Aledo celebrated the 50th anniversary of its incorporation with a celebration Saturday, although its history stretches back much further than 1963.

What started in the 1870s as a refueling station for trains on their way into Parker County has since grown into a city that continues to develop.

"We have a great deal to be thankful for and a lot to celebrate," Mayor Kit Marshall told the audience, which included residents and current and past city officials.

Aledo’s community center was decorated with historical artifacts from Aledo’s past that had been compiled by the city from residents and other organizations such as the volunteer fire department.

Some of the artifacts and other memorabilia were placed in a time capsule to be opened at the city’s 100th anniversary.

Marshall expressed her appreciation to all the city officials – past and present - the city’s volunteers and also members of the local churches.

"Aledo is blessed and I think that is tied to the number of churches in our city and the people praying," Marshall said.

Congresswoman Kay Granger presented an American flag that had once flown over the state capitol to Marshall to honor the city’s accomplishments.

"It’s the people that make Aledo wonderful and keep it growing," Granger said as she praised the city.

Judy Flanagan, speaking on behalf of Rep. Phil King, said Aledo serves as a model for other small towns with its progress and forward-looking goals and projects.

"That’s why people want to be here," Flanagan said. "We’re proud of you."

Some of that progress was celebrated as the city gave tours of its new waste water treatment plant where Marshall and the city council conducted a dedication ceremony.

The new plant and the water system improvements project will not only meet the city’s current needs but for future growth as well, Marshall said.

Marshall also announced that Aledo will receive a project of the year award for their waste water plant.

Other ongoing projects include the widening of FM 1187 from two to four lanes and the Parks of Aledo neighborhood.

Awards were also given to the winners of an essay contest for Aledo High School titled ‘A Day in the Life of an Aledo High School Teenager.’

Marshall read the winning essay aloud. In it, senior Rachel Larson spoke of her excitement for the future but also her fondness for the city’s heritage and its small-town, high-school football city feel.

Elementary students also got to participate in a drawing contest. Winning drawings portrayed elements of Aledo such as Christmas Tyme in Aledo or local businesses. Those pictures were also put in the capsule.