In 1920, Dr. Bradley, president of the all-white Girl’s Industrial College, later known as Texas Woman’s University asked the city of Denton to build a park. But something stood in the way: the long-established African American community of Quakertown.
Former Quakertown resident Letitia deBurgos remembers her hometown. She said, “Most of the residents owned their own homes. Everyone had a garden. Chickens, cows, goats and pigs lived here too. Hunger was not known. …The churches were a strong influence on the citizens and there was very little crime.”
Speaking to the Denton Rotary, College President Bradley said, “[Denton] could rid the college of the menace of the negro quarters in close proximity to the college and thereby remove the danger that is always present so long as the situation remains as it is and that could be done in a business way and without friction.”
By early 1923, he got his wish. Quakertown had disappeared. The city built the park where dozens of families were forced to sell or move their homes. Those who sold their homes received a quarter to a half of the property’s value.
While many Quakertown residents opted to sell outright, others allowed their homes to be moved on skids to Solomon Hill, across the railroad tracks.
One resident, Mary Ellen Taylor refused to leave, and pulled by mules, she rode inside her home to Solomon Hill… knowing her town would be forever gone.