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Coppell Rewind: A flashback to iconic points of interest, historical establishments

Lili Lomas and Christine Zacuai

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Coppell, Texas. A city now synonymous with oversized T-shirts and George Coffee + Provisions, was once a small farming community centered around today’s Grapevine Springs Park. Since the city’s humble beginnings in the early 1880s, it has seen tremendous growth in population, land and business yet some early establishments still remain intact.

 

The Sidekick explored the history of several modern-day Coppell staples and how they have changed over time. Here is a Coppell rewind.

Ale Ceniceros

THEATRE COPPELL

Pete Wilson, who developed the drama program at Coppell High School, started Theatre Coppell in 1988 after much demand for it by citizens.Since the theater started, it has grown in participation from around the Metroplex, budget, number of season ticket holders and number of shows per season (from five to six). Originally, the theater performed at Coppell Middle School West which served as the Coppell High School at the time. In 1999, after the fire department abandoned the building next to Barbara S. Austin Elementary School, the City of Coppell renovated the building and it was turned into Theatre Coppell.

 

“Some of my students did theater in school but they also wanted to do something outside of school so some of them [joined Theatre Coppell], and then other people joined us and that’s when we formed the community theater so we started out very small but it wasn’t a year before we had been fairly successful,” Wilson said.

 

Pete Wilson, who developed the drama program at Coppell High School, started Theatre Coppell in 1988 after much demand for it by citizens. It began with fundraisers and variety shows and its first musical was “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”. Since the theater started, it has grown in participation from around the Metroplex, budget, number of season ticket holders and number of shows per season (from five to six).

 

Originally, the theater performed at Coppell Middle School West which served as the Coppell High School at the time. In 1999, after the fire department abandoned the building next to Barbara S. Austin Elementary School, the City of Coppell renovated the building and it was turned into Theatre Coppell.

 

“Some of my students did theater in school but they also wanted to do something outside of school so some of them [joined Theatre Coppell], and then other people joined us and that’s when we formed the community theater so we started out very small but it wasn’t a year before we had been fairly successful,” Wilson said.

Ale Ceniceros

PINKERTON/CMS WEST:

Before the establishment of today’s Coppell ISD schools, graduating from a grade just meant going to a different class in the same school. From the 1800s to 1961, Coppell School offered first through eighth grades and was located at modern day Pinkerton Elementary.

 

In 1961, it was split into Coppell Elementary School, which was the left side of Pinkerton, and Coppell Junior High School, which was on the right side of Pinkerton. Each year after that, a grade level was added until 1965 when the first senior class graduated in a class of only about 34 students.

 

In 1967, the higher grade levels then moved to the building that is currently Coppell Middle School West.The north wing was the high school and the south wing was the junior high school (seventh and eighth grade). The curriculum included mainly core classes and electives such as English, art, chemistry and business classes such as typing and accounting.

 

“When I was in first grade and up until ninth grade, it was just one building and Pinkerton was just the left hand side and it had about seven rooms in there including the auditorium,” said Pete Wilson, valedictorian of the 1965 class of Coppell High School. “So until we started adding a high school, there was just one little building.”

 

Ale Ceniceros

BETHEL ROAD BARBER SHOP:

This quaint white building on the corner of Bethel Road and S. Coppell Road  is one of the most recognizable buildings in the heart of Old Town Coppell. In 1956, original owner Floyd Harwell purchased this lot on which a service station used to sit and made it his barbershop, a business which was originally located in an extra room of his house.

 

When Harwell died in 1969, his widow Clayta Harwell began renting it out to other barbers. Current owner Joe Shirley rented it from her in September 1995, remodeled it, built in cabinets and opened his shop on Nov. 7, 1995. After getting a college degree in math and physics, Shirley served in the U.S. Navy and was in active duty for about three years. For the last two and a half years on the ship, he became interested in being a barber and went to barber school on his time off. Currently, he is the only person that works at the shop.

 

“I’ve been here for 38 years so I’m kind of attached to it as well [as Coppell citizens],” Shirley said.

Mari Pletta

Coppell Farmer’s Market:

Today, the Coppell Farmers Market and its fountain are iconic symbols of the newly developed Coppell Old Town. The market’s beginnings stretch back years and the market’s founder, Amanda Vanhoozier, has seen the city of Coppell grow into the bustling suburb it is today.

 

The CFM was founded as a community project run by volunteers and for 14 years since its establishment, has served as a central gathering location for Coppell citizens.

 

Community engagement was vital to the establishment of the local market.

 

“I was motivated by the people. It’s not about the project or the product, it’s about engaging the people,” Vanhoozier said.

 

The market’s central location has brought more local activity to be directed into the area. Construction of local features, such as a park and restaurants, are some of the many changes to Old Town Coppell which the farmer’s market has witnessed.

 

Although Vanhoozier encourages these future changes to continue, she hopes that a new aspect of change will include extending more open mindedness in the community.

 

The market’s central location has brought more local activity to be directed into the area. According to Vanhoozier, construction of local features, such as the dog parks and restaurants, are some of the many changes to the city she favors. Although Vanhoozier encourages these future changes to continue, she hopes that a new aspect of change will include extending more open mindedness in the community.

 

“What I would like to see more in Coppell is looking outward and to take all of what we know- our experiences, and help others,” Vanhoozier said.

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Coppell Rewind: A flashback to iconic points of interest, historical establishments