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