Confederate battle flags fly with a historical marker in an undated photo. The flags were removed by Texas Department of Transportation workers on Tuesday, August 15. Bud Kennedy City of Lakeside
Confederate battle flags fly with a historical marker in an undated photo. The flags were removed by Texas Department of Transportation workers on Tuesday, August 15. Bud Kennedy City of Lakeside

Bud Kennedy

A Confederate flag display comes down. But it was a tiny one, and the mayor wonders — why now?

By Bud Kennedy

bud@star-telegram.com

August 17, 2017 7:52 PM

LAKESIDE

The tiniest Confederate memorial in Texas came down this week.

And even after the Charlottesville, Va., melee over a statue, the mayor of this tiny suburb northwest of Fort Worth is asking why two dollar-store Rebel flags were taken down.

For as long as anyone can remember, the tiny flags flapped in the stiff hilltop breeze from the ground next to an official state historical marker on what is still called Confederate Park Road.

A century ago, what is now the Wolf Creek neighborhood was a private park that hosted reunion parties for Confederate veterans.

In 1903, when Gov. Samuel Lanham of Weatherford spoke at the park’s dedication, he said: “Whomsoever, high or low, promotes or encourages social equality between the negro and the white man is an enemy of this government.”

Yet this week, Lakeside Mayor Pat Jacob said: “Nobody much pays any attention to that anyway. I can’t imagine — why would they take those flags down?”

Gosh. I wonder why.

State workers picked up the foot-tall, wooden-stick Rebel flags Tuesday, a Texas Department of Public Transportation spokesman said.

(They pick up any item left on state highway property. Confederate Park Road is a state farm-to-market road.)

Every time I go by, you see them flying in the breeze.

Lakeside Mayor Pat Jacob

Today, all that’s left of either the park or the Rebs is the aluminum state marker. It recites dryly that Fort Worth pioneer and Confederate Maj. K.M. Van Zandt organized the 373-acre park and hosted statewide reunions there until about 1930.

According to photos posted on waymarking.com and Google Earth, the marker has always had two flags. Someone poured or put down a base for them.

One photo shows the marker with a Texas and Confederate flag. Others show simply two Rebel battle flags, of different sizes and wear and tear.

“Somebody comes by and takes care of the marker and replaces those flags,” said Jacob, the city’s 10-year mayor and a 14-year resident.

“I have never once gone by and not seen flags there. Every time I go by, you see them flying in the breeze.”

Fort Worth has a Jefferson Davis Park, and the courthouse has a 1953 war veterans monument.

Farm Road 1886 was originally named Confederate Park Road, and the street name was kept when Lakeside incorporated. It’s on highway signs along Texas 199.

The street name is one of the few, scattered Confederate landmarks in Tarrant County. South Fort Worth has little-known, 94-year-old Jefferson Davis Park. There’s also a problematic courthouse monument put up in 1953 to honor “Confederate soldiers and their descendants who served” in other wars.

Gov. Greg Abbott said this week he opposes removing public Confederate monuments, saying that “won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future.”

Texas may not take down any more than two little flags.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, @BudKennedy.

Confederate battle flag flew over UT Arlington

History professor Gerald Saxon on the flag's time on campus. Video by Kayla Stigall, special to the Star-Telegram

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