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Subterranean Dive




WWI Soldiers




and Travel Information Center


Grape Creek Vineyards Fredericksburg, TX


WINE Across the state, vineyards and wineries abound

A visit with Texas wine ambassador VIJAY REDDY at his West Texas vineyard, Reddy Vineyards




Robert Alvarez 6


Ron Sanders July 8, 1944 – June 9, 2018 COURTESY TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION

AUTHENTIC TEXAS isn’t just the name of this publication; it’s the goal of each issue — to bring authentic Texas experiences to our readers while highlighting the glorious history and heritage of the Lone Star State. In this issue, we focus on vineyards, along with the fantastic wines that are giving Texas international recognition as a wine tourism destination. From Del Rio, with the oldest continually running winery in Texas, to Grapevine, rapidly becoming the new urban hub of Texas wine, we hope you enjoy these stories and come away with a new appreciation for the history and heritage of Texas vineyards. And while we have you, the numerous people who help put this publication together would like to recognize a pioneer in the Texas tourism industry and a driving force in creating Authentic Texas. Rondell Gene “Ron” Sanders passed away recently after a long battle with a variety of health issues. Ron, who never met a stranger, was instrumental in creating the Brewster County Tourism Council and in promoting Big Bend National Park to international audiences as a unique and intriguing Texas destination. He also began the Big Bend Snapshot Roadside Exhibit program, which highlights the history of Brewster County and has been recognized for its importance in preserving the history of the state’s largest county for generations to come. Ron began his tourism career more than 50 years ago at Big Bend National Park, working his way up from housekeeping to general manager before being named a special projects director for Forever Resorts. He served on numerous boards across the state, including the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association and the Texas Historical Commission. Ron’s contributions to the tourism industry in Texas are too numerous to mention here. His creativity, no-nonsense approach to business and booming “big as Texas” voice will remain with us in our memories. He’ll be missed by all of us here at Authentic Texas and by his numerous colleagues across the state. Rest in peace, Ron.

Contents FALL 2018







A fifth-generation farmer, Vijay Reddy (above) came to the U.S. from India in 1971 to pursue graduate study in soil and plant science. He first established a soil consulting lab in Lubbock, then, on the advice of a colleague, planted his first grapes in 1997, ultimately creating Reddy Vineyards, with its 300-plus acres.

Val Verde Winery is the oldest bonded winery in Texas. Established in 1883 in Del Rio by Italian immigrant Frank Qualia, the winery is now operated by third-generation vintner Thomas Qualia and his son, Michael. In 2008, the winery completed its 125th year of continuous winemaking — even during Prohibition.

Texas is one of the oldest wine-growing states in the U.S., with vines planted here a century before they were planted in California. The state’s main wine growing regions reflect diversity in geography and climate, allowing for the growth of different types of grapevines. More than 500 wineries now operate in the state.





Contents LEGACY




Bart Wales

Refugio’s resident historian and director of the Refugio County Museum is on a mission to rebuild the town after Hurricane Harvey.



Vineyard Beginnings

Fray Garcìa de San Francisco, a Franciscan priest, is credited with planting the first vineyard in Texas.



La Salle






Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art



The historic city in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex serves as the urban hub of Texas wine.

Sweet Texas Onion

Tyler Roses

The official Texas State Vegetable — nicknamed the “Million-Dollar Baby” — was developed by a Texas A&M horticulture professor.



La Kiva Terlingua

The subterranean hideaway features rock walls, dinosaur decor and a tortured past.

Judge Roy Bean Museum

The Langtry center helps separate fact from fiction when it comes to the notorious judge known as “The Law West of the Pecos.”

La Parra

Massive even by Texas standards, the mythic Kenedy Ranch is just 20 miles south of Kingsville — in Sarita.



The 85th Texas Rose Festival in October celebrates the place where, at one time, half of the U.S. supply of rose bushes was grown.




Drill Teams

Precision dance teams are a Texas tradition dating to the 1940s.

Carnegie Libraries

More than 30 Carnegie Libraries were built across Texas.



Bankhead Brewing Midpoint Cafe


The former vice president’s collection of folk art is housed at the San Antonio Museum of Art.


Ernest M. Viquesney’s sculpture of a WWI solider can be seen in nine Texas locales.



The Promise


Trails in This Issue Brazos 54, 71 Forest 28, 50, 54, 71 Forts 54, 71 Hill Country 42,64,71, 80 Independence 62, 68, 71

Lakes 25,34, 42, 64,

69, 80, 71

Mountain 18, 42, 71, 80 Pecos 10, 20, 31, 42, 71 Plains 36, 42, 58, 64, 71 Tropical 22, 64, 71, 78, 82





The dramatic story of Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, and his ship, La Belle, is revealed at seven museums in Texas.

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.


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



Julie Seaford, Michael Marchio CONTRIBUTORS

Valerie D. Bates, Jeremy Burchard, James E. Bruseth, Brad Dougher, Josey Hill, Lee Hoy, Kristen Gibson, Cassandra Lance-Martinez, Gloria Meraz, Toni S. Turner









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



BRAZOS TRAIL TexasBrazosTrail.com

INDEPENDENCE TRAIL TexasIndependenceTrail.com

FORTS TRAIL TexasFortsTrail.com

MOUNTAIN TRAIL TexasMountainTrail.com

FOREST TRAIL TexasForestTrail.com

PECOS TRAIL TexasPecosTrail.com

HILL COUNTRY TRAIL TxHillCountryTrail.com

PLAINS TRAIL TexasPlainsTrail.com

LAKES TRAIL TexasLakesTrail.com

TROPICAL TRAIL TexasTropicalTrail.com


Texas Heritage Trails LLC 3702 Loop 322 Abilene, TX 79602 AuthenticTexas.com (325) 660-6774 Texas Heritage Trails LLC is owned and operated by seven nonprofit heritage trails organizations. Texas Heritage Trails LLC member organizations are participants of the nationally award-winning Texas Heritage Trails Program of the Texas Historical Commission. Texas Heritage Trails, LLC dba Authentic Texas is a member of the Texas Travel Industry Association and is a Go Texan partner.



FRUIT of the


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Onion The Official Texas State Vegetable is softball-sized, thin-skinned and juicy. by







HE FIRST MAJOR vegetable crop grown in Texas might reduce you to tears — sweet tears. But first, some history. The 1015 Texas Sweet Onion — referred to by that number because the seeds are planted in mid-October — hit grocery store shelves in the 1980s, but its origins in Texas began in 1898 when a packet of Bermuda Grano onion seeds were planted near Cotulla in South Texas by T. C. Nye and George Copp. The Bermuda seeds produce early-season onions and were popular among farmers because of their profitability in the early 1900s. In those early decades, the Texas onion industry experienced ups and downs, including a reduction in market prices, increased demand during World War I because of food shortages in Europe, and, in the early 1920s, falling prices and overproduction. But Texas onion producers were a hardy sort who wouldn’t give up.

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The father of the 1015 Texas Sweet Onion, Dr. Leonard Pike, a horticulture professor, came to Texas A&M in 1967 to work on bettering vegetables for growers and consumers. Beginning in the mid-’70s, he set out to make improvements to the Grano 502 onion, and in 1983 his work resulted in what would ultimately become the Official Texas State Vegetable. When the 1015 Texas Sweet Onion was revealed, it was jokingly called the “MillionDollar Baby” because of the amount of money and time that went into its development. Looking back, however, it was a great investment since onions are Texas’ leading vegetable crop. Because the crop is planted in October, the onions can survive the cooler weather in late winter through the spring. The large, prized onion, grown only in the Rio Grande Valley, was developed for a variety of reasons: to be resistant to pink root, to possess high levels of chemicals that provide health benefits, to decrease tearing agents (because of the high sugar and water content), and to have a single center so when it’s cut the slices are complete rings. Without the development of the 1015, also referred to as the Texas Super Sweet, the perfectly round onion ring and awesome blossoms would only be things of epicurean dreams. The onion adds flavor to just about any recipe — in salsa, in baked beans, on a grilled burger or hot dog — so is it any wonder it’s the principal vegetable crop in Texas? In 1997, the House of Representatives officially commemorated the Texas 1015. “The 75th Legislature of the State of Texas,” the House resolution announced, “designates the Texas sweet onion as the Official State Vegetable of Texas and recognizes the historic and cultural significance of this native herb.”


Building a Better Onion

WATERING HOLE: The “brainchild of Gil Felts” continues to captivate West Texas travelers.


Terlingua’s iconoclastic bar, with its underground passageways and tragic history, has been a favorite among locals and visitors for nearly four decades







like no other. Home to few but visited by many, it’s a destination for adventurers and wanderers, those seeking to escape the ordinary. Situated just a few miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, Terlingua is best known, perhaps, for its annual CASI Chili Cookoff. However, throughout the year, visitors come to float the Rio Grande, see Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, camp, hike, ride and stargaze. What would all this be without a perfect ending to the day — namely, a good meal and



Mon.–Fri. 11 am–2 pm; 5 pm–12 am Sat. 5 pm–1 am Sun. 5 pm–12 am

drinks at a local watering hole that has a story, albeit a story with a heartbreaking twist? La Kiva, once described as the “brain-child of Gil Felts,” provides that. Felts arrived in Terlingua from Sabinal back in the 1960s when Terlingua was still an on-and-off quicksilver mining town. Looking to join in on the boom, Felts — a former social studies teacher, an army vet and an eccentric — made a living by mining bat guano to sell to area farmers. But at some point in the ’70s, when the mines dried up, Felts decided it was time to realize his dream





Subterranean Blues

La Kiva

23220 FM 170 Terlingua, TX 79852 (432) 371-2250 facebook.com/lakivaterlingua


EARLY ECCENTRIC: The venue’s unusual decor is a selling point.

of opening a bar in the middle of the desert. He built La Kiva into the banks of Terlingua Creek. Construction in this type of landscape was difficult due to the lack of equipment and supplies, as well as the harsh temperatures in the summer. When it was finally finished, a legend in the bar world was born. The place was odd, to say the least, but odd in this case was beautiful and brilliant. Patrons would descend into a mine shaft — the technical definition of a kiva is a subterranean room — to be greeted with stone walls decorated with bones and skulls, cauldrons and the infamous “Penisaurus Erectus,” a big-cat fossil assembled from random bones and set into the wall. Known for his quirky style, his constant companion pet parrot Antilles and his epic Halloween parties, Felts embodied the spirit of Terlingua. GQ named the place “the #1 most bizarre bar you must visit before you die.” After Felts’ death in 1989, La Kiva was taken over by his nephew, Glenn Felts.

Glenn was an outsider, a clean-cut electrical engineer from Dallas, and the locals were skeptical. Could he could keep the spirit of what his uncle created alive? It would be a hard act to follow. Glenn left the bar pretty much the same, which made people happy, and it didn’t take long for this tight-knit community to warm to him. He had a smile impossible to resist, and his close-shorn hair grew into long, blond curly locks. If you were offered a Mind Eraser as a newcomer, a drink made from vodka, Kahlua and club soda, you felt special, part of the club. Or was it that Glenn just really liked Mind Erasers and didn’t want to indulge alone? It didn’t matter. The business thrived, as much as one can in this part of the world, and it was a staple hangout for locals. Glenn owned and operated La Kiva from 1991 to 2014. On a cold night in February of that year, after a night of partying with a friend, Glenn was murdered outside of La Kiva by popular river raft guide Tony Flint, who claimed self-defense. The town was ripped in two as both men were known and admired in the community. As one patron commented, “We’ve lost our innocence.” There was an investigation, a trial and a verdict of not guilty. Once again, La Kiva, the iconic bar that Gil Felts created, was at a crossroads — until John Holroyd, a biotech engineer from Wisconsin who’d been visiting the area since the Gil Felts era, purchased the bar and restaurant in August 2014. Sensitive to its history, Holroyd renovated La Kiva, sprucing up the nearly 40-yearold venue and bringing it up to code. La Kiva reopened in 2015 with a new kitchen, a new

menu, some of the old folks and some new. It will never be the Gil La Kiva or the Glenn La Kiva, but it’s still La Kiva. And there’s no other place like it.

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JUDGE AND JURY: Though his operation was unorthodox, locals credited Bean (at left of bicycle) with bringing law to the area and cleaning up violent crime.


“Law West of the Pecos” A Langtry museum tells the fascinating history of eccentric Judge Roy Bean LEE HOY

1800s, Langtry, Texas, was a But crews weren’t the only inhabitants bustling little railroad town — a way station at these camps. The railroad construction for railroad crews and the company they brought immigrants, laborers, investors, attracted, including businessman Phantly gamblers, preachers, settlers, prostitutes, “Roy” Bean. But even with ranchers and merchants. Holograms will take you back such humble beginnings, this Many were ruffians who to Judge Roy Bean’s day, and stop on the Southern Pacific brought with them all sorts a 15-minute video walks you rail line between Shumla through the history of the area. of nefarious activity. In June and Pumpville soon earned Also, you can stand on the porch 1882, the railroad company of the original saloon/courtlegendary (and notorious) requested the Texas Rangers’ house where the Judge held status. presence at one of these court and sold his wares, and you can look out over Langtry With trains relying on temporary railroad camps, from the porch of the Opera steam during those first years, Vinegaroon, to help mainHouse, the judge’s residence. water stations were required tain the peace in the increasevery 15 miles, and railroad ingly violent community. crews would live at temporary camps along For reasons unknown, the Texas the way while constructing portions of the Rangers recommended Bean be appointed rail line. as magistrate. He was not the most like-




Judge Roy Bean Museum and Travel Information Center 526 State Loop 25 Langtry, TX 78871 (915) 291-3340


Daily 8 am–5 pm







ly candidate for judge. Before coming to Vinegaroon, Bean had been making a living in San Antonio selling stolen firewood and milk diluted with water from a local creek (to increase profits). When buyers began noticing minnows in the milk, Bean exclaimed, “By gobs, I’ll have to stop them cows from drinking out of the creek!” The inevitable illnesses suffered by his dairy customers put a damper on his business, so he set off to sell goods — mostly liquor — to railroad workers. In Vinegaroon, he was often known to be drunk in his own tent saloon, and his penchant for gambling was no secret. TWO-FISTED: Bean’s world-famous courtoom saloon.

The outcry for justice in the region continued to grow until the Pecos County Commissioners Court took action on

Aug. 2, 1882, and Roy Bean was officially appointed as justice of the peace for Precinct 6, Pecos County, Texas. Although it was an inauspicious start for the man who’d be appointed judge, Bean nevertheless proved effective in his role as the “Law West of the Pecos.” He actually began serving a few months prior to the official date of his appointment. His rulings, while unorthodox and often whimsical, served to keep the peace in a rough, challenging land. When the railroad camp moved from Vinegaroon, so did Bean. He eventually settled in Langtry, previously known as Eagle’s Nest because of a golden eagle nest high on a bluff along the Rio Grande that can still be seen today by the observant traveler. It’s generally assumed that Bean named Langtry after the English actress and opera singer Lillie Langtry, with whom he was rather obsessed. In truth, the town is named after railroad engineer George Langtry. The truth isn’t as endearing as the legend in this case, but more often than not, when referring to Judge Roy Bean, the truth is often more outlandish. Lee Hoy is supervisor of the Judge Roy Bean Visitors Center in Langtry.

Five Things You Should Know About Judge Roy Bean 1 Bean enjoyed his tough reputation and kept his kind-

ness hidden. Throughout the years, he took some of the fines he collected and many of the collected goods and gave them to the poor and destitute of the area, doing so without it being known. He even took monies collected in the Jersey Lily, his own trackside saloon, and used them to buy medicine for the sick and poor in and around Langtry.

2 An owner of a Langtry restaurant owed Bean money. and when he didn’t pay, Bean waited until the restaurant was full, then took his place by the door and had each customer pay him for their meal. The last few customers paid the interest. 3 Bean has often been confused with “hanging judge” Parker of Fort Smith (perhaps because of their unorthodox or creative sentencing). Bean never actually hanged anyone, although he occasionally “staged” hangings to scare criminals. Bean would prepare a script with his “staff” — if they were sober enough — which allowed for the prisoner to escape. Given this second chance, the culprits never again appeared before the court.

4 Bean never sentenced anyone to the penitentiary. If anything needed to be done in Langtry, the prisoner would do it. If there was nothing to be done, the prisoner could take it easy by simply being staked out in the sun. 5 Nearly everyone has heard the story of Bean fining

a dead man $40 — the exact amount in the corpse’s pocket. Less known is the fact that the $40 bought a casket and headstone, and paid the gravedigger’s labor. Bean did, however, keep the man’s gun for use as a gavel. — JOHN TROESSER

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La Parra


PERCHED ON THE highest sand dune and nestled on the southern coastline of Texas, the Kenedy Ranch, constructed in 1882 by Mifflin Kenedy, resembles a steamboat, and its commanding position reflects a steamboat captain’s strategy and experience. During the MexicanAmerican War, when troops were in need of supplies, Kenedy, then in his mid20s and a transplant from Pennsylvania, maneuvered his steamship Corvette up





Kenedy Ranch Museum 200 E. La Parra Ave. Sarita, Texas 78385 (361) 294-5751 kenedy.org/museum

Inside the beautifully restored Kenedy Pasture Company building in Sarita, visitors learn about Mifflin Kenedy and his family, and how their lives were interwoven with the history of what was the untamed land known as the Wild Horse Desert.

Lebh Shomea House of Prayer

500 La Parra Ranch Road Sarita, TX 78385 (361) 294-5369 lebhshomea.org

and down the winding Rio Grande. And from there grew an empire and a ranch called La Parra. Kenedy’s empire grew to encompass 125 square miles that stretched for 35 miles along the coast. It was home to full ranch operations that involved 40,000 head of cattle, 300 employees, 800 horses and mules, an ice house, a commissary and an elementary school. About a century ago, 200 of those mules and many ranch hands and cowboys moved that steamboat-style house a

CAVALRY MISSION: (from top) The three-story main Kenedy Ranch house now serving the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a missionary order founded in France in 1816; a 2018 gathering to honor the famed Cavalry of Christ, missionaries who rode on horseback throughout South Texas, first landing at Port Isabel in 1849.




A Sarita museum showcases the story of South Texas through murals — with a focus on three generations of Kenedys

Cowboy Cemetery


Interior of the Kenedy Ranch Chapel

few thousand yards to the east to make room for the construction of a new ranch headquarters — a 30-room, three-story Spanishstyle mansion with a red tile roof that was known variously as the Big House, Kenedy Mansion, La Casa Grande, the main house, and what Sarita Kenedy East, granddaughter to Mifflin Kenedy, simply called “my ranch headquarters.” Materials were shipped from Corpus Christi on a barge to the wharf on Baffin Bay. Construction took five years to complete. When Sarita passed away in 1961, she bequeathed to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) the main house, chapel and cemeteries, which sat on 1,000 acres. The stipulation was that the land “was to be used for some religious purpose in

connection with the normal activities of the missionary society.” In 1973, the complex became known as Lebh Shomea House of Prayer, which in Hebrew means “listening heart.” Today a mystique surrounds the Kenedy Ranch. The little chapel still hosts regular mass, more than 120 years after the first priest, Jean Bretault, OMI, held mass there. Bretault was a member of the famed Cavalry of Christ, a band of missionaries on horseback who served the communities along the Rio Grande River between Brownsville and Roma and along the Gulf Coast between Brownsville and Corpus Christi. The Kenedy Ranch Museum, located a few miles away in Sarita, is divided into three rooms, each with a central theme. The FA L L 2 0 1 8


first room is called the Adventure Room because it covers the first 300 years of South Texas and Kenedy family history. The second room, the Economic and Social Development Room, features the growth of the area. It reveals the progress made from the Spanish Colonial period along the Rio Grande River north to Presidio La Bahia in present-day Goliad, completing the story with the introduction of the railroads and towns along the rail line from Kingsville of the Rio Grande Valley that includes the establishment of the Kenedy Ranch, La Parra. The third room is the Faith and Devotion Room because of the Kenedy family’s faith and devotion to the Catholic Church in South Texas. The ranch workers, the Kenedeños, shared that belief, and the room stands as a tribute to the families who developed at the Kenedy Ranch. In the Carriage House, next door to the museum, a short documentary is shown on the lives of the Kenedeños, the vaqueros and their families of the Kenedy Ranch. Visitors can spend some time walking around the beautifully landscaped grounds with a lazy stream running into a pond where they might get to see one of the rare birds that frequent Kenedy County. The museum is also host to several festivals throughout the year and continues as a source of pride for Kenedy County and all of South Texas. There’s a connection one feels here to the power of the spirit it took to pioneer in deep South Texas — and not just to pioneer but to stay, flourish and have a say in the future. There’s a connection to the land, the sky, the history and the tale of a steamboat captain who surveyed the terrain and carefully selected the highest elevation to boldly berth his steamboat and look squarely into the future.

View of the original steamboat-style ranch headquarters

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BOTTOMS UP: (from left) Participants sample more than 140 varietals from 38 Texas wineries at the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic at GrapeFest; the Grape Vine Prairie appears on some of the earliest maps of the area, such as this Peter’s Colony map from 1852.

The largest wine festival in the Southwest is fittingly held in Grapevine, the urban hub of Texas’ wine industry


introduced to Texas in the late 1600s by Spanish missionaries, but it would be two centuries before a winemaking tradition reached North Central Texas. Today, in the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Grapevine serves as the urban hub of Texas wine, with nine winery tasting rooms and the Texas Wine & Grape Growers






Association (TWGGA) all calling the historic community home. The region known as the Grape Vine Prairie, in which the city of Grapevine is located, was settled in 1844 by families who hailed mostly from the Upper South and Appalachia. Early explorers and surveyors named the prairie for the numerous

mustang grapes that grew wild across the landscape, and new immigrants were quick to realize the potential of the fertile soils. The first settlers brought with them a tradition of distilling whiskey, but the remoteness of the frontier drove them to adapt quickly to using whatever was close at hand to ferment into alcoholic beverages. Early


33rd Annual GrapeFest

Sept. 13-16, 2018 grapefest.com

New Vintage Wine & Gallery Trail Sat., April 13, 2019



VISIT DALLAS VisitDallas.com





on, homemade fruit wines were made from blackberries, persimmons, peaches, plums and a variety of other produce that grew naturally or could be cultivated in abundance. Even the bitter mustang grape could be made into a palatable beverage by adding sugar and even whiskey after fermentation. Fruit wines were also commonly distilled into brandy. Wine grape cultivation in the area possibly originates from two early French colonies in the region: New Icaria in Denton County and La Reunion in Dallas County. Though these colonies were shortlived, their populations dispersed into the surrounding settlements and with them came a demand for more traditional wines. The first known vineyard on the Grape Vine Prairie was established in 1897 by French immigrant Anthelm Bidault. His cellar was locally renowned, and during World War I, Bidault frequently entertained French officers stationed at nearby Camp Bowie. Later, a vineyard was clearly marked on a 1930 map of downtown Grapevine, but little is currently known of its history. As the 20th century matured, so did the sophistication of Texas viticulture, and the Texas wine industry began to boom. Building on its pioneering heritage, Grapevine endeavored to become the urban hub of the statewide trade. In 1995 the TWGGA headquarters relocated to historic downtown, and the number of tasting rooms continued to rise. To support this mission, Grapevine hosts GrapeFest, an annual wine festival now in its 32nd year. What began as a small event drawing 900 visitors has grown into the largest wine festival in the Southwest, attended by more than 260,000 people last year.

TASTE CENTERS: (from left) The 1905 Bidault House was the site of the first known vineyard on the Grape Vine Prairie; Cross Timbers Winery is located at the historic 1874 Brock Family Farm House — one of nine winery tasting rooms centrally located downtown.

Grapevine’s thoughtfully preserved heritage, its proximity to DFW airport and its advantageous location between Dallas and Fort Worth have coalesced into an ideal venue for exhibiting the greatness of Texas wine to the world at large. The ruggedly humble origins and the modern sophistication of both the community and the Texas wine industry are proudly on display, and a vibrant pioneering spirit continues to unite both. Brad Dougher is a public historian, museum professional and Texas traveler focused on the history and culture of North Central Texas. FA L L 2 0 1 8



BLOOMING NOBILITY: 2014 Rose Queen Kathryn Peltier and attendants (left); 1935 float with Queen Margaret II (below).

Rose Capital of America


roses are permanently linked in the minds of Texans. According to The Handbook of Texas (TSHA), the first recorded sale of rose plants in Tyler was in 1879. By the mid-20th century — at its peak — between 10 and 20 million plants were shipped annually by 200 nurserymen. Although Tyler is no longer the center of the rose-growing industry, a handful of rose growers remain in Tyler, and it’s still one of the centers of the industry, with millions of plants TYLER






processed for mass-market sale annually. Today, one-third of the world’s processing of rose bushes is done in Tyler. The city has a unique infrastructure to support yearround interest in roses. Tyler’s 14-acre Municipal Rose Garden is the the nation’s largest, and it includes 38,000 rose bushes and more than 600 varieties. It’s one of 24 All-American Rose Selection test gardens in the country. The Texas Rose Festival has for 85 years been one of the

Tyler Rose Museum

highlights of Tyler’s fall season. “The Festival is one of the major community events along with the Azalea Trails and the East Texas State Fair,” says Liz Ballard, executive director of the Texas Rose Festival Association. “The Rose Festival in one week draws more than 100,000 people to all of the events. The parade, in particular, is huge — with live local television coverage reaching all the way down to Lufkin.” The Festival is steeped in tradition with events including the Rose Show, a Queen’s

420 Rose Park Dr. Tyler, TX 75702 (903) 597-3130 TexasRoseFestival.com/museum

2018 Rock the Rose Texas Rose Festival Oct. 18-21, 2018 texasrosefestival.com

VISIT TYLER VisitTyler.com



Tyler remains central to the rose-growing industry, and its Rose Festival celebrates that heritage


EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES: The Tyler Rose Garden provides a stunning panorama of rose bushes.

Coronation, the Queen’s Tea and the Rose Parade. The Rose Show, this year under the theme “Rock the Rose,” is a display of more than 7,000 rose blooms. The Coronation of a Queen is a theatrical event held at the University of Texas at Tyler’s Cowan Center. This year the Queen is Amanda Hiles, a student at Tyler Junior College who’s also a member of the Tyler Junior College Apache Belle Precision Dance Team. The Duchess is Ann Caswell Ferguson, and there’s a supporting court of Ladies-in-Waiting, all dressed in ornately designed dresses. Winn Morton has been designing the gowns since 1982. The combination of artistic talent and the skills of six different seamstresses results in dazzlingly high-quality couture. Other opportunities to meet the Rose Queen and her court in their full coronation costumes include the Queen’s Tea held at the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden. Certainly, a Rose Festival highlight is the parade that includes more than 120 entries with custom floats for the Queen and her Court, color guards, bands, car clubs, dance teams and dignitaries. Among the events at the Rose Festival are a Men’s Luncheon and a Ladies’Luncheon. The guest speakers for the Men’s Luncheon are Dr. Kenneth Cooper of the Cooper Institute and Orville Rogers. The guest speaker for the Ladies’ Luncheon is chef Darren McGrady, who, for 15 years, was Royal Chef to Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. Adjacent to the Tyler Rose Garden in the Rose Garden Center is the Tyler Rose Museum, which is available for touring year-

round. According to Ballard, who also serves as curator of the Tyler Rose Museum, “The museum was founded in 1992 and houses about 80 percent of the gowns worn by the Queens, dating back to the early ’30s. The Queen’s costume, along with Lady-in-Waiting and Duchess costumes, are placed on exhibit following the coronation.”

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28 30



Del Rio’s Val Verde Winery, the oldest operational winery in Texas, was the brainchild of an Italian immigrant. by





a neighborhood road in Del Rio lined with palm and pecan trees, you’d never expect to find the oldest continuously operating winery in Texas. Val Verde Winery is not only that, but the ninth-oldest in the country.

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GROWTH INDUSTRY: Val Verde’s vineyard, located behind the winery, contains 12 acres of Lenoir grapes. The winery produces 3,000 cases of wine a year — most grapes coming from the High Plains — along with olive oil from its own olive trees. Roaming the vineyard are chickens that provide eggs the winery sells.




Del Rio is just across the border from Mexico in Southwest children and pay for the land by selling his crops. The family would Texas and an unlikely place for a winery, but the Val Verde Winery add a quarter acre each year in grapes until all 10 acres were used has been owned and operated by the Qualia family for four gen- for grape-growing. Louis, the youngest child, stayed and helped erations. Val Verde Winery was established in 1883 by Italian his father with the winery. They were able to keep the business immigrant Francesco Quaglia, who simplified the spelling of the open during tough times. During Prohibition, the winery was given family name upon settling in Texas. Francesco was born and raised permission to sell its wine to churches and for medicinal purposes. in Milan, Italy, and traveled with a group of Italian men to Mexico They made grape juice out of the grapes that they didn’t sell. They City, where they were charged with draining the also sold grapes to other communities. lakes and teaching the residents how to grow crops. After Qualia’s death in 1936, Louis took over Val Verde Winery Francesco had heard there was an opportunity for the vineyards, introducing the French Herbemont 100 Qualia Dr. Del Rio, TX 78840 a Spanish land grant for farming there. But the grape — used in white wines — to Texas. Louis (830) 775-9714 men were treated poorly and decided to continue was able to put new methods into place to make ValVerdeWinery.com HOURS searching for a better place. They made their way the winery flourish. He taught his youngest son, Tues.–Sat. 11am–6pm to San Antonio, Texas, where there was already an Thomas, how to run the winery and passed the Sun. 1pm–5pm Italian community working to build the railroad, winery to Thomas in 1973. Thomas has since been Whitehead Memorial but because they were looking for land to settle on able to increase production. The winery has added Museum as farmers, they continued heading west. the Blanc du Bois grape for making some of its 1308 S. Main St. Del Rio, TX 78840 When Qualia arrived in Del Rio, he found white wines. In addition, Thomas introduced a crop (830) 774-7568 Lenoir grapes flourishing under the warm Southwest of olive trees to the vineyard several years ago; they WhiteheadMuseum.org Texas sun. The grapes had been introduced by produce olive oils that are also sold at the winery. Laughlin Heritage Franciscan friars centuries earlier. It was on this Michael Qualia, Thomas’ son, is the fourth Foundation Museum land that he founded his winery on 10 acres leased generation who’s become a part of the winery. 309 S. Main St. Del Rio, TX 78840 from a local landowner. The San Felipe springs proHe started a membership group, the 1883 Wine (830) 719-9380 vided the water needed to irrigate the vast farmland. LaughlinHeritageFoundationInc.org Club — members receive two three-bottle orders During the 1860s, several local landowners had built of wine chosen by the winemakers each fall and Amistad Reservoir a dam on the San Felipe Creek to establish a series spring — and has worked to make the winery a Foundation Museum of canals to help get the water to different land plots family-friendly place, offering light snacks in the 4121 Veterans Blvd. Del Rio, TX 78840 both for irrigation and for drinking water. Thus, tasting room. “We’ll get a group of young ladies,” (830) 775-7491 the San Felipe Agriculture, Manufacturing and he says, “who like to come hang out and catch up in nps.gov/amis Irrigation Company was formed. the tasting room.” VISIT DEL RIO On his land, Qualia planted vegetables between The winery is still housed in the original building VisitDelRio.com the rows of grapes to help feed his family of seven that Francesco built in the late 1880s to hold the

equipment and animals that worked the vineyards. The building is made of thick adobe walls. A side room houses the port barrels with the wine aging inside. It’s like stepping back in time. When you stop in for a tasting, you can see some of the original wooden winemaking equipment in the tasting room. If you want to experience the climate, you can sit outside and enjoy a bottle of wine while looking at the grapes growing in the vineyard. Today the winery also gets grapes from a few other vineyards in Texas, namely High Cross Vineyards in Sonora, Young Family Vineyards in Brownfield and Mesa Vineyards in Fort Stockton. The Val Verde Winery offers a variety of red and white wines that are reasonably priced, producing about 3,000 cases per year.

RECREATION CENTER: The winery, opened in 1883, is situated in one of Del Rio’s historic residential neighborhoods.

DEL RIO IS RICH in history and culture. In 1885 Val Verde County was organized, and Del Rio became the county seat. Early development was dependent on the railroad, the military, ranching and agriculture, government-related employment and retail business. Other major economic activities were focused on tourism and ties with Mexico. From the mid-19th century to the present, the military has played a leading role in the fortunes of Del Rio. As soon as the Mexican War was over, military expeditions into the area began with patrols and the establishment of frontier military camps at Del Rio and Camp Hudson, to the west on the Devil’s River. Most military activities were controlled from Fort Clark, 30 miles east, near the site of present-day Brackettville. In the 20th century, the government continued to use the isolated Del Rio area for different types of military training. As World War II started, the army opened a base, Laughlin Field, near Del Rio for pilot training. Later the name was changed to Laughlin Air Force Base. Ranching and agriculture have always been an integral part of Del Rio’s economic scene. During the late 19th century, sheep and goat raisers found the scrub terrain to be an ideal place for their livestock. For many years Del Rio served as a focal point for the  wool and mohair industry. The development of the railroad in the 1880s served as an impetus for the development of sheep and goat ranching. During that decade the Southern Pacific, which built a line from west to east, and the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio, building west, linked up 40 miles west of Del Rio. In 1990 the railroad still operated and served as a major employer in Del Rio. The town was incorporated on Nov. 15, 1911. While visiting the winery you can stop in for more history of Del Rio at the Whitehead Memorial Museum. It features displays and exhibits that tell about Del Rio and the people who helped make the town what it is today. You can also pay your respect to Judge Roy Bean, who called himself the “Law West of the Pecos” and is buried at the site. And if you’re looking for some fun in the water, Lake Amistad is just up the road from Del Rio with opportunities to fish, boat or scuba dive in the Amistad Reservoir.

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Ripe forTexas



VIJAY REDDY immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. Now his roots go deep in West Texas vineyards. STORY





FRUIT ON THE FLATLANDS: Though the Llano Estacado may lack the rolling hills of Napa or Provence, vistas of vineyards under a wideopen sky attract visitors to learn how grapes are grown in West Texas.

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Every summer morning

before sunup, Dr. Vijay Reddy drives 45 at home. “I looked all around West Texas,” minutes from his Lubbock home out to the Reddy explains, “and talked to farmers.” Terry County acres he’s cultivated for four Recognizing the urgent need for agricultural decades. consultants in the region, he set up a con It was the rich farming soils of the sulting practice and a soil testing laboratory Llano Estacado that brought him here all in Lubbock that soon garnered multi-year those years ago. Today it’s the 32 variet- contracts. He applied precise techniques ies of wine grapes he grows just outside relevant to all soils and all crops, from the Brownfield that he’s come to love. Texas Plains and Panhandle to New Mexico Reddy’s passion for the delectable fruit and Oklahoma. is evident as he surveys vineyards on the Reddy soon acquired 2,000 acres of verge of harvest. Rows radiate out from a his own near Brownfield, growing cotton lush lawn that the Reddys began offering up and peanuts. Making the acquaintance of as a special-event venue in 2017. Carefully Yoakum County farmer Neal Newsom and cultivated canopies of leaves shade clusters his father, Hoss, in the 1990s was a turning of cabernet, sangiovese, merlot — the ever- point in Reddy’s crop cultivation. popular varieties he knew The Newsoms had from the start would do been planting grapes since Reddy Vineyards well in the sandy loam of 1997, five years before Neal 2127 U.S. Hwy 380 Brownfield, TX 79316 West Texas. brought in his grape peti(806) 239-2500 Reddy’s call to the land ole samples for nutritional ReddyVineyards.com began back in south-central checkup to Reddy’s lab. Texas Custom Wine Works India, where he came from Reddy was aware of the 823 County Rd. 460 a farming family and was Newsoms’ fledgling efforts, Brownfield, TX 79316 (806) 637-9877 knowledgeable about cotand when Neal suggested, texascww.com ton. In the 1970s, Reddy, “Try a few grapes,” Reddy HOURS (tasting room and gift shop) three brothers and a siswas game. Mon.–Fri. 8 am–5 pm ter all immigrated to the Reddy started with five United States to pursue acres of cabernet that year. study in a variety of disci“We didn’t even know if we plines. Having attained an undergraduate could sell grapes,” he says. There weren’t degree in his home country, Reddy traveled enough wineries in Texas — possibly 20 to Kansas State University for a master’s in back then — to be certain of demand. The agronomy and soil science. After completing first couple of years of Reddy’s venture, that degree in 1973, he enrolled at Colorado indeed he couldn’t market everything he State for a Ph.D., which he earned in 1976. grew. It was on a visit to see his brother, Gradually, however, the roster of Texas Prabhakar, an engineering student at Texas wineries expanded well outside the Hill Tech University, that he found himself most Country and established historic wineries 36


such as Val Verde in Del Rio. In Lubbock, winemaker Clinton “Doc” McPherson joined in a partnership with Llano Estacado Winery in Lubbock. CapRock Winery, also in Lubbock, soon followed. Neighboring growers in Terry and surrounding counties started planting a few acres too (Young Family Vineyards is the oldest in Brownfield, with Reddy Vineyards right behind), and Reddy planted more. By 2005 or so, wineries started requesting more plantings. In addition to the staple cabernet, wineries started requesting other grapes, a wider range of Italian and French varieties. So Reddy accommodated them. Still, until the early 2010s, “No one real-

ly knew grapes were being grown” in West Texas, Reddy says, outside of the vintners and industry specialists like the Newsoms, the Binghams, the McPhersons, Bobby Cox and “Texas Wineslinger” Russ Kane. For Terry County the boom came with recognition of bumper crops and a burgeoning number of wineries throughout the Lone Star State. Texas boasts some 470 today — and 80 to 90 percent of their Texas grapes come from this remote, high,

REDDY FOR HARVEST: Deep-purple pinot noir grapes at Reddy Vineyards are ready to pick in late August to early September.

flat country of West Texas. Both the soil and the warm days/cool nights climate, as well as the high elevation of the Llano, are an excellent match for wine grapes, Reddy explains, though hail and late freezes pose ever-present risks. Reddy grows his 32 varieties now on 320 acres, all in one parcel in Terry County. He continues to rely on the “king cab,” cabernet sauvignon, and other stalwarts such as sangiovese and tempranillo but devotes half-acre to five-acre plots to experimental or exotic varieties such as aglianico, barbera or negromado, as well as montepulciano, which Reddy and his wife, Subada, tasted 38


in Italy and thought, “Maybe we’ll try it.” Some grapes, like the favorite viognier, Reddy plants because wineries request it. These and other white grapes mature first, and are ready for harvest around midAugust. When the chemistry is just right — when seeds have turned completely brown and sugar content has reached the right level (around 24 percent for the sweet white grapes), picking begins. It’s a mechanized process, as is the juice squeezing; no fruitstomping feet in bathtubs here! Still, it’s that deep, multi-generational farming experience that matters. “The farmers of West Texas aren’t only growing

grapes but also cotton, wheat,” Reddy says. “You have to run a tractor.” Like farming knowledge, grapevines take strong hold on the land: with roots up to 15 and 20 feet, they can obtain moisture from far down. How old do they get? Perhaps a century — and they can remain productive for 50 or 60 years of that life span. Such ancient vines are “just like an old man,” Reddy says with a smile, “who has all his intelligence and faculties but may not be able to do all the jobs he once did.” Reddy doesn’t seem to have slowed the pace of his own wine business. Retiring from his soil laboratory a few years ago, he

BY THE BARREL: In the Reddy Vineyards event center, hundreds of casks of wine — some produced by Reddy grapes, others stored for clients — provide an enjoyable backdrop for entertaining.

began putting more energy into the development of his acreage east of Brownfield. A two-story house in the middle of the site provides 360-degree views of the operation, as well as a place to entertain friends or stay overnight as needed, especially during the busy harvest season. Last year Reddy turned a previously built two-story barn into a dual-purpose winery and event venue with convenient parking, dinner and dance floor, stage and screen, and its own bride’s room. Son Akhil Reddy of Dallas is a partner in the vineyard venture, ensuring the business continues to grow with the next generation. Like many area growers, Reddy wel-

comes visitors for tours by advance arrangement. He’s eager to show how the wine industry is transforming not only the economy but the tourism prospects for Brownfield and Terry County, a goal the local Chamber of Commerce works year-round to pursue. On the second-floor deck of his headquarters, Reddy uncorks a bottle of his special Brownfield Blend red and savors a sip. When asked which of his varieties he prefers best, he demurs, as any good parent should. “Oh, I like cabernet and montepulciano, but also moscato,” he muses, before arriving at a more definitive answer. “All of those 32 varieties are my favorites!”

DON’T MISS Grape Day in the Grape Capital of Texas Brownfield, TX First weekend in August annually brownfieldchamber.com Triple D Winery and Restaurant 519 W. Main St. Brownfield, TX 79316 (806) 637-0243 TheTripleD.com HOURS Lunch Mon.–Fri. 11 am–2 pm Dinner Fridays 6–10 pm

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The North American wine industry has its roots in Texas, which continues to enjoy impressive statewide growth






BECKER VINEYARD Fredericksburg



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Napa Valley has nothing on Texas when it comes to wine heritage — and visitors today can appreciate the results of Texas’ grape-growing and wine-making ventures in nearly every corner of the state. But while visitors may enjoy wine tastings, grape stompings and vineyard tours, they may not realize how historic viticulture is in Texas. The first vineyard in North America was planted by Spanish missionaries in what is now Texas, along the Rio Grande near present-day El Paso, in 1682. Grapevines, vineyards and winemaking have been a part of the state’s culture — even during Prohibition — ever since.

Viticulture in Northern Texas

While Qualia was creating a culture of winemaking in the Valley, in the northern part of the state Thomas Volney Munson, often referred to simply as T.V. Munson, a horticulturist and breeder of grapes, was exploring the viticulture potential of grape breeding. Born in 1843, Munson made extensive use of native American grape species, and devoted a great deal of his life to collecting and documenting them. He released hundreds of named cultivars, but his work identifying American native grapes (especially those from Texas) is of great significance today for their use in rootstock. Though

Surviving the “dry” years

Vines in the Valley

The state’s oldest winery resulted from a movement, soon after the Civil War, to develop land along the Rio Grande for agriculture. Among the Italian immigrants drawn by the prospect of abundant irrigated acreage was Francesco Quaglia, who brought with him the family tradition of winemaking and, most important, discovered Lenoir grapes already under cultivation on the property. Anglicizing his name, new Texan Frank Qualia set down roots and established the Val Verde Winery near Del Rio in 1883. This year Val Verde celebrates its 135th year of continuous winemaking. The familyowned business, the oldest bonded winery in Texas, was awarded the Land Heritage Award from the Department of Agriculture for single-family ownership of the vineyards for more than 100 years.  Today the winery is operated by thirdgeneration vintner Thomas Qualia and his son, Michael. Many of their wines have gained the attention of connoisseurs, particularly his Don Luis Tawny Port, which has won medals from Texas to New York. Visitors to the Rio Grande Valley may 42


named him Chevalier du Mérite Agricole of the French Legion of Honor, and Cognac, France, became a sister city to Munson’s home of Denison, Texas. The West Campus of Grayson County College  in Denison preserves much of Munson’s work. In 1974, the T.V. Munson Memorial Vineyard was established, which maintains many of his cultivars and produces stock for propagation. This was followed in 1988 with the opening of the T.V. Munson Viticulture and Enology Center, which serves as a repository for documents and other historical materials regarding Munson. It also houses research, classroom and conference facilities. The grapes that Munson recommended for rootstocks for phylloxera resistance in both Europe and California are still used worldwide. The sports arena at  Denison High School is named Munson Stadium.

breeding for wine quality seems to have occupied a great proportion of his effort, his work on rootstock development had the greatest impact on viticulture. Munson’s work — particularly with phylloxera, a disease previously thought to be unstoppable — provided European grape growers with phylloxera-resistant rootstocks, allowing them to recover from a devastating epidemic of the late 19th century while still growing the ancient Vitis vinifera cultivars. These rootstocks are still used worldwide. In honor of this work, the French government

Texas’s viticulture industry had become firmly established when, in 1919, the nation’s Eighteenth Amendment was ratified, making alcohol prohibition the law of the land. Vintners such as Val Verde, along with winemaking operations that had sprung up in places like the Hill Country and North Texas, suffered. Frank Qualia continued to tend his vines and survived Prohibition by selling table grapes and grapes for home winemaking. Although some of Val Verde’s vines were lost, most of them survived and became the nucleus for the expanded vineyard and winemaking operation that began soon after Prohibition’s repeal. While some wines were produced in Texas after Prohibition, eventually all wineries but Val Verde had ceased to exist by the late 1950s.

A West Texas wine renaissance

The modern, post-Prohibition Texas wine industry was led by Clinton “Doc” McPherson, then a chemistry professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, who traveled to wine regions across the U.S. in the 1960s to research both Vitis vinifera and hybrid grape varieties. Along with his business partner Bob Reed, McPherson planted



take part in a tour and tasting six days a week and sample for themselves.

an experimental vineyard in 1966 in the Texas High Plains comprising 140 different grape varieties to see which grapes worked best in the local climate and soil. It wasn’t the most popular international grapes that thrived best but the more obscure varieties: grenache, ruby cabernet, tempranillo, muscat, chenin blanc and even virua vines smuggled into the country from Spain. However, when McPherson and Reed founded Llano Estacado Winery in Lubbock several years later, in 1976, many of these original vines were ripped out of the vineyard in favor of more recognizable varieties. It’s taken a generation of winemaking for High Plains vineyard owners to

lished vineyards in the Texas Hill Country soon after McPherson and Reed founded Llano Estacado Winery in the High Plains; Richard Becker of Becker Vineyards put the viognier grape on the Texas map; and the proprietors of Messina Hof pioneered winemaking in East Texas. It wasn’t until 2005, however, that real growth occurred in the industry, largely thanks to the state passing its direct shipping bill, allowing Texas wineries to ship their products directly to consumers both in and out of state. Since then, the number of bonded wineries has risen from 40 to more than 400, and there’s been a recent charge led by small, experimental producers to

aries, such as the name of a county, state or country, or by federally recognized American Viticultural Areas.) While the climates of all Texas winemaking regions aren’t the same — the state is roughly the same size as the country of France, after all — there are a few general climactic similarities. Texas generally has a warm continental climate, similar to many regions of Portugal, Spain, central Italy and the Rhône Valley. But despite what anyone who’s experienced a summer day in Dallas or Houston might think, heat is not the state’s biggest climactic challenge. The biggest issues are spring frost, hail and lack of water. This is why many recognizable


A BENCH WITH A VIEW: A Hill Country vineyard

continue to diversify their grape varieties to capitalize on local climate and soil.

plant new grapes and use only Texas fruit for Texas wines.

Winemaking in the Texas Hill Country and elsewhere

Touring Texas’ wine country

Following in the time-honored tradition of German winemakers in the rich agricultural areas around Fredericksburg, new vineyards and wineries soon sprang up. Ed Ahler of Fall Creek Winery estab-

Today Texas has more than 4,000 acres of vineyards covering eight established American Viticultural Areas — or AVAs. (The geographic pedigrees of American wines are denoted by Appellation of Origin, which are defined either by political bound-

grapes, such as merlot, pinot noir and chardonnay, are less suited to Texas winemaking, as they bud early and therefore could be decimated by frost. As hardy and disease-resistant grape varieties have been studied and cultivated in Texas, the wine business has expanded in many parts of the state.

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Texas’ wine regions’ AVAs TEXAS HIGH PLAINS



With 9 million acres, the Texas Hill Country is the largest AVA in Texas and the second largest in the country after the Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA. Located just northwest of Austin and San Antonio, its landscape is comprised largely of low, rolling hills and steep canyons, with the highest elevations — maxing out at about 2,100 feet — located in central and western Texas. Drought is relatively less of a problem in the Hill Country, with the region receiving 24



to 28 inches of rainfall a year, and humidity is increased because of the region’s proximity to the warm Gulf of Mexico. The state’s most robust wine trail area, the Hill Country is home to more than 50 award-winning wineries, with food and wine festivals throughout the year. Special seasonal events for the region include wildflower events in the spring, wedding celebrations in the summer, harvest grape stompings in the fall and tasting and pairing occasions year-round. BELL MOUNTAIN

Texas’s first AVA, created in 1986, is a small region located within the large Texas Hill Country, with about 50 square acres



The second largest AVA in Texas, the Texas High Plains, covers 8 million acres in the state’s Panhandle around Lubbock. As the name implies, the region is located west of the elevation line that separates the high plains from the lower plains, and the elevation of the vineyards rises from 3,000 to 4,100 feet. Even though 80 percent of Texas’ wine grapes come from the High Plains, that doesn’t mean you’ll find a bounty of wineries in the area. What you’ll find is many family farms that once raised cotton, soybeans or sorghum now growing grapes — although you’ll find a cluster of wineries in Lubbock and Amarillo and in far-flung locations across the Panhandle from Canyon to Brownfield (which has been designated by the state legislature as the Grape Capital of Texas, and holds a popular festival each August).

planted north of Fredericksburg. Perhaps the best-known wine destination in this AVA/Wine Trail is the aptly named Bell Mountain Winery, at 463 Bell Mountain Rd. in Fredericksburg. Its first vines were planted in 1976, making it Fredericksburg’s oldest winery.


A sub-region of the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is known for chardonnay, chenin blanc, merlot, and pinot noir grapes. Here, the Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 trail (WR290) features 15 or so awardwinning wineries along a 45-mile stretch of US Highway 290 from Johnson City to Fredericksburg.




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its tasting room in Fort Stockon’s historic Escondido Valley is a small, lower-lying Grey Mule Saloon at 101 E. Callaghan St. valley in West Texas, located just west of The saloon, built in the 1880s to serve Texas the Hill Country and south of the High Rangers, cowboys passing through the area Plains. One winery and U.S. Army troops that makes Escondido who provided protecValley AVA desigtion for the settlers and nated wines is Ste. for the San Antonio-El Paso road, today offers Genevieve Wines, wine tastings and sales whose facilities are of wine and accou27 miles outside of trements, as well as Fort Stockton. Given insights into the vinethe remote location STE. GENEVIEVE VINEYARDS yard, wine grape growof the winery, Ste. Escondido AVA ing and winemaking. Genevieve Wines has ESCONDIDO VALLEY


Located in Far West Texas, the Texas Davis Mountains AVA sees the benefit of a 4,500-to-8,300-foot elevation, making it cooler and wetter than other parts of Texas. The region is known for its cabernet sauvignon grapes. An AVA approved in 1998 in the Trans-Pecos region of west Texas southwest of Fort Stockton contains approximately 270,000 acres spread out north and northwest of Fort Davis, the “highest town in Texas.” There are currently no wineries in this region; the closest tasting room is in Fort Stockton, 90 minutes away. TEXOMA

Though Texoma AVA is technically Texas’ youngest AVA (it was formally established in 2005), it actually played an essential role in the history of the world’s viticulture: it was here that viticulturist Thomas V. Munson first grafted Vitis vinifera onto American rootstocks in order to prevent phylloxera. It’s located in the northern part of the state along the Oklahoma border and the Red River, extending into East Texas, and despite its being a more challenging vinegrowing area, winemakers here are showing promise with merlot, tempranillo, and syrah. There are six wineries in the Texoma AVA, and one winery with the most active events calendars for visitors is Enoch’s Stomp, founded by Altus Koegelenberg, a fifth-generation grape grower from South Africa, and Jon Kral, a chemist, in 2004. Located at 871 Ferguson Rd. in Harleton, the winery has a restaurant, live music every Friday and Saturday night, and tours and tastings. MESILLA VALLEY

The Mesilla Valley AVA  is  located primarily in  New Mexico,  with a small area in Texas. The shared AVA between the states, Mesilla Valley, is producing cabernet sauvignon, syrah and zinfandel. The wines are usually consumed locally and rarely found outside the region. There are two wineries in this AVA, both located in New Mexico.











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BENDING OVER BACKWARDS: The Strutters Gallery at Bobcat Stadium is named in honor of Linda Gregg Fields, a Strutter who graduated from Texas State University — then Southwest Texas State College — in 1966.

Rangerette Showcase Museum 1100 Broadway Blvd. Kilgore, TX 75662 (903) 983-8265 kilgore.edu/campus-life/rangeretteshowcase-and-museum

Linda Gregg Fields Strutters Gallery

Bobcat Stadium 1100 Aquarena Springs Dr. San Marcos, TX 78666 (512) 245-1150 txstate.edu/about/history-traditions/ strutters.html

Apache Belles

Tyler Junior College 1327 S. Baxter Ave. Tyler, TX 75701 (903) 510-2244 apachebelles.com



Choreographed Precision




teams are a thing in Texas. They enhance sporting events and represent schools in parades and performing arts halls. They make it look easy … but it’s not. These young ladies must perform at a high





physical and artistic level that takes great skill and, above all, practice, practice, practice. We asked team members from three schools to tell us about this rich tradition that started at Kilgore College.

VISIT KILGORE visitkilgore.com VISIT SAN MARCOS toursanmarcos.com VISIT TYLER visittyler.com


Dance teams are a Texas tradition — but for participants, the experience is about more than the performance



Kilgore College Rangerettes

Ryan Wayne, a sophomore at Kilgore College, is a Rangerette majoring in advertising and communications. She knows the Rangerette story well. “Miss Gussie Nell Davis started the Rangerettes as a place for girls,” Wayne explains. Back in 1940 sports were for boys, and girls didn’t really have a place to go. So she started Rangerettes to help with football games — the entertainment aspect. But she also wanted to create an environment where a girl could learn how to be a lady and how to present herself in a respectable fashion … to be a role model for others. She wanted to instill a sense of pride in her girls.” Growing up in Kilgore, Wayne says, “I always looked up to the Rangerette organization. I admired what it does for the girls — not just the dancing part but preparing them for life. I remember being little and seeing how much the girls loved it, and I wanted to be a part of something that I enjoyed that much.” There’s more to it than the performances, of course. “We typically go to classes in the morning, practice starts at 1:30 p.m., and we practice until 4:30 p.m. or later depending on the season or how much time we have to prepare for a certain performance. We also have extra practices on evenings or weekends for certain dances. It requires a large time commitment.”

DANCE HALL: The Kilgore College Rangerettes in front of the Gussie Nell Davis Rangerette Residence.

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Tyler Junior College Apache Belles

In 1947 Mildred Stringer was asked to “form some kind of girls’ pep squad” for Tyler Junior College. The first performance of the Apache Belles (first called the Apache Roses) was at a Tyler Junior College football game in September of that year. Apache Belle team members Amanda Hiles (an elementary education major) and Kayla Hubbard (a nursing major) devote 20 to 25 hours to practice each week. All Apache Belles live together on the same



floor of a dorm. “Living together is a whole different ball game,” Hiles says. “We learn how to work together both on stage and off, on the football field and off.” But it’s not all about the performance.“As an Apache Belle you learn integrity and work ethic,” Hiles adds. “You become a better version of yourself. You learn the skills you need to go into a dance career or a non-dance career. Apache Belles prepares young ladies to go out into the world and represent them-

BELLES OF THE BALL: During Homecoming 1995, the Apache Belles put these multi-layered field skirts on for the halftime show. Designed by Lesby Ray of Custom Designs, these skirts were the colorful focal point of the routine, which also featured large turning sombreros.

selves as responsible and professional.” Hubbard concurs. “There are high expectations,” she says. “You’re required to have integrity both on campus and off — on social media, on your weekends, whatever it is you’re doing. You’re expected to uphold an


College dance teams are famous for their synchronized high-kick routines. “We kicked in high school, but nothing is like kicking in Rangerettes,” Wayne says. “It requires so much more stamina. Everyone is expected to kick their hat. Everyone dances at our kick finale in April. We start learning the kick in January so we can build our stamina. It’s six to seven minutes of straight kicking. On the stage you do alternating lines and lots of footwork. We’re famous for the jump split — that’s also something that requires some preparation … definitely not a natural movement. You have to perfect the way of doing it without getting hurt.”

A LEG UP: Paige Carter, head captain, Texas State Strutters.

Tyler/Kilgore football game is the annual opportunity to see both precision dance teams perform on the same field.


The Strutters of Texas State University

attitude of a respectable young lady.” But the performance is the driving force. “When I step out on that football field in uniform,” Hubbard adds, “I get chills. It’s so much fun, and there’s so much tradition. Performing at halftime is my favorite aspect of the Apache Belles.” Hiles agrees but also highlights “our Spring Show, which includes different dance styles. It’s a bit more relaxed, and you get people who aren’t from around here. And it’s packed for four shows — a full crowd.” Having completed her first year as a Belle, Hiles’ favorite experience was homecoming, when Tyler played Kilgore. “There was a big crowd,” she explains, “and a lot of them were educated in drill team.” The

In 1960, Barbara Guinn Tidwell, a former Rangerette, founded the Strutters, bringing the precision dance team concept to a fouryear university for the first time. Paige Carter, head captain for 2018, is a senior majoring in dance education and wants to teach, but also “would really like to be a drill team director, which is one of the main reasons I came to Texas State.” Carter’s favorite performance is the Christmas Show at the Performing Arts Center. “It’s so beautiful in there,” she says. “The lighting is pretty advanced, and the stage surface has a reflective quality, so it’s fun as a performer.” The Strutters are noteworthy because the team is large, with 110 members, of which 26 to 30 are selected through tryouts to be on the highly sought-after Pom Squad that performs at football and basketball games. Carter emphasizes that it’s important the Strutters be role models for girls. “That’s one of the reasons people try out,” she says. “Especially in the dance community, we try to set the example so that girls who are involved in dance are looking at the future of dance. We do recruiting in high schools, looking for girls with experience in dance and drill team. We look well beyond danceability — we want well-rounded girls … girls who can speak and are nice to each other. Someone coming from a team is important — everyone needs to be a team player.” But that team provides beneficial individual relationships, too. “Even as large as the team is,” Carter says, “we’re close with everybody. Any team member would drop whatever they had going on if you needed them. It’s a sisterhood, and that’s really cool.”

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TRAIL DRIVE ONE FOR THE BOOKS: Andrew Carnegie, once the world’s richest man, used his riches to fund a system of public libararies across the country, including 32 in Texas. The library in Bryan, at left, remains.

Bell County Museum 201 N. Main St. Belton, TX 76513 (254) 933-5243

Butterfield Stage 201 S. Denton St. Gainesville, TX 76241 (940) 665-8152

Carnegie Center History Library 111 S. Main St. Bryan, TX 77803 (979) 209-5630

Carnegie Library of Ballinger 208 N. 8th St. Ballinger, TX 76821 (325) 365-3616

Jefferson Carnegie Library 301 W. Lafayette St. Jefferson, TX 75657 (903) 665-8911

Layland Museum 201 Caddo St. Cleburne, TX 76031 (817) 645-0940

Before the building program financed by Andrew Carnegie, Texas had only a handful of public libraries.




he was one of the great philanthropists in American history, it’s no surprise that Andrew Carnegie’s name is emblazoned across several of the country’s most treasured institutions, including, of course the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City. But you don’t have to travel to the Northeast to witness some of Carnegie’s historic generosity. In fact, the Carnegie Corporation of New York built 32 Carnegie Libraries across Texas between 1898 and 1915. The




organization spent more than $18 million in present-day dollars (about $650,000 at the time) to build repositories of knowledge, many of which were erected in smaller communities that previously didn’t have the resources to build their own. Today you can still visit nearly half of them, all designed by Texas architects, from Ballinger to Marshall to Jefferson. Thirteen of the original Carnegie Libraries in Texas remain, with 10 of them landing on the National Register of Historic Places, and the lion’s share standing in communities

315 E. Decherd St. Franklin, TX 77856 (979) 828-4331

Stamford Carnegie Library 600 E. McHarg St. Stamford, TX 79553 (325) 773-2532

Terrell Heritage Museum 207 N. Frances St. Terrell, TX 75160 (972) 524-6082








Public Legacy

Robertson County Carnegie Library







REPOSITORIES OF KNOWLEDGE: A total of 32 Carnegie Libraries were built throughout Texas between 1898 and 1915. Today, 13 remain, some having been adapted for other purposes.

throughout North and East Texas. If you’re looking for the “real deal,” head to Jefferson, where you can find the beautiful 1907 building still advertised and operating as the Jefferson Carnegie Library. The same goes for the Stamford library, granted in 1908 for $15,000. Several other communities throughout Texas have found creative adaptations for their Carnegie Libraries. In Tyler, for instance, the Carnegie Library ceased operation as a library in 1978 when the city built a newer library across the street. The Smith County Historical Society now fittingly occupies the building, which was the first structure in town to have running water and also served as a Red Cross hub during World War I.


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With Carnegie’s name still boldly engraved across the top, Terrell’s former library is now home to the Terrell Heritage Museum, which houses thousands of artifacts from Terrell’s history. The town continually works to renovate and keep up both the historic building and several other impressive relics, like a private railcar from 1890. The former Sherman Public Library, built with Carnegie grants in 1914, is now the impressive Sherman Museum, a shining example of historical excellence in small-town Texas. Boasting more than 50,000 objects in its collection, the Sherman Museum was founded in 1976 and promotes the education and preservation of the Grayson County and greater Red River area. And if you’re on your way to Cleburne, Belton or Bryan, be sure to stop at the Layland Museum, Bell County Museum, and Carnegie Center of Brazos Valley History, respectively. All three gorgeous buildings have stood for about 115 years and currently house impressive collections pertaining to the rich culture of the areas. Folks in Palestine and Sulphur Springs conduct civic business daily in their Carnegie Libraries. They house the Palestine Chamber of Commerce and Sulphur Springs City Hall. The Marshall library now serves as an administration building on the Wiley College campus. AU THENT IC TEX AS




victim to either municipal expansion in the 1960s and ’70s or destruction. The Pittsburg, Texas, library was only the eighth Carnegie Library commissioned and the second outside of Pennsylvania. It burned in a fire in 1939. The Temple and Clarksville libraries suffered similar fates.

But with a handful of these beautiful and historic buildings still serving important functions, it’s safe to say Andrew Carnegie’s famed philanthropy lives on deep in the heart of Texas.


And perhaps the most distinctive adaptation of all: the Gainesville Carnegie Library has been transformed into the Butterfield Stage, a community playhouse that serves as the hub for arts in the region and has hosted more than 1,700 shows to date. Sadly, multiple Carnegie Libraries fell


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HOUSE OF PIES: The Midpoint serves as a refuge for hungry travelers.

Home-Grown Treat BACK IN THE salad days of auto travel, when Route 66 wasn’t even paved all the way from Amarillo, Texas, to Tucumcari, N.M., Zella’s Cafe, starting in 1928, dished up grub for hardy cross-country travelers at tiny Adrian, a shipping point on the Rock Island






Railroad not far from the New Mexico line. By the time the Chicago-to-L.A. route was hardtopped a decade later, the cafe had changed hands a few times but was still cranking out 24-houra-day business. Over the decades of Route

66’s heyday, one owner became renowned for serving fresh homemade pies. Enter Fran Houser, who bought the cafe in 1990 and renamed it the Midpoint, introducing the Ugly Crust Pie — a deliciously decadent, sixinch-tall creation with a

305 West Historic Route 66 Adrian, TX 79001 (806) 538-6379

rustic, hand-shaped shell and a heap of whipped topping. Houser and her family worked diligently to keep the place going in the years after Route 66 was decommissioned and bypassed by Interstate 40. Her industry was amply rewarded in 2006 when a pile of

8 am–5 pm daily (breakfast and lunch only; grill closes at 3 pm) Mid-March through November






The Ugly Pie is a slice of beauty at Adrian’s Midpoint Cafe on Route 66

Midpoint Cafe and Gift Shop

MIDDLE GROUND: Adrian sits roughly halfway between Chicago and Los Angeles on Route 66.

picture-makers from Pixar pulled up. Hollywood, it turned out, was planning an animated film inspired by Route 66’s automobile culture. Cars premiered in May 2006, ranking No. 1 in its opening weekend, with Houser’s Midpoint Cafe the real-life model for the Flo’s V8 Cafe. Two owners later, after Houser’s retirement and the retirement of successor Dennis Purschwitz, another local family is carrying on the Ugly Pie tradition. Sisters Brenda Hammit and Carrie O’Leary, whose mother, Sandra Adams, had been the Midpoint’s chief pie-maker for half a decade, decided to invest in their own little piece of Route 66 history. O’Leary and her family grew up in California and ran racehorses before settling down in Colorado and Texas. They moved home from Denver, and the latest iteration of the cafe opened a spring-to-fall annual season March 26. They’ll serve up burgers with a side of nostalgia in the ’50s-stye diner daily from midMarch through November, with special-order pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And Mom “has included her signature lemon meringue,” O’Leary says, “which is a must-try!” Route 66 is again alive and well in Adrian, 47 miles west of Amarillo, with tour buses, bikers, RVers and others pulling up to the Midpoint sign daily and stopping in for a bite of lunch. “Our families are excited to be part of the Route 66 family,” O’Leary says. “We’ve had so much support from them and from Oldham County.” FA L L 2 0 1 8



Brewing Up Flavor


ABOUT 20 miles northeast of downtown Dallas, Bankhead Brewing Company is serving as the flagship dining and drinking experience for the downtown Rowlett revitalization. The brainchild of veteran chef Kevin Lefere and brewmaster Ryan Pyle, Bankhead Brewing Co. combines hundreds of years of history with a fresh take on craft brewing in Texas. The brewpub gets its name from the his-





toric Bankhead Highway, a transcontinental route built in 1916 that extended from Washington, D.C., to San Diego. More than 850 miles cut straight across Texas, including through downtown Rowlett. “Upping the quality” — that’s Bankhead’s mission when it comes to the growing brewpub scene in Texas, says brewmaster Ryan Pyle. “People are starting to appreciate better beer in Texas.” Historically, Texas has

been a little behind the curve in the craft brewpub world. The state is 48th in brewing on a per capita basis, compared to smaller states like Oregon, which is fifth. And if you remove the growing beer scene in Austin from the mix, the landscape feels even more barren. But you wouldn’t know it from the bustling crowds visiting Bankhead, located conveniently a few blocks from the DART station and George Bush

Turnpike. “We definitely see people coming in, and it’s not just, ‘Gimme a beer, something light,’” Pyle says. “They know what they’re coming in for. And if they’re interested in the process, we train our staff to take them back to the brewery and show them what we do. We do tours whenever.” That “open invitation” policy created a following in the small community. And it translates to the kitchen, too, which is

ACROSS THE BOARD: The venue (top) is named for the Bankhead Highway, which cut across Texas, as depicted on a wall display (bottom).

Bankhead Brewing 109B S. Main St. Cedar Hill, TX 75104 (469) 537-5505 BankheadBrewing.com


11 am–10 pm daily

VISIT ROWLETT ci.rowlett.tx.us



One Rowlett brewpub is upping the game on craft beer in Texas — and it gives tours whenever

behind the bar and plainly visible for patrons to watch chefs at work. At the center of the culinary experience are two pecan-fired ovens that cook nearly everything in the restaurant. “It definitely ups the flavor and makes every dish unique,” Pyle says. “Even the soups and pastas are cooked in those ovens.” Visitors can enjoy an eclectic menu featuring crowd favorites like brisket cheese fries and the “street taco pizza.” Sandwiches, salads and more round out a menu that’s as diverse as America itself. You’re also likely to find new specials starting every Friday (with a matching craft beer suggestion, of course). In the brewery, Pyle and fellow brewer

Chad Mosier constantly work on offering unique brews inspired by regions all over the world. “We have an RO water system, so we basically build our water for every batch we do,” Pyle says. “It allows us to do a Bohemian pilsner with really soft water, or a German pilsner with hard water. Or now the trend is Northeastern IPAs, and we can do those as well as West Coast by changing the water. It really helps us dial in the flavor.” It’s a level of care and delicacy that helped Bankhead bring home numerous awards in 2017, only one year after opening. The venue won two Grand Champion Awards from the United States Beer Tasting Championship, as well as gold and bronze awards at the Best Little Brewfest in Texas and a silver at the U.S. Beer Open. Not bad for a brewpub that still hasn’t quite celebrated its second birthday. But you won’t find Pyle trying to safeguard his secrets. In fact, he runs the Rockwall Brewers Association and routinely helps coach brewers both young and old. “A bad brewery experience can make every brewery look bad,” he says. “And Texas should be known for the best beer in the country.”

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Nelson Rockefeller’s passion for Latin American culture is on display in San Antonio — thanks to his daughter




ENTLY TUCKED in a bend of the San Antonio River in downtown San Antonio, the historic San Antonio Museum of Art houses the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art — one of the world’s preeminent collections of its kind. And it all started as a generous gift. Though Rockefeller may be best known as Gerald Ford’s vice president and a four-term governor of New York, he shared a deep passion for Latin American culture. From his early days visiting Mexico as a child, Rockefeller developed a



love for Mexican folk art. He amassed thousands of pieces from all over Latin America during his lifetime, many from local villages and flea markets. After his death in the late 1970s, much of Rockefeller’s pre-Columbian and contemporary Latin American collections went to various museums in New York City, like the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, where he served as president in the 1930s. But his vast collection of folk art stayed largely within the confines of his personal properties. In the 1980s, Rockefeller’s daughter, Ann R.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION: A River Walk boat ride (left photo) now takes you by the San Antonio Museum of Art, which houses the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art; then-Vice President Rockefeller (at left in above photo), meeting in the Oval Office with President Gerald Ford (center) and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art 200 W. Jones Ave. San Antonio, TX 78215 (210) 978-8100 samuseum.org


Tue. and Fri. 10 am–9 pm Wed., Thur., Sat., Sun. 10 am–5 pm

VISIT SAN ANTONIO VisitSanAntonio.com


World-Class Folk Art


Roberts, purchased this collection from his estate and set about finding a proper home for the collection. “Father’s interest was always in promoting the interrelationship between Mexico and America,” Roberts told the New York Times. “So I wanted the gift to go to a place where it would work toward furthering that interrelationship.” Rockefeller’s sons, Mark and Nelson Jr., who inherited their father’s South Texas ranch, donated money for a computer network to lead visitors through the center. San Antonio felt like a natural fit thanks to its already deep-seated appreciation for its Latin community and Latino heritage. So Roberts donated more than 3,000 pieces of his Latin American folk art collection to the San Antonio Museum of Art in 1985. The gift was particularly generous, because the museum itself had only been in existence since 1981. But museum curators and the public had a tangible passion for creating a one-of-a-kind art environment. Roberts’ gift of her father’s art was so large it actually inspired the development of a new wing. Voters soon approved a bond package that spurred a fundraising challenge, eventually resulting in an $11 million construction project in the mid-1990s. In working closely with the museum and the Rockefeller family, architects designed a world-class wing that maintains an authentic, non-linear representation of the Latin American collection’s different galleries. Each gallery’s entrance feels representative of that collection — for instance, the Spanish Colonial gallery feels like a basilica, while Rockefeller’s personal folk collection feels much more intimate (and is protected from natural light, which could deteriorate the art). The three-story, 30,000 square-foot

L-shaped wing wraps around a pair of 200year-old oak trees. Upon its completion in 1998, the newly dubbed Rockefeller Wing won numerous awards for its thoughtful design that both highlights the vast Latin American art collection and conserves the area’s natural history. In 2009, the city of San Antonio even extended the River Walk strolling path three kilometers to meet the museum’s front door. The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art now spans more than

CULTURAL CONNECTION: (from left) Jose de Páez’s De Español e India produce Mestizo, now on display; Rockefeller traveling in Latin America with the American International Association for Economic and Social Development in 1958.

4,000 years of history, with more than 8,000 paintings, sculptures, works on paper and other objects from all parts of Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Its collection of folk art remains one of the most important collections of its type.

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Mass-Produced Memorial

Doughboy statues honoring World War I soldiers dot the Texas landscape




“The Spirit of the American Doughboy,” by Ernest M. Viquesney, is a memorial statue that can be found in multiple locations around the state. So if at first glance the structure may seem familiar, that may be because you’ve seen it elsewhere. The statue was first conceptualized in 1920, two years after the end of World War I, and features a lone U.S. soldier dressed in an Army uniform holding a rifle with a bayonet in his left hand while brandishing a grenade in his right, posi-




tioning himself similarly to the iconic pose of the Statue of Liberty. The soldier’s stern, triumphant expression embodies the American spirit and perseverance in the war. The Doughboy memorials, all featuring the statue and a stone or brick base, can be found in 39 U.S. states. They sit in town squares, in cemeteries, in front of federal buildings and in parks. There are about 145 of them — nine in Texas — and they all look familiar. In North Texas, you can find the famed statue in Crowell, Fort Worth, Vernon and Wichita Falls.

Spirit of the American Doughboy Texas has nine genuine Viquesney “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statues at Canyon, Crowell, Fort Worth, Groesbeck, Lufkin, New Braunfels, Sinton, Vernon, and Wichita Falls. There is also one private gravesite memorial at Texarkana designed by another sculptor, but which includes several statues ordered ready-made, one of which is an unsigned, untitled stone Doughboy that Viquesney may or may not have been involved with. The Doughboy at Crowell is paired with the only known stone version of “The Spirit of the American Navy.”


FIGHTING SPIRIT: Ernest M. Viquesney’s Doughboy statue (shown at far left with its naval companion sculpture in Crowell, Texas) was so popular that smaller versions — like the lamp stand (bottom) — were created.


SOLDIERING ON: The Doughboy statue in Groesbeck, Texas (top), along with the inscription (bottom) that appeared on each Doughboy installation nationwide.

(The Doughboy at Crowell is paired with the only known stone version of Viquesney’s “The Spirit of the American Navy.”) The statue also resides in the Panhandle town of Canyon as well as Groesbeck and New Braunfels in Central Texas, along with Lufkin in East Texas and Sinton in South Texas. There’s also a debated location in Texarkana, situated on a private gravesite memorial that has a stone Doughboy. Its unsigned nature means that it may have been a collaboration with Viquesney and another artist, but that remains unknown. But why would this specific statue design be scattered all around the state and the nation? The reason is the “Spirit of the American Doughboy” is among the first mass-produced memorial statues in existence. Viquesney, an Indiana native, served in the Spanish-American War. He also grew up wanting to be an artist, although he was warned by his father that he’d die poor if he pursued that career path. Viquesney, however, proved him wrong. He started working for a memorial company in Americus, Ga., FA L L 2 0 1 8


where he created the marble headstones for the U.S. Civil War soldiers buried in Andersonville National Cemetery. Though the headstones brought him recognition, Viquesney’s real claim to fame occurred following WWI. He wasted no time in starting his Doughboy sculpture, beginning work on it immediately once the war ended in 1918. He had several returning soldiers pose for him while wearing their full combat gear. While he could have had them stand simply, with both arms down, Viquesney wanted a triumphant pose to be the legacy of the war. In 1920, Viquesney applied for a pat-

ent for his design. He pioneered the idea of a mass-produced memorial to bypass the sky-high expenses, complicated approval process and time taken to create a one-ofa-kind memorial. Knowing that Americans across the nation would want to memorialize the Great War, he created and patented a mold either pressed from copper or cast from zinc then coated with bronze. This made the statue’s production time quicker, cheaper to make and easily transportable to towns and cities around the country due to its lighter weight compared with traditional marble statues. The price of one “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue was $1,500 — roughly $20,000 in today’s market.

Viquesney placed ads in newspapers and magazines around the country for his Doughboy sculpture. In them, he claimed to have sold 300 of the full, 7-foot-tall memorial sculptures, and that there was





New Ulm



at least one in every state (48 at the time). While these claims haven’t been substantiated, the Doughboy iconography was so popular that plenty of small towns snapped them up. The popularity soared, so much so that Viquesney created smaller versions of the sculpture, as well as one that served as a lamp base, making it possible for veterans or


others to place a Doughboy in their homes. This year, on Nov. 11, the U.S. marks the 100th anniversary of the day Germany formally surrendered, thus ending the fighting in WWI. Doughboy statues are a reminder to honor those who risked their lives to defend our country and support other nations 100 years ago.

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The Promise GLEN ROSE

5000 Texas Dr. (254) 897-3926 ThePromiseGlenRose.com IN 1984, 15 Texas businessmen from different backgrounds and locations came together with a vision of producing an • outdoor Passion Play in North Texas. Their initial intent was to produce a musical called Worthy Is the Lamb, but after many trials, tribulations and triumphs, the first presentation of The Promise occurred in fall 1989 at the newly built $8.5 million, state-of-the-art Texas Amphitheatre in Glen Rose. Over the years, The Promise has been performed in cities as diverse as Moscow, Seoul, and Branson, Mo., all the while maintaining its performances in Glen Rose. Until 2006, the performances had a five-month run between June and October. In that year, however, a decision was made to change the season so it would run during the most weather-reliable time of year, September and October. That schedule has held to this day. The Promise hasn’t been without “drama” through the years. In 2013, as the musical was celebrating its 25th season on the Amphitheatre stage, word around town was that it would possibly be the last. Because of declining property values in the region, Somervell County was making cuts, and the county-owned amphitheatre was slated to be closed. But as word of the possible closure spread, The Promise experienced an outpouring of support, and

on Oct. 19 of that year, all attendance records were broken. In addition, letters and phone calls came in large numbers from all over the country. On Nov. 18, 2013, the Somervell County commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a proposal for a 10-year exclusive lease submitted by The Promise board of directors. “As business people, we understand what the commissioners are faced with,” Philip Hobson, board president, said, “but also know what The Promise means to so many.” And now, The Promise is taking on a new life in 2018 with its adaptation of Son of David. New music, characters and scenes have been added by a team of international artists and choreographers that will transport the audience back to first-century Jerusalem. The new narrative is told through the eyes of Reuben the Shepherd. As a child, Reuben is an eyewitness to the appearance of angels over the fields of Bethlehem and hears the announcement that the long-awaited messiah has been born. We meet Reuben and his family in later years, as they gather around the Sabbath table. Reuben and his wife Tirzah are preparing for Passover, and as Reuben relates his angelic encounter to his children, the story of Jesus begins to unfold. Throughout the week of Passover, Reuben’s family is swept into the drama and finally encounters their messiah. The Promise combines a 150-person cast and crew, live animals, historically accurate costumes and breathtaking special effects. And its venue is equally impressive. The Texas Amphitheater seats more than 3,200 patrons and is the only outdoor venue with a 45,000-gallon moat and rain curtain. Seen from miles around, the amphitheater features 40-foot-high walls and arches that tower above a 4,000-square-foot tri-level stage. — KRISTEN GIBSON



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Happenings FA L L 20 1 8














A gathering to celebrate the cowboy way of life and Western swing music. The event features live auctions and raffles; vendors for shopping and food; and acts by such notables as Jody Nix, Jake Hooker, Justin Trevino and cowboy poet Clifton Fifer Jr.

Sept. 7–9 Museum of the Southwest (432) 683-2882 museumsw.org Celebrate whimsy and wonder at this long-standing and beloved community



houses and more. Festival admission includes entry into the Turner Memorial Art Museum, Durham Children’s Museum and Blakemore Planetarium.

30th Annual National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration LUBBOCK

Septemberfest MIDLAND



Sept. 7–9 Lubbock Civic Center (806) 798-7825 cowboy.org With indoor presentations, performances and vendors and an outdoor parade and chuck wagon cookoff, NCSC celebrates Western heritage

Permian Basin Fair and Expo



Aug. 31–Sept. 9 Ector County Coliseum (432) 550-3232 permianbasinfair.com


Early Pioneer Days EARLY

Sept. 13–16 (325) 649-9300 visitearlytexas.com The festival features a softball and baseball tournament, as well as a carnival, 5K race, fireworks show, BBQ cookoff, kids’ area, vendors and a food court. Plus, a concert by Texas country singer Roger Creager.

Independencia de Mexico ALPINE

Sept. 15 (432) 294-2370 visitalpinetx.com/events/ independencia-de-mexico


The Basin’s best family entertainment value since 1975 includes rides, food, talents shows, roaming performers, petting zoos and much more.

San Angelo Cowboy Gathering


Evening parade celebrating Diez y Seis de Septiembre followed by El Grito and a Gran Mercado on historic Murphy Street with live music, mariachis, ballet folklorico and more.

Permian Basin Fair and Expo



Sept. 15–16 Midland International Air & Space Port (432) 703-3142 www.airsho.org Sept. 7–8 Wells Fargo Pavilion (325) 763-9923 sanangelocowboygathering. com

tradition. The three-day arts festival has food and drink vendors, artists’ booths, KinderFest crafts and games, live entertainment, bounce

and cowboy culture for those who know and love it — and introduces new audiences to the heritage and culture of the American Southwest.

Hosted by the Commemorative Air Force High Sky Wing, visitors will enjoy one of the most impressive flying displays of

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entertainment on two stages, a spectacular fireworks show, tons of food, a half-marathon, 10K, 5K and 1K fun run, kids’ activities, make-and-take crafts, tethered rides and, of course, the hot air balloons. Come see the 40 colorful balloons launch five times throughout the weekend, along with balloon glows Friday and Saturday nights. Kids will have plenty to do between launches at the Kids Fun Zone, free Kids Korner, huge inflatables and more.

AIRSHO, Midland

Texas State Forest Festival LUFKIN

Sept. 21–25 (936) 634-6644 texasstateforestfestival.com A festival for all ages. Entertainment includes the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, Happy World Carnival, the Gunfighters and animal races.

Plano Balloon Festival and Run



Texas Rose Dressage Fall Classic

State Fair of Texas, Dallas


Museum of the Big Bend Sept. 21–22 (432) 837-8145 museumofthebigbend.com Attend the opening reception at the Museum of the Big Bend for Erin Hanson: Impressions of Big Bend Country, a show of modern impressionistic oil paintings inspired by explorations and hiking trips in and around Big Bend National Park. Completing the weekend,

State Fair of Texas DALLAS

Sept. 28–Oct. 21 Fair Park (214) 565-9931 bigtex.com The fair is the longestrunning fair in the nation, with 24 consecutive days full of Texas fun with unlimited shows, live music, exhibits, food, games and rides.


Sept. 21–23 Texas Rose Horse Park 14078 State Hwy. 110N (903) 882-8696 texashorsepark.com Come and see highly skilled riders compete in the art of dressage. The International Equestrian Federation defines dressage as the highest form of horse training.

Plano Balloon Festival and Run PLANO

Sept. 21–23 Oak Point Park (972) 867-7566 planoballoonfest.org Come celebrate 39 years of ballooning in Plano with this three-day event. It’s an actionpacked weekend of skydivers, hot air balloons, concerts and more. The weekend offers live


vintage military aircraft and some of the most popular civilian aerobatic performers. AIRSHO offers visitors a chance to get close to the aircraft and see them perform in ways you won’t experience anywhere else. The CAF’s Pyrotechnic Groups, awardwinning groups of licensed pyrotechnic technicians, shake the ground with simulated bombing raids, strafing runs and the infamous “wall of fire.” Watch history come alive before your eyes (and ears).

Fall Exhibit Opening and Heritage Dinner

the museum’s fifth annual Heritage Dinner will be held in Marathon.


Round Top Antiques Fair

eries from across the country. A variety of food trucks will also be on hand, offering food and desserts for purchase. Relax and enjoy these great tastes with live music.

vibrant downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment scene during Homecoming Weekend at West Texas A&M University.

Columbian civilizations through the modern era.

Texas Mushroom Festival MADISONVILLE


Oct. 1–6 Big Red Barn Event Center (512) 237-4747 roundtoptexasantiques.com The original Round Top Antiques Fair invites you to join us in celebrating its 50th year.

Waco Cultural Arts Fest WACO

Oct. 5–7 Downtown Waco (254) 723-6830 wacoartsfest.org A fun, imaginative, interdisciplinary approach to art and culture. Join Wacoans in shining a spotlight on the arts, our community and the art that draws us together.

Fort Davis Lantern Tours FORT DAVIS

Oct. 6 Fort Davis National Historic Site (432) 426-3224 nps.gov/foda Walk under the stars and watch the fort come alive. Witness history in the making with historically based skits that give visitors a unique understanding of history.

Fair on the Square CANYON

Oct. 6 Historic Courthouse Square (806) 655-7815 canyonchamber.org

Dry Devil’s River Music Flood SONORA

Oct. 9 Sutton County Park (888) 387-2880 sonoratexas.org This music festival features a catfish cookoff, the Hell or High Water 5K, a golf scramble, concessions and a lineup of bands.

Oct. 13 Downtown Madisonville (979) 229-8342 texasmushroomfestival.com Wine tasting, biergarten and cooking demonstrations are available for an entry fee. Free events include arts and crafts, kids’ zone, delicious food including Monterey mushrooms and free mushroom fajitas, auto showcase, Shiitake 5K Run/Walk, quilt show, photography contest and more.

    Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández EL PASO

Oct. 11 Plaza Theatre visitelpaso.com Founded in 1952 by dancer

Fort Griffin Living History Days ALBANY

Oct. 12–13 Fort Griffin State Historic Site (325) 762-3592

include military interpretations from various time periods with artillery, infantry and cavalry demonstrations, blacksmithing, gun fights, Drummer Boy ice cream, 1800s children’s games, period music by Time Was, Native American culture and dancing, Texas longhorns, the Texas Camel Corps and frontier living.

31st Annual Punkin Days FLOYDADA

Oct. 13 Downtown Floydada (806) 983-3434 floydadachamber.com/ punkin-days Agricultural heritage runs deep in Floydada, known as “Pumpkin Capital, USA” — where its annual harvest festival features loads of pumpkins and pumpkin-themed fun (from guessing the weight of a truckload of pumpkins,to a decorating contest). Enjoy a variety of food, a chili and

31st Annual Punkin Days

Ripfest & Old Rip Parade EASTLAND

Oct. 6 Downtown Eastland (254) 629-2332 eastlandchamber.com Celebrate the legend of “Old Rip” – the horned lizard that survived 31 years inside the county courthouse cornerstone. The day’s activities include the Old Rip 5K and Kids Fun Run, Old Rip Parade and Ripfest with live music, vendor booths, bounce houses, pony rides, and tons of food!  


Corks & Caps BROWNWOOD

Oct. 6 Depot Plaza (325) 646-9535 brownwoodchamber.org Enjoy tastings of beer and wine from breweries and win-

Enjoy fun and food on the green lawn surrounding one of Texas’ most picturesque historic courthouse squares, while enjoying Canyon’s

and choreographer Amalia Hernández, Ballet Folklórico brings together the music, dance and costume of Mexican folklore from pre-

The past comes to life when living historians gather to portray life at the fort and nearby Wild West town as it was in the 1870s. Activities

BBQ cookoff, car show, Cow Patty Bingo, vendors, pumpkin pie eating contest, museum open house, a rope-making demonstration and more.

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Kerrville Chalk Festival

Oct. 25–28 Fort Worth Stockyards (817) 444-5502 redsteagallgathering.com

Help celebrate the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center’s 50th Anniversary at this public event.


Oct. 13–14 Peterson Plaza (830) 895-5222 kerrvillechalk.org Experience large-scale artworks on concrete by experienced and first-time artists from around Texas, live music and interesting food. The festival presents more than 50 local artists and experienced street painters. Children and even the general public are given an opportunity for artistic expression and a performance venue as well.

The nation’s premier Western heritage event has been voted Best Gathering and Best Family Event by the readers of American Cowboy magazine.

Texas Clay Festival GRUENE

Oct. 28–29 Gruene Historical District (830) 629-7975 texasclayfestival.com

of Texas.” This Texas tradtion includes storytellers, musicians, delicious food, arts & crafts vendors, children’s area, petting zoo, living history exhibits and more.

of attendees who are treated to world-famous shrimp recipes. The festival includes great food and a variety of vendors, live music, activities for kids of all ages, original artwork, gifts and collectibles.


Nov. 2–4 Downtown George West (361) 449-2481 georgeweststoryfest.org Since 1989, the art and tradition of storytelling has been celebrated around the Live Oak County Courthouse square in downtown George West, the “Storytelling Capital

World’s Championship Shrimp Cookoff PORT ISABEL Nov. 3 (956) 943-2262 portisabelchamber.com The 25th annual World’s Championship Shrimp Cookoff includes dozens of contestants and thousands


Fall Foliage Festival CANADIAN

Oct. 20–21 (806) 323-6234 canadiantx.org Celebrate autumn’s beauty with fall foliage touring, an arts and crafts show, car show, quilt show, nature showcase and outdoor classroom.

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival HARLINGEN

Nov. 7–11 Municipal Auditorium (209) 227-4823 rgvbf.org In its 25th year, the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival draws birders from near and far for the chance to find birds unique to the area. The Birding Festival promises exciting field trips into the Rio Grande Valley’s diverse habitat led by seasoned guides, tropical workshops and lectures by professional speakers, children’s activities, a bustling trade show and ample opportunities to mingle and enjoy the local cuisine and culture.

Viva Big Bend


Oct. 25–27 Downton Elgin (512) 229-3213 hogeyefestival.com   This free festival features live music and entertainment on three stages, handmade arts and crafts, children’s activities, a children’s costume pet parade, a carnival, Road Hog Car Show, BBQ pork cookoff, In a Pig’s Eye cornhole tournament, hogalicious dessert contest, Cow Patty Bingo, the Pearls Before Swine art show and great festive food.

Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering & Western Swing Festival FORT WORTH



Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival

Featuring the work of more than 60 Texas potters and clay artists, the festival offers the opportunity to view and purchase a variety of pottery, from traditional to sculptural, by the top clay artists in the state. Watch and learn as demonstrations are held in four tents both days.


Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center 50th Anniversary LANGTRY Nov. 1 526 State Loop 25 Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center (432) 291-3340


Fall Foliage Festival, Canadian

31st Annual Hogeye Festival

Santa’s Wonderland

Heritage Syrup Festival



Nov. 9–Dec. 31 Santa Town (979) 690-7212 santas-wonderland.com

Nov. 10 Depot Museum and downtown (866) 650-5529 hendersontx.us

Hayrides, horse and carriage tours, live music, shopping, Frost-Bites Food Village, Cozy Campfires, Santa and more.

The 57th Annual Scottish Gathering and Highland Games SALADO

Nov. 9–11 Salado Museum (254) 947-5232 saladomuseum.org Come and visit the longestrunning Scottish gathering in Texas. Experience authentic Scottish athletic events, Highland dancing, piping and drumming, plenty of food and arts for all.

Begun in November 1989, this unique fall festival is centered around the making of sugarcane syrup. The festival is held on the seven-acre grounds of the Depot Museum and the 10 blocks in the National Register Historic Downtown District.

Fort Martin Scott Treaty Day FREDERICKSBURG

Nov. 10 Fort Martin Scott (830) 217-3200 ftmartinscott.org A day of living history celebrates the Fort Martin Scott Treaty of 1850. Witness sol-

diers, Texas Rangers, scouts and interpreters as they prepare to leave this frontier post for the Indian Treaty Grounds on the San Saba River.

67th Annual German Sausage Festival UMBARGER

Nov. 10 St. Mary’s Catholic Church (806) 499-3531 stmarysumbarger.com The historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church, with its POW-created murals, is open for viewing during this long-running annual festival featuring sausage, sauerkraut, bread and trimmings. Baked goods, baby quilts, gift items, canned goods and handmade religious items are some of the products made by members to sell on festival day.    

Ranch Hand Festival

streets with visual surprises and spirited live music.


Nov. 16–17 Downtown (361) 592-8516 ranchhandfestival.com Ranch Hand Festival honors the city’s ranching heritage, featuring food, live music, cooking demonstrations, art, storytelling, book signings by local authors and more. Local museums, artists, businesses, community organizations, vendors and Texas A&MKingsville work together to provide cowboy-themed entertainment. The event also kicks off Kingsville’s La Posada holiday celebration.

Ranch Hand Breakfast KINGSVILLE

Nov. 17 King Ranch (800) 333-5032 ranchhandfestival.com Park downtown, take the free shuttle bus to the King Ranch, and enjoy an authentic, hearty cowboy breakfast, cooked and served outdoors at historic King Ranch. Team roping and old-time camp cooking demonstrations will be part of the morning’s activities, along with storytelling and musical entertainment.

Artwalk Alpine ALPINE

Nov. 16–17 artwalkalpine.com A two-day free arts festival that fills Alpine’s galleries and

Sacred Springs Powwow SAN MARCOS

Nov. 17–18 The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment sspowwow.com This celebration has been

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a part of San Marcos for thousands of years. Native dancers gather in their handcrafted native regalia, and booths with authentic Native American arts and food are featured.

River Walk can enjoy some of the most beautiful holiday lights in the state. The lights are on from dusk to dawn for everyone to enjoy as they stroll along the historic River Walk.

of the star atop the mesa that bears the town’s name. Dickens on the Strand GALVESTON

Christmas Capital of Texas GRAPEVINE

Holiday Lights on the San Antonio River Walk SAN ANTONIO

Nov. 23–Jan. 4, 2019 San Antonio River Walk (210) 227-4262 thesanantonioriverwalk.com Visitors to the San Antonio

25th Annual Lighting of the Star on Gail Mountain GAIL

Nov. 23 Food, shopping and fun abound during the afternoon at the Borden County Museum and historic courthouse before folks gather to watch the 7 p.m. illumination

Nov. 24–early Jan. 2019 (800) 457-6338 grapevinetexasusa.com Grapevine is the perfect place to create Christmas memories with over 14,000 Christmas events to enjoy.

36th Annual Jefferson Candlelight Tour of Homes JEFFERSON

Nov. 29–Dec. 28 (903) 665-7064 jeffersoncandlelight.com Enjoy touring historic homes in Jefferson that are lavishly decorated for the holiday season.

Holiday Lights on the San Antonio River Walk



Nov. 30–Dec. 2 (409) 765-7834 galvestonhistory.org Galveston’s holiday street festival, based on 19th-century Victorian London, features parades, non-stop entertainment on six stages, strolling carolers, roving musicians, bagpipers, jugglers and a host of other entertainers. Costumed vendors peddle their wares from street stalls and rolling carts laden with holiday food and drink, Victorian-inspired crafts, clothing, jewelry, holiday decorations and gift items.


Tour of Historic Homes ROCKPORT/FULTON Dec. 1–2 (361) 727-9214 aransashistorycenter.org

Private home and historic venues are opened in Fulton and Rockport, and docents are decked out in vintage attire as they entertain and educate on these venues and explain the history of the homes.

Christmas at Old Fort Concho SAN ANGELO

Dec. 7–9 630 S. Oakes St. (325) 481-2646 fortconcho.com Visit Fort Concho’s largest annual event as the 40 acres and 24 buildings are filled with shopping, entertainment, food and beverage, displays, living history, period entertainment, children’s workshops and special events.




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A sixth-generation Texan and resident historian is helping Refugio rebuild after Hurricane Harvey

the Refugio, Texas, home of Bart Wales, one of the first things you’ll see is a stunningly ornate piano. “That’s a 1905 Steinway grand, one of their art-case designs,” Wales says. The heavy carvings and gold leaf are signature Louis XV style. Just like everything else in Wales’ home, this grand piano has a story behind it. “For a long time, it was in another historic house just down the street, here in Refugio,” Wales explains. “The woman who owned it put it up for sale in Corpus, and I saw it and moved it back home.” The full grand piano is rumored to have been one of Liberace’s, bought by Wales’ neighbors when they were in Las Vegas. “Everything I own is exciting,” he says. Continuing through Wales’ home, you’ll see the hallways filled with paintings. “Everyone says my house is a museum — my son complains I don’t have a comfortable chair in the whole place,” Wales says. “But it’s my house. It makes Bart happy.” Included in his broad collection is an original Kermit Oliver painting. Raised in Refugio, Oliver is currently the only American artist who’s designed scarves for Hermés Paris. “Collector” is one of Wales’ many roles, and he admits “there are several Bart Wales you have to look at.” But no matter what hat Wales puts on, he’s always serving Refugio:




the town, the history, its people. Wales’ love for Refugio dragged him into politics in the late 1980s. “I tried getting things done as a citizen, but no one would listen to me,” he says. After serving a year as a city councilman, Wales ran against “a really lousy mayor and beat him in a landslide.” Wales served as mayor for three terms before deciding he’d accomplished what he set out to do and moved on. Today Wales is the director of Refugio County Museum. He’s also on the boards of several nonprofits, the Texas Tropical Trail Region, and the local historical commission. “On weekends,” he says. “I work at Home Depot as a kitchen designer, so I can make money to do all those other things.” But first and foremost, Bart Wales is a son. “My dad’s in hospice, and he lives with me. That’s my primary concern right now.” His father was raised in Refugio, making Wales a sixth-generation Texan. “My mother’s side of the family were newcomers because they didn’t get here until the 1890s,” he jokes. Wales grew up immersed in his grandparents’ stories about Refugio. “Somehow I became the local historian,” he says. “Every time someone has a question about Refugio’s history, they look for me.” It was a natural fit for Wales to step up as director of the Refugio County

Museum. “With my background in architecture and interior design,” he explains, “I’d always enjoyed helping the museum and coming up with ideas for exhibits.” And the museum needs help now more than ever. Hurricane Harvey damaged nearly every building in Refugio. “We’re still waiting, patiently and impatiently, for a roof over the museum,” Wales says. “We still put out buckets when it rains.” Some of the artifacts were damaged during the storm, but restoration is expensive. “You can’t just send uniforms to the cleaners,” he explains. “The fumes and chemicals will cause old photographs and documents to deteriorate.” It’s a delicate process, making sure the changes made to one artifact don’t cause problems somewhere else in the museum. Wales thanks the Texas Historical Commission, “which pays attention to the small communities,” for access to basic restoration training. Among the wreckage of Harvey, Wales




GOLDEN KEYS: Wales in front of the grand piano rumored to have belonged to Liberace. “Everything I own is exciting,” he says.

reminisces about Refugio’s prime. “I know the great moments Refugio’s had in the past, when the citizens were very active,” he says. “If the town needed something, they’d take care of it.” In the early 1900s, Refugio was a powerhouse in the cattle industry. “There were about 800 people, and every eighth person was a millionaire,” Wales says. When oil was discovered in Refugio, “the town started doing great things: building a new city hall and paving the streets in concrete.” Refugio has since lost many of the old families who generated that wealth. “I’m surprised,” Wales says. “You need to remember where you came from.” Those who’ve remained are still shaken by Harvey. “It’s harder to get help now,” Wales says. “When we talk to people about any new projects, they’re cautious.” One of the biggest challenges is housing any incoming workers or volunteers. “The main apartment complex is closed

because it hasn’t been restored itself,” Wales says. Recently Refugio was allocated $1.4 million in funds specifically for restoring the apartment complex where so many blue-collar workers and their families lived. Which is good news for Wales’ next project: an interpretation of the last mission the Spanish established in the state of Texas. Wales is on the board of Los Amigos, the friends of Our Lady of Refuge mission. “We just got our nonprofit status,” he says. The old church was built in 1775. “We’re trying to create an interpretation of the mission to inform people about that part of our history. The foundation of the old mission is under Highway 77, right in the middle of town.” Given all of the other Harvey repairs the town needs, Wales is trying to secure an endowment for the new project as well as funds for the construction. “I don’t want this to be a burden on the community,” he says. Information about the mission comes

from two local historians: William H. Oberste and Hobart Huson. Oberste was a Catholic priest who wrote several books about the mission, including some details about the original church dimensions. His findings aligned with what was discovered about the actual foundation when Highway 77 was dug up for renovation, prompting an archeological dig of the mission’s original site. “It’s amazing,” Wales says, “when everything starts falling into place.” Wales wants the interpretive site to include information about the Karankawa Indians. “There’s a bit of information about the Karankawas at various local museums,” he says. “But I’d like there to be more. This was their home, here in Refugio.” Wales also dreams of collecting colonial art, furniture and relics from churches and missions. “Art tells history,” Wales says. “We collect things because we want to preserve them for the future. There are a few of us all over the world — custodians.” FA L L 2 0 1 8





The beginnings of vineyards in Texas

winemaking Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe at the Pass of was introduced to Texas by the North. The mission is now in presentearly Spanish missionaries day Juárez. Garcìa labored nine years on the projwho settled the region in the 1600s. The earliest vineyards ect, and by the time the church was comon the western Texas front pleted, the settlement, according to noted El Paso artist Tom Lea, were located near El Paso Fray Garcìa de San Francisco is “could boast of many del Norte, along the Rio among the most pivotal figures Grande River. The twin thousands of head of livein the history of the Southwest. cities of El Paso, Texas, and stock, extensive irrigated El Paso artist Tom Lea included Ciudad Juárez in Mexico Fray Garcìa in his famous project, fields and the beginnings eventually formed from a “Twelve Travelers,” a compilation of orchards and vineyards.” Various accounts date the stronghold of activity and of noteworthy individuals. Lea represented the Twelve Travelers establishment of the first colonization. Fray Garcìa de San in various artistic forms, including Texas vineyard to 1662. Garcìa made use of Francisco, who’s credited beautiful lithographs that inspired other artists. Three of his subjects with establishing the foot- have also been rendered in sculp- the fertile land along the river despite a somewhat print for these cities and ture, with a fourth in developwith planting the first ment. The 14-foot bronze of Fray inhospitable environment. vineyard in the region, was Garcìa was completed by sculptor The presence of the vineborn in Old Castile, Spain, John Sherrill Houser in 1996. The yards and the agricultural work is located in Pioneer Plaza knowledge of Franciscan and traveled to Mexico at the corner of El Paso and San priests helped lay the in 1629. Garcìa became Francisco Streets and depicts Fray a Franciscan priest and, Garcìa with a cross and an Indian groundwork for continued in 1659, established the basket filled with mission grapes and inventive agriculture in the state. Manso Indian Mission of at his feet.




Texas State Library and Archives Commission 1201 Brazos St. Austin, TX 78711 (512) 463-5455 www.tsl.texas.gov


Mon.–Fri. 8 am–5 pm Second Saturdays 9 am–4 pm





ART HISTORY: The Plaza and Church of El Paso (above), drawn by A. de Vauducourt during the 1850s, depicts the mission of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de los Mansos. At right, a lithograph of Fray Garcìa from Calendar of Twelve Travelers through the Pass of the North by Tom Lea, 1946.

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ODYSSEY Captivating museum exhibits tell the dramatic story of the French explorer La Salle



ed its wrath on Texas in September 2017 and left catastrophe in its wake. But our communities are rebuilding, reviving and open for business. A recent journey along the coast offered testament to the region’s spirit of rejuvenation after the storm. Three centuries before Harvey, another cataclysmic tempest sank a ship, doomed a colony and changed the course of history. The La Salle Odyssey heritage tourism trail offers a glimpse into a furious clash of cultures in the Coastal Bend at a time long before this land was called Texas. In February 1685, three French ships landed on the shores of Matagorda Bay. A faulty map had led French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, astray and directly into enemy territory, New Spain. Seeking a reprise of his landmark 1682 expedition to the mouth of the Mississippi


River, which he’d claimed for King Louis XIV, La Salle brought 300 colonists to the New World to establish a trading port and lucrative exports of hides and furs to Europe. But the diversion turned both costly and deadly when one ship sailed back to France and the other two sank off the Texas coast, taking the colonists’ supplies — and their dreams — to the bottom of the sea. Upon learning of the intrusion into its territory, the Spanish Crown sent 11 expeditions by land and sea to locate La Salle’s colony, Fort St. Louis, and rout the French. They found the ship La Belle sunk near Matagorda Peninsula and the colony destroyed by Karankawa Indians. France’s foothold had failed, and Spain became the dominant force in the region, establishing Texas’ rich Hispanic heritage. In 1995,Texas Historical Commission (THC) archaeologists, searching for the lost ship, dived on a promising location and found a bronze cannon with

French inscriptions, including the royal crest of Louis XIV. La Belle had finally been found after being entombed for three centuries at the bottom of the Bay. For the next two years, THC archaeologists excavated the ship and its cargo, using a cofferdam to hold back the bay waters and execute essentially a dry-land excavation on the seabed. A total of 1.8 million artifacts were exhumed, including two more cannons, trade goods, pottery, tools and weapons. The skeleton of a sailor was found deep in the ship’s bow, a tragic reminder of the human cost of the failed expedition. More than 25,000 people visited the cofferdam near Palacios to watch as layers of time were carefully peeled back. The shipwreck excavation was the most complex archaeological project in the world and received media coverage across the globe. In the midst of unearthing La Belle, the site of Fort St. Louis was found when eight French iron cannons were discovered on a bluff above Garcitas Creek. The THC


RIGGED: Sailing on the replica La Petite Belle, moored in Palacios near the City by the Sea Museum, brings the past to life.

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of this article have spent 23 years exploring the legacy of La Salle. Jim Bruseth directed the shipwreck excavation and work at the Fort St. Louis colony, while Toni Turner has written articles and edited publications about the projects. We decided to retrace the footsteps of our favorite historical figure and relive the saga of his doomed expedition. We visited the Odyssey museums and reveled in the stories each tells about the remarkable accident that forged the foundation of the Lone Star State. This coastal trail offers endless opportunities to combine a history-based adventure with world-class recreational activities and great cuisine, perfect for family fun. First we headed to Palacios, site of the THC team’s headquarters during 1996 and

’97 and 14 miles from La Belle’s underwater tomb. The City by the Sea Museum showcases the discovery and recovery of the ship. Museum director Edith Gower says


a new state-of-the-art interactive exhibit is planned, which will include a life-sized animated figure of the sailor found in the ship. “We’ll be adding a full-size bow of the ship on the first floor, leading to our new exhibit, La Salle Adventure, on the second floor. We’ll feature a replica cannon, a model cofferdam and ‘Dead Bob,’ who’ll tell his sad tale in English, French, Spanish and Vietnamese. With a capital campaign to build out our second floor and our new exhibit, we’ll feature Venetian glass beads, lead shot and other artifacts that Palacios

school children recovered from sand.” At the nearby city docks you can also visit La Petite Belle, a half-scale replica of the expedition’s most famous vessel. Port Lavaca’s Calhoun County Museum focuses on La Belle and Fort St. Louis, and features a life-sized diorama of a Karankawa Indian family. Got a question about regional history? Museum director George Anne Cormier almost certainly has the answer. “There is so much history here in Calhoun County,” Cormier says. “We’re proud of our role in the early settlement of Texas. We’ve been home to inhabitants dating back 13,000 years.” She guides visitors through exhibits of the French expedition’s weapons, trade goods, ceramics, nautical instruments and personal belongings, along with a model of Fort St. Louis. Apart from displays about the county and local dignitaries, visitors can see the glass lens from Matagorda Island’s Lighthouse and the Husak Collection of regional Indian projectile points. The Museum of the Coastal Bend exhibits artifacts from French and Spanish occupations at Fort St. Louis and Presidio La Bahía, as well as regional prehistory dating back 13,000 years. You can see the fort’s famous cannons and come face to face with two of the area’s 17th-century colonists thanks to a forensic sculptor’s reconstructions. “Our museum was fortunate to receive minimal damage from Hurricane Harvey,” museum director Sue Prudhomme says. “Thanks to the hard work, determination and generosity of our community, museums and cultural institutions are open and eager to see a return of tourism.” Barbara Smith, director of Bay City’s Matagorda County Museum, has spent

FRENCH CONNECTION: (from top) The symbol of Louis XIV, the “Sun King,” was emblazoned on many of the artifacts recovered from La Belle; Texas Historical Commission archaeologists excavated the remains of La Belle in 1996 and ’97 from the middle of Matagorda Bay and found a treasure trove of 1.8 million artifacts. Opposite page, from top: a beautiful bronze cannon stands at the entrance to the Matagorda County Museum’s La Belle exhibit area; the Calhoun County Museum features a model of Fort St. Louis and many personal items from the French colonists.




moved its headquarters to Victoria, and another intensive excavation was launched. A public archaeology laboratory was established in a storefront on the city’s main square, and visitors stopped by daily to view the latest discoveries and new revelations of local history. Over the next two decades, historical treasures from the ship and fort found their way into eight museums: the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin; the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History; the Texas Maritime Museum in Rockport; the Texana Museum in Edna; the Calhoun County Museum in Port Lavaca; Museum of the Coastal Bend (Victoria); Matagorda County Museum (Bay City); and the City by the Sea Museum in Palacios. The latter seven museums form the La Salle Odyssey, a heritage tourism trail that leads visitors on a voyage along the Texas coast and centuries into the past.

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region. First European Contacts examines native reactions to the Europeans and the impact on their way of life. La Salle and the Karankawa explains a relationship that was initially friendly until French crew members stole Indian canoes. A hide-covered replica Karankawa house is centered among displays of trade goods such as glass beads and brass rings. Moving down the coast to Rockport, our next Odyssey stop was the Texas Maritime Museum. “Our museum is blessed to be recovered, restored and reopened,” says Kathy Roberts-Douglass, chief executive director. “Our board of trustees and staff thank Oliver’s Restoration, our community

The Ship That Changed History by AUSTIN DEGROOT



ship in Texas is 150 miles from the sea. La Belle sailed from France 330 years ago as part of a colonial expedition, but beginning this fall her remains will be on display at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. She is an astonishing sight. At the bottom level of the museum, La Belle is an anchor in both space and time. Though its name is unknown to most Texans, her story impacts all of us. La Belle’s exhibit tells three stories. The first is the history of the ship and her doomed mission from France. Documents and artifacts bring the story to life, and the Spirit of Texas Movie Theater shows a recreation of the journey, complete with simulated weather. You won’t get too wet, but you might forget that you’re sitting in a movie theater and not aboard the ship. The second story is that of the rediscovery and excavation of the ship. This monumen-



CANNON FODDER: Dolphin handles on a La Belle bronze cannon.

and the team of individuals who continue to support our mission. May the doors of the Texas Maritime Museum remain open infinitely without interruption ever again!” The museum’s 1:12 scale model of the ship and its nocturnal, a rare maritime measuring instrument, are the major attractions in the La Belle gallery. The area’s rich nautical history is featured in exhibits throughout the museum, and a new 20-minute film offer visitors a fascinating profile of the Texas Navy.  We ended our personal odyssey at Corpus Christi’s Museum of Science and History, viewing artifacts from the great era of New World exploration. The Birth of La

tal undertaking is worthy of a museum exhibit all its own. Using groundbreaking techniques, a team of conservationists pulled the ship from the mud at the bottom of Matagorda Bay. The exhibit also shows why La Belle’s sinking changed Texas history. Had the mission been successful, Texas may have become a French colony rather than a Spanish one. But, as they say, c’est la vie. Though Spain may have claimed control over what is now Texas, the nation had almost no presence in the area during the late 1600s. France decided to establish a colony from which they could take over the silver mines of Mexico and control trade in the area. So in 1684, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, was dispatched with four ships and 400 soldiers, sailors and colonists. The La Belle exhibit and the 4D film Shipwrecked (26 minutes) show how the expedition collapsed as it faced one setback after another. Pirates, weather, mutiny, sickness and eventually hostile Native Americans whittled down the colonists’ numbers. By the time they reached Matagorda Bay, one ship had already been lost to pirates. Sailing into the bay, another ran aground. Only La Belle was able to enter safely. From there, matters grew worse. Within a month of landing on the Texas coast, over sixty of the expedition had died. Many more were ill. To make matters worse, they were far from where La Salle had intended to land. There was no way that the bedraggled expedition would be able to sail up and down the coast in search of the Mississippi River delta, SHIP OF STATE: La Salle’s original target. La Belle hull.


20 years educating the public about the area’s rich history, but she especially enjoys telling people about La Belle. One of the ship’s bronze cannons stands at the exhibit’s entrance, and there are displays of weapons, tools, personal items and dinnerware. “Hardly a week goes by that we don’t have visitors who come in specifically to see the La Belle exhibit,” she says. “It’s as interesting and as relevant as the day it opened. Our Children’s Museum also offers educational programs and activities for younger visitors.” Edna’s Texana Museum showcases the violent clash of cultures between 17th-century Spanish and French explorers and the indigenous Karankawa Indians of the coastal


Belle showcases the sophisticated technology inherent in 17th-century shipbuilding traditions. Visions of Empire portrays the struggle between France and Spain for dominance in Tejas, through displays of cannons, guns, pole arms, lead shot and other armaments. You can also see the remains of an even earlier shipwreck (1554): the treasure-laden San Esteban, the oldest scientifically investigated shipwreck in the western hemisphere. In 1995 our lives were changed forever by the discovery of La Salle’s ship, La Belle, and by the hospitality of the people of the coast. It was great to be back again, wandering seaside highways, seeing old friends, visiting museums and remembering that this

LOOSE CANNONS: These cannons on exhibit at the Museum of the Coastal Bend triggered the discovery of La Salle’s colony, Fort St. Louis, often called “Texas’ Jamestown.”

Eventually, La Belle sank during an ill-advised and mutinous One of the most important considerations when removing the attempt by some of the colonists to flee back to France. heavy timbers of the hull was preventing them from drying out. The Without any ships left, La Salle and a small party tried to conventional method is to soak objects in a substance called polygo overland for help. They vanished without a trace. Those who ethylene glycol (PEG). But PEG is expensive, and as the operation remained behind dwindled until a raid by Karankawa Indians finwent on, the costs became prohibitive. ished them off. The only survivors were a few young children who The commission turned to freeze drying, something that had were taken in by the Karankawa. They later told the story that would never before been tried on something so large or complex as the be the basis for Shipwrecked (and there are more twists in the tale hull of La Belle. This method proved to be a boon to conservators than told here, so don’t miss the film). For more than 300 years, La and ended up shaving three years off the time needed to complete Belle was thought to be lost forever. the ship’s restoration. Pictures and videos at the La Belle exhibit demonstrate the Of course, no one planned to just leave the ship sitting in a challenges that had to be overcome to recover the ship and build a freezer somewhere. She belonged to all of Texas. The Texas State museum exhibit for her. But before any exhibit could be conceived, History Museum in Austin was chosen for her final resting place. the lost ship had to be found. Once again, conservationists decided to be bold. Rather than The Texas Historical Commission had long sought to solve assemble the pieces and bring the finished ship to the museum, the mystery of La Belle. They used Spanish maps they would reconstruct the ship right there in the to determine where the ship sank. The first search museum, in full view of visitors. began in the 1970s but turned up nothing. In 1995, For almost a year, conservationists slowly pieced Bullock Texas State History Museum the commission’s archaeologists struck not gold but together the ship. Some of the timbers were too long 1800 Congress Ave. bronze. One of their divers investigated a magnetic to be brought in through the rear of the building. For Austin, TX 78701 anomaly and returned to the surface with news of a these, the museum organized a small parade of sorts. (512) 936-8746 thestoryoftexas.com bronze cannon at the bottom of Matagorda bay. La Two streets alongside the museum were shut down, Belle had been found. and as a crowd watched, the timbers were marched HOURS Mon.–Sat. 9 am–5 pm Raising the ship to the surface posed an unprecdown the street to the front doors and into the museSun. 12–5 pm edented challenge, and it required an unprecedented um. Cheers went up as they cleared the doors. solution. The commission decided to build a coffer Though the hull is largely complete, work on the dam made with two rows of steel sheet piling driven 40 feet into the exhibit has been ongoing. Eventually, a glass platform will be built bay floor, with several tons of sand dumped between them. Once overtop of the ship, and visitors will be able to walk above the hull completed, the cofferdam could withstand the water pressure of and look down. Many artifacts will be placed back at their original the bay as engineers pumped out the water inside. Archaeologists positions. Above, a reconstructed mast and rigging will create the were able to excavate La Belle as if she were on dry land, despite sensation of being aboard La Belle. La Belle is only the beginning of a trip to the Texas State History being far from the coast. During the next seven months, more than Museum. Using the ship’s fate as a launching point, the museum tells 1.6 million artifacts were unearthed. What they’d found was a kit the story of Texas’s development. La Belle is known as “the ship that for building a colony: all of the supplies needed to establish a new changed history” because of what happened after she was gone. home for hundreds of French colonists. Nowhere else in the world When the Spanish learned of the French attempt to wrest Texas had such an extensive collection of objects been found. Many of from their grasp, they realized that if they were to maintain control of them are now on display at the museum exhibit. the area, they had to establish a stronger presence. Up to this point, The artifacts play a vital role in untangling the story of La Belle their claim was mostly in name only. Spain then expanded rapidly, and the colonial times, but the real task was to recover the ship. and by the time the French could mount another expedition, it was There were no established procedures for an undertaking such as too late. Texas would forever have a Spanish legacy. this. The Texas Historical Commission made a bold plan.

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region is where our state’s modern history really began. Texas’ coastal communities offer a wealth of culture, recreation, and savory cuisine. La Salle and his doomed enterprise are now a footnote in history, but his legacy lives on the in the museums of the Odyssey that bears his name.

Calhoun County Museum 301 S. Ann St. Port Lavaca, TX 77979 (361) 553-4689 calhouncountymuseum.org


Tue.-Wed. 10:30 am–4:30 pm Thur.-Fri. 10:30 am–5 pm, Sat. 10 am–3 pm

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History 1900 N. Chaparral St. Corpus Christi, TX 78401 (361) 826-4667 ccmuseum.com


Tue.-Sat. 10 am–5 pm Sun. 12–5 pm Mon. 12-5 pm (in March, and from Memorial Day to Labor Day)

City by the Sea Museum 401 Commerce St. Palacios, TX 77465 (361) 972-1148 citybytheseamuseum.org


Mon.–Sat. 10 am–2 pm

Matagorda County Museum 2100 Avenue F Bay City, TX 77414  (979) 245-7502 matagordamuseum.org


Wed.-Sat. 1–5 pm

Museum of the Coastal Bend

2200 E. Red River St. Victoria, TX 77901 (361) 582-2511 museumofthecoastalbend.org


Tue.–Sat. 10 am–4 pm

Texana Museum 403 N. Wells St. Edna, TX 77957 (361) 782-5431


Thur.–Fri. 1–5 pm and by appt. for groups

Texas Maritime Museum 1202 Navigation Circle Rockport, TX 78382 (361) 729-1271 texasmaritimemuseum.org


Tue.-Sat. 10 am–4 pm Sun. 1 pm–4 pm




FALL 2018

Profile for Authentic Texas

Authentic Texas Fall 2019  

Authentic Texas Fall 2019