A look back at the legacy of Lindale

A look back at the legacy of Lindale

Just as the streetlights flicker on, they take off downtown to the four-way stop. The scarcity of traffic allows the children to play football in the street without distractions. The ball whisks through the air to the doorstep of Earl Reesewood’s cafe, where all the teenagers dance to the ringing of the jukebox.

Over the years, Lindale has experienced many changes. Population growth, business expansion and educational advancements are a few of the many developments of the small town.

“The change of our little town has been just tremendous,” lifelong resident Dolores Goodman said. “You wouldn’t believe the opportunities developed since I was growing up.”

The most evident development of Lindale education has been the use and growth of technology. This advancement has been broadening the spectrum of student opportunities since the year of 1985.

“In 1985, they moved me over to the junior high because they needed a certified computer teacher to start programs over there,” retired Lindale educator Willene Lilly said. “So I got to be able to start some of the first computer programs Lindale ever had.”

Apart from just technology, Lindale’s student body has inflated annually since the 1930’s. Students from surrounding counties began transferring to Lindale for the educational advancements provided.

“When I was in first grade, all the grades went to ‘Lindale School’,” Goodman said. “It was one three-story building that stood where College Street Elementary stands now.”

By 1936, student population had outgrown the school building, leading to the first building expansion. Further prosperity led to the dispersion of grades to separate schools in the late 1940’s.

“There were 35 students in my graduating class,” lifetime resident Tommy Mallory said. “Now there are around 300 in the graduating class, so I’d say the most obvious change has been student enrollment.”

Traditions of Lindale have remained true to their customs, but have broadened the execution by help of a larger community and technological advancements. Clubs and organizations from years past still exist in Lindale High School, along with new opportunities for students and the community.

Lindale is home to me; it always has been and always will be.

— Tommy Mallory

“When I was growing up, football teams didn’t start until high school,” Goodman said. “Now there are much younger sports teams getting exposure before scouts and colleges start looking at them. The opportunities are mind boggling now.”
Student job opportunities have escalated immensely since the 1930s-70s. The main occupational service during that time was the East Texas Canning Factory.

“Just about all the students who had jobs worked in the canning factories behind where the library sits now,” Goodman said. “Now there are fast-food stops on every corner and businesses opening all over town.”

Holidays in the small town were celebrated more openly for the community in the past. The small amount of traffic present throughout the day allowed for safer demonstration of holiday spirit within the town.

“When I was growing up, at Christmas time, at the four-way stop in the center of town, they would put this humongous tree right in the center and decorate it for Christmas,” Goodman said. “There wasn’t much traffic back then, maybe 2-3 cars after dusk. So they would just drive around the tree”

Currently, it is quite a common occurrence to see teenagers and students gather at local hang-outs such as Whataburger and Dairy Queen. In the early to mid 1940’s, the local hangout was a diner sitting where the Texas State Bank now sits.

“Almost every afternoon, and after every football game, all the teens would go hang out at Earl Reesewood’s diner downtown,” Goodman said.           “The jukebox would be blaring and kids would dance all over the floor of the building.”

Not all memories are as happy for long-time Lindale residents.  Dolores Goodman recalls hearing, through the static of a diner radio, President Franklin Roosevelt declare war on Japan.

“I’ve never heard a full diner so silent,” Goodman said. “We’d just heard that our country was going to war. Times were just really different than they are now.”

Despite the outstanding achievements, Lindale is a community that believes in never ending improvements. The potential of the expanding town is sure to keep visitors coming and the charm of Lindale enduring.

“Lindale is home to me; it always has been and always will be,” Mallory said. “No amount of changes to the little town could change the connection I have with it.”


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