Brandon's Notepad

March 8, 2016

Where is Muriel, Texas?


Or perhaps the better question is, “Where was Muriel, Texas?”

The Back Story

I was looking at some old maps of the DFW Metroplex and was curious about what the landscape looked like before the behemoth DFW International Airport had been constructed. I was particularly interested in finding out how the roads used to connect from one side to the other, as there are now a very limited number of ways to cut through. And that’s when I saw Muriel, just a little circle bisecting an unnamed road in the middle of airport property. But where, exactly? And was anything left of it? I had to find out.

Map Analysis

To solve this mystery, I decided to employ one of my favorite map analysis techniques, the use of overlays. Basically, this means lining up the features on two different maps of an area for the purpose of comparison. When this is done using maps of different eras, it’s a form of map regression. This can be done in an analog fashion using tracing paper, transparencies, or even by simply laying one map on top of the other on a light box. The biggest problem is that the maps have to be exactly the same scale. Computers make everything easier, of course, and it’s very simple to import scans into layers using an art program and change the opacity (transparency) of one of the layers so that the other can be seen through it. For this analysis, I chose the undated “Dallas County and Tarrant County” made by the Ashburn Map company (c. early 1950s as best as I can tell) and a screen shot of Google Maps using satellite view. Here is the result:


It took a little trial-and-error, but I was able to match up enough roads to feel comfortable with the results. I focused on the neighborhood bordered by Hughes Road to the north, Watauga-Smithfield (now Glade) Road to the south, Euless-Grapvine Road to the east, and F.M. 157 (upon which S.H. 121 is built) to the west. Things don’t line up well as you move out from this location, but Fuller-Wiser Road (The ‘T’ intersection just below the word ‘SMITHFIELD’) is still in the right position, and Minter’s Chapel Road (most of which is now Airfield Drive) isn’t too far off. If the Ashburn map is accurate, this puts Muriel in the vicinity of the south end of runway 31L. Unfortunately, this leaves little chance that anything remains of this town or community in the way of buildings, though perhaps some other archaeological finds may eventually be unearthed.

Digging Deeper

Not that it would help establish the location, per se, but I did want to find some evidence that a place called Muriel did indeed exist in Tarrant County. I was able to find a couple of death certificates from 1904-1905 using that list Muriel as the place of death. It would appear that the folks at RoadsideThoughts found similar documentation.

There is hope, however, because guess what else in in the immediate area? Minter’s Chapel Cemetery! The Minter’s Chapel Methodist church was established in the 1850s, and remained in the same location (though rebuilt at least once) until the property was taken over by the new airport a little over a century later. At the time I wrote this, I have an outstanding request with the office of the descendant church for any information they may be able to share about Muriel.

UPDATE! Someone from the church responded to my phone call and in comparing notes, we discovered the following. First, she directed me to the article for Muriel in the Handbook of Texas. It confirms that Muriel and Minter’s Church (in all other cases referred to as Minter’s Chapel) are indeed one and the same. It was established in 1890 and there was a post office there from 1899 to 1905. She did mention that the 1890 census records no longer exist, so the only census that might contain information on Muriel’s residents would be the 1900 census. Second, she confirmed that the two people whose death certificates I found are indeed buried in the cemetery! James William Vine died on April 3, 1905, though his grave bears the middle name Washington, and Lula Florence Woodall (named Woodale on, probably due to a transcription error), whose maiden name was Page, died November 2, 1904.

April 3, 2012

Tornado: Kennedale/Arlington, April 3, 2012

Filed under: Local Interest — Brandon @ 11:24 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Living in Texas means living with big storms, and that means tornadoes. We had a whopper of a storm today with several significant tornado events occurring across the Metroplex. The big one in south Dallas County received national news coverage, but a lot of people recorded video of the one that whipped through Kennedale and Arlington in southeast Tarrant County. Here are the best videos that were uploaded to YouTube that afternoon. I’ve added some Google Maps for perspective. Take a look.

Warning: this page contains many embedded YouTube videos and may take a minute to load.

From this angle, it looks like the tornado could have gone right through my old neighborhood in Arlington.

This is what Texans do in storms like this.

A short clip, but at least now I have a better idea where it touched down. I think the video was shot facing south from the office building at the north corner of Green Oaks and Tate Springs (the tan-roofed building shown on the map below the clip).

The news helicopter footage below is west of Hwy287, near the high school. The apartments are on the top of the map, the local high school is on the left, and Hwy287 is on the right.

Where’s Kennendale? Oh, you meant Kennedale. The Chevron is on the east corner of the intersection shown on the map.

Here’s another one from Kennedale, from the Pitt Stop Cafe (lower right corner), looking west-northwest accross the Apple Import Auto Salvage.

My guess is, this was taken somewhere in the neighborhood shown on the map, mainly because the builder’s signs for the empty lots look like First Texas Homes signs and I know they were building in that area a few years ago.

From the intersection of Hwy287 and Sublett. He ends up in the neighborhood just to the north, entering on Andalusia Trail off of the 287 frontage road, then turning left on Headstead Road. This is directly across the highway from the apartments mentioned above. He then moves up to Stagetrail Drive, and the house with the uprooted tree is the sixth on the left.

Gotta love Texans! This guy was on the ramp from eastbound I-20 to southbound Hwy287 when he saw the twister and decided to turn around. Bless his heart. You can see the Little Road Walmart in the background.

Thank you, Beavis and Butthead… (WARNING: foul language employed by minors)

And of course, from Lancaster (or thereabouts), eighteen-wheelers are thrown fifty feet in the air!

December 8, 2010

DFW Vietnamese Restaurants

Filed under: Local Interest — Brandon @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Back to My Lists

I was introduced to Vietnamese food in college. My friends liked phở (broth), but I never developed a real love for it. So, I prefer either bún bò (beef vermicelli) or simply a large order of gỏi cuốn (salad roll; commonly called spring or summer rolls).

I ♥ Phở
8350 N MacArthur, Irving (972) 402-9799
Vermicelli with chicken or pork is $6.45. Add 50&cents; for shrimp or added egg roll. Chicken and shrimp spring rolls are $2.75 and $2.95 respectively, which makes this the most expensive option around and with no tofu offering to boot. Only one location, but delivery is available. Online menus are in PDF format and will not load on my Blackberry. [Last updated 12/2010]

Legacy Phở
3109 N Belt Line, Irving (972) 871-9555
Spring rolls are 2 for $2 for tofu and are comparatively large. No website. [Last updated 12/2010]

Pho Que Huong
See site for locations.
The vermicelli dishes run between $6.25 and $7.95, though bún bò is no longer on the menu. Spring rolls are 2 for $2 (tofu) or $2.95 (shrimp, chicken, pork). Eight locations in N Dallas / S Collin / SE Denton counties with one in Fort Worth. Locations page can be read on a Blackberry, but menu cannot. [Last updated 12/2010]

January 30, 2008

TX SH 161 Project

Filed under: Local Interest — Brandon @ 8:46 pm
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For information on the Texas State Highway 161 expansion project…

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