I spend a lot of my spare time digging into history. This ranges from literally digging (up in Baylor County) and researching fossils of large animals that lived even before the dinosaurs to digging online into local history and visiting local landmarks. Each fossil, local landmark, or bit of past information to me is like uncovering a treasure and the field work and online research is like a treasure hunt! It never gets old!
While doing online research the other day for a project I’m currently working, I came across a 1972 topographical map of Tarrant County. As I zoomed into the area of our Tejas Trail neighborhood, the map shows our northern section (Verna Trail, Little Horse Trail, and Paint Pony Trail) and even shows where some houses are located.
Perhaps some of you reading this live in one of these original Tejas Trail houses! It also shows White Settlement Road to the south (with very little development in that area). The one thing that was clearly missing was I-820. I then started to look at the topo lines that clearly depicts the hills of our neighborhood and the layering of the ancient reefs that developed millions of years ago when this area was under a shallow sea. But, more on this in a later blog.
As I kept scanning this map and pondering our past, my eyes noticed an apparent airplane landing strip near the intersection of Silver Creek Road and Verna Trail! History had once again baiting the hook, I took a bite and it was drawing me in. A landing strip just down the hill from where I live? Who built it? Who used it? Was it still in use? Another treasure hunt had started!
Having driven through this intersection numerous times since moving here in 2017, I had never noticed anything in that field that resembled a landing strip. Of course, it’s a little hard to do as one navigates and avoids the numerous pot holes and semi trucks on Silver Creek Road. I needed to know more. This led me to pull up a satellite image of the same area on Google Maps to see if it showed anything to suggest that a runway was there. Sure enough, you can clearly see where the landing strip once existed.
After a few more online searches, I found out that the runway was called Stubbs Strip and is still listed as a private landing strip. Years ago, this grass landing strip stretched across the ranch field for 2,280ft. from north to south and was 60 ft. wide. The owner, builder, and operator of the landing strip was Verna Stubbs who also owned the ranch at that intersection and, from where two of our neighborhood streets are named after! Verna was a pilot owning four airplanes over time including her Piper Tripacer. A future blog will be devoted to Verna as she was quite an active and prominent woman of our area.
The first bit of local history treasure had been uncovered and it had only gotten me more excited about digging into our past. There are many more stores to tell about the history of our area from fossils of ancient animals to Native Americans to early settlers to stagecoaches and on and of which I’ll hope to paint in future blogs.
For now, even though Stubbs Strip is no longer in use, I can still daydream seeing Verna’s Tripacer coming in for a landing from the north as I make the sharp right on Silver Creek Road, while at the same time avoiding the potholes, semi trucks and of course now, the road construction.