Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SMALL TOWN SURPRISES

Monday, December 28 - We are going to explore Columbus, TX this morning. That should take about five minutes! Surprise, surprise....we spent most of the day exploring this neat little town. There are historical markers everywhere and a tour of many of the historical sites. Marsha is always amazed to see flowers still in bloom.

flowers-still-blooming

downtown-2

The strangest thing is…you can be driving down the road and all of a sudden there is a big tree in the middle of the road. They have the road go around the tree. Now in Ohio, they would just cut it down.

trees-in-middle-of-road

First of all, the Colorado River, the 18th longest river in the United States and the largest in Texas, begins and ends within the state's borders. Since it was navigable from Columbus, the county seat, to its mouth, Columbus became a shipping point for cotton and a stopping place for wagon trains. Colorado County was organized in 1837 by Stephen F. Austin, an early Texas hero. The first Anglo settlers arrived here around Christmas 1821. The town was burned during the Texas Revolution by General Sam Houston's Army as a part of his scorched-earth tactic.

colordo-river

bridge

Are exploration included the Stafford Opera House, the largest flat-floored opera house in Texas. It is now open for dinner theaters, wedding receptions, etc.

stafford-opera-house

Across the street on the corner of Courthouse Square, is the United Daughters of the Confederacy Museum, housed it what was the city's original fire tower. Built to hold water for fire fighting. Its walls are thirty-six inches thick!

daughters-of-confederacy

The Colorado County Courthouse, takes up the remaining part of the town square. Built in 1890, it is currently undergoing some renovation. It was named the capital of the Texas territory by Stephen Austin prior to the City of Austin being named the State Capital. Can you find Paul in the picture?

colorado-county-courthouse

Around the Court house they had many Christmas signs. Each sign was design to fix a certain company in town wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Marsha took pictures of every sign. Her favorite is the second one below. It is the dentist office. Here are two but you can see them all by clicking this link.

contractors

dentist

The Alley Log Cabin was built by one of Stephen Austin's colonists in 1836. It is one of the oldest surviving structures built during the Texas Revolution, built after General Sam Houston ordered the area’s building be burned to the ground.

log-cabin

We stopped in at Beckey’s Cafe for a bowl of soup lunch just across the street. Excellent Sante Fe Chili and Chicken Noodle Soup.

On the same street corner as the log cabin is the Dilue Rose Harris House Museum. This house was built in 1858. Miss Rose is famous for her reminiscences of early colonial Texas.

dilue-rose

Next door is the Mary Elizabeth Hopkins Santa Claus Museum. Someone told Mary Elizabeth Hopkins that if you have three of more of anything you are a collector. Hopkins was certainly that. Today, her legacy includes a museum that houses over 2000 representations of Santa.

claus-house

We also toured the Tate-Senftenberg-Brandon House Museum. The exterior and interior depict small-town life a century ago.

senftenberg-brandon

The Live Oak Art Center was built by Robert Robson as a small castle on the river and began providing home to local and itinerant artists. Today this beautiful structure provides workshops for all ages, hosting rotating exhibits, and maintains an outstanding permanent art collection.

downtown

We stopped at an old City Cemetery and walked through to see some of the old head stones. Marsha loved this old cemetery. It had so much charm she couldn’t stop taking pictures. If you want to see more, just click here.

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We found a head stone of a Confederate solider that died on Paul’s birthday….only 47 years earlier.

paul-marker

Across the street from the cemetery is the second largest Oak Tree in Texas. It is on private property, but you can walk over and see it close-up. They have steel posts embedded in the ground to hold up some of the lower limbs to keep them from breaking....pretty neat!

big-tree-sign

big-tree-

big-tree-branch-held-up

big-tree-branch-marsha-arms


A surprising little town (population about 3400), with many historical sites and a thriving downtown district.


Tuesday, December 29 – Got tons of “running around” chores to do today. Marsha flies to Ohio tomorrow and wants be to be all set for her absence.

We visited Heinsohn’s Country Store in New Ulm. Operating since 1920, this old-time general store stocks everything from meat-grinders and sausage stuffers to Purple Martin houses and Tex-idermy. We actually found two things we couldn’t live without.

heinsohns

While we were driving back we came across this little guy. We pulled over to watch him eat. Next thing you know he was mooing at us. I think he was saying “Howdy Y’all.” Pretty cool.

cow-eating

cow-moo

We stopped to eat at a Mexican restaurant called Los Cabos. It is right down the road from our campground. WOW! what delicious food. I had the Super Burritos, and Marsha had the Chipotle Tacos with beef fajita. There was so much food, we each took home plenty for supper. We highly recommend this place!!!

los-cabos

It has been a pretty busy three days for us. Marsha is now off to Canton, and I am doing all the odds and ends I saved until she left. Most of the odds are watching FOOTBALL!!!

For more fun photos, click right here.

Happy Trails….stop back soon.

SCHULENBURG AND PRAHA TEXAS

Sunday, December 27 – We pulled out of Rainbow's End, Livingston, TX in route to Columbus, TX. We are staying at Columbus RV Park, which is about 90 miles West of Houston. It is located in the middle of 12 quiet acres within the city limits of historic Columbus,Texas. "Quiet" because it is not on the freeway, and there are no railroad tracks nearby. Obviously, the owners have not stayed in the Park. We hear train whistles several times a day and night. We agree that the railroad tracks are not next to the Park but to say no railroad tracks is a bit misleading. Bella is having a big time here. There is a lot of wooded areas, and a trail in the woods that she just loves. The bathrooms here are so clean and very pretty.

outside-bathroom
Can you tell which on is for the men?
bathroom-columbus
Cleaner than some restaurants!

The campground brochure mentions that we may see deer grazing in or around the campground.....well Bella (our cat) found some animals grazing near our Motorhome.....NOT deer but CHICKENS!!!! She certainly was ready to pounce!....ha ha ha!!!

chicken
Such a pretty little thing
chicken-2
Just strutting her stuff

Here is something you don’t see in Ohio. This is a new mix.

double-shot


We drove to see an original saloon and dance hall in Schulenburg, TX. This was a very old town, with many historic buildings.The dance hall is called the Sengelmann Hall. Sengelmann Hall is a restored 1890’s Texas dance hall, restaurant, saloon, biergarten & Czech bakery. In the saloon and biergarten, they have 14 beers on tap, a lively menu of pre-Prohibition cocktails and a secret recipe Sengelmann Hall Punch.The saloon has a dance hall upstairs. The dancehall features live music and dancing on the original 115 year-old, long leaf pine floor every Friday and Saturday night. Dance to traditional Country, Texas Country, Western Swing, Cajun and Polka music. Unfortunately, due to the Christmas weekend there was no live band today. You know how good a polka dancer Paul is…..LOL.

sengelmann
Original building
bar
Original bar….really beautiful
dance-hall
Dancehall upstairs
dance-hall-6
Seating area in dance hall
ice-chest Original ice chest still being used.
original-staircase
Original staircase. Really beautiful

More pictures of Sengelmann Hall.

After a beer at Sengelmann Hall, we drove to Praha. A penniless immigrant from Czechoslovakia, Mathias Novak, settled in the area in 1854 and is credited with creating the mother colony of the many Czech settlements throughout Texas. As time passed, other Czechs immigrating from Europe joined him and the town was given the name Praha which means "Prague" in the Czech language. The town became the center of a rich agricultural area and by the 1880s had a population of seven hundred residents. Today, the Czech colony remains quiet and seemingly almost abandoned except for Sundays when worshipers come from afar to attend services in the church. Praha population is 37.  St. Mary’s Church is located in Praha. This is one of the famous painted churches. Awesome.  They are very ornate, and the ceilings are beautifully painted.  St. Mary's was built in 1895, making it one of the oldest of the painted churches. It is a large, sturdy church. The front fa├žade of St. Mary's is of stone. There is a bust of a crucified Christ in a niche above the main entrance. The bust is painted in realistic colors. It foreshadows the bright painting and exuberant decorating that awaits inside. We were told there are about six of these churches in the area. Have to see how many we see before heading West.

front-of-church
Beautiful outside
cross-in-front-lawn
Outside church
main-aisle
Wooden altar
organOrgan
pretty-ceiling-2
Painted ceiling
pretty-ceiling
Beautiful ceiling

More pictures for you to enjoy.

Thanks for visiting. Y’all come back now…..hear!?!