Alley just east of Bond Pharmacy on the south side of the Courthouse Square, Hillsboro, Texas
On the south side of the courthouse square, Bond’s Alley was once the gathering place for older male citizens of Hillsboro. Along both sides of the alley were long wooden benches, very similar to the benches involved in Whitney’s "Battle of the Benches." Depending on the time of year and time of day, the "sitters, spitters, and whittlers" could choose either the sunny side or the shady side.
Many battles were fought there beginning with the Civil War all the way up to WW II. Politics, religion, and any other subject might be discussed. There were lots of differing opinions which sometimes led to fist fights unless the believer was too old to "knuckle up."
Because Bond’s Alley had always been thought of in connection with Bond Drug Store and the senior citizens who sat on the benches, it came as a big surprise when it was announced in 1964 that an art show would be held in the alley. The show would be complete with booths and artists showing any kind of original art, and the money raised would go to the Hillsboro City Library.
Bond’s Alley Art & Craft Festival grew quickly. By the third year, booths covered the entire area around the Courthouse lawn and Elm Street was filled with huge tents for even more exhibitors. There was an annual Featured Artist, and later, a Featured Writer. As the show grew, entertainers and bands from all over the state traveled to participate, and residents looked forward to the street dance.
Art students from Hill College, and others, entered the judged portion of the show. Many budding artists looked forward to a place to show their work. Dr. Julius Zsohar, art instructor at Hill College, setup an easel in the alley among the visitors and painted a picture of the courthouse to be auctioned off. People would stand around and watch his every stroke.
A Courtyard Café, with the feel of a real old Louisiana courtyard, was setup for dining. Parachutes were strung across the alley for shade, brightly colored plants were brought in, and the little iron tables looked cool and inviting. There’s no way of knowing how many hundreds of sandwiches were served in the café during the 38 years that the show ran.
Over the years, the show accomplished its purpose. The money raised was used to fund a Children’s Library in the basement of the new Hillsboro City Library. The committee of women who set out to raise money for this accomplished more than they could possibly have dreamed of when they began the fair.