Legend of Old Rip
The horned toad that was placed into the courthouse cornerstone as a prank. But 31 years later, it was no prank when the stone was opened and the toad was found to be ALIVE! He toured the nation as a celebrity and was received by President Calvin Coolidge. Although he survived isolation for many years, the stress and strain of public adoration was too much, and he later died of pneumonia. His remains continue to lie in a coffin at the Eastland County Courthouse and his memory is portrayed as "Alive & Kickin'!" Read the complete History of Old Rip.
The Historic Connellee Hotel & Civic Center in the heart of downtown Eastland named for Charles U. Connellee who was known as "The Father of Eastland", the hotel originally opened in 1928, and was acquired by the City of Eastland in 1997. Currently operated by the Eastland Community Foundation, the Connellee Hotel has 8 floors and is the tallest and most prominent building in Eastland. Although the Connellee Hotel no longer accepts overnight accommodations, there are many great features to see, including the historic Roof Garden Ballroom on the 8th floor which offers elegance and beauty with a spectacular sky line view.
The Eastland Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau is located at the original registration counter in the Main Lobby of the Connellee Hotel. The Chamber offers information on our most famous resident "Old Rip", a Walking Tour of Eastland and Outdoor Art Museum.
This historic and beautiful theatrical facility was built by one of Eastland's founding fathers, C.U. Connellee, in 1920. The Connellee featured films and stage shows; Gene Autry and his horse, Champion, made their appearance and live radio programs were broadcast every Saturday. Currently, the Theatre features current hit films each Friday through Monday; schedules classic films, concerts, conventions, school & religious events and touring stage shows for children and adults. The building also features a State of Texas historical marker. The Theatre is currently operated and managed by the Fine Arts Community of Eastland. Tours are available on request at 254-629-2102. For more information, visit the Majestic Theatre website.
Located at the Eastland Post Office, 411 West Main, the mural is 6 feet by 10 feet. Few community efforts can match that which was achieved by the late Marene Johnson-Johnson, who with the aid of stamp collecting buffs in Eastland, put together the stamp mural window which has decorated the lobby of Eastland Post Office since its dedication on June 14, 1963.
The stamp window was constructed over a span of seven years with exactly 11,217 stamps. The stamps are pressed between two panes of glass to preserve their pattern permanently. The central image of Benjamin Franklin is flanked by other stamps depicting the United Nations Emblem, portraits of Martha Washington and Abraham Lincoln, a map of Texas, motifs of progress in American communication and industry, military forces, and education. Original cost to Mrs. Johnson was $15,000 and it was projected to be worth $5 million by 1988.
Historical buildings all within two city blocks are part of a continuing project to portray more of Eastland‘s history. Pick up your map at the Chamber of Commerce located downtown.
Paintings in this outdoor museum are replicas of famous pieces by many well-known artist. Their purpose is to teach people about art history. Each display includes a short history of the artwork and artist. This project, prompted by the past and current high school art teachers and students, is an ongoing display that grows each month. Currently boasting over 40 pieces at various business locations, it began as an art history class project and has turned into a beautiful community activity involving many business leaders to also show off their talents. For more info, see website.
The historic Townsend Bell, which came to Eastland County in a covered wagon in 1869, called ranch hands to dinner and later the faithful tr prayer, now recalls Eastland County's heritage in Old Rip Plaza downtown.
The Townsend Bell stands on a beautiful brick pedestal with an embedded granite plaque that reads as follows:
In 1869, John T. Townsend brought this bell and all his family’s possessions to Eastland County from Bowling Green, Kentucky, in a covered wagon. The 640 pound, 36-inch diameter bell -- cast in 1850 by the L.M. Rumsey Co. of St. Louis, Missouri -- was a fixture on the Townsend ranch until 1900, when the family donated it to the First Baptist Church of Eastland. The members of First Baptist gave the bell to Eastland's First Church Of God in 1923 for use in their new building. In 1977, the Eastland and Cisco congregations joined to form the Inspiration Church of God. The church moved the Townsend Bell to Camp Inspiration, west of Eastland. In 1981. The Church of God sold the camp to the Eastland Economic Development Corporation in 2004 and donated the Bell for display in "Old Rip Park".