Wolf Brand Chili
"Wolf Brand Chili Statue Unveiling Thursday"
Corsicana, Navarro County Texas


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Wolf Brand Chili Bronze Statue Unveiling will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 at Corsicana’s next bronze sculpture will be located on the original footprint of the Wolf Brand Chili lunch wagon at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Beaton Street.

Chili will be sold for 5 cents during the event as it was in 1895 when Lyman T. Davis, a Texas ranch cook, developed the original recipe and parked his wagon downtown in front of the Blue Front Saloon (today it is the location of Across the Street Diner.)

The company’s slogan “Neighbor, how long has it been since you had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili? Well, that's too long!" is familiar to many Texans.

In 1977, Wolf Brand Chili and other chili manufacturers successfully lobbied the Texas state legislature to proclaim chili as the official food of the state.

Other Bronze statues are located throughout Downtown and other points in the City, each depicting a notable city leader or piece of history.


  • Corsicana Daily Sun - Oct 17, 2018

How Long Has It Been ?:  City Unveils Bronze Chili Statue

How long has it been?: City unveils bronze chili statue
By Sierrah Sowell Daily Sun Oct 20, 2018

Wolf Brand Chili is a true Texas tradition that is special in the hearts and stomachs of many. The idea of having a hot and ready helping of chili with a side of crackers and good conversation around the table makes you want to ask: Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?

The answer to that question for many members of the community was, “too long”, as they gathered for the unveiling of Nancy Rebal’s bronze statue. Honoring the Corsicana roots of the chili brand Thursday evening outside of Across the Street Diner downtown. Chili was sold for five cents in silver cups, just like it was back in 1895 on Beaton Street in front of the Blue Front Saloon. The line was long as everyone was ready to get a steaming cup of Wolf Brand Chili. The proceeds were then donated to the Navarro County Food Pantry.

The event opened with words from city manager, Connie Standridge, who was delighted to see more bronze decorating the streets of downtown.

“This unveiling today is inspiring, as it brings more legacies and history to the streets of our downtown,” she said. “These bronze sculptures serve as reminders of where the city of Corsicana came from and the people who have made this community the home it is today.”

Steven Bell, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church, then lead the audience in prayer to give thanks for the food and the community members who came to show support at the event.

Don Denbow, Mayor of Corsicana, was next to speak.

“From oil field workers, to the men who served overseas, Wolf Brand Chili was a staple in the making of our country,” he said. “Whenever anyone is asked how long has it been since they’ve had a bowl of the famous chili, the answer didn’t matter because, it had always been too long.”

Sharla Allen, the Parks Director, shared words of her own and then introduced artist Nancy Rebal to the stage.

“This sculpture has taught me so much about this community,” Rebal said. “My husband and I moved here originally because I found the perfect location for a unique studio, but I did not expect to find my hometown too, and at such a late stage in my life.”

Rebal also revealed plans to bring back an original Wolf Brand Chili can truck, one of the remaining original models driven by the sale associates of the brand during its early stages.

“Another very important thing I want all of you to know is that if you rub the paw of the wolf who is sitting on top of the chili can, you are almost certain to have good luck,” she said.

Anticipation was building in the crowd as music began to play and the black curtain was removed to reveal a bronze wolf sitting atop a can of Wolf Brand Chili.

The mass appeal of Wolf Brand Chili dates back to the first canning of the chili in 1921. Lyman Davis, the original founder of the chili brand and its recipe, had originally named the brand Lyman’s Famous Home Made Chili.

Davis had a pet wolf he called Kaiser Bill. After a request from photographer Charlie Reisen to include the dog in branding, the company began to use pictures of the wolf on the cans of chili.

Once oil was discovered on Davis’ land, he sold the operation to J.C. West and Fred Slauson, two Corsicana businessmen, in 1924. The men used marketing techniques to their advantage and had salesmen drive trucks in the shape of chili cans with the Wolf Brand label printed on them. Sometimes, the trucks would even have a coyote in the back, caged, to resemble a wolf as displayed on the can label. These were a hit with the public and the business kept growing.

The chili was connected to many famous actors and musicians. Local radio station KAND’s name was inspired by West’s idea of making the station resemble the word “canned,” and was then established in 1937.

In 1950, the company was sold to J.C. and Doyle West, the sons of the late J.C. West senior. This led to the expansion of the manufacturing system and the growth of the company as a whole. In 1985, the Corsicana plant that was the original site for making the chili, closed down due to the merging of factories. The chili is currently no longer made in Texas but is distributed throughout the nation and beyond.

In 1977, chili was named the official food of the Lone Star State.

As tradition lives on through the bronze statues in downtown, it also does each time a can of Wolf Brand Chili is opened.





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