PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) - Original farm land is vanishing in the city of Plano, and one of the few remaining parcels has just been sold. It's the passing of an era.
"We were 4 1/2 miles outside of town," Jimmy Merriman told CBS 11 News, speaking of where he grew up. Six hundred acres of what was once Merriman Family farmland is now in the heart of an exploding metropolis. Parcels were sold in the past, to Plano ISD for the Plano East High School, for instance. Now the final 35-acres are gone as well.
Workers are removing the last of the outbuildings. The 1950s farmstead is stripped, awaiting demolition. One of the few pieces of family-owned farm land in Plano will soon be as much a memory as Jimmy Merriman's recollections of how he used to go to town.
"You had to go around Parker Road and they had one lane bridges there….wooden bridges and sometimes if the creek was up the water may be a foot or so high up above the bridge. Hope you could drive across."
The family bought the land in the mid-1920s. Generations of Merrimans have called it their own until January, when it was sold to a developer.
Rodney Haggard is Merriman's life-long friend. He remembers, too. "It was a small, farm-like town, and everybody knew everybody."
Pieces of his own family farm are now important Plano neighborhoods, too. A recent land sale has become Park West, where homes can fetch up to $600,000 dollars. But the two remember the small-town Plano of yesteryear. Of Jimmy and his father and brother on a wheat combine. "We had several combines; we farmed, probably, 2,000 acres," Merriman said of his farm and that of another land owner.
"When we grew up it was right around 2500 people," Haggard says. "Really it was a farm town a lot of hard-working people, but now it's totally different."
"Myself and my brother -- we were indentured hands," laughs Merriman. He said the family grew wheat, oats, and hay. They had sheep, a few cattle, and for a time his brother milked a dairy cow. "Mother would take care of the milk, strain it. That sure was great cream for the cereal, I know that."
Merriman's brother and 92-year-old mother supported the sale. "I guess progress marches on. You can't keep it forever, Mother's getting older we all are and you can't hardly raise anything on it any more to make a living."
The land was sold to Bloomfield Homes of Southlake. Owner Don Dykstra told CBS 11 News he plans to build 102 single family homes in the $400,000 price range.
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