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The Lonely Frontier

Published on Saturday, May 07, 2016 By Melissa Prycer
My corset was hot!—because it was summer, in Texas, what did you think I meant? I was fully embedded in my role as Mrs. Hedgecoxe, a rude antebellum liar trying to convince naïve dupes to buy land here. The naïve dupes were played by modern visitors, who did not believe me when I said “the weather in Texas is perfect, never too hot, never too cold, and always just the right amount of rain.” They did admire the Village’s retail opportunities, a general store that I assured them stocked both dress fabric and plows. Since we were inhabiting a year decades before the train reached Dallas, I explained the Depot as a proactive construction by a town confident of its future growth. And then I asked if they were ready to make the arduous journey o ..

False Fronts

Published on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 By Melissa Prycer
(/images/postimages/2-stores.lr_.jpg) Why must beauty be more than skin deep? Why be genuine when fake is more appealing? I’m just talking about buildings here. Modest little buildings occupied by business owners who want their establishments to appear impressive, professional and well-established, so they “put up a front,” literally, to claim that image. What would you do if you found yourself the first storekeeper to arrive with a wagon full of goods at a new frontier town growing near the latest gold strike? Celebrate, because you would be destined to make a lot more money off of that gold than most of the miners, who lacked the foresight to bring adequate tools and food. They will have to buy from you, at any price you choose. First,  ..

History Quest: Everything’s Golden

Published on Wednesday, April 06, 2016 By Melissa Prycer
Confederate gold refers to hidden caches of gold lost after the American Civil War. There are stories that some of the Confederate treasury was hidden to keep it out of the Union’s hands. When Union troops were on the verge of invading New Orleans, Confederates quickly removed millions of dollars of gold to a “safer” location. What became of the gold is a mystery. I have often thought of Dallas Heritage Village as a hidden treasure in the middle of downtown Dallas, hidden in plain sight. The village is located on 13 acres of beautiful green space with one of the best views of the Dallas skyline around. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Where is the village located?” or “How long has it been there?” This year w ..

Don’t You Love a Front Porch?

Published on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 By Melissa Prycer
Who doesn’t love a front porch? A cheerful place to relax on the swing with a refreshing cold drink. Wave to the neighbors taking an evening stroll, greet the mailman, watch a child shakily ride down the sidewalk on a new bike. Who doesn’t love a porch? Me, many days. I have 19 of them here at the village to maintain, and doing so leaves me little time for swinging or sipping or waving. A porch is basically a room with no exterior walls. What would happen if we took the exterior wall off of one of your rooms? Before you proclaim the joys of fresh air and sunshine, consider rain, snow, sleet and hail, birds and bees and rotten fruit bouncing off of trees. See the floor buckle and pop, the wood rot and collapse. Look, a visitor approaches, to put a foot through that  ..

This Is Progress?

Published on Wednesday, February 03, 2016 By Melissa Prycer
Images are powerful. I think that is why I have always loved editorial cartoons. The artist can convey in one drawing what it might take an author multiple paragraphs and pages to explain. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I saw a cartoon from the Dallas Morning News published on February 18, 1966. It shows the looming destruction of Millermore. A picture really is worth a thousand words. The country was still in a state of transition in the mid-60s. Cities like Dallas were growing and expanding. This meant that the old and outdated had to make way for the new and updated. This trend was collectively known as progress. However, not all progress is good. In cities large and small across the country progress often arrived on a bulldozer and scraped irreplacable treasures i ..

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