Archive for February, 2011

MonFeb201128

Smithville, TX, Chamber of Commerce Banquet

Here is a recap of the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet held last Saturday, March 26, 2011. Those attending saw an excellent video on why film makers should film in Smithville. The video was filmed by Danny Cameron  and Miranda Smith Cameron. Click here to see the video: Film in Smithville on YouTube.  I (Sallie Blalock) have a very small part near the end.  We are excited that two of the films that filmed in Smithville will be shown in Austin at SXSW. The two are “Natural Selection” and “Five Time Champion.”  We were thrilled to have some of the production crew to stay with us at the Katy House Bed and Breakfast.

Look at the video and let me know what you think about our town!

This report on our Chamber Banquet is from Mika Spears: ” We hope you had a great time at the Annual Chamber Banquet this past Saturday evening.  Congratulations to our Organization of the Year (Smithville Police Association), our Business/Employer of the Year (Smithville I.S.D.), and our very surprised Citizen of the Year, David Herrington!  We also had top-notch entertainment provided by some of the guys on our Board of Directors to celebrate the War Memorial Splash Pad project.  As usual, Catering by Chabot did an excellent job with the meal.

 There was also a surprise in store for our very own Adena Lewis as she was named “Citizen of the Decade” by the City of Smithville, and the Chamber of Commerce was awarded “Organization of the Decade”.  As someone who sees Adena in action almost every day, I can attest to her efforts and dedication, and I was elated to see her work acknowledged publicly.  And as someone who is employed by the Chamber, I am more than honored to be part of the “Organization of the Decade”, and I can assure you all that we don’t plan to “let up” anytime.”


FriFeb201125

Katy House Baked Eggs, B and B, Smithville

A  recipe that is a favorite here at the Katy House Bed and Breakfast is our Katy House Baked Eggs.  It’s the recipe guests want to try at home.

 We serve this dish with homemade toast, fresh fruit and our peppered bacon, plenty of orange juice and coffee.

Smithville, Texas,  512-237-4262/www.katyhouse.com

 Katy House Baked Eggs (we use one egg per person)-

 We will be glad to email you this recipe,  just email and request the Katy House Baked Eggs.

Email:  stay@KatyHouse.com


 For more recipes and information on our bed and breakfast click here and be on our mailing list.

Katy House Bed and Breakfast  (512) 237-4262   in Beautiful Smithville, Texas

Hometown of many movies: Hope Floats, Tree of Life, Doonby, Five Time Champion.


MonFeb201114

M-K-T Locomotive Boiler Explosion, Smithville, TX

 

Explosion rocked Smithville

Thursday, February 3, 2011 | Denis McGinness, Smithville Times

Ceremony to commemorate dark day in history from 1911 

 Like tracks weaving through a rail yard, Smithville’s history is intertwined with the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, affectionately dubbed the Katy. On Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m., at the Gazebo, a ceremony will be held to commemorate a dark day in that history known as “The Terrible Explosion at Smithville.” 

 The ceremony will take place 100 years to the day and almost to the minute that the disaster took place.  

The tragic event occurred when a boiler on one of the huge switch engines exploded from massive steam pressure at the large MK&T Railroad roundhouse facility on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 1911 at about 2:10 p.m. 

“I am unaware of any greater tragedy that has befallen this city,” said Bruce Blalock, railroad historian and a member of the James. H. Long Railroad Park and Museum board. 

 Dozens of Smithville residents can be seen taking in the scene of a boiler explosion on Feb. 8, 1911 that killed 10 men and injured several others. Pictured to the right, the remains of the switch engine after the boiler blast. Prior to the explosion, the engine had been located in the center of the picture between two locomotives. Bruce Blalock/Courtesy Photo Dozens of Smithville residents can be seen taking in the scene of a boiler explosion on Feb. 8, 1911 that killed 10 men and injured several others. Pictured to the right, the remains of the switch engine after the boiler blast. Prior to the explosion, the engine had been located in the center of the picture between two locomotives. Bruce Blalock/Courtesy Photo 

 The commemorative ceremony will be simple, according to Blalock, with a recap of the event, a reading of the names of those railroad workers who were killed, a moment of silence and the ringing of the train bell. 

 The tragic story starts with switch engine No. 233, which had just been turned out from the maintenance shop after overhauling. Mechanics were making adjustments to the safety valve, or pop-off valve, on the huge steam engine when the explosion occurred. 

 It is suspected that a defective steam line to the pressure gauge prevented the workmen from knowing the actual pressure in the engine and they tightened the pop off valves until an estimated pressure of 800 pounds. per square inch was hit, rupturing the boiler, blowing the engine forward 75 feet and sending the rail tender backward into the turntable pit. 

 Ten men were killed outright by the powerful event, two died later and several had serious injuries. Killed instantly were H. E. O’Rourke, Charles Gray, Thurston McNeill, Harry Clark, Will Phelps, F. Barino, Aaron Harless, Phil Hubbard, Albine Mitchell and Henry Stoglin. 

 O’Rourke’s body was identified by his foot, which had one toe amputated. The bodies of Charles Gray and four others were found under Engine No. 550, which stood on one side of the switch engine. One body was found under Engine No. 327, which was on the other side. One body landed on a house more than 300 yards from the explosion. 

 The Katy’s division surgeons in Smithville, Dr. J. H. E. Powell and P. Chapman (who had offices over the Hill and Trousdale buildings, respectively) were overwhelmed giving proper care to such extensive injuries so a special train was arranged to bring physicians from La Grange. Then at 6:30 p.m. on the day of the accident, a special train took six of the most seriously injured to Waco to the Katy hospital facility there. 

 According to a Houston Chronicle story published on Feb. 9, 1911, part of the engine’s firebox flew through the air and landed in town alongside Mohler’s grocery store, (105 W. Second St.) breaking the leg of his delivery horse. The story said most of the glass in adjacent buildings was shattered, as were fixtures in buildings along Second Street. The explosion caused a shock wave that “set the entire people wild with excitement.” 

 Pieces of the engine were also thrown six blocks from the rail yard. Smithville resident Johnny Stalmach picked up one of those pieces and put it in his yard. The twisted steel sat for 98 years, until, realizing the historical nature of the wreckage, Ruth Stalmach Whitehead and the Stalmach family got the idea to create something from it that would commemorate the accident. 

 The Railroad Museum, through the help of historical author David Herrington and art promoter Richard Latham, is working with local artist Russell Smith to create a memorial sculpture that will be dedicated the first week in May during the annual Katy Railroad employee reunion. 

 Blalock said the public is encouraged to attend the commemorative event and visit the museum to learn more about the history of the accident and the Katy Railroad in Smithville. The museum houses documents, photos and memorabilia of the MK&T Railroad’s long history in Smithville. 

P.S. Bruce is the owner of the Katy House Bed and Breakfast, named for the M-K-T Railroad, the Katy.