By Judy Sheridan
Aledo city officials and staff took Saturday, May 18, to mark the 50th anniversary of the City of Aledo’s incorporation.
As they paused to reflect on the past with special guests and members of the community, new construction all around announced big changes for the near future.
“The City of Aledo has a lot to celebrate,” Mayor Kit Marshall told the small crowd gathered in the Community Center, where displays showcased a variety of artifacts, and old newspaper stories and photographs lined the walls.
“Aledo truly is blessed, and I confess that a lot of that is tied directly to the number of churches we have in this city and the number of people who pray for our city and those of us that are leading and guiding and making important decisions, so if you’re a part of that, I just want to say thank you.”
The city was incorporated May 8, 1963, but first established in the late 1800s after the Texas & Pacific Railroad installed track that connected Fort Worth and Weatherford.
Initially known as Parker Station, it was rechristened later to avoid confusion with Parker County. The city is named after Aledo, Ill., the hometown of a railroad official.
Congresswoman Kay Granger and Judy Flanagin, representing State Rep. Phil King, spoke at the event, with Granger presenting a U.S. flag that was flown over the nation’s capitol in Aledo’s honor.
“While the trains may have sparked economic development in the community, it’s the people that make Aledo wonderful and keep it growing,” she said.
“You’re a role model for a lot of counties and cities around,” said Flanagin, who presented Marshall with a Texas flag and told the gathering that King had presented a House resolution acknowledging the city’s accomplishments.
“We have watched you grow and pull through difficulty, and we’re very proud of the City of Aledo,” she said.
“This is a community event, truly.”
With construction work on FM 1187 and Aledo Trail in full swing, homes rapidly filling the prairie near the school district’s main campus and a new water tower emblazoned with the city’s name and logo, Aledo is clearly at a turning point.
Aledo High School Student Council president and varsity Bearcat cheerleader Rachel Larson, who won the city’s essay contest by describing “A Day in the Life of an Aledo High School Teenager,” wrote of the sense of community one experiences when living in a small town, while looking ahead to the future.
Marshall read the essay aloud.
“Aledo is the definition of a Texas football town. It shuts down on Friday nights,” Larson wrote. “I love that small-town feeling I receive every time I’m on the field here. I recognize countless faces in the stands.”
“I will be sad when I graduate from college, return to Aledo and my little town isn’t so little anymore, but I look to the future with excitement. In 50 years, when this [time capsule] is opened, many more people will call this town home.”
Larson’s essay, along with those of second-place winner Cooper Autry and third-place winner Shea Wood — who all received cash awards from First Financial Bank — will be put in a time capsule, along with other memorabilia from 2013, to be buried and then unearthed and opened when Aledo reaches the century mark.
The city also solicited artwork from elementary students, with the winning submission coming from Katie Wood, who depicted Christmas Tyme in Aledo. Second place went to Alaina Gardner for showing the old railroad building — covered with inches of paint — and third place to Emi Gooden for highlighting Scoop Me, a local business.
Freese & Nichols supported the art contest with cash awards for the winners.
Martha Daugherty Beckman Hansen, daughter of the town’s first mayor, Robert Ray “Bob” Daugherty, who died last year, represented her father at the event, cutting the anniversary cake along with Marshall.
The two were classmates when Marshall moved to Aledo in 1968, she said.
“Your dad was a pioneer in my eyes,” Marshall said.
“He would say, ‘My pleasure,’ Hansen replied.
The event included post-ceremony tours of the city’s new multi-million dollar infrastructure, the water storage tower and expanded wastewater treatment plant.
Marshall announced that the wastewater treatment expansion will be recognized by the Texas Chapter of the American Public Works Association as one of the projects of the year.
“Aledo is just 3 square miles, and yet we have completed a new wastewater treatment plant and turned the faucet on to Fort Worth surface water,” she said, crediting the staff and city council.
“I love it when the city receives awards because it means that we’re doing something that will benefit our residents for a long time to come.”
The ceremony also included an invocation from retired minister Kenton Harvey, a presentation of colors by Crew 2001, Katy Keenie singing the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance,led by the East Parker County Genealogy & Historical Society.
The mayor also recognized members of the Armed Forces, as it was also National Armed Forces Day.
By Judy Sheridan
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