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AUTHENTIC

T H E

H E R I T A G E

M A G A Z

T E X A S

Lone Star

Bright Lights, Big City:

DISNEYLAND

SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS

AMARILLO’S

NEON NIGHTS

“Sand Castle Guy”: PORT ARANSAS’

MARK LANDRUM

Triple

+

DANCE HALLS

TEXAS CAMEL CORPS MIDLAND’S SUMMER MUMMERS

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GOAT COOK-OFF

THREAT

VOLUME 3 SUMMER 2018 EDITION

The Quebe Sisters Offer a Refreshing Take on Western Swing


FROM THE TEXAS HERITAGE TRAILS LLC

Hot (and Historic) Summer Nights

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endless adventures for generations of Texans, and this issue of Authentic Texas showcases border-to-border opportunities that longer days and warmer nights afford. Celebrating summer often starts with music festivals and outdoor concerts, and our cover highlights the Quebe (rhymes with “maybe”) Sisters, innovative fiddle champions known for their multi-part, close harmonies that captivate audiences worldwide. Singing and dancing have been bringing Texans together for years. Since 1878 families have gathered to enjoy music and do a little boot-scooting at Gruene Hall. Musical memories in local gathering spots abound, from the Stampede in Big Spring to the Broken Spoke in Austin, where revelers throw open the doors and hit the dance floors. We offer you a peek inside. When Cool Crest Miniature Golf in San Antonio opened in 1929, Herbert Hoover was president. Throughout the state, outdoor recreation businesses have created traditions that have been passed down from family to family, and we look at historic amusement parks, drive-in theaters and putt-putt golf destinations. Certain foods and flavors evoke summer as well.Triple-degree weather just calls for a cold one — be it Amy’s Ice Cream or Lone Star Beer, both created in Texas and now a part of our culinary history. Texas cooks know that nothing says summer like barbecuing, and every family has their own take on the “low and slow” mantra of cooking a beef brisket. We take our own shot at a family recipe, including the bonus of a video posted to our website. As aficionados of Texas history, we salute the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site, managed by the Texas Historical Commission, on the opening of a brand new 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art museum and visitor center. Built from the ground up, the facility offers visitors a chance to experience the vision that Stephen F. Austin had for San Felipe de Austin as the capital of the provisional government of Texas before residents burned the town in 1836 during the “Runaway Scrape” retreat from Mexican Gen. Santa Anna’s advancing army. We hope you’ll take advantage of this summer to enjoy learning about the history of the Lone Star State.

Kay Ellington

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AU THENTIC TEXAS

COURTESY TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION

SUMMER HAS provided

REMEMBRANCE Commemorating the location where,

in 1823, Stephen F. Austin established a headquarters for his colony in Mexican Texas, San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site (top) and new museum (below) share the stories of early settlers to the region. Today, visitors can learn about the social, economic and political center of American emigration to Texas before independence.


Contents SUMMER 2018

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AUTHENTIC PERSON

AUTHENTIC PLACE

AUTHENTIC THING

With their unconventional triple-fiddle approach, the Quebe Sisters are among the state’s practitioners of Western swing. But as much as they’re influenced by Bob Wills and Asleep at the Wheel, the trio is also branching out to include gospel, gypsy jazz and country shuffles in a style they term “progressive swing.”

From the late 19th century into the 1950s, the only way to reach South Padre Island was by ferry — until the completion of the Queen Isabella Causeway, which helped establish the area as a vacation destination. Today, South Padre caters to an international clientele and, during Spring Break, hordes of college students.

The pleasures of beautifully smoked brisket — the combination of its crunchy surface, the soft, juicy interior, and the meaty, smoky taste — make for a transcendent eating experience. When it’s done right, that is — and therein lies the rub. In truth, the quest for brisket mastery is a rabbit hole of questions, folk wisdom and lore.

AU THENTIC TEXAS

COURTESY QUEBE SISTERS

FEATURES


Contents

71

LIVE SHOW

Abendkonzerte Summer Mummers

73

HAPPENINGS

LEGACY

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TEXAS ORIGINALS

Doug Baum

The former drummer and Nashville Zoo caretaker established the Texas Camel Corps with a distinct educational mission in mind.

THE LOG FLUME AT SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS, P. 84

82

ARCHIVE

Sam Houston Center

LOCAL

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TEXAS ICON

Guadalupe Bass

The official Texas State Freshwater Fish is small but powerful — and can be found in some of the state’s most scenic and remote areas.

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YONDER

Brady’s Smokin’ Goat

What began in 1974 as a fundraiser has become the World Championship BBQ Goat Cookoff.

Hancock Springs

The free-flowing pool in Lampasas, once called the “Best Bathing Resort in West Texas,” has an intriguing history.

Marfa Lights

The mysterious glowing orbs appearing in the West Texas desert continue to mystify people.

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AU THENTIC TEXAS

Fort Clark Aerodrome

Aerodromes (airfields) — as at Fort Clark in Brackettville — were established during World War I, when military aviation became essential.

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CITY LIGHTS

Amarillo in Neon

The Panhandle city’s ample nightlife is illuminated by compelling, brightly lit signage.

Dance Halls

A treasured tradition, the dance hall is authentic — and iconic — Texas culture.

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EATS & DRINKS

A new exhibit in Liberty explores the Atascosita region.

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HISTORIES

Six Flags Over Texas

Amy’s Ice Creams Sweeter Hill Lone Star Beer

When Walt Disney rejected a proposal to construct a second Disneyland in Arlington, the city turned to developer Angus G. Wynne Jr.

66

TEXAS ICON: The feisty Guadalupe Bass, pg. 14

Sand Sculpture

Trails in This Issue

LIFE

46

TRAIL DRIVES

Miniature Golf

The compact layout makes mini golf an ideal family-friendly activity.

DEEP IN THE ART

Drive-Ins

Outdoor theaters provide nostalgia and a magical movie experience.

Mark Landrum, Port Aransas’ “Sandcastle Guy,” has been creating his impressive artwork for more than two decades.

Amusement Parks

Coyote Country Store

Roller coasters, snack stands, souvenirs — vintage theme parks offer old-fashioned fun.

In Borden Country, Becky Justice has created a venue that serves up a mean burger and veteran country fare.

Brazos 49, 58, 73 Forest 73 Forts 18, 46, 50, 58, 73 Hill Country 20, 46, 59, 60, 71, 73 Independence 46, 53, 57, 64, 73 Lakes 49, 53, 57, 62, 73 Mountain 22, 54, 73 Pecos 24, 49, 72, 73 Plains 26, 49, 50, 54, 57, 73 Tropical 32, 58, 66, 73

COURTESY TEXAS ARCHIVE OF THE MOVING IMAGE; DAVID SHANKBONE/FLICKR

Departments


TRAILS MAP THE TEXAS HERITAGE TRAILS program is based on 10 scenic driving trails created in 1968

by Gov. John Connally and the Texas Highway Department (now the Texas Department of Transportation) as a tool for visitors to explore the Lone Star State. The trails were established in conjunction with HemisFair, an international expo that commemorated the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio. In 1997, the State Legislature charged the Texas Historical Commission with creating a statewide heritage tourism program. The THC responded with a program based on local, regional and state partnerships, centered on the 10 scenic driving trails. Today, each trail region is a nonprofit organization governed by a regional board of directors that supports educational and preservation efforts and facilitates community development through heritage tourism.

PUBLISHER

Stewart Ramser ADVERTISING

Julie A. Kunkle, Associate Publisher Christina Olivarez, Advertising Director Senior Account Executives: Jeff Carlyon, Macaulay Hammond, Denise Janove, Margaret Kennedy, Roxanne Levine, Tina Mullins, Misty Pennock, Maxine Pittman, Jasmine Allgood Ward Abigail Stewart, Advertising Sales Manager Jillian Clifton, Advertising Sales Coordinator Lisa Reiley, Advertising Design & Production ART DIRECTOR

Martha Gazella-Taylor, Gazella Design EDITOR

Tom Buckley

PLAINS TRAIL REGION

COPY EDITORS

Julie Seaford, Anne Herman, Michael Marchio LAKES TRAIL REGION FORTS TRAIL REGION

MOUNTAIN TRAIL REGION

CONTRIBUTORS

Valerie D. Bates, Mike Carlisle, Loretta Fulton, Trey Gutierrez, Michelle Newby Lancaster, Cassandra Lance-Martinez, Gloria Meraz, Mary Ellen Miner EDITORIAL BOARD

PECOS TRAIL REGION

BRAZOS TRAIL REGION

HILL COUNTRY TRAIL REGION

FOREST TRAIL REGION

INDEPENDENCE TRAIL REGION

TROPICAL TRAIL REGION

Coleman Hampton, Texas Brazos Trail Region Jeff Salmon, Texas Forts Trail Region Patty Bushart, Texas Lakes Trail Region Robert Alvarez, Texas Mountain Trail Region Bill Simon, Texas Pecos Trail Region Kay Ellington, Texas Plains Trail Region Rick Stryker, Texas Tropical Trail Region EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS OF PARTICIPATING TEXAS HERITAGE TRAIL REGIONS

Andrea Barefield, Texas Brazos Trail Region Margaret Hoogstra, Texas Forts Trail Region Jill Campbell Jordan, Texas Lakes Trail Region Wendy Little, Texas Mountain Trail Region Melissa Hagins, Texas Pecos Trail Region Barbara Brannon, Texas Plains Trail Region Nancy Deviney, Texas Tropical Trail Region

Legend

12

Texas Heritage Trails LLC 3702 Loop 322 Abilene, TX 79602 AuthenticTexas.com (325) 660-6774

BRAZOS TRAIL TexasBrazosTrail.com

INDEPENDENCE TRAIL TexasIndependenceTrail.com

FORTS TRAIL TexasFortsTrail.com

MOUNTAIN TRAIL TexasMountainTrail.com

FOREST TRAIL TexasForestTrail.com

PECOS TRAIL TexasPecosTrail.com

Texas Heritage Trails LLC member organizations are participants of the nationally award-winning Texas Heritage Trails Program of the Texas Historical Commission.

HILL COUNTRY TRAIL TxHillCountryTrail.com

PLAINS TRAIL TexasPlainsTrail.com

Texas Heritage Trails, LLC dba Authentic Texas is a member of the Texas Travel Industry Association and is a Go Texan partner.

LAKES TRAIL TexasLakesTrail.com

TROPICAL TRAIL TexasTropicalTrail.com

AU THENTIC TEXAS

Texas Heritage Trails LLC is owned and operated by seven nonprofit heritage trails organizations.


LOCAL

TEXAS ICON p. 14 H YONDER p. 18 H CITY LIGHTS p. 26 H FEATURES p. 28

THIRD

COAST

DREW KOLB /FLICKR

SUNRISE

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LOCAL TEXAS ICON

Bass

GUADALUPE

Texas’ official state fish, small but powerful, punches above its weight class JILL CAMPBELL JORDAN

is a perfect Texas icon: it’s unique, it’s strong, and it’s a survivor. In 1989 the Guadalupe Bass (micropterus treculii) was named the official Texas State Freshwater Fish. But why would a state that boasts that “everything is bigger” select a fish that in adulthood averages around 12 inches long and one pound in weight? What makes this little fish so special? For one, it’s unique to Texas. And it’s a powerful fish for its size. The spunky Guadalupe Bass is a favorite for fans of fly fishing. It uses river currents to put up a fight like a fish much larger in size. It’s also found in some of the state’s Louise Hays Park most scenic and out-of-the-way plac202 Thompson Drive es, making for a peaceful and enjoyKerrville, TX 78028 Open daily from dawn to 11 pm able day of fishing. According to Texas Parks and A. E. Wood Wildlife, these Texas jewels of Hill State Fish Hatchery 507 Staples Rd. Country rivers are found in the “northSan Marcos, TX 78666 ern and eastern Edwards Plateau, (512) 353-0313 including the headwaters of the San VISIT SAN MARCOS Antonio River, the Guadalupe River TourSanMarcos.com above Gonzales, the Colorado River north of Austin, and portions of the VISIT KERRVILLE Brazos River drainage.” KerrvilleTexasCVB.com

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HE GUADALUPE

AU THENTIC TEXAS

REDDIT.COM

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Bass vs. Bass As with many iconic stories, there’s a bit of triumph over near tragedy. To increase sport fishing in the region of the Edwards Plateau, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department introduced smallmouth bass into the habitat of the Guadalupe Bass beginning in the 1950s. The unintended consequence was a drastic reduction in the population of the indigenous bass due to the competition of the smallmouths and the interbreeding of Guadalupe Bass and smallmouth bass, creating a hybrid. After working for more than 25 years to restore the endangered state fish, the depart-

ment says its population is on the rise. Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists are stocking the affected areas with millions of Guadalupe Bass fingerlings on a yearly basis to outnumber the hybrid and the smallmouth. Watch the Hatch You don’t have to be a fan of fishing to see the state fish March through April at the A. E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos. Hatchery tours are offered each Tuesday at 2 p.m. and Friday at 10 a.m. for groups of 10 or fewer. Visitors should call ahead to make sure the Guadalupe Bass is available for viewing.

Finny Family Fun For a more abstract look at the state fish — and a great photo op to boot — head out to Kerrville to see “Lupe,” a giant Guadalupe Bass statue appropriately displayed in Louise Hays Park along the Guadalupe River. Kerrville residents contributed hundreds of handmade mosaic tiles to adorn this sculpture created by GiGi Miller. The park is a great place to stop and stretch your legs or cool off in the river — right alongside the real State Freshwater Fish of Texas.

FROM LEFT: COURTESY TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE; BARBARA BRANNON/TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL

PARK PLACE: “Lupe, the Guadalupe Bass” was installed at Kerrville’s Louise Hays Park in 2017.

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WITH KID GLOVES: The annual cookoff brings out the competitive juices (left) as participants vie for one of many trophies (below) awarded to victors.

DON’T MISS Heart of Texas Country Music Museum 1701 S. Bridge Brady, TX 76825 (325) 597-1895 hillbillyhits.com Heart of Texas Historical Museum 117 N. High Brady, TX 76825 (325) 597-0526 heartoftexasmuseum.com

YONDER

Richards Park, Brady Aug. 31–Sept. 2 worldchampionshipgoatcookoff.com Live music all day Sept. 1–2 with evening concerts

The “True Heart of Texas” hosts the World Championship BBQ Goat Cookoff

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breath, and you can already smell the savory sauce and hear the drippings sizzle as slabs of goat meat cook to perfection at the annual World Championship BBQ Goat Cookoff in Brady, the “True Heart of Texas.” The event, first held in 1974, doesn’t actually begin until Aug. 31, but it’s not too early to imagine just how tasty it’s going to be. The cookoff is sponsored by the Brady/ McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce,

TAKE A DEEP

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AU THENTIC TEXAS

VISIT BRADY

www.bradytx.com

headed by executive director Erin Corbell. Last year’s cookoff drew 10,000 visitors, up from 5,500 in 2016. Of those guests, 55 percent were local residents, Corbell says, and 45 percent came from out of the county. Corbell attributes the attendance hike to changes made in pricing, as well as to the addition of beer and wine tasting. Instead of paying separate fees for concerts, bounce houses, a cooler charge and parking, visitors can buy weekend passes that cover everything

BRADY

FORTS TRAIL REGION

COURTESY BRADY/MCCULLOCH COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Forty-Five Years of Smoking Goat

World Championship BBQ Goat Cookoff


COURTESY BRADY/MCCULLOCH COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

except food and merchandise vendors and the beer and wine tasting. “People were hesitant at first,” Corbell says, “but once they did the math, it made sense.” Weekend wristbands are available at the chamber office for $10 in advance, and Saturday and Sunday wristbands are $5 in advance. Prices double at the gate. The logo for the cookoff is a circle, with the slogan “45 Years and Still Smokin’ Goat” printed in the blue outline of the circle. Inside the circle is a smiling goat that looks suspiciously like Willie Nelson, with white beard, braids and red bandana. It all signals a fun weekend in Brady, which really is the “True Heart of Texas.” That’s not just a chamber of commerce brag: a Texas Historical Commission marker five miles northwest of Brady signifies the geographic center of Texas, an imaginary point whose coordinates divide the state into four equal areas. Something the Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce can brag about is being one of the top sheep and goat production areas in the nation. McCulloch County ranks 21st in Texas and 135th in the United States for the number of sheep and goats raised, Corbell says. No wonder the World Championship cookoff is held here. A couple of folks in town who probably know more than anybody about the cookoff are Joe and Mary King, who’ve been in on it from day one. One son has attended every year, and the younger son, Brian, was born the weekend before the second cookoff and now participates each year, along with four high school buddies. Last year, Brian and his team won the championship for the first time. In the past, they’d never even placed. So what was different last year? Secret sauce? Different cooking method? “They’re not telling,” Mary King says, smiling. King volunteers at the chamber and helps out each year. It’s something she wouldn’t miss. “It’s just like a reunion,” she says. “It’s just a wonderful time.”

GETTING THEIR GOAT: Judges have the enviable task of tasting all manner of smoked meat produced by the competition’s 206 teams (another 90 teams are wait-listed). Almost 6,000 pounds of goat are cooked each year in Brady’s Richards Park on Labor Day weekend.

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COOL, CLEAR WATER: The pool’s 300,000 gallons remain a consistent 69 degrees. Below, the Hancock Springs Pool in 1947.

YONDER

Pool Jewel

Hancock Springs Pool in Lampasas has served as a cool refuge for more than a century JILL CAMPBELL JORDAN

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AU THENTIC TEXAS

courthouse that is restored today and listed in the National Register of Historic Places), the springs quickly became a favorite destination for locals and travelers. In 1911, the spring was excavated to form a large swimming pool. The First Baptist Church of Lampasas, which had helped establish the local Baptist Association a few years earlier, founded the Lampasas Baptist Encampment and leased the springfed pool. Bathers were provided soap, towels and a dressing room — at a cost of 15 cents per bath. Men and women had designated bathing times. The pool was also used for baptisms.

Closed Mon.–Wed. Thurs.– Sat., Noon–7 pm Sunday, 1–6 pm

VISITLAMPASAS Lampasas.org

LAMPASAS

HILL COUNTRY TRAIL REGION

PHOTOS COURTESY VIRGIL WOOTEN/LAMASAS COUNTY MUSEUM

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U.S. Highway 281 S. Lampasas, TX 76550

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encampment to resort to army property to city pool, few recreational spots in Texas have undergone as many resurrections as the Hancock Springs Pool in Lampasas. Today, visitors can appreciate all these aspects of the pool’s past while also enjoying a dip in its sparkling, invigorating spring waters. The town of Lampasas, about an hour northwest of Austin, developed around the Hancock Springs in the 1850s. By the 1880s, a health resort had opened at Hancock Springs to take advantage of the springs’ salutary effects. Situated just a halfmile from the historic downtown (with a FROM BAPTIST

Hancock Springs Pool


COURTESY LAMPASAS COUNTY MUSEUM

BAPTISTRY: The reverse of this postcard of the Hostess House, from the collection of Carol N. Wright, reads, “The last surviving structure of 1920s Texas Baptist Encampment and Camp Marlamont Era.” The two-story building served as a dining hall for Camp Marlamont and housed the dressing rooms for the pool.

A two-story Hostess House, which housed dressing rooms for the pool and a dining hall, was added to the encampment in 1917. The folks at the encampment weren’t the only ones making the most of the Hancock Springs Pool and Park. The students at Camp Marlamont, sponsored by the San Marcos Baptist Academy, took part in outdoor athletics, including swimming, baseball, croquet and tennis. Although Hancock Park’s Baptist encampment era came to an end in July 1928, the property was sold to Baker and Little Swimming Club. By 1933, according to the Lampasas Dispatch Record, Hancock Springs was known as the “Best Bathing Resort in West Texas.” In 1936 the city purchased the property, and it was leased to Camp Hood (later Fort Hood) from 1942 to 1946. The Panther Recreation Park, as the property was known while under federal lease, was a perfect place for soldiers to convalesce and enjoy R&R in the cabins that remained from Baptist

Encampment days. After the war was over, Hancock Springs was again available for visitors. The city enhanced the park with a playground, nine-hole golf course and other facilities. The park and the pool, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2011, still draw locals and visitors alike. The pool remains an invit-

ing place to dive into on a hot summer day — to the tune of 300,000 gallons of springfed water that stays a cool 69 degrees. The park’s picturesque landscape makes it easy to imagine what this spot was like for the thousands who’ve sought refuge from the heat and the healing qualities of the water for over 100 years.

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SEEING THE LIGHTS: Theories about the Marfa Lights, as seen from this viewing area, abound; conclusions are harder to come by.

YONDER

Mystery Lights

Marfa’s spontaneous bursts of illumination may be best left unexplained BARBARA BRANNON

A signal to invading armies during cities, the land is flat except where ringed by World War I? No evidence. Nor was there mountain ranges, the atmosphere is dry, and any explanation when World War II pilots flew over the area during trainthe night sky is some of the Marfa Lights ing runs from Midland. darkest anywhere. Viewing Area Swamp gas? Curiosity Here, since 1883, mysteriNine miles east of town on ous points of light have shone U.S. Hwy. 90/67 (toward Alpine); seekers in the hills with lanlook for pullout terns? Moonlight on mineral and flickered and danced. The on the south side. VisitMarfa.com/lights veins? Marfa Lights gained instant One theorist holds notoriety. VISIT MARFA VisitMarfa.com that the nearby town’s name An Apache campfire? Cowhands who’d spotted the derived not from a character lights rode out by day to see. They found in a Russian novel but from a corruption of nothing. the nautical phenomenon marfire, caused by IN THE HIGH Texas desert well south of I-10

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AU THENTIC TEXAS

MARFA

MOUNTAIN TRAIL REGION

ALEXANDRA BARAO/FLICKR; NICHOLAS HENDERSON/FLICKR

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phosphorescence in the sea. Early observers must have found the occurrence similar, whether caused by glowing organisms or a reflected mirage. That makes a lot more sense to some folks than yielding to recent scientific findings. In 2011, a team of researchers using light-measuring tools concluded that the Marfa Lights are nothing more than refracted beams from the headlights of cars some 15 to 20 miles away on U.S. Highway 67. The particular combination of atmospheric conditions causes lights to appear against the mountain backdrop as eerie, floating orbs. Visitors stopping in at the roadside

observation area on U.S. 90 east of Marfa — specially built in 2003 — aren’t convinced. They need only to point out the obvious absence of automobiles back in the 1880s. As with all things Marfa, however, the lights continue to attract and perplex. The viewing area is open 24/365 with restroom facilities, plenty of parking and low-level red lights to aid your way. Bring your binoculars and camera — you never know what you might see. And “bring an open mind” as well, advises the VisitMarfa.com website. “In understanding Marfa,” writer Sterry Butcher once offered, “a certain suspension of disbelief is useful.”

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COLLISION: Two planes entangled at the Fort Clark aerodrome. The airfield was constructed for military purposes during World War I.

YONDER

The origin of the Brackettville airfield dates to World War I

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Fort Clark has served many purposes — a home to many soldiers, a supply depot and even a training hospital — perhaps one of the post’s most noteworthy and little-known uses was as an aerodrome during World War I. When the United States entered WWI in 1917, military leadership realized air support for ground troops would be an important component for success in battle. So began the military’s use of airplanes, with numerous aerodromes (airfields) built across the country. Sod airfields were established in Eagle Pass and Sanderson in 1919 by the

ALTHOUGH

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AU THENTIC TEXAS

U.S. Army Air Service. These airfields were used as bases for observation flights along the Mexican border. Skirmishes between Mexican revolutionaries and the U.S. military and local citizens were monitored. Pilots from the 90th Surveillance Squadron based at Kelly Field were assigned to this mission. In June 1920, the squadron based at Eagle Pass was moved to Del Rio’s airfield. In July 1921, the 90th Surveillance Squadron returned to San Antonio. The Fort Clark aerodrome was built sometime between 1919 and 1920; today, the community’s airport contains the second-

Fort Clark Guardhouse Museum Fort Clark Springs Brackettville, TX 78832 (830) 563-5598 HOURS Sat.–Sun. 1–4 pm fortclark.com/museum.html

BRACKETTVILLE

PECOS TRAIL REGION

COURTESY FORT CLARK ARCHIVES

Fort Clark Aerodrome


oldest U.S. Army hangar still in existence. While the mission of the Fort Clark airfield was not clearly documented, in a letter written to Arthur Manley of the War Assets Administration, Fort Clark airport was described as an auxiliary field. As such, the aerodrome was a place where pilots could safely land and take off. The walls of the Fort Clark hangar were constructed of steel, and the roof of corrugated iron. It had a cement foundation and a dirt floor. The inside dimensions of the hangar were 66 feet by 120 feet. In 1938 a cement floor was poured inside the hangar. The windows of the hangar had panes of wired glass embedded with a mesh of thin metal wire. Following its use during WWI, accident reports from 1921 to 1935 indicate that cadets used the Fort Clark airfield as one of their stops on their cross-country training flights. Cadets were required to do a crosscountry solo flight to prove their ability to chart a course, navigate, do wind and drift corrections, figure fuel usage and land at unfamiliar airports. The fact that Fort Clark had a large fuel tank and pump house — as well as an oil tank and pump house — indicates the facility was probably a refueling station for the cadets. In October 1922, a giant dirigible airship (blimp) on a return flight from Ross Field, Calif., to Langley Field, Va., developed mechanical troubles and had to land. This unscheduled landing was in the vicinity of the Fort Clark airfield. Once repairs were performed, the airship continued on to its regularly scheduled stop at Brooks Field. Early aviation was particularly precarious, and Fort Clark had its own experience with a plane crash. On May 4, 1933, while attempting to land their plane at Fort Clark in order to refuel, a treacherous gusty wind jeopardized a safe landing. The landing gear dragged through the trees and the propellers chopped the largest branches. The airplane crashed head-on into a grove of tall pecan trees. Immediately the plane burst into flames and exploded. All five on board helped one another escape from the burning wreckage, and three of the five were awarded the Cheney Award for their courage. You can visit the aerodrome today since it’s a functioning part of the Fort Clark Springs Airport. But don’t just stop there — grab a “Historic District Walking Tour” brochure and jump into the storied past of this once active cavalry fort. SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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LOCAL CITY LIGHTS

SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Paramount Theatre and Santa Fe signs (top photo) light up the night along Polk Street; a 1939 McCormick linen postcard (bottom) touted Polk Street (looking north from Ninth) as “The Best Lighted ‘Main Street’ in America!”

Amarillo by Evening SINCE ITS founding in 1887 as a

Panhandle cowtown and rail hub — perhaps along yellow-hued creek banks lined with bright yellow flowers — Amarillo has been labeled a city with bright prospects. When journalists and hometown boosters conspired in the 1950s to nickname the region “the Golden Spread,” the city’s gilded identity was firmly fixed. These days, visitors to the Yellow City’s downtown and Route 66 thoroughfares can experience a revival of the city’s 26

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BARBARA BRANNON

glow by night. Opportunities abound for appreciating its history and culture after dark. The city, in fact, owes its origins to the Fort Worth & Denver Railway, which opened access to the Texas Panhandle in the 1880s and was later subsumed by the Santa Fe network. “Amarillo would not exist,” writes historian Mike Cox, “if it had not been for the iron.” Cox considers Amarillo the largest city in Texas that owes its founding primarily to the railroad.

Potter County (of which Amarillo is the seat) honored that heritage in 1995 by acquiring the vacant former regional offices of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, a 13-story 1930 gothic revival masterpiece now restored as a Center City landmark. The ruby Santa Fe sign shines brilliantly over Amarillo once again, with uplights washing the building in various colors for special emphases. Though most of the Santa Fe Building interior is securityrestricted because it houses a

AMARILLO

VISIT AMARILLO VisitAmarillo.com

VISIT CENTER CITY AMARILLO CenterCity.org

VISIT U.S. ROUTE 66SIXTH STREET HISTORIC DISTRICT

nps.gov/nR/travel/route66/6th_ street_historic_district_amarillo.html

BARBARA BRANNON/TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL

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Neon Lights and City Sights


ROADHOUSE: The GoldenLight Cafe and Cantina, opened in 1946, is considered the oldest business in continuous operation anywhere along Route 66.

BARBARA BRANNON/TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL

door to the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts (500 S. Buchanan). Anchoring a redeveloped shopping, office and convention corridor along South Buchanan Street, the Embassy Suites shines new light on a sector of Center City that will soon be home to a multi-purpose event venue — with a minor-league baseball team

playing under the lights in spring 2019. Outside of downtown but incorporated into the city’s Cultural District (designated in 2016) is the U.S. Route 66–Sixth Street Historic District. Comprising 13 blocks of National Register structures along highway mileage that was paved as early as 1921, the road became part of the federally designated Route 66 in 1926. The district is known for its lively arts and entertainment scene, ranging from Tejano tunes at Braceros Mexican Grill & Bar (2822 SW 6th) to country at the Broken Spoke Lounge (3101 SW 6th) to chamber music at the Fibonacci Building (3306 SW 6th). If you want to pay homage to the granddaddy of all Route 66 businesses, however, that would be the GoldenLight Café and Cantina (2906 SW 6th), a dive joint that’s been serving up burgers, beer and an impressive array of live bands since 1946. One final stop is worth a short jaunt north of town on a summer night. Wonderland Amusement Park began operation as the locally owned Kiddie Land in 1951. The park is open May through September, but its neonbedecked rides can be experienced as late as 10 p.m. in midsummer.

working courtroom, visitors can step into the lavish ground-floor lobby. On occasion, behind-the-scenes tours open other features of the well-preserved structure, including the basement boiler room and the top-floor auditorium, for viewing. Elsewhere along Polk Street, the city’s main commercial route, vivid neon signs in historic designs have been preserved or introduced. With the restored vertical marquee of the 1932 Paramount Theatre (817 S. Polk) in the vanguard, neon signs were added to the Amarillo National Bank garage (6th and Polk), the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in the National Register– listed 1928 Fisk Building (724 S. Polk), the former Kress department store (700 S. Polk) and others. A variety of shopping, wining-and-dining, music, and event venues make the neon-lit sidewalks of Polk Street an inviting nightlife destination. The most recent major addition to Amarillo’s downtown scene is the Embassy Suites by Hilton Downtown, which opened in 2017 in the Civic Center complex next SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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V A EN E H FROM THE FRONTIER TO THE BACKYARD BARBECUE, THE BRISKET HAS FED OUR IMAGINATIONS by

HO AMONG US HASN'T BEEN STOPPED IN OUR TRACKS

on a midsummer afternoon when the aroma of sweet smoke wafting from an outdoor grill harkens us back to bygone days — whether those memories date back to cowboy-camp cooking on the prairie or to a suburban patio? The art of creating the perfectly barbecued beef brisket attracts a demographic diversity as big as the state itself — from championship barbecue teams and pit masters with their manly, massive smokers to grandmothers whipping up heirloom marinades in CorningWare to nouvelle-cuisine chefs in Texas’ toniest neighborhoods sculpting the definitive presentation to small-town markets serving a few slices on butcher paper while a smoky crimson liquid oozes through your fingers between bites. 28 28

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heat — to keep the previously mentioned muscle as tender as possible. Fast cooking makes the meat tough. A temperature of 200 degrees is not unusual for brisket cooking, and roasting or grilling time can be all day. Tightly wrapping the brisket in heavyduty foil locks in the moisture of the meat. When the meat is actually done, sauces that accompany the brisket show just how much imagination Texans bring to bear when mixing up concoctions of Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, liquid smoke, mustard and vinegar. Here’s my mother’s time-honored traditional preparation that requires nothing more complicated than your home oven — and a lot of aluminum foil.

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In Texas, brisket is a little bit like politics: everyone has an opinion on the subject. There’s a wide spectrum of ideas on how to prepare, cook and serve the dish. And your position on brisket slicing can be almost as polarizing as politics. In full disclosure, this writer is an against-the-grain advocate. But I get ahead of myself. There are actually areas in the realm of pursuing brisket perfection where aficionados agree. Most believe a vinegaresque-type marinade is crucial in softening the sinew of the muscle found in the meat and that, ideally, an overnight marinating will achieve that tenderizing while providing flavor as well. One tenet of brisket preparation that is almost universally accepted is low-and-slow

BARBECUE BRISKET

• 1 medium-sized brisket cut (or a full brisket cut in half) • 1 bottle vinegar-and-hickory-smokebased marinade (Claude’s is great) • 1 bottle barbecue sauce of your choice • Coarse-ground black pepper Gather a roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil and a roasting pan big enough to put the meat in without spilling over. With a sharp knife, trim off excess outer fat from the meat on all sides. Tear off a length of the foil 3 times longer than the cut of meat. Lay it in the bottom of the pan and fold up the edges to make a tray. Lay the meat in it fat side down, and pour half the bottle of marinade over it, bringing up the corners of the foil to hold it in. Sprinkle the top of the meat with black pepper. Wrap up the foil in a tight butcher’s fold. Place the pan with the sealed meat in the refrigerator to marinate overnight. The next morning, take out the meat and remove the foil, draining off the marinade and rinsing the pan. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Spray the pan with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Wrap the meat again with a new sheet of foil and set it in the pan; place it in the oven for 30 minutes to seal in the juices, then turn the oven down to 250 and cook for 4-5 hours. Don’t open the foil to check on the cooking!

Remove the foil and slice the entire brisket about 1/4-inch thick. Brush on a coat of your favorite homemade or commercial sauce and rewarm to serve. The cooked and sliced brisket also freezes in foil very well, to be warmed up in a slow oven for about an hour. My mother usually cooked a brisket a week ahead of company coming and thawed it the night before — that way all the cooking and cleanup were done, and she could sit back and enjoy the visit.

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PHOTOS: U.S. AIR FORCE/SENIOR AIRMAN JOSHUA EDWARDS

When cooking time is done, remove the foil-wrapped meat and set it out to cool. Once it’s cooled from the oven, chill it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight — the brisket is easier to slice when cold.


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AUTHENTIC PLACE

NOW A POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATION, SOUTH PADRE ISLAND HAS A RICH HISTORY by

O

VALERIE D. BATES

barrier island in the world, in extreme south Texas, South Padre Island is maybe best known for Spring Break and outstanding beaches, but it also has a long and varied history. As part of the “New World,” South Padre Island, also known as “Isla Blanca” (the White Island), found itself under the ownership of Spain, Mexico and then the Republic of Texas before Texas became a state in 1836. Shifting sands, and a lack of fresh water and other resources made for a challenging environment, and the area wasn’t permanently settled until around 1804, when Spanish priest Padre José Nicolás Ballí arrived.

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PHOTOS PRIVATE COLLECTION VALERIE D. BATES

Ballí’s family had migrated from Spain more than 235 years earlier. In 1800, Ballí applied to King Charles IV of Spain for 11.5 leagues of land on the island and started its first settlement, Rancho Santa Cruz. Padre Island came to be named in his honor. Ballí’s cattle ranch was headquartered on South Padre Island until about 1810. Up to this point the most frequent visitors were the local, if not nomadic, tribes of Karankawas, who were adept at traversing the tough conditions, finding food and sustenance. The Karankawas, or “Kronks” as they were informally known, weren’t hospitable. The crew aboard the 1554 shipwreck off South Padre Island found this when they met the Karankawas repeatedly as they struggled to make their way inland. Of the 300 sailors who survived the shipwreck, only one survived the trek. The Karankawas and other local tribes knew how to camp and fish and pillage wreckage that washed ashore. In the 1740s, Spanish colonizer José de Escandón’s men were forced to retreat from the beach as the tribe threatened the frightened Spaniards with bows and arrows. During the winter the Karankawas would migrate to the interior of Texas, where they hunted, and then would return to the coast in the spring to feed on local delicacies such as prickly pear cactus and seafood. The prickly pear cactus was rolled in the sand to remove the thorns and then were eaten like apples or dried like figs to be consumed later. Bays and inlets were navigated by poling in dugouts. Redfish were shot with bow and arrow and shark hunted and killed by knife. It was possible to thrive on this island, but special skills and knowledge were clearly necessary. John Singer and his family arrived in the South Padre Island area in the mid1840s. The Singers bought Santa Cruz Ranch from Padre Ballí and built their home on the foundation of the Ballí home, then in ruins. They renamed the ranch “Las Cruces.” Eventually the area became known as the Singer Ranch. Singer was appointed wreckmaster — the need for such was an indication of the treacherous waters off the coast. Salvaged materials amassed on the homestead site and were buried in what was called “money hill.” When the U.S. Civil War broke out in 1861, the Singer family, being Union sympathizers, involuntarily relocated to the Flour Bluff area up the coast near Corpus Christi. The unknown


WATERSHED MOMENT: Clockwise from top left: a 1954 view of the newly constructed Queen Isabella Causeway to South Padre Island, which replaced the ferry system used for many years to connect the island to the mainland; a casino built in the early 1930s, which was destroyed in the September 1933 storms and hurricanes; a statue honoring Padre José Nicolás Ballí, for whom Padre Island was named; the original 1954 Queen Isabella Causeway to South Padre.

status of their buried treasure is still a topic of conversation and research — and search. Countless shipwrecks along the coast of South Padre Island brought opportunity to gather jewelry and coins of untold value. As a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island has also found itself in the path of numerous storms and hurricanes. Just before Ballí’s arrival, in 1791, upwards of 50,000 head of cattle succumbed to a ferocious hurricane. In 1933, a series of storms and hurricanes so ravaged the area that some said only the peak of the lighthouse in Port Isabel was visible above the water. But the lure of fresh sea breezes and the beautiful sandy beaches and the uniqueness that makes South Padre Island such a sought-after destination eventually shaped its history and set its future. Since the days in the late 1740s when José de Escandón was sent by Spain to colonize both sides of the Rio Grande, part of the area’s appeal was the proximity of South Padre Island and the relief it promised from the harsh summer temperatures. That’s still the lure. To get to the island from the mainland one had to traverse the Laguna Madre Bay. One of the largest hypersaline bays in the world, the Laguna Madre has an average depth of 24 inches. Before the construction of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which cut a channel through it, it was possible to wade from the mainland to the island when the tides ran low. The Karankawas could make their way across on foot or by dugout. To get to the island via the Gulf of Mexico, most seafaring vessels made their way from New Orleans and landed on Brazos Island, just across the Brazos Santiago Pass south of South Padre Island. About a century ago, when tourism and development were beginning to heavily impact the area, transportation to the Island birthed the ferry business in Port Isabel. Passenger ferries could be secured on the bay front in Port Isabel, and passengers shuttled across the bay to the island. Or one could catch a schooner off the 1,500-foot SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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CATCHING WAVES: John McMahon, known as “Billy Boomerang” (seen at right in 1976), was a big part of the beach experience on South Padre Island for many years. He was a surfer and shark fisherman who fashioned handmade boomerangs and would then demonstrate them on the beach. Billy Boomerang garnered nationwide attention for South Padre with appearances on The Tonight Show and other national news outlets. He also held the record for most consecutive throws and catches with a boomerang, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Bottom photo: Border Service members sent by the National Guard (from Iowa) in 1916 on South Padre Island.

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ity. The lure of the pristine sandy beaches of South Padre Island was not to be denied. The town of South Padre Island incorporated in 1973, and a building and development boom commenced. With water-park resorts, a World Birding Center, accommodations, county and city parks, jetties, miles of publicly accessible beaches and activities that include fishing, shopping, dining, parasailing, paddle boarding, sailboarding, kite flying, surfing, boating, kayaking, jet skiing, dolphin watching and more, South Padre Island is a destination that holds the key to adventure. And while the South Padre skyline is in a constant state of change, the simple tradition of a trip to the beach — to one of the top beaches in the U.S. — remains.

South Padre Island Visitors Center 610 Padre Blvd. South Padre Island, TX 78597 (800) 767-2373 sopadre.com The South Padre Island Visitors Center has a display of historic artifacts and documents in its lobby. Free admission.

PHOTOS PRIVATE COLLECTION VALERIE D. BATES

railroad dock for a sail across the bay. Soon, ferries that could accommodate automobiles were added, and for $2 you could take your car with you. Still with limited infrastructure, roads on the island were scarce, so strategy on the sand was a must. South Padre Island was becoming a beach and recreation destination. A casino and several hotels were constructed in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and restaurants opened. Militarysurplus halftracks were ferried to the island to offer transportation over the sand dunes. Passenger trains from Brownsville extended schedules during the summer months so every last minute could be spent on the beach before catching a ferry back to the mainland and then a train to Brownsville. Spring Break, a tradition that dates to the 1930s, soon found a home on South Padre. The trend peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with tens of thousands of Spring Breakers flocking to the island to enjoy the weather and the waves. Spring Break has a multigenerational impact, as visitors frequently return to the area with their families to vacation or to relocate. In 1954 a causeway was built to connect South Padre Island to the mainland. The grand opening brought thousands of vehicles and passengers who waited in line to drive to South Padre Island on the two-lane bridge. The $2.2 million causeway was dubbed a masterpiece of steel and concrete. It extended 15,272 feet from downtown Port Isabel to the southern tip of South Padre Island across the Intracoastal Canal and the waters of the Laguna Madre. The bridge was constructed of shellcrete and was short-lived. In 1974 the original causeway was retired and a new bridge was opened, also named the Queen Isabella Causeway. Four lanes and 2.6 miles long, the new Causeway became the longest bridge in Texas and doubled traffic capac-


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Q AUTHENTIC PEOPLE

SWINGING FOR THE

FENCES ONCE A TRIO DEDICATED TO WESTERN SWING, THE FIDDLING QUEBE SISTERS ARE TAKING AIM AT A LARGER AUDIENCE WITH THEIR OWN BRAND OF PROGRESSIVE SWING.

COURTESY QUEBE SISTERS

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TREY GUTIERREZ

SISTERS IN ARMS: Sophia, Hulda and Grace Quebe (l-r).


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STRING HARMONY: “Sibling rivalry has never been a thing,” insists Grace Quebe (front right in above photo with Hulda, center, and Sophia). “We’ve always been really pro each other.” The group has earned the respect of Dale Watson (opposite page, top) and opened for George Strait.

together,” Hulda says. “The band has really been the only job the three of us have ever had.” With hundreds of shows and three albums under their belt, the sisters — now in their late twenties and early thirties — continue to tour under the Quebe name. Although their days as child prodigies are behind them, the sisters haven’t slowed

COURTESY QUEBE SISTERS

Grace Quebe distinctly remembers the reaction she and her sisters would evoke when taking the stage. “We possessed this ‘wow’ factor,” she explains. “Audiences would see three little girls carrying fiddles and think ‘Oh this is going to be adorable.’” In the audience’s defense, the Quebe Sisters were quite a sight to behold. Dwarfed by their adult backing band, Hulda, Sophia and Grace Quebe — ages 9, 12 and 14, respectively — seemed more likely a novelty act than a serious Western swing outfit. “It’d be an absolute shock for these audiences when we’d start playing.” To dub the young Quebes’ musicianship a shock is putting it lightly. Since first taking the stage in 2000, this trio of Fort Worth natives has forged their rightful place among Texas’ musical acts. Playing a large repertoire of fiddle-driven, nostalgic Western standards, the young sisters have received praise for keeping the tradition of Western swing — the Official State Music of Texas popularized by Bob Wills — alive in the 21st century. “You rarely see triple fiddlers playing at that caliber,” says Asleep at the Wheel frontman and frequent Quebe collaborator Ray Benson. “Even rarer is a fiddler who’s able to sing the way they do.” With other Texas musicians sharing Benson’s sentiment, it didn’t take long for the Quebe sisters’ band to rise to prominence. Even at their young ages, the sisters were sharing stages with Willie Nelson, George Strait and Riders in the Sky. “It’s crazy to think how long we’ve been playing


COURTESY QUEBE SISTERS

on a gimmick, Grace says. “From here on, we’re viewing our music through the lens of, ‘Is this something that’s actually going to be worth listening to when we’re dead and gone?’” For the Quebes, the quest to come into their own as independent, adult musicians is made only more daunting by the fact that only recently have they taken full creative control of their act. Until 2013, the sisters had been following the lead of their band leader and longtime fiddle instructor, Joey McKenzie. It was McKenzie who’d

down. “If anything, I think we’re touring more now than we ever have,” Sophia says. “With every show we’re finding new ways to challenge ourselves and mature as players.” While the band’s basic setup — three fiddles backed by guitar and stand-up bass — has remained static through the years, that’s not to say their sound has. Looking to break free of their vintage Western swing image, the sisters have recently taken steps to redefine their sound in a more modern, Americana style. “As a grown child star, you can’t rely

noticed the potential in the three sisters, and trained them in the vintage Western swing style. “As the one with more experience,” Sophia explains, “Joey was the one picking the sort of tunes we played.” Though forever indebted to Mckenzie’s teachings, the sisters have found their vintage label a tough one to shake. “We’ll read articles trying to pigeonhole us into the nostalgia box,” Hulda says, “which is frustrating because that sort of reputation can limit an artist from playing

a major festival like Coachella — if they don’t think you’ll fit into their more modern lineup.” Since parting ways with their mentor and longtime guitar player in 2013, life for the sisters has, understandably, shifted dramatically. “It felt like jumping off a cliff, professionally and creatively,” Hulda says. “Everything is up to us now; this is purely our own creative endeavor. Even though I’ve done this my entire life, the past few years have felt brand new.” Taking full advantage of their newfound freedom, the sisters have begun making a variety of changes to their act — the most noteworthy being the new angle from which they’re approaching their music. “It’s an intense study of feel, rhythm and emotion,” Hulda adds. “When we were younger, we focused on the technical aspect of performing music, but as we’ve grown we’ve realized it’s really the emotion that defines the craft. That raw feeling is what transcends genres, getting you out of the boxes people want to put you in.” While years of practice have left their technical skills as honed and polished as can be, the Quebes are now coming to find that conveying new levels of musical emotion is an entirely different ball game. “It’s been a challenge,” Grace allows. “Our rehearsals are now turning into full-on conversations about music. We’ll tape all our shows and listen back. If we find we’re not conveying a certain feeling correctly, we’ll go find a record that does — to get to the core of what about it speaks to listeners.” In addition to shifting their approach to playing music, the sisters have sought to separate their current work from their past in another important way — by writing and performing their own original songs. Any Quebe fan will understand the true weight of this undertaking; for the majority of their professional lives, the group’s set lists have consisted solely of cover songs (albeit with the Quebes’ own unique arrangements and flair). Leading the band into this uncharted territory is the middle sister, Sophia. “Songwriting has always been an interest,” she explains, “but only recently did I have the courage to put one of my songs SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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a milestone for us to one day have an entire album of originals,” she says. “Realistically, however, we might have to work into that over the course of several albums.” For now, the Quebes are content to take baby steps into the songwriting world. “It’s like when we first transitioned from a wholly instrumental band into a vocal group — we didn’t start right away,” Grace says. “In the same vein, we’ll work at creating original music, though I anticipate we’ll have one or two on our next album.” The sisters may be moving into exciting new musical directions, but that’s not to say they’re abandoning their roots. In fact, as they define their sound, the band is finding inventive ways to stay true to the spirit of Western swing. “We’ve been working on a lot of different styles lately,” Hulda says. “We’ve been leaning toward jazz, but also exploring styles from singer-songwriters, acoustic and even modern artists like Bon Iver.” While this may seem like a departure from the traditional Western swing standards that once defined the Quebes, it’s important to keep in mind the genre’s roots. “Western swing, as it’s known today, got its start with genre pioneers like Bob Wills,” explains legendary Nashville-based booking agent Paul Lohr. “Those guys weren’t sticking within stylistic boundaries … they were incorporating the fresh, new blues and jazz sounds of their day with Texas-style fiddling and — voila! — Western swing was born.” Grace believes the sisters can do that as well, “but in a more modern sense.” Aiming to use their classic three-fiddle sound to progress the Western swing genre under the Americana umbrella, the Quebes have fittingly dubbed their new sound progressive swing. “To us, preserving the tradition of Western swing isn’t about keeping something from the past alive like a relic,” Grace says. “Western swing has always been about innovation.” The Quebes have come a long way since making their debut in 2000. With the sisters planning to hit the studio this fall, it’s anybody’s guess what shape their fourth album will take. “Recording each of our albums has been a learning curve, and this one will be no exception,” Hulda says. “Right now we’re going through an evolution. Our sound has undoubtedly matured, and we’re trying to define what that sound is.” Only one thing seems certain: the sisters’ new album will provide an intimate snapshot of three veteran musicians playing at the top of their game as their full creative potential becomes realized.

COURTESY QUEBE SISTERS

out for others to hear.” Sophia’s first foray into songwriting began when she penned a song for sister Hulda’s wedding day. Though it was intended to be a one-time occurrence, the warm reception the song received convinced Sophia to chase her creative spark. Since then, she’s penned various originals, one of which — a country shuffle titled “My Love, My Life, My Friend” — has found its way onto the Sisters’ live repertoire. While she and her sisters entertain dreams of becoming songwriters as prolific as their songwriting inspiration, Willie Nelson, Sophia believes the writing process is one best undertaken carefully. “It’d be such


LIFE

TRAIL DRIVE p. 46 H EATS & DRINKS p. 60 H DEEP IN THE ART p. 66 H HAPPENINGS p. 73

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PAR FOR THE COURSE: The Peter Pan Mini Golf course in Austin (left), with its cast of characters (above), has been a source of entertainment since 1946.

AMARILLO

Just Puttin' a Round A “hole” lot of summer fun awaits at miniature courses of yesteryear

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afternoon, and the final group arrives at the 18th hole. “quiet please!” signs are raised as the golfer steps up to putt. He raises the club back and strikes the ball, banking it off the right rail, over the moat, through the windmill, past the dragon … wait — a dragon? Okay, this isn’t the Masters or the U.S. Open: this is miniature golf, a perennial summertime pastime all across Texas and the nation.

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The origins of Putt-Putt and other forms of miniature, mini or midget golf, as it’s sometimes called, are as old as the parent game itself, dating back to the 15th century at the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews, Scotland. Here a course was laid out exclusively for putting, the only aspect of golf considered “ladylike” enough for women to play at the time. Commercially produced mini courses began to emerge in the U.S. around 1916.

VISIT AUSTIN austintexas.org VISIT SAN ANTONIO visitsanantonio.com VISIT ABILENE abilenevisitors.com VISIT AMARILLO visitamarillo.com

NABEWISE/FLICKR

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ALBERT MOCK/FLICKR; ALBEDO20/FLICKR; BRADLEY/FLICKR

FAIRWAY FUN: The iconic Porky trashcan (top left) at Wonderland Park in Amarillo (bottom photo). Play Faire Park in Abilene (top right) offers two courses and live music. A recent GoFundMe campaign raised more than $35,000 for the park, which resulted in new lighting and new greens. An outdoor play museum for kids is also available.

The miniaturized version of the game with its compact layout and simple skill requirements became so popular that by the late 1920s there were more than 150 rooftop courses in New York City alone. The craze continued across the nation and found an enthusiastic audience in Texas as well, due in part to the big-game professional debut in 1922 of the Texas Open Golf Tournament, played in San Antonio. Courses often feature custom themes, such as Austin’s Peter Pan Mini Golf course, an iconic landmark since 1946, with its giant Peter Pan and Texas-sized blue armadillo, and Amarillo’s Wonderland Park, whose founders, Paul and Althea Roads, installed the miniature course in 1953, two years after the park opened. These courses are short on aesthetics but long on fun. San Antonio’s Cool Crest opened its doors in 1929, one of dozens of miniature courses that sprung up in the area, and operated almost 80 years before closing in 2007, but it wasn’t “game over” for the vintage course known for its Art Deco theme. The city designated Cool Crest a historic landmark in 2009. The Andry brothers — James, Albert, Phillip and Mitchell — purchased the property in 2012, restoring it to its former glory, reopening the two 18-hole courses in 2013. Other historic courses dot the Texas landscape, including Abilene’s Faire Play Park, the oldest continuously operated miniature golf course in Texas. In addition to mini golf, owner Chris “Doc” England keeps an outdoor play museum where kids of all ages play classic games such as tetherball, marbles, hopscotch and four square. He even conducts classes in the art of tiedyeing. More traditional-style courses, minus the gimmicks, attracted serious golfers and gave rise to the competitive mini-golf era of the 1950s created by Putt-Putt Golf and Games founder Don Clayton. Few exclusively outdoor facilities remain today, many having been incorporated into amusement parks and indoor entertainment venues, but those that do provide family fun, adventure and sometimes a little history as well. SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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FAMILY FARE: Moviegoers enjoy a vast Texas expanse and a first-run film at Midland’s aptly named Big Sky Drive-In.

CLARENDON

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MIDLAND

GRANBURY

• GATESVILLE

MERCEDES

Movies Under the Stars Drive-ins deliver affordable Hollywood fare alongside a sense of nostalgia CASSANDRA LANCE-MARTINEZ

any Texan will tell you — there’s nothing quite like the Texas sky, whether during the burnt orange sunset or the twinkling of the Milky Way overhead at night. But at a time when it’s hard to find a summer outdoor activity that involves the whole family without breaking the bank, one tantalizing option remains. A perfect way to enjoy summer nights is to take everyone — from grandma and grandpa to the young ’uns — to a classic drive-in movie. Says Larry Knight, a JUST ABOUT

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2912 S. Texas Hwy 36 Gatesville, TX 76528 (254) 865-8445 facebook.com/thelastdriveinpictureshowGatesville

Graham Drive-In Theatre 1519 4th St. Graham, TX 76450 (940) 549-8478 grahamdrivein.com

Brazos Drive-In

regular at the Brazos Drive-In Theatre in Granbury, “Nothing beats the drive-in movie experience,” and Texans throughout the years have concurred. Reliving old memories and making new ones, families can explore historic Texas towns and kick back, drive-in style, with the most recent box office hits. Pro tip: make sure to have cash on you; most of the places really are a blast from the past, which means no credit cards are accepted. Tune in on the FM channel, recline the seats, and cozy up to an experience the entire family can enjoy.

1800 W. Pearl St. Granbury, TX 76048 (817) 573-1311 thebrazos.com

Big Sky Drive-In 6200 W. Hwy 80 Midland, TX 79706 (432) 617-3001 bigskytheatre.com

Sandell Drive-In

12 S. Center Dr. Clarendon, TX 79226 (806) 874-0685 sandelldrivein.net

WesMer Drive-In Theatre 2090 W. Business 83 Mercedes, TX 78570 (956) 514-9292 wesmerdrivein.com

COURTESY BIG SKY DRIVE-IN

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The Last Drive-In Picture Show


The Last Drive-In Picture Show

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: COURTESY THE LAST DRIVE-IN PICTURE SHOW; COURTESY BRAZOS DRIVE-IN; COURTESY BIG SKY DRIVE-IN

Gatesville Opened in 1950, the Last Drive-In Picture Show has withstood the test of time, providing entertainment to multiple generations through the years. Boasting that it’s a a family-friendly venue, the Picture Show is open seven nights a week and doesn’t show any R-rated films. And it’s affordable, too: a double feature of first-run movies for the whole carload costs just $5 on weeknights and $10 on weekends. You can pop down the tailgate, toss a blanket and some pillows in the back, and enjoy a few hours of entertainment while getting a glimpse of the endless Texas sky.

Brazos Drive-In

goes, and it rings true for Big Sky DriveIn. With Christie digital cinema projectors lighting up a 90-foot-wide screen, you can expect the quality to be top-notch. Leading the way in adapting to digital technology, Big Sky, along with Stars & Stripes Drive-

In in Lubbock, were among the first driveins to offer multi-screen, digital viewing technology to patrons. Big Sky has changed with the times to meet the expectations of modern moviegoers while holding on to the old-time feel of the ’50s drive-in. If you want to go out but don’t have a bundle to spend, head to Big Sky on a Wednesday for “Poor Boy Night,” where all ages 6 and up cost just $5 for a double-feature. While you’re there, indulge in a Chihuahua sandwich — containing queso, jalapeño and beef — offered at the concession stand.

Granbury A Granbury institution since 1952, the Brazos Drive-In is an official historic city landmark. Not much has changed since its opening, as visitors can still watch movies on vintage 35-mm films — the kind used before digital media — and sit in their cars or enjoy a snack at the concession stand with the old metal chairs from back in the day. The Brazos is alive and well today, having come a long way since 2014 when a “Closed” sign marked the front entrance. The Brazos preserves the slowly dissipating drive-in culture your gram and gramps remember so fondly. For $20 per carload, grab the dog and the rest of the family and head out on a Friday or Saturday as dusk sets in to watch a double-feature on a warm summer evening. If the “real deal” experience is what you crave when it comes to Texas drive-ins, Brazos should be on your list of places to visit.

Big Sky Drive-In

Midland “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” as the saying

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Pie and indulging in the latest cinematic offerings.

WesMer Drive-In Theatre

Mercedes If you find yourself down in the Rio Grande Valley, be sure to catch a double feature at the WesMer Drive-In in

Mercedes, about 40 minutes northwest of Brownsville. Opened in the late 1940s on the cusp of America’s drive-in boom, the WesMer offers a fun family outing. The cost per vehicle is $10 every day except Tuesday, when a carload is just $5. Along with affordable ticket prices, the concession stand offers classic fare — and nothing more than $6. The big red and yellow “WESMER” sign is itself a local landmark, and the setting offers a great chance to experience the timelessness of a drive-in movie under the wide open Texas sky at nightfall.

Clarendon Straight down U.S. 287 about an hour east of Amarillo, you stumble upon the small Panhandle town of Clarendon, home to the Sandell Drive-In. One of the only drive-ins located in the Panhandle in the past 60 years, Sandell has that nostalgic feel everyone looks for when going to a drive-in movie — and a friendly atmosphere that’s hard to match. Not only do they claim to have one of the best vistas of a Texas sundown you’ll ever see, but you can chow down on some good ol’ homemade Texas chili and burgers while enjoying the latest summer blockbusters. Want a little extra something to do with the family? On June 16 Sandell hosts the Summer Carnival, an event to help local groups and organizations raise money. Following the carnival is a screening of Incredibles 2, so mark your calendars and head out to Clarendon to experience a double feature of carnival and drive-in movie.

Graham Drive-In Theatre

Graham Here’s an old pastime updated to suit modern expectations. Watch the sun sink below the horizon while viewing the newest movies uninterrupted on a giant digital projector screen — won in a 2013 “Project Drive In” contest sponsored by Honda. With only about six percent of drive-ins still in operation, the theater is a throwback icon of sorts, with roots in the 1950s. Situated about an hour south of Wichita Falls in the western portion of the Palo Pinto Mountains, Graham is a small and historic town established just after the Civil War. You can step back in time and enjoy a heritage-filled experience while sipping on Coke floats, eating Frito Chili 50

AU THENTIC TEXAS

FROM TOP: COURTESY SANDELL DRIVE-IN; COURTESY WESMER DRIVE-IN THEATRE; COURTESY GRAHAM DRIVE-IN THEATRE

Sandell Drive-In


LIFE TRAIL DRIVE

THRILLS AND CHILLS: Riding the rails (left) at Western Playland near El Paso; enjoying the paddle boats at Sandy Lake Park in Carrollton.

AMARILLO

CARROLLTON

EL PASO

Along for the Rides

Vintage amusement parks provide retro retreats

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CASSANDRA LANCE-MARTINEZ

WHETHER YOU’RE young, old or somewhere in between, amusement parks are an enjoyable place to pass the hours — especially with the family. The loops, swoops and twirls of rides elicit smiles and laughter, which can become memories to last a lifetime. The amusement parks featured here have been Texas staples since they opened — and have provided wholesome entertainment for generations. “It reminds me of a

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traveling carnival,” says Mario Kato, a patron of El Paso’s Western Playland. “But in a permanent location.” The old-timey, circus-like feel of these historic parks provides a unique experience, so why not hop in a car this summer and take a road trip to some of these entertainment icons? See the beautiful sights Texas has to offer, and buckle up for some wild rides and Lone Star State history along the way.

Kiddie Park

3015 Broadway St. San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 824-4351 kiddiepark.com

Sandy Lake Amusement Park 1800 Sandy Lake Rd. Carrollton, TX 75006 (972) 242-7449 sandylake.com

Western Playland

1249 Futurity Dr. Sunland Park, NM 88063 (575) 589-3410 westernplayland.com

Wonderland Park 2601 Dumas Dr. Amarillo, TX 79107 (806) 383-3344 wonderlandpark.com

FROM LEFT: COURTESY WESTERN PLAYLAND; COURTESY SANDY LAKE PARK

SAN ANTONIO


Kiddie Park

San Antonio If you want to enjoy a classic day at an amusement park while experiencing some Americana, Kiddie Park in San Antonio is a mustdo. Opening in 1925, it’s the oldest children’s amusement park in the country. The park is like taking a time machine back to the 1920s by maintaining all of its original rides, oldfashioned Ferris wheel and antiquated, handcarved carousel. The affordability is another draw of Kiddie Park, with an Unlimited Ride Band — good for the entire day — costing $13; and parents ride free with a paying child on some rides. Want an extra deal? Come on Wednesdays, where the Unlimited band is $11.25. So if you’re planning on visiting San Antonio, make it out to Kiddie Park and enjoy a historic, fun-filled day.

Sandy Lake Park

FROM TOP: COURTESY KIDDIE PARK; COURTESY SANDY LAKE PARK

Carrollton What if one of your children wants to play mini golf, the other wants to go to an amusement park, and it’s a hot Texas day so you wouldn’t mind a dip in the pool? Pack up and take the family to Sandy Lake Amusement Park in Carrollton. They’ve got it all, so you don’t have to decide! With more than 20 rides, mini golf, paddle boats and arcade games, there’s surely something for every family member. And be sure to check out the Texas-sized swimming pool that the owners claim is one of the biggest in the area. A community staple in the Dallas area since 1972, Sandy Lake is family owned and operated, and has been recognized nationally as one of the finest traditional American parks — fun, safe and affordable.

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Western Playland

El Paso Originally located in El Paso, Western Playland still counts as a West Texas adventure for the family. After a disagreement over expansion efforts, the owners ultimately moved the park just across the Texas border — to Sunland Park, N.M. — on the western edge

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of El Paso in 2006, saying relocation was necessary or they might have to close. Still a go-to location for El Pasoans and Texans in the surrounding area, its success after relocation from original Ascarate Park attests to the timeless enjoyment of Western Playland. For a price tag of $5 admission and $2.50 per ride, visitors can enjoy the 1960s amusement park that has a bit of historical Texas feuding mixed in.

Amarillo The Texas Panhandle is known for wide open spaces and tumbleweeds, but more than 65 years ago Paul and Alethea Roads saw some barren land on the outskirts of town and decided to create a place where families can go and enjoy time together. On Aug. 12, 1951, Wonderland Park — then named Kiddie Land — opened its doors. The park is proud that it’s kept the operation in the household, what with its fourth-generation lineage committed to fun, safety and cleanliness for its 200,000 annual visitors. Wonderland has plenty to offer: roller coasters and thrill rides, family classics like bumper cars, mini golf, water rides and many more games and attractions. A day at the iconic Panhandle landmark is a day well spent with the family.

FROM LEFT: COURTESY WESTERN PLAYLAND; COURTESY WONDERLAND

Wonderland Park


LIFE TRAIL DRIVE

CATTLE CALL: There are few West Texas dance halls more authentic than the Stampede, a bare-bones venue on the Snyder Highway just northeast of Big Spring.

Dance halls are the epicenter of true Texas culture

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BARBARA BRANNON

BOOTS SCOOT, skirts twirl, kids flit outdoors under the stars, a top pops on a cold beer beside a pickup — and inside, under a vaulted wooden roof, a fiddle twangs and an accordion pumps out a lively polka. The scene is unmistakable: a Texas dance hall on a summer night. It’s a familycentric tradition that dates back to German and central European immigrants to the Texas Hill Country. Dance halls, according to the Handbook of Texas Online, were often some of the first structures to rise in communities eager for a gathering place to maintain old-world ways.

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The grace and craft of these early halls lives on thanks to champions like the Texas Dance Hall Preservation organization, and to numerous writers who’ve sung the praises of such distinctive places. Dancing establishments of the Great Depression, the honky tonks and roadhouses of the Western swing era, and the mega-palaces of progressive country music — all have built on, and sometimes superseded, the old tunes and customs. Some of the old dance halls have shuttered; others have crumbled; still others are threatened. It’s an ever-changing scene: in

ANSON

DALLAS

BIG SPRING

WACO

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GALVESTON

NEW BRAUNFELS

VISIT ANSON anson-tx.com VISIT DALLAS visitdallas.com VISIT WACO wacoheartoftexas.com VISIT BELLVILLE bellville.com VISIT GALVESTON galveston.com VISIT NEW BRAUNFELS playinnewbraunfels.com VISIT BIG SPRING visitbigspring.com

NPS.GOV

Dance Across Texas – One Two-Step at a Time


2016, the 117-year-old Club 21 in Uhland went up in flames after a car speeding down Texas Highway 21 crashed into it. And as recently as last fall, the Swiss Alp Dance Hall in Schulenburg sold to new owners — on eBay. Still, as Gail Folkins, author of Texas Dance Halls: A Texas Two-Step Circuit (2007), explains, “Although most Texas dance halls suffered a decline during the middle part of the twentieth century, by the beginning of the twenty-first century, many of them are more popular than ever ... once again providing a dynamic and vital component for the state’s larger musical culture.” The Authentic Texas team has assembled a short, eclectic list of dance halls across the state. While we didn’t have nearly enough room for all our favorites, we tried to pick representatives of different regions and styles. Now, get out there and dance, y’all!

Bellville Turnverein

966 E Main St. Bellville, TX 77418 bellvilleturnvereinproject.org

FROM TOP: COURTESY TEXAS INDEPENDENCE TRAIL; NICOLAS HENDERSON/FLICKR

German carpenter Joachim Hintz designed dance halls with eight or 12 sides and a central pole, and this example, which Hintz built in 1897, could accommodate 400 for dances. It was recently featured on the YETI Texas Dance Hall Trail, and locals have formed a nonprofit organization to restore this Texas Recorded Historic Landmark to its full, original glory.

BELLVILLE TURNVEREIN

Sons of Hermann Hall 3414 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226 sonsofhermann.com

While Dallas’s Sons of Hermann Hall, in Deep Ellum, was built in 1911 by a German fraternal order that provided communal in-

surance benefits, these days the Recorded Texas Landmark building is still home to a range of music for both performance and participation. There’s Swing Dance on Wednesday nights, the Electric Campfire acoustic jam on Thursdays, and live acts ranging from Americana to edgy throughout the year. Moreover, some swear the hall is haunted. “After clsoing, we’ve heard children running around, the chairs moving and tables moving,” says Bobby Wilbanks, board president at Sons of Hermann.

SONS OF HERMANN HALL

The Stampede

1610 E. Hwy. 350 Big Spring, TX 79720 facebook.com/pages/ The-Stampede/150887374940564

“The Stampede is not a fancy place,” says fiddler Jody Nix, son of the musician who put this 1954 dance hall on the map — Hoyle Nix, along with his band, the West Texas Cowboys. “It was built to dance in. It wasn’t built for looks.” Bob Wills was a longtime headliner, too, along with many other fixtures of Texas music.

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1880 GARTEN VEREIN

1880 Garten Verein

2704 Avenue O Galveston, TX 77550 facebook.com/pg/1880GartenVerein

“In February 1876, a group of German businessmen organized the Galveston Garten Verein (“garden club”) as a social club for family and friends,” according to the Galveston Historical Foundation. “Only Germans or German speakers could hold stock in the club, but others could petition for membership.” Though the fancy dancing pavilion by the Strand was damaged during the 1900 hurricane, it was restored, and today GHF rents the city-owned property as an event site.

PIONEER HALL

Pioneer Hall

Inspired by a Victorian-era ballad, the Cowboys’ Christmas Ball — faithfully reenacted in Anson beginning in 1934 — has been held annually in this purpose-built, familyfriendly hall since 1940. Tickets to the holiday events go on sale in April (yes, April). But these days, as Abilene’s KTAB News reports, there’s about to be even more dancin’ in Anson, with monthly dances added to the lineup year-round.

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FROM TOP: NPS.GOV; COURTESY CITY OF ANSON

2301 Ave. G Anson, TX 79501 ansoncowboyschristmasball.com


Gruene Dance Hall

1281 Gruene Rd. New Braunfels, TX 78130 gruenehall.com

The granddaddy of them all and the “oldest continually run dance hall in Texas,” Gruene Hall (rhymes with “GREEN, y’all”) features live music seven nights a week — some dances, some concerts. In 1878 Henry Gruene constructed the 6,000-square-foot dance hall and advertised “Den feinsten Schnaps, das beste Bier, bekommt man bei dem Heinrich hier” (“The best liquor, the best beer, you get at Henry’s here”). The town Henry built around it nearly met its demise in the 1970s, but concerned citizens preserved it and transformed it into a destination for travelers and top acts seeking the authentic Hill Country experience.

Melody Ranch

COURTESY MELODY RANCHMICHAEL BARERA

2315 N Robinson Dr. Waco, TX 76706 melodyranchwaco.com

A fixture located just off Waco’s traffic circle since 1972, the Melody Ranch nightclub hasn’t quite aged sufficiently to qualify as historic, strictly speaking. But in its heyday its stage welcomed performers like Willie Nelson, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks, Alabama and more. While it operated at the outset as the Cotton Club and later for a time as El Rancho, in recent years it’s been revived under its original name. Johnny Lyon, who owned the club at the height of its fame, passed away in December 2017, but the institution is still going strong — to the tune of 1,350 capacity nightly. SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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LIFE EATS & DRINKS

HUMAN TOUCH: “I can’t explain what ice cream is,” Amy Simmons says. “It’s not a food. It’s just this opportunity to take part in great moments of humanity.” When offered money to sell Amy’s, Simmons refused and said she’d take nothing for it. “It’s a vehicle, not an end,” Simmons says. “It’s a vehicle to impact people’s lives.”

The Scoop on Amy's

The Michigan native who founded the iconic Austin ice cream shop is staying put

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RICK STRYKER

want people to come to Texas and visit this fabulous ice cream store.” Originally, Simmons had plans on becoming a doctor. But the Michigan native started working at Steve’s Ice Cream while a pre-med major at Tufts University in Boston and put off medical

school, helping the store expand. When Steve’s was bought by a larger company, she decided to open her own chain, first looking to London as a potential site. But during a scouting trip abroad she read an article about Austin’s high-tech growth and

idiosyncratic culture in the Economist and chose Austin instead. In 1984, after talking with the owners of Texas French Bread, Chuy’s and other Austin businesses, she wrote a check for the first Amy’s on Guadalupe Street. Amy’s sold 125,000 servings that first year

VISIT AMY'S ICE CREAMS www.amysicecreams.com www.philsicehouse.com www.honeyspizza.com

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SOUPSTANCE/FLICKR

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SHE MAY NOT be a native Texan, but Amy Simmons got here as fast as she could — and the founder of Amy’s Ice Creams has no plans of leaving. “We want to be a strong regional company,” Simmons says, “not something you can get in New York or Boston. We

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RICK STRYKER

IDIOSYNCRATIC: Austin's Burnet Road location (at left) is paired with Phil's Ice House, while the menu board (above) features, among other flavors, the Elvis and Bourbon. Not on today’s menu: Ewok Party and Blue Milk.

of business. Last year, it tallied almost 2 million servings. The Austin Chronicle describes the chain as a “quintessentially Austin institution.” “In the third year,” Simmons recalls, “I thought: ‘Hey I'm supposed to grow up and go to medical school now.’” Thankfully for loyal Amy’s fans, she decided to stay a kid and keep the store open. “It’s paradise compared to medical research,” Simmons says of running an ice cream place. Amy’s now has 12 locations in Austin. But it also has a Houston location (opened in 1993), a San Antonio spot (1997) and, most recently, a Smithville store, established in 2016. The standard Amy’s “handcrafted, artisan, super premium” ice cream flavors (Mexican Vanilla being the most prominent) are supplemented by more than 350 specialty flavors in daily rotation. Enhancing the ice cream is a long list of “crush’ns,” or toppings. A visit to Amy’s is intended to be a fun experience, evident in the playful and creative daily “combos” menu. Team members love to entertain by performing impromptu drumming routines with the scoops or ice cream acrobatics. A sampling of YouTube outtakes from Amy’s Trick Olympics, where team members compete against each other with creative, and sometimes even athletic, ice cream server tricks, are available online. Amy’s workplace culture values a passion for ice cream, individual creativity and a commitment to enthusiastic, positive customer interaction. Customers can recognize the effort to tailor each shop’s ambience to its neighborhood while offering Amy’s unique ice cream flavors and imaginative combinations with a wide variety of ingredients. Smithville’s Amy’s Hut, for example, is noteworthy for its location in a small historic community while operating in association with Honey’s Pizza. Not that a trip to Amy’s would be “plain vanilla” under any circumstances, but customers should take advantage of the artistry and inventiveness of the Amy’s crew to try something new and wonderful. SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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HAVE AN ICE DAY: While Sweeter Hill has 35 flavors on its menu, the possibilities for combinations is limited only by the imagination.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

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STAYING COOL in the blistering Texas heat would be tough were it not for that icy summer treat in a paper cup — the snow cone. The Industrial Revolution made ice readily available, but it took about 20 years for movie theaters to seize the idea of selling shaved ice to patrons as a way to keep them cool. A sno-cone machine was introduced in 1919 at the State Fair of Texas by a man named Samuel Bert, who served up his flavored, crunchy ice confec-

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PATTY BUSHART

tion to fairgoers in Dallas. But the finely shaved ice version resembling snow, doused with a generous serving of flavored syrup, is what today’s guests crave. Ashley Williamson sells the summertime favorite at her shop, Sweeter Hill Snow Balls and Snack Boutique. Built in the 1950s, the small but mighty shop is tucked into the Old Towne Market on Main Street in historic downtown Cedar Hill and is a popular destination for sweets to eat. Williamson and her brothers are lifelong

Cedar Hill residents, all graduating from Cedar Hill High. Following in the footsteps of her Aunt Judy’s Bakeshop, Ashley operated the Cupcake Company in the location for years before deciding to go all in on snow cones. When she did, she went to longtime family friends at the iconic Aunt Stelle’s in Oak Cliff for advice, as well as to another Cedar Hill alum, Lindsay Cathey, whose Marlie and Knox Shaved Ice stores are located in the greater Houston metropolitan area.

There are 35 flavors on the menu from which to choose, but the combinations are endless. Add toppings such as Airhead Extremes, Gummy Bears, Sour Worms and the oddly popular Pickle Dilly and you have a sweet and unique summer treat. As a little girl, Williamson’s Aunt Judy constantly reminded her that “If you ever open a business of your own, do it in downtown Cedar Hill, and never leave” — and that’s precisely what she’s done.

Sweeter Hill Snow Balls & Snack Boutique 109B S. Main St. Cedar Hill, TX 75104 (469) 537-5505

SUMMER HOURS Mon.–Sat. 12–8 pm Sun. 12–6 pm

Sam’s Pizza & Pasta 601 Cedar St. Cedar Hill, TX 75104 (972) 293-0013 samspizzapasta.com

HOURS

11 am–10 pm daily

VISIT CEDAR HILL cedarhilltx.com

CEDAR HILL

PATTY BUSHART

Sweeter Hill — in Cedar Hill — is all in on snow cones


EATS & DRINKS

HOME BREW: The original Lone Star brewery (above) in San Antonio. The brewery was converted to the San Antonio Museum of Art in 1981.

On Tap Since 1883

The “National Beer of Texas” hopes to preserve another Texas icon — dance halls — with an innovative campaign

and high rises, Lone Star beer has been a Texas institution for 135 years. The brand’s iconic logo shines bright at dance halls, restaurants and uptown bars throughout the state. A well-known brewmaster from St. Louis introduced Texans to Lone Star in the late 19th century. Over the next hundred years, the brew became a mainstay throughout the

COLEMAN HAMPTON

state, most notably as part of Austin’s growing music culture. In 1883, Adolphus Busch partnered with a group of businessmen to build the Lone Star Brewery near downtown San Antonio. The facility’s modern technology and own bottling plant spurred Lone Star’s early success over rivals, mostly smallbatch brewers lacking the ability to mass-produce

their suds. Times were good and beer production high until 1920, when Prohibition halted breweries nationwide. The original plant would never reopen, but the Lone Star spirit lived on. After Prohibition ended, brewer Peter Kreil crafted the beer’s signature formula in 1940, dubbed the Original 1940. The light-bodied, fizzy brew was a hit with

Texans. Classified as an American lager, the smooth-sipping beer made with artesian well water gave it a fresh and natural flavor. Lone Star was perfect for a sweltering day on the Panhandle plains or for a relaxing afternoon at Austin’s Barton Springs. Although the brand remained a Texas favorite through the mid 20th century, Lone

San Antonio Museum of Art 200 West Jones Ave. San Antonio, TX 78215 (210) 978-8100 samuseum.org

HOURS

Tues. & Fri. 10 am–9 pm Wed., Thurs., Sat. & Sun. 10 am–5 pm

SAN ANTONIO

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H. MICHAEL KARSHIS/FLICKR; COURTESY LONE STAR BREWERY

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Star stepped onto the national stage in the 1970s. The center of Austin’s music scene, the Armadillo World Headquarters, served Lone Star to thirsty concertgoers on a nightly basis. The light, easy-to-drink beer was popular with Austin’s counterculture, perhaps for its signature low cost and smooth flavor. In 1974, the famous marketing slogan “Long live longnecks” grew out of a conversation in the Armadillo parking lot. What followed was the cementing of Lone Star beer into Texas culture, with ample help from the likes of country icons Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Waylon Jennings. Texans supported the “National Beer of Texas” for years to come. And as any gracious Texan would, Lone Star supports its home state to this day. The story of Lone Star has intertwined with the history of Texas, and the company does its part to save the past for future generations. To that end, the Lone Star Brewery launched an initiative in 2017 to help preserve Texas dance halls through its Tabs and Caps for Texas campaign, an effort to raise $30,000 for Texas Dance Hall Preservation. The company will donate $1 for each Lone Star bottle cap or tab placed in acrylic cowboy boots located at participating locations throughout the state. The Lone Star Brewery has certainly left its mark on Texas, and is committed to preserving the history of the only state it’s called home. So raise a longneck to Waylon and Willie … and don’t forget to drop your cap in the boot.

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DEEP IN THE ART

BUILT ON SAND: San Antonio SeaWorld (left) was created from 75 tons of sand by Mark Landrum and a two-man team over three days; SandFest Yellow Submarine (right) was the work of Landrum and Mark Flynn.

Castles in the Sand

Port Aransas’ “Sandcastle Guy” shares his passion for beach art — and giving back MIKE CARLISLE

of the week, regardless of the weather, you can find sand along a Texas beach waiting to become a work of art. In fact, Texas beach sand is considered especially useful for building sandcastles and sculptures. During Memorial Day weekend in 1999, Mark Landrum discovered sandcastle building. Following a difficult time in his life, his friends took him to South Padre Island (SPI) for a getaway weekend to cheer him up. Landrum’s friends told him he could do anything over the weekend,

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anything at all, expecting maybe deep-sea fishing or the like. But Landrum saw an ad that caught his eye: he wanted to take sandcastle lessons. After that first lesson with two sand aficionados, Lucinda “Sandy Feet” Wierenga and Amazin’ Walter, he was hooked. The combination of carving and sculpture were addictive. Amazin’ Walter convinced Landrum to teach sandcastle building in the Mustang and North Padre Island area. He’d been working in computer accounting software, but as the number of sandcastle lessons grew, he turned his passion for building sandcastles into a full-time business.

Sandrum.com P.O. Box 571 Port Aransas, TX 78373 (361) 290-0414 sandrum.com sandrum.blogspot.com

SEE SANDFEST texassandfest.org

VISIT PORT ARANSAS portaransas.org

VISIT CINNAMON SHORE cinnamonshore.com

VISIT PORT ROYAL port-royal.com

PHOTOS MIKE CARLISLE

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Landrum creates sand sculptures on the beach for marFINE ART: Landrum riage proposals, weddings and uses a spoon to smooth corporate logos. Besides sandout one of his creations. castles, he teaches sculpting sea turtles and other designs that students imagine, such as rocket ships and even the Statue of Liberty. The bowlegged men with big shoes found on the beach are his trademarks. He recently created a group of six men, titled “We met on the beach, and the 1st topic was shoes!” November snowmen are another Sandcastle Guy trademark. Since Landrum serves as That was 12 years ago. Now, you can a board member, he can’t compete stop by the local souvenir shop and pick in the Texas SandFest any longer, though from a variety of plastic buckets, shovels he did carve the welcome sign into a berm. and rakes, but Landrum can teach you to The event, held in April, draws over 100,000 transform a pile of sand into a sandcastle people to Port Aransas and has donated using only a small plastic knife, spoon and a more than $500,000 to the community slightly modified fork. over the last six years. In 2017, for example, He shares the techniques of profes- SandFest awarded more than $200,000 to sional sand sculptors from all over the world, the Port Aransas Art Center, Port Aransas drawing from his winning experiences in Community Theatre, Helping Hands Food competitions, both individually or teamed Pantry and for high school scholarships. with other sand sculptors — called “duos” Over the past several years, beginning in — like Mark Flynn, Jon Woodworth and others with unique names, like Sandcastle Kenny. And he’s traveled the country with the nonprofit Sand in the City and worked with other teams building large corporate sculptures around Texas. One of the largest corporate sculptures was built for SeaWorld and required more than 75 tons of sand. Spending the day with Landrum on the beach, you learn more than just how to build sandcastles. He employs a quick wit while explaining archer windows, staircases, rise and slope. He explains that water pulls sand tighter together, as he pats the water away to harden the sand into usable pancakes. And he adds Texas traits to his lessons, from making Texas snowballs to adding pleas from the sandcastle balcony by Corpus Christi Juliet: “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Please bring me a Whataburger!” Besides individual lessons for small groups and larger team-building events, local condos and resorts like Port Royal and Cinnamon Shore bring the “Sandcastle Guy” back regularly to teach groups of visitors and guests. Many kids at Cinnamon Shore look forward to the Sandcastle Guy, and “regulars” wait to ask him about their projects.

September, Landrum helps an off-campus sand sculpting club of high school students. The students hone their skills in design and sculptures through October and November, building Scream characters and snowmen. In December and January, the students design and plan for the Texas SandFest, practicing their designs through March. Landrum refrains from participating in any of the carving and allows the students to design and plan their own sculptures. In addition to the Texas SandFest, Landrum supports the Sand Pumpkin Patch held by the Port Aransas Parks and Recreation to benefit local food banks and charities. He sculpted a large masterpiece pumpkin with vacant vines, allowing contestants of any age to add their sculpted pumpkin to Landrum’s work. Before every sandcastle lesson, Landrum asks his students to make this pledge: “I do solemnly swear to: Have Fun, Help Others Have Fun and Unlitter!” He shares a passion for building sandcastles and cleaning the beach with the young and old alike. Each student leaves the beach lesson with a sea creature souvenir from his treasure chest, litter from the beach and a memory that will last much longer.

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DEEP IN THE ART ETERNAL REST: The nowdemolished rest stop I visited in Flower Mound, Texas..

CENTER STAGE: Becky Justice (at right) has transformed her family’s smalltown corner grocery and lunch spot into a magnet for live music in one of the state’s least populous counties.

Gail Force

Borden County native puts the country –— music, that is — in the Coyote Country Store BARBARA BRANNON

OT SO LONG ago, you couldn’t buy gas at the only highway crossroads in all of Borden County (pop. 648) — much less Nashville-act merch or a thick, juicy steak or a cold Shiner. Well, it’s still true about that beer. But hometown gal and entrepreneur Becky Justice has built a destination in Gail that attracts country music veterans like the Bellamy Brothers, Janie Fricke and Doug Stone. On weekend nights you can BYOB, carve into that ribeye right off the grill and dance with your darlin’ under the West Texas stars. The oldest of three daughters of a heavy-

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equipment operator and a cook for the Coyote Country Store, Justice started work at the Coyote at age 12, after her grandmother Bertie bought the establishment. Although most family members were involved in the no-gas convenience store/lunch joint in one way or another, Justice eventually skipped out to earn undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Texas–Permian Basin. When Bertie’s health began to fail, the family inked a deal to sell the store to an outsider. But it fell through, and Justice made an out-of-the-blue offer to buy from her grandmother. “Much to my surprise,” Justice says, “she agreed.”

Coyote Country Store 100 W. Wasson Road (U.S. Hwy. 180) Gail, TX 79738 (806) 756-4330 facebook.com/ CoyoteCountryStore

HOURS

Open 7 days a week, 7 am–7 pm (later on weekends)

Borden County Museum U.S. 180 at F.M. 669 Gail, TX 79738 (325) 234-8049

HOURS

Open by reservation; call to arrange a visit

PHOTOS BARBARA BRANNON/TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL

N

by


BARBARA BRANNON/TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL

UNASSUMING: “Just when you think you’ve missed your destination and you’re lost,” Lubbock’s Lonestar 99.5 radio station notes, “there it is — the Coyote Country Store that refuses to get too fancy but loves bringing in big talent and serving mouthwatering burgers.”

Mom’s cream pies were popular enough to attract a following, and the industrious new owner added a covered porch to expand seating from its original capacity of 42. “It was then that the vision of a stage came to mind,” Justice recalls. “We started off by calling in singers from area churches. We began offering patrons who used the Facebook Live app a free piece of Mom’s pie if they’d go online and show the world what was happening at the Coyote Store.” Soon, a lot more was happening. A friend of country artist Jeannie Kendall (of the Kendalls) saw the social media buzz and contacted Justice, offering to have the Kendalls Rekindled perform. It wasn’t long before other stars traveling north to Lubbock and Amarillo or south to Austin found it profitable to fill a travel night in Gail. In addition to the Kendalls Rekindled, the Bellamys, and Stone, performers like Gene Watson, Johnny Lee and Johnny Rodriguez have played the Coyote. Shenandoah and John Conlee are among the acts slated for later this year. To accommodate burgeoning demand, Justice found an innovative way to turn the back lot into a full-fledged concert venue. One chilly day in March the ready-mix truck showed up to pour an outdoor stage and dance floor — relying on fencing salvaged spur-of-the-moment for reinforcement. Tables were welded from castoff cable spools, while a giant sand beach was being marked off by a fence made of discarded pallets. “Did you know there’s old-fashioned

molasses under there?” Justice exclaims. “It hardens underneath the sand and stabilizes the surface.” A week later, couples two-stepped across the concrete while Doug Stone’s band crooned beneath the spotlights. Pickups filled every available parking spot in town; a romantic horse-drawn carriage served as shuttle. The delicious aroma of dinner on the smoker wafted across the evening air, while dusky clouds rich as the hues of the Texas flag reflected rays of the setting sun across Gail Mountain. The outdoor Coyote Stage can now accommodate 1,200 fans, while acoustic shows on the patio can seat 175. Of course, the original 42 indoor spots are still available for customers to enjoy. Gail’s unique history of ranching, oil and top-performing schools is shaped by family, faith and community, Justice says. “There’s a familiarity … a bond among neighbors that one just doesn’t find everywhere,” she explains. “When you’re situated 30 miles from any doctor, bank or major grocery store, it’s important neighbors can count on one another.” The hospitality that greets visitors at the doors of the Coyote Store is genuine. Folks have figured out it’s what makes the drive worthwhile. As for the future, Justice’s already lining up her next season. Asked what her dream booking might be, she replies with her customary modesty and down-home candor. “That would have to be George Strait,” she says.

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Live Show S U M M E R 20 1 8

Abendkonzerte

BOERNE Main Plaza Every other Tuesday evening, June-July

KENDALL COUNTY HISTORIC SOCIETY; BOERNE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

EVERY OTHER TUESDAY evening in June and July, town folks mosey into the Main Plaza in Boerne with their folding chairs, blankets, picnics and coolers and choose their favorite spot — just as they’ve done for generations. It’s summertime, and the temperatures are hot in Central Texas, even as the sun starts to set, but this dedicated crowd of concertgoers is determined to keep the tradition alive. It’s • Abendkonzerte (“evening concert” in German), and the 158-year-old Boerne Village Band is the star of the show. The Boerne Village Band (BVB) was organized in 1860 by Dr. Karl Dienger, who brought the German musical tradition with him to Texas. Dienger also organized a singing club, the Boerne Gesang Verein, and both groups practiced in barns during the Civil War and performed all over the Hill Country. He led vocal and instrumental groups until 1885, with neighbors and extended family carrying on the tradition. During the two World Wars, the BVB came close to disbanding, but it persevered and grew even bigger after World War II. In 1988, the BVB was recognized by the Federal Republic of Germany for its contribution to German heritage in Texas and was named the oldest continuous German band in the world outside of the home country. The BVB is composed of 25 to 30 professional musicians who

perform at events year-round, both statewide and overseas. Sporting authentic German attire, the band plays primarily traditional German music, filling the summer air with the oompah-pah of the rhythmical tuba. In addition, at its Fourth of July concert (on whichever Tuesday precedes the holiday), the ensemble puts on a patriotic concert that honors all segments of the U.S. military, one by one. Veterans are asked to stand when their branch’s anthem is played, and the patrons are eager to cheer them on and offer thanks. Look into the audience at an Abendkonzerte, and you’ll spot people from a year old to 99. Families especially enjoy the hometown environment, and the kids run free. But the highlight of each evening is the Chicken Dance — yes, you read that right — around the gazebo. In 1852, Boerne’s historic Main Plaza served as a common area, fenced for travelers to water their horses and locals to keep their cattle contained. Later, hotels, mercantiles and sanitariums sprang up around the square. Visitors today can still see Ye Kendall Inn (built in 1859) and the Dienger Building (1884), both beautifully restored. Nowadays, the Plaza is covered in lush green grass and surrounded by mature trees that create welcome shade. Bandstands in the plaza have come and gone, but today’s gazebo is an oasis in the heart of Boerne, featuring a circular sidewalk, fountains and native landscaping. That’s where the Chicken Dance happens. Children and grownups alike gather around to expertly display their talents, and the fun continues when the Berges Fest (Festival of the Hills) and Kendall County Fair Queens and their Courts join in, creating a giant ring of dancers circling the gazebo hand in hand to the lively tunes. Surely Karl Dienger and the original Boerne Village Band would get a kick out of seeing the joy that happens on all of those Tuesday summer evenings. Viel Spaß heute Abend, meine Freunde! (“Have fun tonight, my friends!”). — WENDY LITTLE

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LIVE SHOW

Summer Mummers

YUCCA THEATRE 208 N. Colorado St. Midland, TX 79701 (432) 570-4111 summermummers.com visitmidland.com WHERE IN THE world

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can you enjoy a live performance, a silent movie and a variety show while sipping a cold one and throwing freshly popped popcorn at your neighbor? Why, in Midland, Texas, of course! Located halfway between El Paso and Fort Worth in the high desert, Midland hosts the annual Summer Mummers. A three-month-long fundraiser for Midland Community Theatre (MCT), the annual production is celebrating its 70th season — the longest continuous melodrama performed in the United States featuring new scripts by local playwrights and a decidedly twisted sense of humor. It all began in 1949 when a group led by Art Cole, then director of MCT, was looking for ways to raise money for their own community theater building. A summer show in an air-conditioned room was just the ticket. One supporter remembered that street performers in the 1800s were called “mummers,” and, after the new group decided its production would be presented in the summer, the name Summer Mummers was born. The performers were originally scheduled to do six shows for $1.25 a ticket, but the performance was so popular, an extra weekend was added. The show made $1,800 that year for the Midland Community Theater. Now, tickets range in price from $12 to $25 with 28 shows this season, running from June 1 thru Sept. 1. Times have changed since that first season, which included a number of venues, including the Midland Country Public Health Center, the VFW and the American Legion Hall, where tables were littered with packages of peanuts in

AU THENTIC TEXAS

the shell and frosty glasses of beer. The production now calls the Yucca Theater, a state historic site in downtown Midland, home, and instead of peanuts they now serve popcorn. But not only do you get to eat the popcorn — you also get to throw it. The volunteers at Mummers claim they sell more popcorn in the three months of the show than the local movie theater sells in a year. The audience is encouraged to throw popcorn during intermissions, at the actors, at their friends and at everybody else. Going home with kernels stuck to hiding places you didn’t know you had is all part of the charm of a summer evening at the Yucca. The evening begins with a Melodrama — three acts bracketed by a Moviola, little snippets of the story presented as a silent film. The story features a greedy villain up to no good, a heroine in peril and a hero with a heart as big as Texas. Jam-packed with corny jokes, awful puns and hilarious sight gags, the melodrama parodies local traditions, politics and contemporary culture. The Moviola relies on cameos from local newscasters, politicians and business owners. In keeping with the vaudeville style of Summer Mummers, the Moviola is shot entirely in black and white. Rounding out the evening is the Olio, a vaudeville-style revue with singers, dancers, skits and comedians. There’ve been a lot of crazy, fabulous acts over the years. At first the show stole material directly from vaudeville, The Ed Sullivan Show and popular music. Today the Internet influences the material. Even more amazing than the money raised by the production is the number of volunteer hours it takes to create this event. For 69 years volunteers have given their time and talent each summer for the sole purpose of supporting the Midland Community Theatre. Before the first ticket is sold and lights shine on the stage, volunteers are hard at work. Governed by a seven-member volunteer board of directors, volunteers select the script, cast the show, sell advertising, order supplies, organize production committees, clean the theatre and make costumes. There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers who can call themselves mummers. And there have been hundreds of thousands of patrons who’ve been enthralled by the unique entertainment. When the lights go down, the curtain rises and the villain struts out, most in the audience know what’s coming … they’ve seen it before … but not quite like this time … or the next time. You can’t explain it … you simply must experience it. — MELISSA HAGINS

PHOTOS COURTESY SUMMER MUMMERS

DRIVING FORCE: Corvettes line Main Street in Boerne for the Texas Corvette Association’s Annual Open Car Show, the lone Fiestasanctioned event held outside San Antonio.


Happenings S U M M E R 20 1 8

DO-NOT-MISS STUFF TO DO AROUND TEXAS

BRAZOS TRAIL

FORTS TRAIL

FOREST TRAIL

HILL COUNTRY INDEPENDENCE TRAIL TRAIL

LAKES TRAIL

National Trails Days STATEWIDE

June 2 At various state and national parks statewide nationaltrailsday.americanhiking.org

PLAINS TRAIL REGION

LAKES TRAIL REGION FORTS TRAIL REGION MOUNTAIN TRAIL REGION

PECOS TRAIL REGION

BRAZOS TRAIL REGION

HILL COUNTRY TRAIL REGION

INDEPENDENCE TRAIL REGION

June

COURTESY ACTION NATURE CENTER

MIDLAND

PECOS TRAIL

At this unique family-friendly activity, movies are projected on the side of the historic lighthouse. There’s no admission charge; concessions are available. Bring your own chairs or blankets.

FOREST TRAIL REGION

TROPICAL TRAIL REGION

Summer Mummers

MOUNTAIN TRAIL

Leonardo Da Vinci: Machines in Motion BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION

June 1–Sept. 1 Yucca Theater (432) 570-4111 summermummers.com

March 1, 2018–Jan. 8, 2019 George Bush Presidential Library (979) 862-2251 experiencebcs.com

Catch a production full of mayhem and hilarity performed at the historic Yucca Theatre in downtown Midland. No one does melodrama like Summer Mummers, the oldest continuous melodrama in the country. Bring your friends, bash the villain with popcorn, and enjoy side-splitting laughter during the Olio.

Experience the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci through more than 30 machines based on his visionary designs. Each machine has been faithfully constructed from Da Vinci’s notebooks by a modern team of scientists and craftsmen in the heart of the Renaissance: Florence, Italy.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition WACO

June 2, 2018–Jan. 16, 2019 The Mayborn Museum (254) 712-1110 baylor.edu/mayborn

First Saturday Bird Walk ACTON

PLAINS TRAIL

TROPICAL TRAIL

TEXAS! Outdoor Musical Drama CANYON

June 1–Aug. 18 Pioneer Amphitheatre, Palo Duro Canyon State Park (806) 655-2181 Texas-show.com

Monthly Acton Nature Center (817) 326-6005 actontx.com

For more than 50 summers, a lone horseman carrying the flag of Texas appears atop a 600-foot cliff, signaling an inspiring and entertaining

Bring your binoculars for these monthly bird walks. After earning his Ph.D. in wildlife ecology, then serving more than 30 years as a biologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Dr. Billy Teels leads these informative walks.

evening of outdoor music and drama. A cast of more than 60 actors, singers and dancers takes the stage to kick off the show that millions of fans from around the world have come to see. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. Admission fee applies; a pre-show dinner is available.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition features more than 150 authentic artifacts recovered from the ocean floor along with room re-creations and personal stories. Visitors will receive a replica boarding pass with the name of an actual Titanic passenger upon entering the exhibition and will find out if that passenger survived. The exhibition is a chronological journey through the life of the Titanic, moving through the ship’s construction to life on board to the ill-fated sinking and rescue efforts.

Lighthouse Establishment Cinema PORT ISABEL

Fridays, June and July at 9:30 pm Port Isabel Lighthouse (956) 943-7602 portisabellighthouse.com

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Hot Summer Nights ODESSA

Fridays, June 2–July 27 Noel Plaza (432) 335-4682 downtownodessatx.com Bring the lawn chairs, blankets and kids to this free event on Friday evenings during the summer. This series features various kinds of music and food trucks.

The Crayons Quit. The festival starts Thursday with a Storybook Parade and Artist Talk, and includes dramatic book readings, costumed characters, art activities, animals, magic shows, balloons and movies. Plus, see Jeffers’ artwork on display at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature.

Texas History Days SALADO

June 8–10 texashistorysalado.com Summer Sunday Lawn Concerts MIDLAND

Sundays, June 3–Aug. 19 Museum of the Southwest (432) 683-2882 museumsw.org Local food trucks are present at each of these family- and pet-friendly concerts that run from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the front lawn of the historic Turner Mansion. Be sure to visit on Family Fridays.

Explore the challenges faced by the early settlers of this historical village. Experience music, storytelling, Texas authors, genealogy and much more.

West Texas Western Swing Festival

tinuous live music, a culinary tent and plenty of shrimp to feast upon.

Galveston Island Cajun Festival GALVESTON

Dogie Days DUMAS

June 13–16 McDade Park dumasnoonlions.com The 72nd annual event hosted by the Dumas Noon Lions is four days of food, fun, games and carnival in the home of the Ding Dong Daddies and Dollies.

June 15–17 Kempner Park (409) 359-3045 galvestoncajunfestival.com The third-annual event features a variety of Cajun food vendors, rides for children and live music.

PECOS

Fort Griffin Fandangle June 22–23 & 29–30 Prairie Theater (325) 762-3838 fortgriffinfandangle.org

EL PASO

June 15–July 28 (Fridays and Saturdays) McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre

Head out to Shankleville for live music, food, vendors, musical performances and a symposium. The community is located on FM 1415 in Newton County, between Highways 63 and 87 near Jasper, Newton and Burkeville.

West of the Pecos Rodeo

ALBANY

Viva! El Paso

Addie J. and A. T. Odom Homestead shankleville.org

For more than 75 years, audiences have enjoyed this presentation of the Texas frontier story. Threatening

June 27–30 Buck Jackson Arena pecosrodeo.com Held each year since 1883, this has become one of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Top 40 prizemoney rodeos. In 2015 and 2016, the cowboys themselves nominated it as one of the five best large outdoor rodeos across the country.

Riverfest BANDERA

June 30 Bandera City Park (830) 796-3045 banderacowboycapital.com

West Texas Western Swing Festival SNYDER

June 6–9 Scurry County Invenergy Coliseum (325) 573.3558 snyderchamber.org/westernswing-festival

The beautiful Medina River is a great place to celebrate summer. Riverfest offers kayak races, exhibits, water games, a river rodeo, a car show, music, food booths, arts & crafts, paddle boats and a cookoff.

7th Annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival ABILENE

June 7–9 Historic Downtown Abilene (325) 677-1161 abilenecac.org/calf Celebrate all things Oliver Jeffers, who illustrated the best-selling book The Day

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AU THENTIC TEXAS

Shrimporee Festival ARANSAS PASS

June 8–10 Johnson Community Park (800) 633-3028 aransaspass.org/Shrimporee A tradition since 1948, this festival salutes local commercial shrimpers and offers attendees a carnival, over 100 arts & crafts vendors, contests, con-

(915) 231-1100 vivaelpaso.org Enjoy El Paso’s beloved outdoor musical extravaganza that celebrates the four major cultures that have influenced the Sun City — Native American, Spanish conquistador, Mexican and Western American. Their histories come alive through drama, song and dance performed by a cast of more than 50.

wildfires, giant rattlesnakes, a rowdy frontier town and the discovery of oil appear before your eyes. Over 250 performers present Texas’ oldest outdoor musical.

Texas Purple Hull Pea Festival SHANKLEVILLE

June 23

Bastrop Patriotic Festival BASTROP

June 30 Fisherman's Park (512) 303-0558 bastropchamber.com Honor the birth of our nation with this celebration. Activities include a water wonderland for the kids, contests, a petting zoo, a car show, children's activity area, a DJ playing music all day, a symphonic band and, of course, fireworks.

COURTESY WEST TEXAS WESTERN SWING FESTIVAL

Dine and dance the old-fashioned way, with RV camping on the Coliseum grounds and the restored Heritage Village just a few steps away.


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: PRINTABLEFLAGS.NET; COURTESY WEATHERFORD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE; COURTESY DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL

dances, cowboy poetry performances, the Western Art Show, and the Old Timers’ Fiddler Contest.

83rd Annual Deep Sea Roundup PORT ARANSAS

49th Annual Rockport Art Festival ROCKPORT

July 7–8 Festival Grounds (near entrance to Rockport Beach) (361) 729-5519 www.rockportartfest.com Over 120 artists from across the nation show their works in a variety of media and styles at this juried fine-arts event. There’s live music, food, an air-conditioned party tent and children’s activities.

July

Dragon Boat Festival CLEBURNE

June 30-July 1 Lake Pat Cleburne (817) 645-2455 visitcleburne.com This free family event offers entertainment, vendors and the excitement of dragon boat competition. Traditional Hong Kong-style BuK dragon boats are provided for teams that race down courses ranging from 250 to 1,000 meters.

Old-Fashioned 4th of July

Texas Cowboy Reunion

GRANBURY

STAMFORD

July 4 (817) 573-1622 granburychamber.com This celebration — the community's signature event — draws thousands to Granbury with a parade, car show, concert, food trucks, food vendors, arts & crafts vendors and fireworks over Lake Granbury.

Dragon Boat Festival

July 12–15 (361) 701-7711 deepsearoundup.com The longest-running fishing tournament on the Texas Gulf Coast, the Roundup began in 1932 as the Tarpon Roundup and now attracts as many as 800 participants annually. The five competitive divisions are offshore, bay surf, fly fishing, junior and a piggy perch contest for children.

33rd Annual Parker County Peach Festival

July 4–7 Texas Cowboy Reunion Grounds (325) 773-2411 texascowboyreunion.com The Texas Cowboy Reunion Rodeo was organized in 1930 as a means of gathering together true cowboys and preserving traditions of the once great cattle empires of the Southwest. Reunion events include a parade, chuck wagon dinners,

Texas Welcomes the World Route 66 Festival SHAMROCK

July 12–15 texaswelcomestheworld.com Artists, authors, musicians and Route 66 associations invite road fans to join in four days of events, education, exhibits, vendor booths and live music by the Road Crew. Texans can show their interest in a dedicated Route 66 Texas license plate.

33rd Annual Parker County Peach Festival WEATHERFORD

July 14 (817) 596-3801 parkercountypeachfestival. org In addition to celebrating the peach crop from local growers, the festival includes live music, the Peach Pedal Bike Ride, a 42 domino tournament, children’s activities and more than 200 booths.

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August Marfa Film Festival MARFA

79th Annual Texas International Fishing Tournament

July 11–15 (432) 729-4772 marfafilmfestival.com Since 2008, this festival has been dedicated to showcasing a strong vibrant blend of short feature documentary, narrative and experimental films. A full afternoon schedule is followed each evening by outdoor screenings in a starlit desert.

as 1,500 anglers and up to 500 boats in the competition for trophies in three divisions: offshore, bay and tarpon.

PORT ISABEL/SOUTH PADRE ISLAND

Aug. 1–5 (956) 943-8438 tift.org in Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis and Marathon. This year’s lineup includes Kyle Park, the Nightowls, John Evans and many more.

music, vendors and plenty of refreshments.

Quiltfest 2018

One of the oldest and largest saltwater fishing tournaments on the Texas Gulf Coast, this tournament attracts as many

Big Bend Ranch Rodeo ALPINE

Aug. 10–11 Sul Ross University S.A.L.E. Arena (432) 837-2326 bigbendranchrodeo.com Sanctioned by the Working

Big Bend Ranch Rodeo

NEW

Ultimate Fandango Weekend ALPINE

July 18–22 (432) 837-2326 ultimatefandango.com Tour the Big Bend region, visiting the filming locations of the 1985 movie Fandango. Actors from the movie will participate throughout the weekend, and two nights of activities in Alpine will include a screening of the film.

Great Texas Balloon Race LONGVIEW

July 27–29 East Texas Regional Airport (903) 753-3281 greattexasballoonrace.com Up, up, and away! This threeday event is the largest sanctioned hot air balloon race in Texas with more than 80 sport and special shape balloons competing for prizes. It’s a great family event with activities for all ages, including balloon glows, live

BRAUNFELS

July 27–29 New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center (830) 221-4011 nbquiltfest.com Enjoy a threeday quilt festival celebrating the color and beauty of quilts.

Viva Big Bend

Old Settlers’ Reunion HICO

Begun in 1882, one year before Hico was incorporated, the Old Settlers’ Reunion is 129 years old — the oldest event of its kind in Texas.

Viva Big Bend Music Festival ALPINE/MARFA/FORT DAVIS/MARATHON

July 26–29 (432) 538-7034 vivabigbend.com A celebration of music and Texas, Viva Big Bend showcases more than 50 bands at various venues

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AU THENTIC TEXAS

FROM TOP: COURTESY BIG BEND RANCH RODEO; STEWART RAMSER

July 22–28 City Park (254) 796-4221 hico-tx.com


Ranch Cowboy Association, this rodeo provides an opportunity for working cowboys to show real cowboy skills, celebrates the Texas ranching heritage and creates exposure for a unique American lifestyle.

September

2018 World Championship BBQ Goat Cookoff BRADY

Aug. 31–Sept. 2 Richards Park (325) 597-3491 bradytx.com Founded in 1974 and held every year on Labor Day Weekend, Brady’s World Championship BBQ Goat Cookoff has grown to become the largest competition of its nature in the state. In addition to the cookoff, guests can enjoy activities including children’s games, horseshoe tournaments, live music and an arts & crafts fair.

Grapefest GRAPEVINE

Sept. 13–16 Downtown (800) 457-6338 grapevinetexasusa.com/grapefest Named for the wild Mustang grapes that blanketed the land when settlers first arrived in the area in 1844, Grapevine is the headquarters of the Texas Wine Industry. Guests of all ages will find a variety of new wines, new vendors, new bands and more to discover and celebrate throughout the four-day festival.

COURTESY GRAPEVINE

Grapefest

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LEGACY PERSONALITY p. 80 H ARCHIVE p. 82 H HISTORIES p. 84

LAND OF

COURTESY SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS ARLINGTON

ADVENTURE

La Salle River Adventure, Six Flags Over Texas, 1960s SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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LEGACY TEXAS ORIGINAL

Texas TREKKING

through

For Doug Baum, every day is ”hump day” thanks to his Camel Corps

the Nashville Zoo, where he trained the camels, Bill and Ted. Inspiration arrived in the form of a Christmas gift, a book about the U.S. Army’s use of camels to pack supplies on three major expeditions in Texas

DOUG BAUM is standing at the entrance to Petra, Jordan, the first-century capital of the Nabataeans, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, getting miked up by a photographer, film producer and film editor, whose latest movie was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 88th Academy Awards. So, what’s a farmer from Valley Mills, Texas, doing in Jordan, and why does it spark the imagination of an international filmmaker? Baum was born in Big Spring to a mother who taught piano lessons and a father who managed the local radio station. Steeped in music from the womb, Baum wrote songs and learned to play several instruments, including piano, guitar and his first love, drums. He quit football in the eighth grade after breaking an arm during practice, for fear he wouldn’t be able to play the drums on MTV, which would be his stated ambition at his graduation from high school in Colorado City.

PYRAMID SCHEME: Baum’s adventures began when he bought two camels, Bill and Ted, from the Nashville Zoo, where he’d trained them.

Music, History and Fate Baum moved to Nashville and got a gig playing drums for singer Trace Adkins, which he did for five years. When not recording or on the road, he worked as a zookeeper at

and to points westward from 1856 to 1866. Baum bought Bill and Ted from the zoo and returned to Texas in 1998 to “tell the quirky story of the U.S. Army Camel Experiment.”

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AU THENTICTEXA TEXAS AU THENTIC S

He settled with his young family in Valley Mills, a small town northwest of Waco, and the Texas Camel Corps was born. In 2018, the Baum family is celebrating 20 years of education, live nativities and trekking in Texas and beyond. Baum travels thousands of miles with his herd each year to provide history and science programs for Texas schoolchildren. He and his camels — now averaging about 10 — participate in living history programs and reenactments at Texas state historic sites, national parks and museums, as well as sites outside Texas, from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to El Morro National Monument in New Mexico. Have Camels, Will Travel Baum’s camels have starred in television programs and commercials, as well as feature films such as Martin Sheen’s A Texas Funeral. Each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s all hands on deck as the Baum family fans out across the state to provide animals for more than 30 live nativities. Twice each year, Baum offers treks at a private ranch in the mountains of Jeff Davis County, the same area where camels first trekked through Texas on the

ALL PHOTOS OURTESY DOUG BAUM

D

by MICHELLE NEWBY LANCASTER


Beale Expedition in 1857. Additional treks will be offered this year in celebration of the milestone anniversary. Baum and his partners offer an annual three-day camel clinic in Texas during which camel owners, and those considering acquiring camels, come to learn training techniques and veterinary care. Baum also travels across the country, from Washington State to New York, for private training sessions. He’s presented varied programs and self-produced short documentaries at international camel conferences in London, Kazakhstan and China. International Ties In 2001, Baum wanted to learn more about camels, so he traveled to Egypt to spend a month with the Bedouin of South Sinai. There he entered a mentorship that blossomed into friendship. He’s returned each year to lead a camel trek across South Sinai and now offers guided tours to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and India. For Baum, these trips are about commonalities, as he forms close, personal ties in each country. “They’re truly like family,” Baum says. “I’ve seen the kids grow up, get married and have kids of their own.” And he’s been educated, too. “I’ve discovered how alike people are the world over,” he explains. “In Texas we invite you in and offer you iced tea. In the Middle East the only difference is the tea is hot.”

OPEN WORLD: Baum’s camels participate in numerous events throughout the year including reenactments at Fort McKavett, Fort Griffin, Fort Davis and Fort Clark near Brackettville and nativities. Baum also takes his camels to schools and community events, and he opens his Valley Mills farm for public visits by appointment.

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LEGACY ARCHIVE

ART AND ARTIFACTS: The Jean and Price Daniel Home and Archives (below) is patterned after the Texas Governor’s Mansion. Bottom right: the log book, circa 1870, from the Mary Conley, a large steamboat that sailed the Trinity River and ran aground in 1872.

SUMMER

NIGHTS in

Texas

A new exhibition at Liberty’s Sam Houston Center revisits the past people in Liberty County and push the date past Texas summer nights stir from the first occupation of the area back to our imagination and lead to at least 13,000 years ago. From documents of Sam Houston new adventures. You can visit these scenes in person and to archival records from the people of the through artifacts and documents available Atascosita area, the museum exhibit explores the vast and rich history of at the new museum exhibition Center the region and captures the at the Sam Houston Center Sam Houston 650 FM 1011 interaction and development (SHC) in Liberty. Liberty, TX 77575 (936) 336-8821 of people and the land they The exhibition explores tsl.texas.gov/shc inhabit — then and now. the life, culture and history HOURS of the Atascosita region. Tues.–Fri. 8 am–5 pm Documenting the roughly Summer Sailing Sat. 9 am–4 pm 10-county area from prehisImagine slowly sailing down toric times through early settlethe Trinity at sunset, listening Trinity River ment periods, the Republic and to the calls of the warblers Audubon Center Civil War eras, and modern 6500 Great Trinity Forest Way and sparrows. As golden light Dallas, TX 75217 times, the exhibit tells the story reflects from the moving river, (214) 398-8722 of southeast Texas through you gaze along the banks of trinityriver.audubon.org artifacts, images, archives and the shore during peaceful dusk. HOURS interactive media. Sailing the Trinity River in the Mon.–Fri. 9 am–4 pm Sat. 7 am–3 pm Texas treasures on dis1870s could be a voyage of Sun. 11 am–5 pm play include the base of two leisure or business. fluted projectile points that The Mary Conley sailed come from the Wood Springs site, located the Trinity River, delivering essentials to varjust south of the SHC. These two points ious ports on the riverbanks. The ship was mark the first reported occurrence of Clovis the largest steamboat to regularly travel the 8234

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Trinity, comparable in size to steamboats on the larger Mississippi River. In 1872, it ran aground and sank 25 miles north of Liberty. The log book is now on display at the SHC, as are other artifacts from vessels known to have sailed the Trinity, including the Black Cloud and the Cleona, which is believed to be the source of the huge anchor now hanging in the exhibit gallery. Lemonade on the Veranda

Nothing is more classic in Southern life than enjoying lemonade on the veranda. The SHC, which is a campus of historic buildings and research facilities, encom-

PHOTOS COURTESY SAM HOUSTON CENTER

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by GLORIA MERAZ


passes a three-quarter size replica of the Governor’s Mansion in Austin. The Jean and Price Daniel Home and Archives structure includes building wings. Although the Mansion in Austin had been slated for wings, none were ultimately included due to budget constraints. The Daniel building (along with the land and other substantial historical gifts) were donated to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by Governor Price and Jean Daniel. The facility includes a stately ground floor veranda framed by Ionic columns.

About the Sam Houston Center

The Sam Houston Center is a component of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and houses local government records, rare books, manuscripts, archival materials, photographs and other media format covering a range of southeast Texas history. Four historic buildings and the Jean and Price Daniel Home and Archives are located on the SHC’s grounds. These buildings document 19th

and 20th century southeast Texas history. Tours of the SHC and its historic buildings are available by appointment. We recommend booking your tour at least two weeks in advance. SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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LEGACY

EARNING THEIR STRIPES: Greeters welcome visitors to the new park with a souvenir map in 1961.

HISTORIES

A

Disneyland for

TEXAS — WITHOUT THE MOUSE How Six Flags Over Texas Came to Be

N SUNDAY, JULY 17, 1955, on display in this new amusement land families across America in California. Walt Disney’s television sat down in their living show-turned-movie, Davy Crockett: King rooms and tuned into of the Wild Frontier, starring Fess Parker, ABC to watch a live tele- had opened in May of that year and was vision broadcast that would mark the still showing in theaters across America. dawn of a new era in American culture When describing the park’s and shape tourism for generations to Frontierland, Walt Disney said, “All of us come. The broadcast was an elaborate have cause to be proud of our country's showcase of the opening of history, shaped by the pioDisneyland theme park, in Six Flags Over Texas neering spirit of our fore2201 E. Road to Six Flags St. Anaheim, Calif. fathers. Our adventures are Arlington, TX 76010 The broadcast opened designed to give you the (817) 640-8900 sixflags.com/overtexas with host Art Linkletter feeling of having lived, even asking his children what Arlington Convention for a short while, during our things in the park they most country's pioneer days.” & Visitors Bureau 1905 E. Randol Mill Rd. looked forward to expeThe late 1950s saw a Arlington, TX 76011 riencing. His 8-year-old boom in Americans travel(800) 433-5374 daughter, Sharon, enthusiasing for leisure. The Federal tically responded, “Frontierland — where Aid Highway Act of 1956 not only sparked Davy Crockett fights the Indians!” Texans construction of the interstate highway syswatching the broadcast likely took note tem, it also sparked the imagination of the that some of their own state’s history was traveling public.

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A turning point for Texas tourism came in 1959 with the repeal of an antiquated Texas “carpetbagger” law prohibiting the expenditure of state funds for tourist and industrial advertising. This change signaled to many in the business community that Texas was ready to become a major player in American tourism. The only question was how the state would capitalize on this new opportunity. In San Antonio that year the Tourist

COURTESY SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS ARLINGTON

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by JEFF SALMON


Attraction Committee was created under the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce to look at economic development of the River Walk. In 1961 the group hired Marco Engineering, a California engineering company (more on that to come), to create a report on the commercial potential of the river. In 1962 the first major developments along the River Walk were completed, but it wasn’t until 1968 that San Antonio truly

capitalized on the developments with the hosting of HemisFair. In Dallas in 1959 the Dallas Theater Center opened one of the first major regional theaters in the U. S. featuring the Kalita Humphreys Theater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Dallas hoped to become a top arts and culture destination with this and other new attractions. Also during that year Dallas was working to bring a new pro-

fessional sports team to town, and in 1960 the National Football League approved a franchise for the Dallas Cowboys to owners Clint Murchison Jr. and Bedford Wynne (more about his brother to come). As the Bankhead Highway had developed through Texas in the early 1920s, the route went directly through the heart of the towns and cities, but with the establishment of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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System in 1956, the routes intentionally avoided the congested city centers to allow for the potential movement of troops to and from military bases, airports, seaports and major rail terminals. The new interstate highways were viewed as an opportunity and challenge for the rapidly growing cities of Dallas and Fort Worth but posed major problems for towns in between such as Arlington and Grand Prairie that would be almost completely bypassed. That led to the development of the Dallas–Fort Worth Turnpike, a toll road linking downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth, opening to traffic on Aug. 27, 1957. This opened up new opportunities for Grand Prairie and Arlington. Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff (mayor from 1951-1977) had attended the University of Southern California, graduating in 1947, and had witnessed the rapid

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growth of the Los Angeles metro area and particularly developments in nearby Anaheim. When he returned back home to work at his father’s Chevrolet dealership — and later as president of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce — he often referred to how Arlington could have the same level of success as Anaheim. As mayor, Vandergriff went to California in 1958 and met with Walt Disney to persuade him to build another Disneyland park in Arlington. Before going, he convinced Dallas real estate developer Angus G. Wynne Jr. to donate land in Arlington for a new Disney park. Wynne was the CEO of Great Southwest Corp and Great Southwest Industrial District in Arlington and the brother of Bedford Wynne. Vandergriff showed Disney the demographic and geographic similarities between the two cities, making the case

that Texas would be supportive of a themed amusement park. Disney ultimately rejected the offer. With all of his resources closely connected to the Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., Walt Disney wasn’t yet ready to develop another park, particularly at such a great distance. But Disneyland’s market surveys showed that only 5 percent of their visitors came from east of the Mississippi River, where the majority of Americans lived. When Disney eventually started looking east, he imagined something much grander in scale, eventually acquiring over 30,000 acres in central Florida. His plans for another “land” had grown to an entire new “world,” but he wouldn’t live to see it become a reality, dying from lung cancer in 1966. “Mayor Tom Vandergriff talked Angus G. Wynne Jr. into building a theme park in Arlington,” says Jim Brothers, the cur-

COURTESY SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS ARLINGTON

A RIDE IN THE PARK: The Caddo Canoes in the 1960s.


COURTESY SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS ARLINGTON; UNT PORTAL TO TEXAS HISTORY/DALLAS HERITAGE COLLECTION

BIG PICTURE: An aerial view of Six Flags Over Texas in 1972. IN THE SADDLE: A 1960s postcard showing a conquistador leading a mule train down “Palo Duro Canyon.”

rent marketing director for Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor. “He’d already convinced General Motors to build a manufacturing plant and was eager to develop the town of 6,000 people into a much larger city.” Wynne was urged by Vandergriff to go visit Disneyland, and he made the trip to Anaheim in 1959 and was inspired to build an equally impressive themed amusement park for Texas. They started making plans that same year to build what would become Six Flags Over Texas. Disneyland was 160 acres, and Wynne selected 212 acres of prime property along the new Dallas–Fort Worth Turnpike for the park. Wynne hired two key people to lead the development of his new Texas-themed amusement park. The first was C. V. Wood Jr., who’d served as vice president and general manager of Disneyland. Wood had grown up in Amarillo and attended Hardin-

Simmons University in Abilene on a scholarship as trick roper in the HSU Cowboy Band, and studied under famed Texas history professor Dr. Rupert Richardson before moving on to graduate from the University of Oklahoma. According to Wood’s 1992 New York Times obituary, “He was Disneyland's first employee and supervised its site selection in California, the land purchase, the construction, the opening in 1955 and its operation for the first year.” Wood’s company, Marco Engineering, became a leading consulting firm for the leisure industry that would go on to shape many tourism ventures across the country, including the San Antonio River Walk.

Next Wynne hired architect and Hollywood set designer Randall Duel to design the park. Duel started his career working on films such as The Wizard of Oz (1939) and had become a leading set designer by the 1950s, serving as art director for top films including Singin' in the Rain (1952). He’s credited with choosing to divide the park into six uniquely themed areas: those original areas were Spain, France, Mexico, SUM M E R 2 0 1 8

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Texas, Confederacy and Modern USA. “The original name of the park was going to be Texas Under Six Flags,” Brothers says, “but Mrs. Wynne pointed out that Texas has never been under anything, so the name was adjusted to Six Flags Over Texas.” Construction on the park began in August 1960, and the official grand opening was held on Aug. 5, 1961. Admission to the park was $2.75 for adults and $2.25 for children; parking was 50 cents, hamburgers were 35 cents and soft drinks were 10 cents. Each of the six areas of the park had its own signature themed attractions. A popular feature in the Confederacy area was the Confederate Army Recruitment Station, where a crew of soldiers would perform precision marching and rifle handling drills accompanied by traditional Southern music. At the end of each performance the soldiers would call to the crowd and ask the kids to “come enlist with Terry’s Texas Rangers” and would be handed a wooden rifle, put into formation and taught to march. Just try to imagine that happening today. In the Spain section, visitors could hop on a live mule and follow conquistador explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, riding in a “mule train” through the park’s version of Palo Duro Canyon. The timing was great for a historythemed tourist attraction with the recent, popular John Wayne movies, Rio Bravo (April 1959), The Horse Soldiers ( July 1959) and The Alamo (October 1960). “We did half a million visitors the first year,” Brothers explains. “In the early years, we tracked city of origin by writing down the license plate numbers of the cars, since the number had a designation of what county they came from.” Early on, visitors were coming mostly from Texas, but as word spread, visitors started coming from around the country and even from foreign countries. Over time, the primary appeal of the park went beyond the park’s historic features. “When the park first opened, our big attraction was the Flying Jenny — a carriage style ride that was operated/pulled by a mule,” Brothers says. “In the later years, our Log Flume ride and Runaway Mine Train became guest favorites and are still quite popular today.” Although Texans didn’t convince Walt Disney to build one of his parks here, many Texans believe the Lone Star State is better off without the mouse. 88

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Authentic Texas Summer 2018  
Authentic Texas Summer 2018