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#1 Giraffe

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 07:59 AM

There is a huge trucking distribution center on the northwest corner of South Loop 820 and I-35W. It was built in the 1950s before the Loop was completed. As a kid in the '70s I remember seeing the name "Kimball's" on the building but never knew exactly what they shipped in and out of it; a guy I was in Boy Scouts with said it was a grocery distribution center but I could be wrong. The place was even completely shut down for a while just a few years ago but seems to be back in business.

There used to be a truck stop on the southbound service road, just north of this building. (That puts it between Kimball's and the old Snapper lawn mower factory.) The truck stop is long gone.

Snapper made walk-behind lawn mowers in their South Freeway factory for a while, but in 1991 they consolidated all of their manufacturing in Georgia and closed their Fort Worth location. Someone else is using that building now, but I don't know who they are or what they make. But you can still see the Snapper label scar from the South Freeway.

Back in the late 70s there was a small water park right behind Kimball's. It used a big concrete hill with two separate blue plastic water troughs you could slide down on. My sister and I went there several times and loved it. But it didn't last long. It closed after a few years and I never went back over there, but you could see that concrete hill for ages. Parts of it are still visible. There may have been a go-cart track right next to it, too, but I can't remember for sure.

There is still an old metal water tower behind Kimballs, and back in the early '70s there was a five-pointed star on top of it that would be lit up with light bulbs during the Christmas season. I don't know who erected that, when, or why. Is/Was that a private water tower, or city-owned? I'm wondering if the star was left unlit as a result of the energy crisis or to avoid a lawsuit from somebody. The star stayed up there for many years afterward, though I don't think it was ever illuminated again. I forget if it's still up there.

The railroad trestle that runs behind Kimball's and over 820 has been there for many moons, though I think it's been overhauled at least once. Somebody somewhere on this website mentioned a very bad car accident that involved a Mercedes wrapping around one of the concrete support beams; I don't know if this is the same car crash, but I do remember when one happened around 1972 or '73. My brother told me about seeing it on his way home from his job at the Kroger one night, and I saw a picture of it in the paper the next day. There were many scars on that post for ages afterward but I never saw a Mercedes logo punched into it; then again, I never looked for one.

Anybody remember the Motel 6 on the southeast section of the 820/35 interchange? This was back when that was a cloverleaf. The Motel 6 was demolished when this interchange was expanded into what we have today.

On the northeast corner of this interchange is some kind of business called "Guys and Dolls," that has been there as long as I can remember. Is it a dance hall? It's kinda big.

The _Fort Worth Star-Telegram_ printing plant was built in this area in the late 1980s or so, IIRC. I took a tour of the place once and found it fascinating. They had rolls of blank newsprint so big they had to be moved by fork lift. Where was the newspaper printed before this was built? I guess it was in downtown somewhere.

#2 McHand

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 08:13 AM

Kimball's...could it be the current Bassham Foods?

I thought the Snapper building was vacant. It's kind of an eyesore but I guess if it works for the new owners, then it works...

Also, I thought Guys & Dolls was a strip club!

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#3 cbellomy

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 10:23 AM

Kimball's was the distribution center for Buddie's back in the day.


#4 travelbear

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 09:44 PM

Howard Johnsons was on the southeast side of that clover leaf at least in the late sixties and early seventies. The old Snapper mower factory was just north of the Kimbal warehouse. Guys and Dolls is still just northeast of 20 / 35W on Southway Circle.

#5 bailey

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 10:51 PM

Guys and Dolls was initially built as a roller skating rink when it was built back in the 60's. It was later converted to a dance hall.

#6 cajunmike

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 10:11 AM

Kimball's was in fact the distributor for the old "Buddies" Supermarkets. They had a main office way down on South Main in around the JPS area if I recall. As a teenager in 1967, I went to work at the Buddies in White Lake Hills shopping center in East Fort Worth. As part of my employment you at that time had to be polygraphed. At 16 years old and being strapped in the chair and hooked up with some guy who to a kid looked to be 70 years old and was probably on in his 30's was intimidating.......got the job and worked in the produce department for about 1 year.

The Kimball distribution center was taken over by Winn-Dixie when the bought out Buddies.

Mike

#7 Buck

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 08:14 PM

Love the history around there.

Part of the Old Hemphill Street roadbed is the original 100-year-old path, paved maybe 1915 as part of the Meridian Highway (later U.S. 81) from Canada to Mexico.

South of I-20, past the flea market, you can still get a good idea of what old highways were like.

Also, part of the road north of I-20 has been renamed Thelin Street. It's bricked -- wasn't all of Hemphill originally bricked like Camp Bowie?

The railroad overpass shows up on old maps.




#8 Ghost Writer in Disguise

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 10:13 PM

QUOTE (Buck @ Jun 2 2008, 09:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Love the history around there.
Also, part of the road north of I-20 has been renamed Thelin Street. It's bricked -- wasn't all of Hemphill originally bricked like Camp Bowie?

It was. Steeply crowned, too, where it crossed Seminary. There were still bricks through the Federal Center under the overpass in the 1980s. Likely still are.

#9 TexasPacific52

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 10:17 PM

I've seen railroad pictures that show the current overpass was constructed when IH20 was expanded. The distribution warehouse you talk about sat vacant for some time but now appears to be back in the same line of work. I've seen many different company trucks in there. Once of the most common trucks I've seen is Tractor Supply. I believe Guys and Dolls is still a dance hall and used for special events on the weekends.

#10 Phil Phillips

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 11:36 AM

The Star-Telegram used to be printed downtown, in the building that is on the north side of 6th St., connected overhead to the older Star-T building that sits between 7th and 6th. The paper bundles would slide down metal chutes to the ground floor loading dock. If you look in the open doors of that building, you can see the loading dock area and the chutes.

#11 LocalYokel

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 06:59 PM

The Kimbell's plant was a pretty large facility. It included warehousing and a soda pop canning / bottling plant. My father was plant manager there up until the 1970's, so I got to spend a lot of time there as a little kid. It was fascinating wandering around watching the complex machines, seeing the huge tanks the soda was mixed up in, and prowling the warehouse where the huge stacks of soda pop were arrayed. Many of my family members worked there.

Mr. Kimbell, who is largely forgotten by a city that enjoys the museum his estate founded, was a major industrialist. He started out in the feed and grain business, and his company operated some large grain elevators right off of South Main near St. Joseph's hospital. The headquarters was located there, you can still see the grain elevators and the building. Kimbell Feed was a big presence in the small towns, and you can still see the occasional Kimbell feed trailer in a farmer's field now and then, but of course to the city folks the most recognizable of Kimbell's enterprises was the Buddies supermarket chain.

The plant at the intersection of 820 and I-35 made the Buddies store brand soda pop, as well as many other store brands. They canned Shasta, Crush, Delaware Punch, and dozens of other labels including occasional runs of major brands. In the warehouse area, they also canned and bagged food for the Buddies stores including things like candy, beans, jellies, you name it. Their relatively small size and very horizontally integrated company allowed the plant to efficiently do seasonal products like candy canes etc. In the "old" days when my Dad was a regular line worker, they still "pulled" the candy by hand. Also at Christmas they would prepare some extremely tasty jellies and pack them in elegant glasses that fit into a styrofoam gift-box assortment, 6 jellies per box if I recall correctly. They would run extras for the employees and for charity give-away purposes; I remember helping Dad distribute them to the folks at church etc.

In the mid 70's Kimbell's was sold to Winn-Dixie, and the plant continued to can soda pop up into the 80's, at which point Winn Dixie gave up the ghost and transferred the beverage operation to Georgia.

Possibly interesting trivia for soda pop lovers:

- In the old days they used pure cane sugar for the soda pop, and in came in 100 pound sacks. My Dad started off as the lowest man on the pole when he was a young teenager, and his first job in the plant was carrying sugar to the tanks and dumping it. To this day he hates grape soda, because grape soda used the most sugar of any drink they made.

- When the industry moved to fructose, the plant was using the crystalline / powder form of bulk fructose instead of the liquid variant they use now. The fructose came in bulk in rail cars, and it was some horribly stinky stuff. Had a strong, cloying odor that stuck with you a long time.

- Before they went to the seamless drawn aluminum cans, they used a 3-piece can. The sides of the can showed up as a flat plate of thin metal, already painted or printed with the label. It was formed into a cylinder, and went into a seaming machine that put the bottom lid on. The lids came in large stacks in paper cylinders, like coins in bank rolls. The machine operator would rip open the end of the paper cylinder, and feed the stack into a tray where the machine whipped a lid out for each can and seamed it on with a high-speed roller. The cans flew through these machines at amazing speed. Once the bottom was on the can, it would go into the filler machine and ice-cold soda would be squirted in. You could grab one of the topless cans and drink it right off the line. From there it went into another machine that slapped on the top lid, with the pull-ring already attached. These lids were a heck of a lot of fun to throw around, they would sail forever but it didn't go well for you if the grown-ups caught you doing that rolleyes.gif

- Rats were always a problem in the warehouses, so in the days before glue traps they had a simple solution: a .22 rifle with ratshot shells. This rifle stood behind the manager's office door and accounted for many many rats over the years. Never fear though, the canning and bottling areas were SCRUPULOUSLY clean, with frequent scrubbing and all stainless steel equipment.

Mr. Kimbell was apparently a very fine man and helped out a LOT of people in the Fort Worth area over the years. Now, decades later, people from all over the world can enjoy the fruits of his success via the cultural treasures of the Kimbell Art Museum. What better legacy could a man hope to leave?


http://en.wikipedia....iki/Kay_Kimbell

QUOTE
Kay Kimbell (b. June 15, 1886, Leon County, Texas - d. April 13, 1964, Fort Worth, Texas) was an entrepreneur and philanthropist, especially as benefactor of the Kimbell Art Museum.

Born to Benjamin B. and Mattie (Jones) Kimbell, he attended the public schools in Whitewright, Texas, but quit school in the eighth grade to work as an office boy in a grain-milling company there, where he later founded the Beatrice Milling Company. This firm grew into Kimbell Milling Company, the pilot organization of diverse interests that Kimbell later founded or directed.

At the time of his death he was the head of more than seventy corporations, including flour, feed, and oil mills, grocery chains (Buddies, sold to Winn-Dixie but later closed when the chain left the DFW market), an insurance company, and a wholesale grocery firm. In addition to pursuing business interests, Kimbell collected art.

He established the Kimbell Art Foundation in Fort Worth in 1935 and at his death left his fortune to the foundation, with directions to build a museum of the first class in Fort Worth. The collection of art that Kimbell and his wife amassed included many fine works by late Renaissance, French nineteenth-century, and American nineteenth-century artists, with a special emphasis on eighteenth-century English painters such as Leighton and Gainsborough.

The Kimbells' home in Fort Worth, Texas was often visited by touring groups before the museum was completed, and a great many of the works in their collection were continuously on loan to area colleges and universities, libraries, and churches.

Kimbell married Velma Fuller on December 24, 1910; they had no children. Kimbell died on April 13, 1964 in Fort Worth, aged 77, and was buried in Whitewright, but was later re-interred in Fort Worth.


#12 LocalYokel

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 07:02 PM

QUOTE (Giraffe @ Jun 1 2008, 08:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Anybody remember the Motel 6 on the southeast section of the 820/35 interchange? This was back when that was a cloverleaf. The Motel 6 was demolished when this interchange was expanded into what we have today.


There was also a Pizza Inn near the Motel 6, it was across the highway from where the Southside Twin was and we would frequently grab a pizza after the flicks.


#13 Giraffe

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 10:19 PM

[quote name='LocalYokel' date='Jun 17 2008, 06:59 PM' post='47706']


What a great post! I never would have known about all this otherwise. I had no idea about the ties between that warehouse and the museum! Never knew they made soft drinks in there, either. Did they advertise that fact with signs on the outside of the building? All I remember from my youth about it was the name: "KIMBELL." Nothing to describe what they did there.

Is Shasta soda still being made? I don't think I've seen it for ages. When I was a little kid in the 1970s, Texas Electric Service Company would have their employee picnics on the western shore of Lake Arlington, behind the Handley Power Plant and there would be garbage cans full of ice and cans of Shasta soft drinks. When the festivities were over for the night, my sister and I would load our shirt-tails full of as many cans of Shasta as we could stagger back to the station wagon with, and fill up an entire shelf in the refrigerator at home with 'em! Shasta came in flavors we never saw with other brands. My brother was particularly fond of the lemon-lime. I remember those pull-tabs, too! Used to just pull 'em off and stick 'em back inside the can and drink 'em that way! (But I don't remember Buddies' brand of soft drinks at all. Are there any photographs of those on the Net anywhere?)


One of the oldest sodas still in existence is Moxie. I think it's made up in New England. It used to be popular nationwide but now it's very difficult to find outside of the Northeast, but you can order it online. There's a soda specialty store in south Dallas near the zoo called "The Soda Gallery" and I know they carry it. BUT BEWARE OF MOXIE!!!! IT IS LETHAL! I tried a cup of it with a bunch of friends at a party (fresh, right out of the can) and the initial taste isn't bad, but the after-taste hits you about half a minute later and won't leave you for hours. Reminded me of a bag of marshmallows allowed to ferment in Worchestershire sauce in an old radiator. Had to chase it with "NAFTA Cola" (Real Coca-Cola bottled in Mexico with real sugar.. and that stuff is GREAT!) Even so, there is an Orange Creme version of Moxie that is actually very, very good! Go figure.

#14 RD Milhollin

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 10:26 PM

QUOTE (LocalYokel @ Jun 17 2008, 06:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Mr. Kimbell, who is largely forgotten by a city that enjoys the museum his estate founded, was a major industrialist. He started out in the feed and grain business, and his company operated some large grain elevators right off of South Main near St. Joseph's hospital. The headquarters was located there, you can still see the grain elevators and the building. Kimbell Feed was a big presence in the small towns, and you can still see the occasional Kimbell feed trailer in a farmer's field now and then, but of course to the city folks the most recognizable of Kimbell's enterprises was the Buddies supermarket chain...

Mr. Kimbell was apparently a very fine man and helped out a LOT of people in the Fort Worth area over the years. Now, decades later, people from all over the world can enjoy the fruits of his success via the cultural treasures of the Kimbell Art Museum. What better legacy could a man hope to leave?


Cool post.

I have a little to add. While in high school my dad worked for Mr. Kimbell at the South Main office. He told the story of how every workday after school he would come in a side door, grab the time card, punch in, flirt with the secretary, and then head in to the warehouse. One day he was commenting to the secretary about the artwork that was on the walls of the hallway leading to the warehouse. He told her that some of the framed prints there were of some of the artwork in a school textbook, probably history. She replied that those were not prints, that the textbook had photos of THOSE PAINTINGS ON THE WALL, they were the originals. Needless to say he was impressed and remembered Mr. Kimbell's artwork years later when the museum in the cultural district was opened.

#15 LocalYokel

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:20 AM

Greetings Giraffe,

The Shasta brand is still being made, and reportedly pops up from time to time in dollar stores and such. For those who like diet soda it might be worth hunting down some Shasta, as they use Splenda instead of aspartame.

http://en.wikipedia....ta_(soft_drink)

Some of the store brands were really good, for instance the Winn-Dixie store brand was "Chek". Out of all the different sodas that Dad would bring us during the years he worked there I liked the Chek cola the best. They also made "Dr. Chek", which was supposed to be a Dr. Pepper clone. It was pretty mortifying, at least in the early years. I heard that later on the taste was better than Dr. Pepper.







#16 cajunmike

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 05:54 PM

Speaking of the Buddies Supermarkets of which I was employed as a 15 year old kid working in the produce dept. at the White Lake Hills store in 1966. It is amazing how much things have changed. My Mom shopped at Buddies #2 in Haltom City and then you could just pick up a blank bank draft from one of the several on the counter sign it and they would send it to the bank.

1. No scanners, the cashier looked at each item and keyed it in.
2. Meat department would cut the meat you wanted.
3. Meat department would give you bones for your dog or maybe a big soup bone.
4. The bag boys always carried out your bags.
5. Paper bags.
6. Manager wore a apron.
7. Scottie Stamps.
8. Buddies hardware was attached to the same building.


Mike

#17 Birdland in Handley

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 02:27 AM

Just a thanks for LocalYokel and PrairiePup. Your replies are exactly why this forum is so cool. Thanks for a bunch of ocal History!

#18 EwingFTW

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 11:22 AM

In the summers of '46 - '47 and '48, I worked for Kimbell Milling Company on South Main St., I ran errands to the three downtown Fort Worth banks and to the railroad offices to pick up freight car arrivals destined to the grain elevators on South Main.

The second year I was promoted to a desk job. All I can remember doing is taking the frieght car arrivals from the railroads via telephone. As a young college kid I became friends with everyone in the office, including Mr. Kimbell, his secretary and Dr. Coleman Carter.

In early '49 I returned to Kimbell working for Kimbell Food Products Co. In '49 Kimbell Grocery (wholesale) bought out the largest wholesale grocery company in Texas. Another guy and I had to go to the warehouse you've all been talking about on what is now at I20 and I35. We went out once a month and counted all the cases of food in the warehouse. I remember they were making peanut butter, among other items. This was not the best assignment, so we didn't linger long so am not sure what else was going on at the time.

Under the South Main bridge was a small house which housed Kimbell's lab. I guess that was for testing the grain.

The work hours at the South Main office in those days were 8:00 am - 6:00 pm with a 15 minute coffee break in the morning and one in the afternoon and a one-hour lunch break. Saturday, we worked 8:00-12:00 noon. There were no coffee rooms for the workers. We had to drive a block or two to a nearby restaurant for our breaks.

I got married while working for Mr. Kimbell and still have two nice prints he gave us for a wedding present.




#19 Giraffe

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 12:26 PM

QUOTE (EwingFTW @ Jun 22 2008, 11:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I got married while working for Mr. Kimbell and still have two nice prints he gave us for a wedding present.


Wow!!! Excuse me while I take notes! You're a gold mine of information, Ewing! Thanks!!!!

Considering all the good Mr. Kimbell did for Fort Worth, one would think his name would be as well known as Amon Carter or the Bass brothers. I've lived in Fort Worth and Arlington my entire life and never heard of him before. And I read the papers.

Can you or anyone else tell me how the "Buddies" grocery store chain got its name? Sounds like two friends got together and opened a market somewhere, and it grew from that. I'm just guessing...

#20 headlinesman

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 04:12 PM

I was always under the impression that the "Buddie's" name came from Buddy Markham.

#21 John T Roberts

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 05:12 PM

Buddie's Super Markets were named after its founder, Burrell "Buddie" Markum.

#22 kksmith

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 07:49 PM

Re Kay Kimbell -- My grandfather (Killough King Smith) worked for Kimbell Milling for 30 years or so. He met Mr. Kimbell when Mr. Kimbell had a grain business in Sherman, Texas (I believe). As the great posts above say, Mr. Kimbell made his money in the grain business. The grain towers are still there on Main Street, past the hospitals. So is the Kimbell headquarters. As you face the office building from the street, I believe Mr. Kimbell's office is on the right. I have not been inside, but I understand that Mr. Kimbell's office was very fancy, with a private bathroom and even a small room where he could take naps, and of course the art work. My grandmother also worked there, and she told me many stories -- there was lots of hard work, but lots of fun too.

My wife and I have some beautiful silver which Mr. Kimbell gave to my grandfather and grandmother when they got married. My grandmother passed it on to us when we got married.

My dad also worked at Kimbell Milling Company when he was in high school.

Sorry for the personal stuff. In my mind, Mr Kimbell, like my grandfather, is representative of many men from that era -- lots of intelligence, but not the kind you get in college; good business sense, but again probably not the same as someone with an MBA; perserverance; and most of all, hard work. Mind you, I did not know Mr. Kimbell personally, so a lot of that is based on what I saw in my grandfather (who, like Mr. Kimbell, did not finish high school, in my grandfather's case in order to go to work in the grain business to support his Mom and his younger brothers and sister after his father died), and the stories I heard from my grandmother. Plus, Mr. Kimbell is probably not as well known as he deserves.

#23 Birdland in Handley

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 03:00 AM

"Sorry for the personal stuff. . . "
Thanks A MIL for the personal stuff--it's local history.

#24 EwingFTW

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 10:14 AM

QUOTE (kksmith @ Jul 3 2008, 08:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Re Kay Kimbell -- My grandfather (Killough King Smith) worked for Kimbell Milling for 30 years or so. He met Mr. Kimbell when Mr. Kimbell had a grain business in Sherman, Texas (I believe). As the great posts above say, Mr. Kimbell made his money in the grain business. The grain towers are still there on Main Street, past the hospitals. So is the Kimbell headquarters. As you face the office building from the street, I believe Mr. Kimbell's office is on the right. I have not been inside, but I understand that Mr. Kimbell's office was very fancy, with a private bathroom and even a small room where he could take naps, and of course the art work. My grandmother also worked there, and she told me many stories -- there was lots of hard work, but lots of fun too.



I remember K.K. Smith when I worked at Kimbell in the 40s.

As for the headquarters, Mr. Kimbell's office was on the left and yes it was very fancy and had all the things you mention. His Secretary was Ruth Felts and as a young college boy, she let me visit his office with Mr. Kimbell in and out of the office.

Kimbell Milling's office's were in the middle and Kimbell Grocery and Kimbell Food Products were on the right.

There is a building just south of the headquarters where Kimbell Wholesale Grocery was on the first floor with loading docks etc and Houston Fire and Casualty was on the second floor.


#25 LocalYokel

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 06:40 AM

I have a few Kimbell's artifacts left over, ancient matchboxes and such. The other day I ran across an old Kimbell's feed brochure. I scanned it to show the logo and such, if I can figure out how to post it I will put it up here for you guys to see.

There is another Kimbell's feed brochure in one of our family photo albums that details the benefits of Kimbell's horse feed by showing a Quarter Horse named "Jo Bar Duster" that won a bunch of races back in the day, attributing his success of course to the high quality Kimbell feed. My Dad ended up buying that horse from somebody in the Kimbell's circle, and he was a centerpiece of our horse herd for several years. Jo Bar produced a lot of really nice foals over the years, and was lots of fun to ride - very gentle for such a powerful and fast stallion. Maybe it really was the Kimbell feed! smilewink.gif



#26 LocalYokel

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 06:47 AM

Funny how thinking about the past will lead your memory down different paths. As I was writing the above message, I was thinking about those jellies they used to make - boy they were pretty good, would like to have some now. Another product which I really liked was Jetton's Barbecue sauce, Kimbell's bottled it for a short while and it was truly excellent stuff. Years later, when I was already out of college I was cleaning out the folk's garage and found an old cardboard case that had held Jetton's. The box had been used for other stuff, but there was still one unopened bottle of Jetton's sauce. The years had turned it a bit sludgy, but it still smelled reasonably good even after 20 years storage.

No, I didn't taste it... but I was a bit tempted cheeburga.gif Just didn't want to end up on the news: LOCAL MAN HOSPITALIZED WITH PTOMAINE POISONING AFTER EATING 20 YEAR OLD SAUCE: 'IT WAS THE SECONDS THAT DID ME IN'

Wish they still made it, boy it was good sauce.





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