Texas History

Fifty years ago, the United States shrank by a single square mile. It all happened where the Rio Grande divides El Paso and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico.

Ever since Texas became a state, the river has been the border between the two countries. But rivers can move — and that's exactly what happened in 1864, when torrential rains caused it to jump its banks and go south. Suddenly the border was in a different place, and Texas had gained 700 acres of land called the Chamizal (pronounced chah-mee-ZAHL), so named for a type of plant that grew there.

Texas State Library & Archives Commission

Rick Perry isn't the first Texas governor to stare down an indictment for his actions in the office. 

In 1917 the Travis County district attorney’s office filed an indictment against then Gov. Jim “Pa” Ferguson for vetoing the budget of the University of Texas.

Professor Don Carleton, who heads up the Dolph Briscoe American History Center at the University of Texas at Austin, described the political climate at the time as being a prohibition vs. anti-prohibition, rural vs. urban environment of political bosses, and Ferguson certainly was that.

David Martin Davies

Dance halls in danger

Patrick Sparks is the president of Texas Dance Hall Preservation - you can find them online at TexasDanceHall.org. They have information about where the dance halls are and what events are coming up at them.

"It's a kind of magic; people who have never been to a real Texas dance hall go to one, it's a real experience for them. So there's a huge feeling in the state and elsewhere for the halls and how important they are."

Texas dance halls: A radio documentary

Jack Morgan / TPR Arts

It’s a program created by the Patrick Heath Public Library in Boerne and it’s got a very retro feel. Hearkening back to the Beatles album, it's called the Magical History Tour.

“What we are trying to do is to introduce our patrons, and anyone else who’s interested, to the history of the region," said Heath librarian Robin Stauber. To do so they’ve created these tours, and Stauber said they have gone all over the place.  

“We’ve been to New Braunfels, we’ve been to Bandera, we’ve been to Castroville, we've been into San Antonio to do some things there,” Stauber said.

Jones Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University

*This show is a rebroadcast of the April 18, 2014 episode of Texas Matters

Texas Matters: Dive into the hidden history of early Texas photographs with Lawrence T. Jones, III, whose new book, "Lens on the Texas Frontier," presents a stunning look at life in early Texas.

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