Retired architect Jody Fuchs has written a fascinating pictorial history of Crosby, the town he loves.

For one moment in 1953, Crosby, Texas changed its name to Hope, Texas.

“It was part of a publicity stunt orchestrated by comedian Bob Hope in an effort to needle his fellow entertainer, friend and sparring partner Bing Crosby,” says Crosby Historian Jody Fuchs.

Fuchs possibly knows more about Crosby than anybody else, ever. Crosby, by the way, is the unincorporated “town” directly across from the south end of Lake Houston and right next to U.S. Highway 90. In fact, Fuchs, who has spent his whole life in Crosby, has written a book, appropriately titled “Crosby,” that is literally hot off the Arcadia Publishing press.

Fuchs is a retired architect who, as a young boy, was inspired to chronicle Crosby because of the stirring stories he heard from the late Crosby historian and author Edith Fae Cook Cole.

“I was amazed at the history about Crosby that she discovered,” said Fuchs. “She would sit in my mom’s store and relate all her latest findings while researching and writing her book.”

Most of Cole’s information about Crosby came from word-of-mouth which meant “… there were a few inaccuracies,” Fuchs said. “I wanted to correct what was wrong.”

After he retired, Fuchs took an interest in the Crosby Historical Society.

“Architects have a natural disposition to an interest in history,” Fuchs explained. “In college I was a teaching assistant to the professor of architectural history, which added to my interest. When I retired, the Crosby Historical Society asked me to make a short presentation about growing up in Crosby.”

In his quest for interesting vintage photos for his presentation, Fuchs made some amazing finds and realized he had something that would be important to his hometown.

“I spent the next several years digging for more,” he said, and all those photos led to his new book about Crosby. Fuchs had written an earlier book about Crosby, “200 Years, Crosby’s Bicentennial Story,” that Arcadia is publishing, but it is “pricy,” he admitted.

He was impressed with Arcadia’s Images of America series, more than 15,000 books Arcadia has published about local history and local interest, just like Crosby.

“An historical post I made on the Crosby Historical Facebook page had around 40,000 views, so I knew there was interest,” Fuchs said, “and Arcadia offers books packed full of photos, perfect for all the photos I found about Crosby. And it would be at a price more people can afford.”

So, what does a book about Crosby contain?

Fuchs’ book is packed with fascinating historical facts and lots of former Crosby natives who went on to become household names.

Since Crosby is unincorporated, most of the thousand or so people who call Crosby home “… consider the school district boundaries as what constitutes the town, Fuchs explained. “The town is located along the Old Spanish Trail that ran from St. Augustine, Fla. to San Diego.”

What we know today as Crosby was originally settled in 1823 by Humphrey Jackson, an Irishman and one of the original 300 families to settle Texas. The area was called Jackson’s Settlement. By 1860 it became Gentry but, in 1877, the area acquired its current name, Crosby, when Josiah Frazer Crosby located a train stop there – and named the stop after himself.

Fuchs then dispels one of Crosby’s myths.

“Many people thought Crosby originally was named Lickskillet, but I never found any evidence of it,” he said.

He has compiled quite a list of the famous, the infamous and the notable who have called Crosby home.

First, the famous and notable: There is Rodney Crowell, a member of the County Music Hall of Fame and winner of two Grammy Awards. How about Leo Rucka, the No. 2 draft pick for the San Francisco 49ers and inductee into the Rice University Football Hall of Game? The longest running musical in American history, “The Fantasticks,” was written by Harvey Schmidt, the recipient of two Tony Awards and a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.

J.R. Towels is a former Houston Astros catcher, and XFL player Austin Walter holds the record for the longest kickoff return, 97 yards, for a touchdown. Sgt. David McNerney is the recipient of the Medal of Honor for his bravery in combat during the Vietnam War. Reality TV star Jenny Rosenbaum of “Edge of Alaska” claims Crosby, too.

Then there are the infamous: The murdered restauranteur who was the basis of Gary Allan’s country music hit, “No Judgement Day.” Or the made-for-TV story about the four high school boys who burned to death on Halloween night after a football game. How about the lawsuit involving a UFO encounter that began when the alien craft was first sighted over Crosby?

“For a sleepy little farming town, we’ve had our fair share of notoriety,” Fuchs said. “I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface.”

Fuchs has spent years researching Crosby history.

“Most rewarding for me has been capturing the history of our town before we grow so much that it is lost forever,” he said. “So many of the founding families have moved away so if I didn’t track down those photos, it is likely that part of our history would be lost forever.”

Fuchs serves on Crosby Museum’s board. They have signed a long-term lease on a building to house artifacts and photos and hope to have it open in 2021.

As for a book tour, Fuchs joked “… I plan on driving around Crosby today. Just joking. I don’t think there is much interest beyond Crosby, but we may set up some events just to introduce the book.”

Oh, about the time Crosby’s fathers changed their name to Hope in 1953. It only lasted 19 days and, on Jan. 1, 1954, the little powerhouse “town” once again proudly became Crosby.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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