San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 11th, 2008
New Kyle overpass remembers old ranches

STAFF REPORT

Kyle’s ranching days are long into the past by now, all but forgotten by those who remain and never known by those who have recently arrived.

But the city is using its new landmarks to recognize the old ways.

With each new Interstate-35 overpass through Kyle, each built of red brick and limestone to mark the city as drivers pass through, the city remembers the old ranching families who once lived and prospered in Kyle.

The newly finished Center Street overpass has a complete set of six cattle brands from six old Kyle ranching families, just like the Kyle Parkway overpass that opened more than a year ago.

Three of the families recognized at Center Street – the Groos, Moore and Nance families – have long had streets named after them in downtown Kyle.

Many branches of the Groos family settled in Kyle during the city’s early years in the late 19th century. The Nance family came to the area west of Kyle in the 1850s. The Moores date to the early 1900s.

Also shown on the new overpass is the brand for Hills Brothers Farm, which was one of Hays County’s largest businesses for 60 years in the 20th century. The Hughson family brand remembers Cecil Hughson, whose son Tex became a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox in the 1940s. The Smith family brand remembers Kirby Smith, who established one of the first African-American-owned businesses in the county.

The Kyle Parkway overpass features brands from the Bunton family (a Bunton signed the Texas Declaration of Independence), the Falcon family (Minverva Falcon served as city secretary for 32 years), the Johnson family (Lucy Johnson is running for city council), the Michaelis family (responsible for Kyle’s one-time fame as “The Jack Ass Capital of the World”), the Negley family (whose land now is the Plum Creek development) and the Word family (which ran the legendary Bon Ton grocery).

The city expects to open another overpass at Kyle Crossing in late 2009 or early 2010, completing the series of branded overpasses.

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