WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Those who have called Wichita Falls home for an extended period of time can remember several businesses, stores, attractions, and restaurants that have come and gone.

Hundreds of businesses have opened and closed in Wichita Falls over the years. Some were unsuccessful and lasted for a short amount of time. However, some were so popular that they managed to etch their name onto the hearts of the residents of Wichita Falls.

Even though some of these things have been gone for decades, they are still talked about with a warm sense of nostalgia. Wichitans who frequented these establishments have no shortage of stories and memories to share involving them.

This begins a series on Texoma’s Homepage where we take a trip down memory lane and pay homage to the places that are no longer in Wichita Falls, yet remain beloved by those who call Wichita Falls home.

Here are five things we wish Wichita Falls still had.


Funland

If you talk to anyone who grew up in Wichita Falls in the 60s, 70s and 80s, they’ll almost certainly have a memory of an afternoon spent at Funland.

Located at 2006 Southwest Parkway, near the intersection with Taft Boulevard, the carnival-style rides, arcade, and train that covered the entire park made Funland an entertainment attraction for generations.

Funland went through multiple changes in ownership during its time in Wichita Falls. In the mid-to-late 90s, it was closed down multiple times. After nearly four decades and several re-openings, the beloved amusement park closed down permanently in 2001.

With their lease set to expire in April of that year, owner Ernie Baker made a business decision to relocate to San Angelo. Baker was quoted as saying he “didn’t see a future in Wichita Falls.”

However, the park closed down in San Angelo just two years after opening.

What’s there now? South Weeks Park & WFFD Fire Station 8


Fazoli’s

In the 1990s, a fast-food Italian franchise opened a location in Wichita Falls, at the intersection of two of the busiest streets in the city. It quickly became beloved by residents of Wichita Falls.

Whether it was the unlimited breadsticks or the classic Italian dishes without the long restaurant wait, something about Fazoli’s made it a staple for many citizens of Wichita Falls.

Former patrons and employees alike commented on the fact that Fazoli’s was always busy.

After nearly a decade at the corner of Kemp Boulevard and Southwest Parkway, the restaurant closed abruptly in 2007 when the building was sold to a group in Dallas. Customers and employees were given a very little warning about the closure.

What’s there now? Taco Bell


Hastings

Whether it was books, vinyl records, movies, board games, posters, collectibles, novelty items, or even coffee… If Wichita Falls residents needed home entertainment items, their first stop was likely to be at Hastings.

Hastings stood for its tenure in Wichita Falls in Hobby Lobby Plaza at the corner of Kemp Boulevard and Southwest Parkway. In the days of Blockbuster and movie rentals, Hastings remained competitive by offering a wider selection of movies available to rent.

Another feature that made Hastings popular was its selection of used items. Hastings offered patrons the option of selling their used books, movies, and music for cash or store credit.

Hastings Entertainment fell on hard times in 2016. Online merchants like Amazon continued to expand and grow, hurting brick-and-mortar stores’ sales.

The entertainment superstore filed for bankruptcy in June 2016, and when the company found a buyer, the joint venture group decided to liquidate. Over 100 stores across the country closed in July 2016.

What’s there now? Dirt Cheap


Dallas Cowboy’s Training Camp

The Dallas Cowboys have held training camps to prepare for the NFL season primarily in Oxnard, California for over a decade now. But, those who have called Wichita Falls home for long enough can remember when America’s Team conducted their training camp in Texoma’s backyard.

Between 1963 and 1989, the Dallas Cowboys held their training camp in Thousand Oaks, California, about 45 minutes away from Los Angeles. In 1990, they began holding camp in Texas, at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

It wasn’t until 1998 that the Dallas Cowboys began holding camp on the campus of Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

It has been reported that those who lobbied for the Cowboys to move their training camp to MSU hired a plane to fly over Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day with a banner that said, “Hey Jerry, Wichita Falls Wants Your Cowboys.” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was impressed.

Jones apparently claimed the overwhelming summer heat of Wichita Falls would make the players so mad that they’d play angry against their opponents. But, after losing in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs in 1999 and 2000, and failing to reach the post-season in 2001, they went back to the West Coast.

What’s there now? Remains MSU’s practice field


Uncle Lynn’s Catfish

The beloved family-owned catfish restaurant Uncle Lynn’s stood for 15 years off of U.S. Highway 287 near the Wichita-Clay County Line. However, the entire building burned to the ground in June 2001.

It took 9 area fire departments to extinguish the blaze. Investigators determined faulty equipment was the cause of the fire.

Many held out hope that owner Doug Sandridge would rebuild and reopen the restaurant, but no plans ever came to fruition.

What’s there now? Nothing has been rebuilt at this location