Pondering what makes Wise County Wise County

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, March 24, 2012

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The bluebonnets at Oaklawn Cemetery in Decatur are just now starting to sprout up.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

I wasn’t in Decatur long before I discovered that was a uniquely local tradition. In a few weeks (maybe a few days after all the rain we’ve had) the cemetery will be covered with our official state flower.

It’s become an annual stop for many parents wanting to photograph their children in the bluebonnets. I’ve done it myself.

That unique tradition, and planning for our annual Welcome to Wise newcomers and visitor’s guide, got me thinking about what else is uniquely Wise County. What is it that makes Wise County Wise County?

Here are some, in no particular order, that made my list:

  • Wise County Old Settler’s Reunion
  • Wise County Courthouse
  • LBJ National Grasslands
  • Bridgeport stage coach/Butterfield Stage
  • Battle of Big Sandy
  • Aurora alien
  • The Lost Battalion
  • Home of professional rodeo stars (PRCA and PBR)
  • Lake Bridgeport
  • Wise County Youth Fair
  • Barnett Shale
  • Wise County Heritage Museum
  • Decatur Swap Meet
  • Chupacabra

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

To see more about what makes Wise County Wise County, you can visit our online version of Welcome to Wise at welcometowise.com. And we’re currently working on our newest version of “Welcome” that we will publish this summer.

Whether you are a “Wise County lifer” or someone who recently moved to Wise, we invite you to check out the website and let us know if there is anything we might be missing.


The organizers of the Wise County Firefighters Benefit Dinner and Auction reached one of their goals Tuesday. A $2,500 gift from the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation pushed the advanced sponsorships to the $100,000 level.

Event chairman Mills Shallene of First Financial Bank had set a goal of $100,000 to have pledged before tonight’s benefit.

The goal is to raise $150,000 to be shared equally by the 17 fire departments in Wise County. If you had a chance to read our front page feature in Wednesday’s paper on the costs of outfitting a firefighter, you know that any donations will definitely find a good use.

The benefit will feature a fire equipment display on the east parking lot at 6 p.m. followed by a free barbecue dinner provided by Wise Electric Cooperative and the Decatur Civic Center at 6:30. Brandon Gentry will provide entertainment during the dinner hour. The event will also feature live and silent auctions and a raffle.

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