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Abilenians donapostrophe1212t know their landmarks like they should

Abilenians may support preserving historic buildings around town, but they're not always able to identify them.

Such is the conclusion drawn by Hal Pender of Pender Company/Office Plus, 442 Cedar, following the first installment of a contest the business mounted commemorating its 75th anniversary.

The contest was simple: Display a close-up photo of some landmark around Abilene, in the paper and at the store, then invite people to guess its identity, then stage a drawing from the correct answers with the winner getting a handy-dandy $400 office chair.

Easy part was supposed to be identifying the Abilene landmark.

Not so.

During the September contest to identify what was actually the distinctive roof of the old Texas & Pacific Railway Depot at North 1st and Cypress, many folks flat missed out.

"We got some wild ideas about what was what," Hal said. "Some thought wed gone out and taken a picture of the Guitar Mansion. Of course, the Guitar Mansion has been torn down and gone for, well, I dont know how many years!"

Other guesses included the Swenson House, the old St. Paul United Methodist Church (also torn down) and First Presbyterian Church.

For October, the close-up photo of another landmark includes even a sign all but identifying the building. Still, Hal wont be surprised if someone again guesses the Guitar Mansion. Or, better yet, the long-gone Carnegie Library.

Some folks just haven't been downtown in a while.


All this talk of photos of old historic structures -- and, in specific, the roof of the old Texas & Pacific Railway Depot -- brings to mind a photo we took of the depot back in the 1970s.

The photo was taken on the order of one of the Reporter-News editors and duly printed on Page One of the afternoon edition.

Reason: Despite the fact Abilene was by then experiencing warm temperatures, the old T&P Railway Depot roof was still white with snow that stubbornly refused to melt, even in the afternoon sun.

Or so the caption claimed.

Only later did staffers realize the snow wasn't snow at all.

Abilene Reporter-News
Bill Whitaker