Five stories that have North Texas talking: Extracting a major oil discovery could threaten one of Texas’ most treasured pools; watch Texas and OU fans compete in a plane-pulling contest; how Big Tex really works; and more.
Last week, Preservation Dallas released a list of six endangered historic places in the city, including the Elbow Room bar outside Deep Ellum and buildings along a proposed DART line. This week, two more Texas sites are on preservationists’ radar. In its 2016 list, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Lions Municipal Golf Course in Austin and Chihuahuita and El Segundo Barrio neighborhoods in El Paso as two of the 11 most endangered historic places in the U.S.
Built in 1924, Lions is Austin’s oldest municipal golf course and often recognized as the first desegregated course in the South. The organization reports, “Muny’s” lease, held between the City of Austin and UT, technically expires in May 2019, but there’s potential for a dissolution of the agreement to make way for commercial development. And as for El Paso’s neighborhoods, they reflect “the entire span of the city’s history, from the Spanish conquest through the modern era.” But the city's development boom as well as a lack of existing protections threatens the many historic buildings with demolition and displacement. [National Trust for Historic Preservation]
- Could the huge oil discovery in Reeves County mean fracking in Balmorhea’s future? Houston-based Apache Oil’s Alpine High Field could hold as many as three billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion feet of natural gas, worth up to $80 billion, Texas Monthly reports. That extraction would take 3,000 wells and will be taking place very near one of the state’s most beautiful and treasured swimming holes: the pool built on San Solomon Springs in Balmorhea State Park. [Texas Monthly]
- Texas and OU fans had a competition of their own before the annual matchup at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. On Thursday, Longhorn and Sooner die-hards competed in teams to see who could pull a Southwest Airlines plane the fastest. Each team pulled the plane over 50 yards, and Texas ended up beating OU fans by less than a second. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- There are 33 billionaires that call Texas home. Fort Worth’s Wal-Mart heir Alice Walton is the richest Texan and the 13th richest person in America with a net worth of $35.4 billion, according to Forbes’ list of 400 wealthiest people. Michael Dell of Dell computers in Austin ranks second among Texans and 20th among U.S. billionaires. Among the 33 Texans, three are women, and everyone is older than 40, except for Scott Duncan, 33, who made money from pipelines. [Forbes]
- Ever wonder how Big Tex works? An interactive built by GuideLive contributor Michael Hogue explains how the big guy with his booming voice operates for three glorious weeks each fall. Check out the inner workings of his body, his head and his clothes. Also, if you were wondering how Big Tex became the State Fair staple that he is — take a history lesson from KERA’s Texpert. [GuideLive, KERA News]