Located about 96 miles southwest of Fort Worth, Eastland was made the official home of Old Rip on February 5, 2001 when Governor George W. Bush signed House Concurrent Resolution No. 31.
Who exactly is "Old Rip?" You'll begin to understand by reading House Concurrent Resolution No. 31.
H. C. R. No. 31
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, For its unique characteristics and noteworthy status as a threatened species, the Texas horned lizard was officially designated the State Reptile with the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 141 by the 73rd Texas Legislature; and
WHEREAS, The Texas horned lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, is variously known as a horned toad, horny toad, and horned frog, and while these creatures stand out as a species for their distinctive-looking features, one horned toad in particular has captured the hearts of many Texans, that being Eastland's Old Rip; and
WHEREAS, Old Rip was placed inside a cornerstone during the 1897 dedication of the Eastland County courthouse, and there he slept peacefully until February 18, 1928, when the courthouse was demolished to make way for new construction; and
WHEREAS, On hand to witness Old Rip's serendipitous return to light after 31 years of darkness were 3,000 Eastland residents, in ceremonies presided over by a pastor, a judge, and an oilman; the crowd cheered as Old Rip was held aloft, his earnest wiggling viable proof of the little lizard's stamina and determination; and
WHEREAS, Old Rip's story made him a celebrity; he was exhibited in various parts of the country and even made a visit to be viewed by President Calvin Coolidge in Washington, D.C.; sadly, the Eastland hero died of pneumonia on January 19, 1929, though his body was embalmed and can still be seen today in a plush lined casket in the lobby of the Eastland County courthouse; and
WHEREAS, To honor the enduring spirit of Old Rip and to perpetuate the telling of his story to future generations, Eastland County residents have commissioned a large iron statue of a horned toad for permanent display in the county seat; and
WHEREAS, Distinguished as a fitting symbol of Texas, the horned toad has rightfully earned a place in Lone Star lore, and the many fine citizens of Eastland have indeed proven their commitment to increasing the public's awareness of and interest in this singular Texas icon; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 77th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate Eastland as the official home of "Old Rip--The Most Famous Horned Toad in Texas" and warmly welcome to Austin the delegation of Eastland citizens visiting on this auspicious occasion.
Though not official by legislative standard, Eastland is also, by default, the final resting place of Old Rip who died of pneumonia on January 19, 1929.
His embalmed body is on display in a velvet lined casket in the Eastland County Courthouse.
Eastland was declared the official home of "Old Rip--The Most Famous Horned Toad in Texas" by House Concurrent Resolution and is not, therefore, listed in the Texas Statutes.
Only a small number of Texas' myriad symbols have been actually adopted by an act of the legislature and written into the Texas Statutes.
Chariton, Wallace O., Charlie Eckhardt, and Kevin R. Young. Unsolved Texas Mysteries. Lanham: Republic of Texas Press, 2008. 67-89. Print.
Keffer, Jim. "HCR 31, 77th Regular Session." Legislative Reference Library of Texas. Legislative Reference Library of Texas, 05 Feb 2001. Web. 3 Apr 2013.
History of Old Rip, the horny toad: Eastland visitor center.
Old Rip: Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine, October 2008.
Old Rip, Miracle Horned Toad: Roadside America.
The (Unauthorized) Biography of Ol' Rip: Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
Old Rip Park: From Waymarking.com.
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Texas state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.
The Story of Old Rip, by Bob Moore and O.H. Dick. 23 pages. Publisher: Times Publishing Co. (1949)
The story of Eastland, Texas' world-famed horned toad, which lived after being entombed 31 years in the cornerstone of the Eastland County courthouse.
Unsolved Texas Mysteries, by Wallace O. Chariton, Charlie Eckhardt, and Kevin R. Young. 272 pages. Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing (May 1, 1992).
What happened to the documents captured in the Alamo? Does a ghost actually haunt the state capitol in Austin? Was John Wilkes Booth killed or did he escape and flee to Central Texas? The authors present the known facts and circumstances of these and other mysteries.
Old Rip - Fact or Fiction? Legend has it that a horned toad managed to live for thirty-one years while sealed in an airtight cornerstone of the old Eastland County courthouse. Did it actually happen or is the story another Texas tall tale?