EARLY— Buildings constructed in the 1800s will once again serve as a center for area commerce as part of the upcoming Stagecoach Market Days.
Since buying the property in 2016, located just north of the Heartland Mall, owners Pam Ribble and Nancy Gathright slowly cleared tons of trash and debris revealing an area once synonymous for being a regional marketplace.
“It was completely overgrown. You could not see it from the streets,” Ribble said.
Ribble said the property was once a livery and stagecoach stop, serving the Chidester mail route from Fort Worth to Yuma when the floodwaters made Pecan Bayou impassable. Completion of the southern transcontinental railroad in 1881 discontinued the Chidester route.
More than 100 years later, trash and johnson grass completely engulfed the buildings, rendering it invisible to passersby. In December, Ribble and Gathright opened the property to the public for their A Stagecoach Christmas event. They will hold the inaugural Stagecoach Market Days next Saturday in hopes of restoring the property to its former glory with more than 70 venders slated to attend, along with live music and other activities throughout the two-day event.
“Nancy and I decided back in the fall to do a Stagecoach Market Days because we thought it was an ideal place and situation to do something,” Ribble said. “… We have more than 70 venders and they’re still calling everyday. We have a vast array, from woodcraft and metal work as well as other artwork and yard art. We have boutiques, children’s clothing, food venders and music and entertainment with local venders lined up. I think it will be a lot of fun. We’re just ready to go with it.”
Ribble added venders will travel from throughout the southwest, but half of them will come from the surrounding area.
“Most of them are from out and beyond and we’re really excited about it,” Ribble said. “This is the first one and we hope to make it an annual event. We have had a lot of great response on that. We began last fall and started getting our first venders signed up in November … Since then, we keep adding venders.”
Stagecoach Market Days will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 and children under 12 years old can enter free of charge. For each admission, Ribble and Gathright will donate $1 to the Corrine T. Smith Animal Center.
“We have some great people volunteering to help us,” Ribble said. “… It is an enormous pleasure to have it and offer it for people to enjoy.”