Left:  Downing Methodist Church with school in the background on the right.  Actor Fess Parker’s grandparents were charter members of the church.  Fess paid to have its successor building painted in the fall of 1955.

Photos of the 1938 Downing tornado provided by Lowery Easley. 

Photos of the 1958 Downing tornado provided by Lowery Easley.

Right:  Pictured in front of Walt Loudermilk’s store, the famous Downing panther was killed just east of the old Buffalo school house in 1923.  The tale goes that George Hanson heard it scream, Dow Scott’s dogs treed it and Florence Loudermilk shot it out of the tree.

  It was killed near the old Buffalo graveyard on the edge of what is now Lake Proctor.

  Around 1885 settlement around Pleasant View (now Downing) began to grow.  In 1889 a Postal Star Route was established between De Leon and Comanche and the community applied for a post office.  It was at that time postal authorities misspelled the name Dawning and the community became Downing. 

    In addition to the Post Office, the community had a Methodist, Baptist and Church of Christ, two general stores, a gin and a blacksmith shop.  Alfred T. Hafford opened the Downing Barber Shop in 1915 and continued to run it for more than fifty years.  His sons operated the City Market in De Leon.

De Leon Free Press Mar 25, 1927

L-R:  Ben Scott, Tom Scott, Florence Loudermilk, Clarence Haslett, Dow Scott, Dan Beaty, Tom Rogers, Arlo Hornsby, Walter Loudermilk, Claude Hulsey  and the panther.

Notice the man standing on top of the root system.

Right:  Walter H. Loudermilk (1863-1939) who owned the Downing Store for many years.


William C. Davidson Nov 26, 1888

The post office was closed on May 11, 1901 and mail came from Comanche.  It apparently reopened soon thereafter with the appointment of Walter Loudermilk

Walter H. Loudermilk Aug 14, 1901

John H. Loudermilk Apr. 20, 1905