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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

City Swimming Pool Opens Friday

The pool opens for business Friday at 1:00pm.
If you’re a kid in Roscoe with a little spare time on your hands, life has to be looking up—school is out and on Friday at 1:00pm the swimming pool opens for the summer.

Like last year, the pool will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00pm.  Price of admission is $2.00 per day with season passes available for $75.

The pool may be rented for private parties beginning and ending between 6:00 and 10:00pm. The fee is $60 for two hours, $70 for three, and $80 for four with a $15 deposit. The price includes an approved licensed lifeguard.

Private swimming lessons will begin at 10:30am and end at 11:15am. The fee is $50 for three lessons.

For reservations or additional details, contact Pool Manager Isabel Moore at 325-514-9416.



The Roscoe basketball coaching staff is conducting a fundamental basketball camp. The camp will cover fundamental skills, games, and concepts of basketball. We will have a 1-on-1 and 3-on-3 tournament, hot shot contest, free throw contest, and much more.

Incoming 6th-9th grade girls and boys are welcomed. Participants will receive a camp shirt and awards each day. Pre-registration is preferred, but you can register at the door.

Date:    June 22, 23, 24
Time:   6:00 pm- 8:00 pm
Tuition: $30
Location: Roscoe High School gym

Contact Shella Arnwine at for pre-registration forms and information.



Who:  Incoming 2nd – 9th graders
When:  Monday-Tuesday, June 13-14
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
Where: Plowboy Field
Cost: $20.00  (includes Camp T-Shirt)  Students attending camp can wear their camp t-shirt and get in free to all home football games.
Coaches: Roscoe Plowboy Football Staff
Registration:  For registration forms or more information call 325-766-3844 (coaches’ office) or 3325-721-0892 (cell).  Please pre-register as soon as you can or let us know if you plan to attend so we can order camp t-shirts. Registration will begin Monday, June 13th, at 4:30 pm on Plowboy Field.



 (Note: This article ran in the Hard Times on May 23, 2012. Because this week was a bit short on news, I'm taking the opportunity to run it again for readers who weren't around back then.)

The Uranium Sitting Parlor was in this building, abandoned when this photo was taken in 1980, and now gone. (Photo by Betty Sasin)

One of the strangest—if not the strangest—of businesses ever to set up shop in Roscoe had to be the Uranium Sitting Parlor. The year was 1955, and it didn’t stay open for too long, but I can still remember the place and the stir it caused at the time.

It was in that old downtown red-brick building on the west side of the first block of Main Street, the one that had the Barq’s Root Beer advertisement painted on its north wall, and was next to Mrs. Clausell’s laundry. It was somewhat dark and dingy inside with old people lying in red sand in areas separated from one another by planks. Some of them were completely covered up to their necks while others had sand over only the affected areas, such as wrists, ankles, and feet.

The sand was radioactive and said to be wonderfully capable of alleviating aches and pains from arthritis, rheumatism, and other similar maladies. Customers paid by the hour, and their certainty that the uranium was beneficial caused for a booming business.

Those of you who weren’t around back then may not know that the discovery of radioactivity, its presence in uranium, and the part it played in the creation of the atomic bomb all had a profound effect on the popular thought of the time. No one was quite sure what it all meant, but the atomic bomb blasts were proof that mankind was dealing with something new and powerful.

A popular movie of the time entitled “Them!” (1954) captured some of the prevalent wonder. In the movie, ants exposed to radioactivity from atomic testing in the Nevada desert became huge and invincible and attacked mankind, reinforcing the impression that radioactivity was a mysterious force with unusual powers.

Thanks to Stanley Cleckler, who provided me with a couple of articles, one from the Roscoe Times about the local sitting parlor and the other from the San Angelo Standard-Times about the origins of the craze, I am able to supply details that would otherwise have been impossible.

According to the article in the Standard-Times, the craze began in Comanche. A dairy farmer there by the name of Jesse F. Reese discovered that sand on his 216-acre farm had uranium in it. Not too long afterwards, a stranger knocked on the door one day and asked if he could sit in Mr. Reese’s ditch. He explained that back home in Washington state, he paid for radiation treatments to ease his rheumatism pains, and he was thinking he might get the same relief from the radioactive sand in the ditch.

Reese agreed, and before long word got around about the healing powers of uranium sand, and several other people showed up to do the same thing. Rather than run them off, Reese built a shed in his back yard with enough room for six sitters. He put sand under the floor and in the walls and charged two dollars an hour.

Business started slowly, but soon he was getting 150 visitors a day, and it wasn’t too long before a uranium sitting parlor was established in Brownwood. It was also a big success.

At this point, Harvey Cleckler, a Roscoan who was living in Brownwood, decided to get involved. He was a character and an entrepreneur who, among other ventures, was the man who used to bring the donkey basketball games to Roscoe.

He came to Roscoe with some of the uranium sand and established the Roscoe Uranium Sitting Parlor.

According to the Roscoe Times, people “literally began sitting on the first shovel full” of radioactive sand that he unloaded, and the place was soon averaging “upwards of thirty people a day.” Mr. Cleckler made no claims that the radioactive sand would cure or even help any disease. He merely made the sand available and charged a price for people to sit in it.

Here's one customer's testimonial copied verbatim from the Roscoe Times article, "It's the only thing that's ever helped my arthritis. I could hardly get up the stairs until I started uranium sitting. Now I walk up them easily."

Harvey's brother Frank took charge of the Roscoe parlor while Harvey moved on to Lubbock to establish another one there.

The Roscoe parlor originally had two “beds,” but that was later increased, and I seem to remember at least five or six. I don’t remember how long the parlor remained open, but it wasn’t too long. I guess at some point people figured out that their rheumatism or arthritis was still bothering them and gave up on the sitting sessions and the curative powers of radioactivity.

But it was all the rage for a while and is now an indelible part of the history of the town.



June will be a big month for name bands at the Lumberyard. Here are the biggest:

Cody Canada & the Departed - Friday, June 10

Cooder Graw - Saturday, June 18

Charlie Robison - Saturday, June 25
For reservations or more information contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



Water was standing in the rows after yesterday's rain. (Photo by Allen Richburg)
We’ve had plenty of weather since last Wednesday with a little bit of everything including hot weather, high humidity, strong winds with blowing sand, and, yes, more rain. Temperatures on the whole were higher than in previous weeks, which is to be expected I guess, as we move into June. The high came last Wednesday when it got up to 95°F with Thursday and Saturday both recording 90°. Since then, it’s been steadily cooling with yesterday’s high only 81° and today’s projected to be only 75°.

The high winds came on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On Thursday, the winds came off a nearby storm cloud with sustained high winds of 40mph with gusts up to 47mph. They brought with them a wall of fine dust. Friday had gusts up to 48mph, and Saturday up to 45mph.

We got rain on four different days with the big one coming Saturday night at about 11:30 and lasting for about 45 minutes. My rain gauge had 1.52”, while Kenny Landfried’s official total was 1.4”. Sunday night .2” more fell, and then yesterday afternoon another shower of .22”, although it rained more than that west of town. With the .1” that fell last Wednesday, I had a weekly total of 2.04”. Kenny recorded an official total of 5.7” for the month of May. And, as planting season for cotton approaches, I’m beginning to hear even dryland farmers complain about the prospect of getting more rain.

But that’s just what is in the forecast for the next couple of days. In fact, Nolan County is under a flash flood watch until tomorrow morning at 7am. With the ground already pretty well soaked, any additional rain is likely to have a quick runoff, especially if it comes down quickly. Chances of rain are 70% for today and 60% tonight, as well as 50% tomorrow and 40% tomorrow night. Tomorrow’s high temperature should be only about 73° and Friday’s 74°. However, the weekend will see the start of sunnier weather and a steady warming trend as we move into next week.



Linda O. Whiteside, 62, of Nevada, passed away on April 24th, 2016. Graveside services for Linda were on Saturday, May 28th, 2016, at Roscoe Cemetery in Roscoe. The service was officiated by Reverend Matt McGowan.



Memorial service for Maria Galvan, 76, of Roscoe will be at 2:00pm on Sunday, June 5, at Highland Heights United Methodist Church in Sweetwater with Reverend Jake Wade officiating. Interment will follow at Roscoe Cemetery. She passed away on Saturday, May 28, at Sweetwater Healthcare Center.

Ms. Galvan was born January 28, 1940, in Oilton, Texas. On June 5, 1966, she married Catarino Galvan in San Diego, Texas. She moved to Roscoe in 1966 and was a member of Highland Heights United Methodist Church. She had worked for Roscoe Nursing Home as a CNA.

Survivors include her daughters, Juanita Garcia and husband, Daniel, of Roscoe; Gracie Garza and husband, Luis, of Edinburg; Mari Cornett and husband, Benny, of Roscoe; Patty Hamilton and husband, Lance, of Sweetwater; sister, Beatriz Gonzales of Abilene; brothers, Pete Rodriguez of Roscoe; Hector Gonzales of Hobbs, New Mexico; Arnulfo Gonzales of Michigan; fifteen grandchildren, twenty great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandson; daughter-in-law, Maria M. Galvan of Sweetwater.

She was preceded in death by her father, Pioquinto Rodriguez; mother, San Juana Rodriguez; step-father, Leon Gonzales; sister, Celia Galvan; brother, Guadalupe Rodriguez; husband, Catarino Galvan; son, Jose Galvan; and sister, Sandy Reye.


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