My interest was piqued when I purchased the 2021 Christmas ornament at Humble City Hall. During the past few months, I’ve missed copies of the local newspaper and was unaware that The Wildcat Den had been chosen as the subject for the Christmas ornament. I was pleasantly surprised as I viewed the picture of the establishment from Humble’s past and read the description on the back of the ornament.
You see, when we moved to Humble in the 1970s, my husband searched the area for a bookstore. David’s preference was a used bookstore. However, at the time, there was no bookstore in Humble. David’s solution to the problem was to open one. Our journey to open a bookstore included finding a location to house the books which made up the inventory.
After months of preparations, David’s dream became a reality in December 1975 when we opened a used bookstore at 110 North Avenue D, a location just past the business district on Main Street in Humble. We had rented the old Humble Wildcat Den building on Avenue D and named the bookstore the Humble Book Den in memory of the old establishment.
We did not attend Charles Bender High School, but we quickly learned the significance of the Wildcat Den. We heard stories of students buying their lunch at the old cafe. We noted the small window where students could purchase a lunch to go. The window was a walk-up, not a drive-thru one. We appreciated the history of the building we had chosen as the home of our bookstore.
The Humble Book Den outgrew the Wildcat Den building, but we continued to take note of the wood frame building with the large concrete front porch. A few years ago, an antique business moved into the space which was a former hamburger cafe for students of Charles Bender High School. With the passing of time, the building has developed a state of disrepair. Therefore, the City of Humble purchased the wooden building last year and has plans to demolish it. A piece of the history of Humble which holds many memories of those who prepared paths for others will soon be only a memory.
The old Wildcat Den building provided a welcoming location for the beginning of the Humble Book Den. Thus, my surprise and delight to see the old cafe on the 2021 Christmas ornament.
The Humble Heritage Committee has created over 24 Christmas ornaments which are available at Humble City Hall, 114 W. Higgins Street, and at the Humble Museum, 601 Higgins Street. And, if you would like to send friends and family greetings from Humble, there are two Christmas cards available at City Hall. Both have a picture of Charles Bender High School with “Merry Christmas from Humble, Texas” on the front. Check out the Christmas ornaments and cards while they are still available and learn more of the history of our community — from the Wildcat Den to the Humble Book Den and beyond.