Tumbleweed Smith.com

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Read Tumbleweed's Newspaper Articles


List all Articles

Another Great Read

Under the Chinaberry Tree

This Week On
The Sound of Texas

Monday, April 8
Fran Houser Adrian Midway Cafe
Tuesday, April 9
Peter Avila San Benito Conjunto Museum
Wednesday, April 10
Suzanne Theis Houston Car Parade
Thursday, April 11
Dorinda Millan Pecos Museum
Friday, April 12
Troy Grusendorf Brownwood Harmonica
Complete Schedule for April

In Print: On News Stands Now


by Tumbleweed Smith

I had the privilege of speaking at the Keene Chamber of Commerce banquet last month. I did two reports on Keene a long time ago. One was on the fact that is a Seventh Day Adventist community. The other was on the stick horse factory. Keene used to be the stick horse capital of the world.

Seventh Day Adventists believe in taking good care of their bodies. They try to drink ten glasses of water a day, refrain from eating meat and don't use any kind of stimulants: no smoking, no alcohol, no illegal drugs. The Sabbath for Adventists begins at sundown Friday and lasts until sundown on Saturday. Keene's post office closes on Saturday but opens on Sunday. Seventh Day Adventists are numerous and are found all over the globe.

Residents of Keene place a high value on education and religion. It is an extremely clean city and one that is growing. Its population (6,700) has increased twenty percent in recent years. More growth is anticipated when highway projects are completed. Keene citizens have a healthy sense of humor. The city's main street, Old Betsy, is named for a steam locomotive. When the train ran on what is now the main thoroughfare through Keene, the conductor would yell out, "All out for the Holy City" as it pulled into the station.

The city got its name from a postal official who had a friend named Keene. Early on, the city had a few other names like Elm Grove. Oak Grove, College Hill and Greenville, but since those names were already taken, and the city was so keen on getting a post office, the name Keene was chosen.

The chamber banquet was held in the state's largest vegetarian restaurant. It's the cafeteria on the campus of Southwest Adventist University in Keene. The school offers bachelor and master degree programs, with the nursing department attracting a large number of students from several countries.

I learned that Keene was once the aviation capital of Texas. The first airplane in the state was built in Keene by Slats Rogers and named "Old Soggy." A replica now hangs in the university's museum.

Keene is just a few minutes' drive southeast of Fort Worth. Many communities in the area are considered bedroom cities to Dallas and Fort Worth and have residents that are more involved with life in the Big City than in their own communities. But Keene is different. People there want to retain the flavor and identity of their town. They want to keep the small town values they treasure and appreciate. The city offers a great sense of security to residents, who know they are with people of like minds. Growth, however, has brought the world to Keene. The city now has three churches representing two denominations. In some places you can even buy meat.

more articles by Tumbleweed Smith

Newspapers Featuring
Tumbleweed's Weekly Column

  • Andrews County News
  • Big Spring Herald
  • Borden County Star
  • Colorado City Record
  • Comanche Chief
  • Commerce Journal
  • Davis Mountain Dispatch
  • Devil's River News
  • Eldorado Success
  • Gatesville Messenger
  • Goldthwaite Eagle
  • Grapeland Messenger
  • Hamilton Herald-News
  • Hometown Press
  • Hopkins County Echo
  • Hudspeth County Herald
  • Martin County Messenger
  • Midland Reporter-Telegram
  • Monahans Enterprise
  • Pecos Enterprise
  • Post Dispatch
  • Ranch & Rural Living
  • Roby Star Record
  • Rotan Advance
  • Salado Village
  • Seminole Sentinel
  • Sweetwater Reporter

What They're Saying
About Tumbleweed

"To me it was like being at a party and listening to some tall tales from good friends."

Scurry County Museum