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Denton: Evers Hardware and Quakertown (1985)

North Texas History Center

Sound | 1985

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    This video from the North Texas History Center presents the story of Denton’s historic Evers Hardware, established in 1885, and the story of the rediscovery of Quakertown, Denton’s black community from 1870-1922. In the Evers Hardware profile, we meet Evers family members that still own the store, as well as store employee Verna Solomon who worked at Evers Hardware from 1943-1987. The program host quizzes 85 year old Verna on the various tools in the store and discusses the important role Evers Hardware had in building the city of Denton. The story of Quakertown is reported when a utility crew digging in Denton discovered a brick structure that is revealed to be an old Quakertown street. The Denton County Historical Commission’s Letitia de Burgos speaks about Quakertown’s history, and Juanita Milam, the granddaughter of a Quakertown resident, tells the story of her grandmother’s house being moved to Solomon Hill when the white citizens of Denton decided to turn the black neighborhood into a city park.
    Quakertown was a “city within a city” in Denton, Texas where African-American citizens, recently freed, lived from 1870-1922.  The community’s boundaries were Withers Street on the north, McKinney Street to the south, Vine Street on the east, and Oakland Avenue on the west. Black families began moving to Quakertown in the 1870s, a black school opened in 1878, and by the 1880s, stores, churches, and civic organizations solidified the community. The only black doctor in Denton in the early 1900s, E.D. Moten, lived and worked in Quakertown. Black citizens enjoyed the close-knit community and its central location, which was close to white businesses where they both worked and shopped. Quakertown was, however, very short-lived. In 1921, the citizens of Denton presented a petition to the Denton City Commission calling for a bond election to purchase Quakertown property and turn it into a city park. White citizens recognized Denton’s need for parks in their beautification efforts, but they also believed the black community was too close to their own neighborhoods and to the white women's college, the College of Industrial Arts (now Texas Women’s University). The bond passed, and in 1922, Quakertown families were given the choice of selling their property or having their houses moved to Solomon Hill, the new black neighborhood chosen by the city. The homes that remained in Quakertown were destroyed, and many others did not survive the move to Solomon Hill, thus the rich history of the Quakertown community virtually disappeared. In the 1980s, Denton historians rediscovered the story of Quakertown. In recent years, several historical markers have been erected, and one of the few remaining houses that once stood in Quakertown was moved to Denton’s Museum District and is now the home of the Denton County African American Museum.