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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Kyle in Hays County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Lex Word and the Bon Ton

 
 
Lex Word and the Bon Ton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry D. Moore, May 7, 2020
1. Lex Word and the Bon Ton Marker
Inscription.  For generations this site was the commercial and social heart of the community. Wallace Alexander "Lex" Word (1896-1982) was born in Kyle to William Alexander and Mamie (Sledge) Word, but tragically his father died two months before Lex was born. After graduating from Kyle High School in 1913 as the only male in a class of six, Lex worked in his uncle's bank in Mathis. He later attended Texas A&M College and served in World War I, managing stores in Grayburg and Huntsville upon his return to Texas.

In 1926, Word moved back to Kyle and partnered with Alex Kercheville and Jack Sledge to open the Bon Ton, a general store and grocery. Initially located in the historic Masonic building, it soon moved to this location. At about the same time, Word bought out his partners. In 1929, Lex married Taylor native Louise "Bobby" Gossett (1904-2000), who came to Kyle to teach school. He expanded the store in the Great Depression, adding a feed store and hatchery at a time when many downtown businesses closed. A fatal fire here killed Cal "Big Boy" Clark in 1934, but the store was rebuilt. For decades the Bon Ton was a primary community gathering
Lex Word and the Bon Ton Marker Area image. Click for full size.
By Larry D. Moore, May 7, 2020
2. Lex Word and the Bon Ton Marker Area
place.

The Words were church and civic leaders, active in the First Baptist Church. When Kyle State Bank closed in 1932, Lex helped reorganize the town's only depository as Citizens State Bank. He also opened an adjacent implement store and helped restart the cooperative cotton gin in the 1930s. Lex and Bobby donated space in the back of the Bon Ton for a reading room that was the town's first library in the 1950s. The store retained the Bon Ton name under new ownership until fire destroyed the building in 2002. In 2006, the City of Kyle built a new city hall at this location.
 
Erected 2007 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13947.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce.
 
Location. 29° 59.319′ N, 97° 52.525′ W. Marker is in Kyle, Texas, in Hays County. Marker is at the intersection of North Front Street and West Center Street, on the left when traveling north on North Front Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 W Center St, Kyle TX 78640, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Kyle (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Wheeler Bunton (about 600 feet away); Old D. A. Young Building (about 700 feet away); First Baptist Church of Kyle
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(approx. 0.2 miles away); WPA Projects at Kyle School (approx. ¼ mile away); Cora Jackman Donalson House (approx. ¼ mile away); The Kyle Auction Oak (approx. ¼ mile away); Katherine Anne Porter (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kyle.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 8, 2020, by Larry D. Moore of Del Valle, Texas. This page has been viewed 41 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 8, 2020, by Larry D. Moore of Del Valle, Texas.
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Oct. 30, 2020