February 3, 2016
Contributed by Deandra Wilson
Social Media Director at Texas Air Doctors
Monument to en:Buddy Holly, en:Richie Valens, and J.P. Richardson (“en:The Big Bopper”). Location: Approximately 8 miles north of Clear Lake, Iowa Directions: US 18 to North 8th Street north in Clear Lake for 4.7 miles. When the paved road (which has turned into Grouse Avenue) turns left (west), go right (east) on gravel road (310th Street), then immediately left (north) on Gull Avenue. Follow Gull Avenue for 1/2 mile, just past the grain bins to t-intersection of a gravel road from the right and first fence row on left (west). The fence begins at the street sign for “Gull Ave.” and “315th St.” Walk along the fence row west for just under 1/2 mile. Directions to Crash Site: From U.S. Highway 18, go north on North 8th Street in Clear Lake for 4.7 miles. When the paved road (which has turned into Grouse Avenue) turns to your left (west), take the gravel road (310th Street) to your right (east), then immediately left (north) on Gull Avenue. Follow Gull Avenue to the north for one-half mile, just past the grain bins to the first fence row on your left (west). Walk along the fence row towards the west for just under one-half mile. A small memorial is located at the place the plane came to rest. Four trees were also planted along the fence row in 1999, one for each performer and the pilot.
Rock and Roll Musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed when their plane crashed in an Iowa cornfield, inspiring Don McLean to write the classic song “American Pie.”
But do you know the Buddy Holly connection with Colleyville?
Buddy met Maria Elena Santiago in New York City in 1958 and they fell madly in love.
They were engaged to be married on their first date and married a few weeks later in Lubbock, Buddy’s hometown.
They were only married for six months before the fatal plane crash and Maria Elene did eventually remarry and have children by that marriage, but she has consistently protected Buddy’s music and reputation.
Eventually, she settled in Colleyville’s Highland Meadows subdivision on High Gate.
Her Colleyville home was almost shrine like, with Buddy Holly memorabilia everywhere: in her office there were pictures of Buddy on the wall, across the hall was an audio room where she listened to Buddy’s music and gold and platinum records adorned the home.
Maria Holly still lived in her Colleyville home until she moved in the late 90’s.
Nelson Thibodeaux on Stage at the Grapevine Opry Circa 1982