The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas on April 27, 1986 · Page 40
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The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas · Page 40

Baytown, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 27, 1986
Page 40
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Page 40 article text (OCR)

THE BAYTOWN SUN Sunday. April 27, 1916 Weatherford man builds stagecoaches by hand WEATHERFORD (AP) — Parked hext to one of J.W. Brown's barns is a rusty Radio Flyer wagon. It is the only mass- produced wagon he owns. Brown, 59, makes and restores stagecoaches and horse-drawn carriages by hand, the way the 19th century craftsmen did. He has a passion for the old wagons the way some people yearn for a bass boat or a flashy car. With his battered, white felt cowboy hat, plain cowboy boots and brown leather vest, he even looks like a stereoptypical stagecoach driver. His blue eyes are set deep in his lined face. His hands are calloused by years of working with wood, metal and leather here in this town west of Fort Worth. Since 1975, Brown has made 19 replicas of the Concord, which he describes as the Cadillac of stagecoaches. He has made 15 buckboards, along with surreys and other types of horse-drawn wagons. He believes he's the only person who makes the Concord by hand. Brown got interested in wagons when he and his family performed in Wild West rodeo shows and at the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. His four daughters were trick riders and his wife, Doris, sometimes played in the bands. Brown performed in stagecoach skits, in which Indians or outlaws attacked the wagon, and the U.S. Cavalry or Texas Rangers rescued the occupants. Brown loved driving that stagecoach. "I don't know if I inherited it," he mused, chewing on a plug of tobacco. "I don't know if 1 developed it, but I had a fondness for old farm vehicles. Anything old, I'm attracted to, and I admire their craftsmanship." As his daughters grew up and married, the act disbanded, and Brown no longer had a coach to drive. "I had a desire to have one like some people have a desire to have a bass boat or a flashy car," he said. "Fortunately, I had the good fortune of being able to buy some good specimens of some old Concord stagecoaches." Brown said the egg-shaped coaches, made in Concord, N.H., by Abbot, Downing Co., were the best made. They were sturdy enough to carry mail and passengers from the Midwest over the Sierra Nevadas to California. He inspected the coaches closely, made molds of their bodies and refurbished and sold them. T K en, in 1975, he set Statewide elections anticipated AUSTIN (AP) — Texas voters head for the polls Saturday to choose party nominees in dozens of races, from the statehouse to the county courthouses. But the big campaign money -- likely to total more than $8 million by May 3 — has-been spent on the gubernatorial primaries, particularly the GOP battle. Opinion polls indicated a possibility that Texans could set up a rematch between Democratic Gov. Mark White and the man he ousted in 1982, Republican Bill Clements. According to a recent survey commissioned by The Dallas Morning News, Houston Post and four other news organizations, White and Clements each led their respective races. White pulled 50 percent in a six-candidate field. Second was Dallas businessman Andrew Briscoe III, who received 17 percent, followed by Dallas lawyer A. Don Crowder at 7 percent, Sheila Bilyeu of Corpus Christi at 4 percent, Bobby Locke of San Antonio at 3 percent, and Ron Slover of Amarillo at 1 percent. Eighteen percent were undecia- ed. That poll showed Clements with a strong lead in the three- way Republican race. The former governor received 54 percent support from those who said they plan to vote in the GOP primary, while former Democratic congressman Kent Hance of Lubbock and U.S. Rep. Tom Loeffler of Hunt got 18 percent each. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote in either primary, the top two would advance to a June 7 runoff election. Both Hance and Loeffler said they expected- to be in a runoff. out to make one for himself. A friend visited him one day before the coach was completed and asked him what he expected to do with it. "I'm going to enjoy it," Brown recalls telling his friend. Brown's friend asked if he was interested in selling the coach, and Brown told him he wanted at least $8,000 for it. As his friend left, he stuffed an $8,000 check in Brown's shirt pocket and said, "Get that thing finished as fast as you can. "That was 19 stagecoaches ago, and I stiil don't have one," Brown said. The price of stagecoaches has gone up, too. Most of the ones he makes these days have fiberglass bodies instead of wood because fiberglass is more durable. It's also cheaper, ranging from $25,000 to $32,000 for a finished fiberglass coach, compared to $50,000 for a wooden wagon. "The fiberglass coach is a more practical coach, but the wooden coach, of course, is more authentic," Brown said. Authenticity is of utmost importance to Brown. As much as possible, he tries to make the coaches the way Abbot, Downing craftsmen made them from 1830 to around 1900. That means Brown and a friend do the smithing — even the door hinges are hand-made — and the leather upholstery. Mrs. Brown helps install the plush, imported-fabric interiors. Amish- craftsmen in Pennsylvania and Indiana make the wheels. Brown builds the suspension, which he said was the key to the Concord coach's popularity. Early coaches, he said, usually were imports from European countries with paved roads. The European wagons were heavy and had inadequate suspensions, and the rough American roads were as hard on them as the heavy, bouncing coaches were on the horses' shoulders, Brown said. The Abbot, Downing coach eliminated those problems. Besides weighing less, its passenger compartment was suspended on leather straps attached to the chassis. The result was more comfort on the rough roads for both the passengers and the horses. Brown builds suspensions just as Abbot, Downing made them. The riding compartment 1* suspended by 14 straps of heavy leather, seven straps on each side. In all, Brown uses 254 feet of 3-inch-wide leather for each stagecoach. For Brown, his work is rewarded by both pleasure and profit. "If you can't contribute a little bit to the pleasure of people and the benefit of others, what's it all about, really?" he said. "People call us up all the time and say, 'Hey, we won first place in the parade for our stagecoach.' "We all want to be recognized. They get some recognition, and they enjoy that. They're happy and we're happy, and we get some blessing out of that." This year, Brown plans to build four stagecoaches. He said the work will be a strain, In addition, he has orders for 21 vis-a-vis wagons — open, four- fact-to-face rear rlU ID to horse service ii bjtncifter »ney Rock, Ottto. ''body .pan m«k< a ckwereproductioi tfcoae old coaches wen else- People haule< them' -over every kind of road li every kind of condition and the; held together. ELECT VIRGINIA "CINMY" KNOWJLM County Commissioner - Precinct 4 - Chambers County HONEST CAPABLE Against Higher Taxes Against An Inflated Budget 14!/2 Years Management Exp. "Serving all of the people all of the time"; YOUR VOTE AND CONFIDENCE WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. . 77S J» Growing up is sometimes hard Remember When? Age 13-14 14-15 15-16 16-17 You began to change from a child into ah adult. Talk about a bull in a china closet! Graceful moverrients on your part were about as rare as having a clear complexion for more than two days straight. About the time you really gained an interest in the opposite sex, and started taking pains to make your appearance as good as could be, your appearance started causing you real pain! Your complexion got worse. You were too tall or too short, too thin or too pudgy. School was a bore, your parents a drag. The older you got, the less your parents seemed to know. Feeling scared to dealth and yet fighting for your independence, you felt trapped, and you were. Trapped halfway between childhood and ! adulthood, and the only thing that really mattered tb you was what your friends thought of you. ' ' If you didn't move out, you thought aboyt it. R?er pressure was at a peak. You could drive 'U car, and you could drive a hard bargain, but that hew independence could really get you in trouble. There were probably days when you just wished you could escape. V •gj Jf f f\ Were you still a child, or were you now-Jain adult? | M ^ JjC$ r ^ ow d^ people expect you to make imj&rtiant school 18-19 and career decisions when it was all so (confusing? Almost against your will, you finally talked .tip your parents. Were they helpful or judgmental? V,. . ; -• .. \ •' "?'<•.'•'. You finally made it. All of the emotional turmoil started to come to an end. You wondered how you made it. And you wondered how your parents ever put up with you. Growing up hadn't been easy, but if you had understanding, patient parents^ it wasn't too bad. COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY. It happens in the best of families, to the best of parents and kids. Adolescence brings such drastic changes that sometimes it's hard to cope. Your kids can be happy one minute and depressed the next. Ifs that in-between time of life thafs full of excitement and change and stress and confusion. And, if you're not careful, non-communication- KEEP LISTENING. KEEP LOVING. Good communication between you and your teenager begins with remembering what it was like for you. That makes for understanding. The next step is listening. Listening and loving. And the next is talking - not preaching! - just talking, until it works. We can determine if your adolescent's problems are normal or potentially dangerous. Adolescence is a time when it's easy for kids to get into trouble. SIGNS TO LOOK FOR • Unusual eating patterns that last for extended periods • Signs of drug or alcohol abuse • Extreme changes in attitude or personality • Prolonged depression • Aggressive rebellion • Prolonged moodiness Even if there's just a small problem you'd like to discuss, call us. Teenagers and parents deserve a helping hand and a few hugs, and we're here to help. , • ,V . '.' '•'•••: ' • Trust your instincts. K/ypU; think your teenager has a probljIi^-lKe ; probably does. .'"' ' ' Well be glad to send you additional information on adolescent behavior. Return this request form or feel free to call us for a confidential discussion. D Please forward . additional information 4r • D Please call me, PHONED;'!''v;- • NAME ADDRESS CITY ZIP ' (713) 479-0955 Attention: Community 4525 Glenwood Deer Park, Texas 77536

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