was the ad: “Service Drug, Pool Hall and Gambling Casino, Dead I d’Arcy Floor Bouncer in Charge”! The photo shown above is from the 1952 Grassburr and shows what the “real” Service Drug looked like. The Tarleton students are all enjoying the Service Drug soda fountain!

In 2009 a Texas Historical Marker was erected on the building on the northwest corner of the square. The daughter of the former proprietor Daniel d’Arcy, was instrumental in obtaining the marker! She is also a Tarleton alum!

Called the Schnabel Building by locals, the service drug was a series of drug stores from 1899 until 1994. F.A.Schnabel, who contracted its building in October 1897, and hauled brick for the building from Thurber, was the original proprietor. He operated the business until 1905, when he sold it to Frank S White. Other owners of the pharmacy were Swan Richardson, Daniel and Louise D’Arcy, Bill Riddick, John Baker, and finally Eckerd Drug. The soda fountain was a very popular meeting place for many years, and was even operating in the 1970s!

So………as you can see above, the Service Drug wasn’t really a pool hall and gambling casino, but a place where Stephenville folks went for real live soda fountain treats!

Hope your April Fool’s Day was the start of a great month!

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