Proud Of East Texas: Ben Wheeler - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/12/08- Ben Wheeler

Proud Of East Texas: Ben Wheeler

The bustling town of Ben Wheeler, with its stores, restaurants and even a four year college, became a virtual ghost town after World War Two as its' young people moved to the city for jobs. Year by year the town deteriorated and that's how Brooks Gremmels found it when he moved back to East Texas.

Gremmels started by simply cleaning the town up, but one thing led to another and now Ben Wheeler is well on its way to looking as it did in the 1930's, but with a modern twist that will draw both locals and visitors. Gremmels and his wife Rese formed a non-profit fondation and are spending their own money, over two million so far, restoring the town. At least three restaurants, a number of music venues, and shops which Gremmels will rent for only a dollar a month to artists and boutiques, are nearing completion. The "County Line Magazine" will soon move into its new offices in a building that once housed the local blacksmith.

The town is already hosting special events once monthly. A Fourth of July celebration drew eight bands and thousands of people and thursday night's "pickin and grinnin" is a regular event. On October 25th, the "2008 Fall Ferel Hawg Fest" promises live music and fun activities for all ages.

Joan Hallmark, Reporting joanhallmark@kltv.com

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