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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Denison, Texas.

Our next destination was Little Rock where we had missed touring the Clinton Presidential Library on our way down. Our most interesting driving route would take us around the Dallas-Fort Worth area and across the northern part of Texas where Linda had spotted the birthplace of Dwight Eisenhower in Denison. That sounded fine to me since Denison also held a Pillsbury refrigerated dough plant that I knew of from my early career at that company (1972-86).

When I started looking for the location of the Pillsbury plant on the Internet, I soon discovered that Pillsbury's ultimate owner, General Mills (and how that must have hurt!) had closed the Denison plant years back in 2003. They later sold it to Ruiz Foods. Perhaps this software company's sales brochure inadvertently describes part of the reason for the plant closing:
"Our (union) work rule were so complicated, I didn't think any program could help with scheduling...
For years, scheduling could only be done by only one person, someone with over fifteen years of experience.
...But it (the schedule) was never right. All we did was handle complaints."

General Mills obviously found one way to solve the scheduling problem!

The plant was later sold to Ruiz Foods. The 243 hard to schedule jobs are now replaced by 650 new jobs. Perhaps everyone came out ahead.

After arriving in Denison, we looked for a barbecue restaurant to have a final taste of Texas babrecue and settled on Jones Family Bar-B-Que. As we pulled up to the restaurant we were greeted by a smiling Pillsbury Doughboy!
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The owner said that they used to do a lot of catering for the Pillsbury plant back in the old days. We found the barbecue to be good with hearty chunks of Texas beef.

The next morning we stopped by the Pillsbury/Ruiz plant for a quick look.
Denison-BonhamTexas-03 Denison-BonhamTexas-04

Then we moved on to the Eisenhower birthplace. Ike didn't live here long, less than three years before the family moved on to Abilene, Kansas, a town more frequently associated with his boyhood. The home is right next to the railroad tracks where his father worked as a wiper for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad. There is a nice statue of Eisenhower in addition to the home.
Denison-BonhamTexas-05 Denison-BonhamTexas-06


Interestingly, it is only about thirty miles from Denison to Bonham, Texas, which was the home of Sam Rayburn. Rayburn served as Speaker of the House or Minority Leader during all of Eisenhower's years as president. There is a Sam Rayburn library in Bonham in addition to his "home place."
Denison-BonhamTexas-08 Denison-BonhamTexas-09

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