Dentoning often revolves around live music, but that in no way defines the past time. There is a plethora of unique things to do in this city we call home. On a recent dark and breezy night, I partook of one such adventure. It consisted of part history and part visiting with several dearly-departed Dentonites.
Every Friday and Saturday night (weather permitting), the “Ghost Lady”, Shelly Tucker, leads a tour of downtown Denton called “Ghosts of Denton”. On the tour, Ms. Tucker who is a professional story teller recognized by the American Endowment of the Arts as an American Masterpiece, relates stories of the ghosts of Denton. And there are a lot of them……
With an official history of 167 years, numerous downtown fires, and the inevitable death of all Dentonites, Denton has a healthy number of spooky, strange and unusual tales. Shelly does a superb job of telling those tales and brings to life, so to speak, the spirits which populate downtown and beyond…
Each tour begins in the living room of Downtown Denton, Jupiter House. Shelly meets and greets people who have booked the tour and after all are present, leads the group to the only place to start a proper ghost tour, the grave of John B. Denton. A brief history of Denton is relayed, along with the story of the man who lies a mouldering just feet away.
I’m not going to tell any of the stories here. I would not do the stories justice…………the “Ghost Lady” does. Some of the ghosts have been around a long time, others are more recent.
As it turns out, many of the businesses we frequent have a ghostly present…….some the business owners claim, others…..not so much. For instance, who knew Hooligan’s has an actual hooligan named Stewart? Or that Abbey Underground has a playful spook they call Shamus? I will say that Shamus has a taste for Guinness beer………good taste for a spook.
The tour encourages healthy “life”styles by requiring a bit of walking. The tours are never the same due to the number and location of the former dentoningers. This particular tour took us south of the Square to the site of the former La Blair Hotel next to the site of the incinerated “La Casita”………a restaurant near and dear to the memories of seasoned Dentonites. The story of the La Blair’s ghost(s) is Shelly’s favorite and is verified by many former owners and residents.
The group of about 20 was enthralled by all the stories and had many questions for the Ghost Lady. There were skeptics at the beginning of the tour who quickly became believers as we roamed the area surrounding Denton’s Square. There was even a team from the North Texas Daily was onboard, to do a story on Denton’s shady past.
The night was perfect for the tour as Shelly relayed other tales of haunting at the Campus Theater, Ruby’s (now Cartwright’s), the old Flow Hospital and the streets and alleys surrounding our town center. The outing ended with a fascinating tale of continued public service by a former Denton County Sheriff. He’s still there “to protect and serve” when you need him……..
Whether you believe or not, GHOSTS OF DENTON is a great way to explore the past and to…..