North Texas Daily

The Great Divide, where the Burbs meets the Outskirts

The Great Divide, where the Burbs meets the Outskirts

May 22
11:00 2017

Kyle Martin & Austin Jackson

Along a road on the outskirts of Denton and Krum exists a clash of cultures. Rural and urban lifestyles meet about-face, staring each other dead in the eye.

Ten years ago, Shannon Flanagan could sit on her front porch and watch her English riding horses prance and graze, uninterrupted. In front of her sprawled hundreds of acres of green pastures. The owner of Silent Knight Stables, she and her children lived the life of many Texan’s dreams holed-up on about ten acres of unincorporated land, bothered by no one they didn’t invite.

Things are different now. Her land has been annexed into the city of Denton. She answers the door with a pistol sometimes.

“It’s frustrating,” she said. “We had a Pyrenees dog that guarded the horses at night and I had to get rid of him because that was his property, in his mind. But he scared the shit out of people because he was ginormous. The police kept picking him up and he was guarding his property. That was his.”

Starting roughly seven years ago, she said, they arrived: dump trucks, bulldozers, concrete, semi-trucks and construction workers. The whole nine-yards. And they began to build.

Over the next several years, from the same front porch, Flanagan watched her life change. Day by day, neighbor by neighbor, house by house. Her small town isn’t so small anymore.

“We get no city services besides police, which, I don’t want [Denton] police,” Flanagan said. “Krum Police [Department] is right there, and I used to call them and say, ‘I’m going to be out of town, I’ve got the girls staying at the house,’ and they’d say, ‘Okay, we’ll drive by and we’ll check on it.’ Denton P.D. is not doing that for me. [The City of Denton] provide me no services, but I have to pay more taxes.”

The Other Side

Donnie Rodgers works two weeks on and two weeks off, drilling for an oil company in Oklahoma. Back in town, for now, he watches his daughter play in the street. He trusts his neighborhood is safe, mostly. But if he’s too busy to keep both eyes on her, he might sit a bucket in the road to keep drivers on their toes.

Donnie and Tamra Rodgers moved from Lewisville to Krum into one of the subdivisions along the Divide, Saddlebrook Estates.

The apparent difference between the increase urbanization of Krum (right) and the rural lifestyle of Denton (left). Kelsey Shoemaker

“It’s different here, Krum is a family town,” Rodgers said. “You see a kid playing in the street [here]. Would that happen in Denton? She’d get run over.”

In the four years since the Rodgers moved out to Krum, the population has doubled from 2,500 to 5,000. Tamra said the town has experienced some growing pains. In her eyes, the infrastructure hasn’t grown fast enough, her internet isn’t speedy enough and there should be more community-building events.

“Krum has grown but the resources haven’t,” Tamra said. “These builders kept building subdivisions and now you got an ass ton of people. I don’t think the city has done anything to cope with that.”

Four years after their move, the Rodgers keep their children in Lewisville ISD.

On school days, Tamra wakes up at the crack of dawn to drop her kids off at school before commuting to work in Las Colinas. Tamra would rather deal with the hassle of traffic than send her kids to Krum ISD.

Beyond the schools, the Rodgers said they wish there were more extra-curricular programs for their kids. They want their community to thrive.

Masch Branch Road

In a way, the two families both want the same things.

Shannon Flanagan had her small town. It was the one she raised her kids in, the town where her kids’ teachers know her by name. This town isn’t the town she remembers from ten years ago, though.

Donnie spends his Friday nights in the fall, rooting for the Krum Bobcats. “Bobcat fight never dies!” is their mantra. In Texas, it’s hard to find a connection stronger than a small town to its sports. Denton is too big for the Rodgers; their daughter can’t play in the street there. So Krum is better.

“The only thing I don’t like about it is there’s nothing for you to do out here,” Tamra said. “They don’t have activities and stuff for kids. So we tend to always go towards [the] Flower Mound and Lewisville area, where they have more activities.”

Donnie said it wouldn’t take much to make Krum into the town he dreamed of calling home. It just so happens that what he dreamed of got in the way of Flanagan’s sunset.

Both families inhabit the same place. Where open space once lived is now a growing population. On one side of the road is the urbanization of Krum and its housing developments, demanding space to expand, quickly. This side lays a microcosm of a growing beast, economic development.

On the other side of the road exists a different lifestyle where people raise cattle and where some were able to shoot guns before they were annexed. On this side, people live on tens of acres of land, raise animals, fish in their own ponds and ride Gator tractors and all-terrain vehicles. Many of them like it that way, too.

This is Masch Branch Road. This is the Great Divide.

Featured Image: The small city of Krum with a population of 4,157 is quickly becoming urbanized. Kelsey Shoemaker

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Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

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