Tribute to a Very Special Town
is the unofficial Poultry Capital of the World.
Home of the once great Fighting Bantams,
not to mention the Bantamettes.
The greatest little crossroads in Texas.
And my home town from 1963 to 1972.
Smiley Main Street
Click here to view some historic photos of early
The Handbook of Texas gives some excellent background on Smiley.
Click here to read it.
Historical Marker placed in Smiley in 1980 reads:
OLD SMILEY LAKE AND TOWNSITE
Attracted by abundant
water from a natural lake,
settlers began moving to the area in the late 1840s.
Ranching provided the earliest commerce. In addition
to cattle and sheep, ranchers raised racing horses for
sale in the southern states. Cattlemen brought their
herds to the lake area until they were ready for
transfer to Belmont (20 miles north), where a branch
of the Chisholm Cattle Trail was located.
George W. Colley,
considered to be the founder of
Smiley Lake Community, moved here in 1870. Near his
home he built a steam-powered cotton gin and sawmill.
He was joined later by Major W. M. Phillips who
opened a mercantile establishment here in 1883. The
settlement of Smiley Lake, named for early pioneer
Jim Smiley, was located on the Cuero-Rancho trade
route between San Antonio and the Gulf port of
The village once had a
saddle factory, blacksmith
shop, wire fence plant, newspaper, general stores,
drugstore, school, Baptist church, an I.O.O.F. Lodge and a
Post Office established in 1884. When the Galveston,
Harrisburg & San Antonio Railroad completed lines
nearby in 1906, the Town of Smiley was moved to the
present location (one mile north).
It is a fact that John
Wesley Hardin visited Smiley on numerous occasions.
(If you don't believe me, check the first page of "John Wesley Hardin" by Lewis Nordyke.)
Images of Smiley
Grain silos behind the old I.O.O.F. Hall
Site of the former Rhodes Drug Store (right)
The old Manford Hatchery (left) and "Pete's" (aka Longoria's Grocery), right
The old Sample feed mill, left,
and the new headquarters
of the Smiley Volunteer Fire Department on the right.
The most familiar landmark in Smiley - Chicken Houses!!
Only one other comment to make...stay upwind.
Smiley First Baptist Church (left) and First United Methodist Church (right)
left, for the First Baptist Church
right, for Smiley United Methodist Church
The Pat Manford Memorial Rest Area
located adjacent to the Smiley Grocery once owned by Pat Manford.
Pat would nap in a little building that once stood at this spot.
A small park with picnic tables has been established here in his memory.
Smiley High School The football field, former home of the "Fightin' Bantams."
The Smiley Independent School District merged with Nixon Independent School District after I graduated in 1972. It just isn't the same. I would like to pay tribute to my alma mater--Smiley High School--and to its mascot, the "Fightin' Bantam". Long may the red & white live on in the memories of those of us who knew it when.
All for the Bantams
Stand up & holler!!