Authentic Texas Issue 23 (Sp/Su '22)

Page 1
















Texas Heritage Trail Regions The Texas Heritage Trails program is based on 10 scenic driving trails created as a marketing tool in 1968 by Gov. John Connally and the Texas Highway Department (now the Texas Department of Transportation). In 1997, the State Legislature charged the Texas Historical Commission (THC) to create a statewide heritage tourism program. The THC responded with a program based on local, regional and state partnerships and using the 10 driving routes. These “trails” serve as the nucleus of 10 heritage regions and include heritage tourism attractions both on and off the trail.











A Glance Back While Toasting the Spirit of Texas!


n the Spring of 2016, Rick Stryker, President of the Texas Heritage Trails LLC, welcomed you to the first issue of a new publication dedicated to promoting Texas heritage tourism – Authentic Texas. Much went into the name for the magazine: everything had to be “authentically Texan,” the subjects of the various stories specifically, the “voice” of each issue. All the people, places, and things were particularly chosen to entertain and encourage people from across the state, nation, and even from around the world, to learn and grow in their appreciation of the story of Texas. We worked hard to make sure that each issue of Authentic Texas celebrated the very best that Texas has to offer. Over the last six years we have highlighted and championed people, places and products uniquely Texan. A year ago, we each accepted that world events had come into our lives by way of a worldwide pandemic. At Authentic Texas, we made hard choices in how we would continue to celebrate Texas while facing unbelievably difficult times. The one thing we learned was reinforced in the “Welcome” to our Spring/Summer 2021 issue, the importance of the word “resilience” in all we do. This was and is how we will continue to bring the genuine uniqueness of Texas to each one of our readers, subscribers and supporters. So now, in this Spring 2022 issue of Authentic Texas, I welcome you and ask that you join us as we celebrate a new word: “spirit!” A renewed spirit in the honest-to-goodness stories we share, in our objectives moving forward, and in our voices as we honor our Lone Star State heritage and culture. This issue has real spirits to toast – Texas beverages and legacy spirit houses. There are some spirited families to celebrate and spirited individuals to make us smile. So, raise your glass and say “cheers” to the Texas of 2022!

Dolores Mosser Manager, Texas Plains Trail Region SPRING 2022







Come experience 90 minutes of Hands-On Old West Adventure located in the heart of Downtown Abilene. Open Daily. Follow @frontiertexas on social media or visit us at



Spring 2022





Au t h e n t i c P e rso n

a u t h e n t i c p l ac e

au t h e n t i c t h i n g

The legacy of Garland Richards in restoring historic Fort Chadbourne

The Roosevelt Bar in the historic Menger Hotel.

The Texas origins of the Frozen Margarita Machine



Founded by the Texas Heritage Trails LLC

PUBLISHER Margaret Hoogstra ADVERTISING Jim Stone Jan Menke Sharon Whitaker MANAGING EDITOR DESIGN DIRECTOR Troy Myatt SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Steven Lyons CONTRIBUTORS Jim Causey, Tim Crow, Susan Floyd, Loretta Fulton, Wendy Haun, Rob Hodges, Jill Campbell Jordan, Rebekah Manley, Gloria Meraz, Bob McCullough, Ann Pate, Andy Rhodes, Larry Sanders

EDITORIAL BOARD Texas Brazos Trail Region Pamela Anderson, LLC Manager Andrea Barefield, Executive Director Texas Forts Trail Region Jeff Salmon, LLC Manager Tammie Virden, Executive Director Texas Mountain Trail Region Randall Kinzie, LLC Manager Wendy Little, Executive Director Texas Pecos Trail Region Bill Simon, LLC Manager Melissa Hagins, Executive Director Texas Plains Trail Region Dolores Mosser, LLC Manager Allison Kendrick, Executive Director

Texas Heritage Trails LLC P.O. Box 208 Abilene, TX 79604 (325) 660-6774 Texas Heritage Trails LLC is owned and operated by five nonprofit heritage trails organizations.



spring 2022



Texas icon

Trail Drives



Sideoats Grama The official state grass of Texas

Satisfying Texans’ carnivorous cravings

Eats & Drinks



Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon

48 50 16

Parker County Peaches


Meat Markets




Lubbock The Chilton: mysterious and refreshing, a Lubbock original.


Recording the history of Texas cuisine


Recoginizing new Literary Landmarks


A welcome from the new State Librarian

Driftwood The sotol plant makes a unique libation.


Taylor Old Taylor High is the new home to shopping, entertainment, and dining adventures.


Brewing Heritage Kreische Brewery State Historic Site

The Official Peach Capital of Texas


Western Son Distillery Business is blooming in Pilot Point

city lights


Spice Brothers

The history of Galveston’s Balinese Room and the Maceo brothers

Deep in the art


High Plains Wine

McPherson Cellars and Lubbock’s West Texas wine industry


The Odessa Spire



...the tallest lighted art piece in Texas.

A restoration project reveals an original Bull Durham Tobacco mural.

Subscribe Today! Get a regular helping of Texas Heritage with a print, digital, or combo subscription and our free monthly newsletter.










t e xas i co n

yo n d e r

city l ights

F e at u r e s

Sideoats Grama is the state grass of Texas, important to livestock and conservation.

Bars, spirits & peaches in Bandera, Pilot Point, and Parker County.

The history of Galveston’s Balinese Room and Lubbock’s high plains wine industry.

Garland Richards, the Roosevelt Bar and the Frozen Margarita Machine




T e xas i con

Sideoats Grama: The Official State Grass of Texas by Jill Campbell Jordan


exas was among the earliest of the nineteen states that have designated an official state grass. Sideoats grama, (Bouteloua curtipendula), a native grass found on many different soils, was designated as the official state grass in 1971 upon request from the Texas Council of Chapters, Soil Conservation Society of America and the Texas Section, American Society of Range Management. 10


The name “side-oats” refers to the small oat-like seeds that hang down uniformly on one side of the grass stem. The grass has a special grace and beauty when it blooms in early to mid-summer with orange and purple flowers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, sideoats grama is one of the most important range grasses because it produces high quality, nutritious food for foraging livestock and

wildlife. It has been instrumental in recovery of grasslands following droughts. It can be used for erosion control and to help stabilize embankments. Sideoats grama is drought and cold tolerant and thrives in full to partial sun. For gardeners who prefer to use native plants in their landscaping, sideoats grama is a great choice. This clump grass is a slow spreader and won’t dominate the landscape; it is attractive throughout the year. It is often used for ornamental planting and can be blended with other native grasses. Since the grass is short in the spring, it doesn’t compete with early blooming wildflowers. Upon reading through the resolution proposing sideoats grama as the official grass of Texas, it is easy to see why this plant is appropriately recognized as one of the state’s natural treasures.

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 31, 62nd Legislature, Regular Session (1971) WHEREAS, Texas relies heavily upon the native grasses of the rangelands to sustain the livestock that has made ranching one of our State’s major industries; and WHEREAS, Although there are many desirable forage species native to the State, one variety, sideoats grama, occurs on a greater diversity of soils than possibly any other grass; on rangelands of West Texas it is the backbone of the ranching industry; and WHEREAS, This grass, with the botanical name bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr., is a perennial with long purplish spikes and is found in nearly all parts of the State, being especially abundant in areas including the Blackland Prairies, Cross Timbers, Edwards Plateau, Rolling Plains, High Plains, and Trans-Pecos; and WHEREAS, Sideoats grama produces a high quality, nutritious forage which is relished by all classes of livestock and wildlife; it is one of the State’s most attractive grasses as well, with its brilliant orange anthers and the purple inflorescence it produces upon maturity; each spike turns to one side of the seed stalk at maturity, giving the grass its name of sideoats; and

Sideoats grama is an attractive yet important range grass that can be a yearround ornamental grass or sustain foraging wildlife and livestock. | Photos courtesy of Patrick Alexander in USDANRCS PLANTS Database and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

WHEREAS, This grass is also favored because it is not only winter hardy but is highly drought resistant due to the fact that it is a long-lived perennial grass with rhizomes; in some years the grass produces two seed crops, and growth begins early in the spring and continues until early fall; and WHEREAS, In addition to its use for forage, sideoats grama is being used extensively to reseed depleted grasslands, and it produces vigorous seedlings making it an excellent grass for all conservation purposes; it mixes well with other native grasses and is being used in this way more than any other grass; and WHEREAS, The State of Texas has not officially designated a State grass and both the Texas Council of Chapters, Soil Conservation Society of America, and the Texas Section, American Society of Range Management, have requested that the 62nd Legislature officially name sideoats grama as the Texas State Grass; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, By the Senate of the State of Texas, the House of Representatives concurring, that sideoats grama, [bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.] be and is hereby designated as the official State grass of Texas in accordance with the recommendations of the Texas Council of Chapters, Soil Conservation Society of America, and the Texas Section, American Society of Range Management. SPRING 2022





yon d e r

Honky-Tonk Heaven by Bob McCullough


indeed Bandera is the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” then one of the key contributors to that reputation is Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar, touted as the oldest continuously operating honky-tonk in Texas. A red door at 308 Main Street, leads to a wooden stairway that takes fun-seekers down to the basement of the Bandera General Store and into another world – a mix of live country-western music, sawdust-strewn dance floor for serious boot-scootin’ and massive amounts

of memorabilia. Built in 1921, the building housed The Fox Hole night club until the 1940s when it became the Silver Dollar. Singer-songwriter Arkey Juenke took over operation of the business in 1968 and began performing classic country with his Blue Cowboys band. “Arkey left Fredericksburg after high school for Bandera, where he spent 10 years at Lost Valley Dude Ranch as a wrangler and entertainer before acquiring the Silver Dollar,” says Bandera native Vivian Schmidt, Arkey’s com-







LOCAL panion for 40 years. “His German heritage is very important. When Arkey made his first recordings, the producer felt Juenke was too hard to pronounce and suggested Blue because the songs he recorded that day were sad and blue.” It’s not unusual to encounter Germans and other international visitors at the Silver Dollar, given its popularity as well as nearby dude ranches that beckon to those seeking a taste of cowboy culture. Locals, tourists from other states and Winter Texans add to the party atmosphere. “The Silver Dollar’s décor is a collection of Arkey’s possessions acquired over 50 years as well as gifts and memorabilia from patrons and fans,” Schmidt says. “He even has his first Sears & Roebuck guitar on the wall. There’s a table from The Cabaret, another legendary Bandera club, that Hank Williams Sr., carved his name into. There’s a vintage wooden phone booth, a Dolly Parton-themed pinball machine and a jukebox that still plays 45-rpm records. Someone mentioned that Arkey should have a museum; I told them he does and that you’re in it! Arkey has changed very little through the years. It’s a true honky-tonk, and that’s how he likes it!” Arkey, who still plays guitar on occasion with The Blue Cowboys, prefers traditional country from the era of Hank Williams Sr., Kitty Wells, Hank Thompson, Lefty Frizzell, George Jones and Ray Price. He’s also written more than 100 songs. His style of music and The Silver Dollar’s intimate atmosphere have combined to attract some of the biggest names in country music over the past half-century. “Arkey saw Texas troubadour Ernest Tubb there before owning the place,” says Schmidt. “The late Johnny Bush played for Arkey many times. Willie Nelson stopped in and recorded with Arkey. Bruce and Charlie Robinson have performed on the bandstand as well as Robert Earl Keen, Jake Hooker and the late Fiddlin’ Frenchie Burke. We still

yon d e r

(Far left) Once inside, signage, lights and memorabilia welcome you to Arkey Blue’s honky-tonk. (Top left) Singersongwriter Arkey Juenke - better known as Arkey Blue – still plays guitar on occasion at the Silver Dollar in Bandera. (Bottom left, top right, lower right) Standing the test of time, Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar continues to draw crowds looking for an authentic honky-tonk experience. | Photos courtesy Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar

have Darrell McCall, Justin Trevino and Rocky King who are crowd favorites…next to Arkey, of course!” Other notable visitors have included Hank Williams Jr., and the Dallas Cowboys’ Troy Aikman as well as Warren Oates, Peter Fonda and Loretta Swit, the cast of the 1975 movie, “Race with the Devil,” that filmed a scene at the Silver Dollar. It also has served as a backdrop for videos, commercials and TV shows. In recognition of his many contributions to the community, in 2005 Arkey was named the first inductee into the Bandera Music Hall of Fame. In 2018, he and his iconic Silver Dollar received the Texas Treasure

Business Award for 50 years of continuous operation as well as special recognition from Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Music Office and the Texas House of Representatives. The City of Bandera also designated Main Street (State Highway 16) as “Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Highway.” Arkey Blue and the Silver Dollar are legends – part of Bandera’s history and allure – that have stood the test of time, Schmidt says. Arkey’s, as it’s fondly known, continues to draw crowds looking for good country music, cold beer and a true Bandera/Texas experience. Altogether it’s honky-tonk heaven in the heart of Texas.

DON’T MISS Visit Bandera banderacowboy Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar

308 Main St. Bandera, TX 78003 (803) 796-8826




yon d e r

DON’T MISS Experience Weatherford experience Weatherford Chamber of Commerce Hutton Peach Farm 210 Greenwood Cut Off Rd Weatherford, TX 76088 (817) 594-1273 2022 Parker County Peach Festival Historic Downtown Weatherford Saturday, July 9 8 AM – 4 PM parkercountypeach

(left) It’s springtime in Parker County, when the peaches begin blooming. (top right) More than 35,000 visitors come to the Parker County Peach Festival to purchase peaches and enjoy treats made from the delicious fruit. | Photos courtesy Peggy Hutton, Weatherford Chamber of Commerce

The Official “Peach Capital of Texas” Celebrating the famous fruit of Parker County


hile Georgia’s official nickname is The Peach State and they have named this succulent delicacy, featured on their state quarter, as their official state fruit, we here in the Lone Star State will put our peaches up against anyone’s. In Texas, there are several areas known for their peaches such as the Hill Country towns of Fredericksburg and Stonewall, in southern Gillespie County north of San Antonio and west of Austin. Then you have Freestone County, east of Waco and between Houston





by Jim Causey

and Dallas along I-45. However, I believe (mainly because I live here) that Parker County, which is just west of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, truly has the best peaches in Texas. Backed up by the 72nd Legislature’s Regular Session in 1991, House Resolution 203 officially recognized Parker County as the Peach Capital of Texas. So, I think I’m safe to say that if you want to experience the best peaches our state has to offer, then you need to plan a trip to Parker County. To experience all things peaches, visit the

(left) Author Jim Causey dreams of the peach cobbler to come from thes peaches. | Photo courtesy Jim Causey

ESTHER MAE JOHNSON’S PEACH COBBLER 2/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup milk 1

cup flour Dash of salt

2 Parker County Peach Festival which is held each year on the second Saturday of July in Weatherford’s historic downtown. The family-friendly festival features the Peach Pedal Bike Ride; over 200 arts, crafts, food and activity booths; live music; and a 42 domino tournament. How did this magnificent fruit get its start in Parker County? It began in the early 20th century when the county’s economic basis was dominated by the three c’s of agriculture – corn, cotton and cattle. As a means of diversification, farmers began planting other crops and by 1910, it was estimated that there were close to 144,000 trees in the county, most of them peach. Due to the rich, well-drained, sandy loam soil in the Western Cross Timbers part of the county, it proved to be a perfect environment for the cultivation of the luscious fruit. While both the freestone and cling peaches thrive in the area, there are numerous varieties that span the entire harvesting season which generally runs from May to late August/early September. One of the most prominent peach farms in Parker County traces its history back to 1938 where J.K. Johnson, Sr. planted the first peach tree in his orchard six miles west of Weatherford. His son, J.K. Johnson, Jr. continued the family tradition as he and his wife Esther Mae, eventually had over 3,000 trees on a 65-acre orchard. Mr. Johnson, along with the County Extension agents and

other local Parker County growers, were a driving force in establishing Parker County’s peach heritage and then maintaining that reputation for many years. They discovered that pruning the trees into the shape of a bowl makes for better peach production and created a wooden harvesting box to prevent the bruising you get when dropping and transporting newly picked peaches in a burlap sack. Ladonna Stockstill, daughter of Mrs. J.K. Johnson, graciously shared her mother’s peach cobbler recipe (see sidebar). Mr. Johnson eventually sold his orchard to Charles and Lafreita Hutton of Hutton Peach Farms who still grow, pick, and sell what I think are the best peaches in Parker County from their orchards containing well over 4,000 trees. Every year, my wife Lynn and I make sure we bring home a bushel or two from the Hutton’s stand west of Weatherford on Highway 180 at Greenwood Cut Off Road and feast on the juicy goodness of fresh-picked peaches. Plus, I’m lucky that Lynn makes what I think is the best peach cobbler in the world. No matter if you simply bite into a juicy globe on a hot summer day, enjoy a few golden slices of goodness with ice cream or try a new cobbler recipe, be sure to explore and enjoy all that Parker County has to offer. From its bountiful peach harvests and rich heritage, it truly is “The Peach Capital of Texas.”

teaspoons baking powder

1½ quarts peeled and sliced peaches 2

tablespoons butter Cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top

Heat peaches and butter. Then check and adjust the sugar to taste as the amount of sugar can vary based on the sweetness and ripeness of the peaches. Combine sugar, flour, milk, salt and baking powder. Place mixture into a 13x9 inch baking dish. Pour hot peaches over mixture to make the crust rise. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over cobbler before baking. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Bake until peach juices bubble and crust turns a light golden color.




yon d e r

Vodka in Bloom Western Son Distillery continues to grow on the shores of Lake Ray Roberts


ottles, with liquids of every color, line the wood-paneled walls, along with various articles of clothing. T-shirts. Sweatshirts. Beanie caps. Old-fashioned bloomers. Wait. What? Yes, as you step into the Retail Center of Western Son, a vodka distillery located in Pilot Point in northern Denton County, you are immediately greeted with a view of a pair of pink ruffled bloomers, a cheeky nod to what came before they started distilling vodka on the premises. The 30,000-square-foot building is known to locals as the “Old Panty 18


Factory” and was a manufacturing location for Russell-Newman, which was founded in Denton in 1939, producing women’s lingerie and sleepwear. According to Denton County Office of History & Culture, the company expanded to a third operational location in Pilot Point in 1953, with their products attracting the attention of national brands Playtex and JC Penney’s. Following Russell-Newman’s shuttering in 2011, Western Son was at the point where they had outgrown their original location and were ready to find a new base of operations. “When [Western Son’s founders] came to Pilot Point, they saw this old manufacturing company that had this history and a really

by Wendy Haun



(left) Western Son Vodka has grown exponentially in Pilot Point more than 10 years after relocating to a warehouse referred to as “The Old Panty Factory.” | Courtesy Western Son Vodka (above left) Go behind the scenes with a tour offered by the Master Distiller Vinny Messina. Taking visitors through the history and the making of their vodka, from the mashing to copper pot distillation and bottling. (above right) Every spirit on Western Son’s line is award-winning. | Photos courtesy Wendy Haun, City of Pilot Point

cool story, but first and foremost, they had the space,” said Erin King, Senior Director of Brand Marketing for Western Son. “We were able to bring something to the community that didn’t exist, and it all fell into place.” From humble beginnings in a Carrolton factory with just five employees, the brand has experienced tremendous growth, now employing 200 people. That’s not all that has grown: they are one of the fastest-growing spirit brands in the United States, with double-digit growth the last five years. Their line of vodka has expanded beyond its original 80-proof vodka to include eight flavored vodkas, gin, bourbon, ready-to-pour craft cocktails and spiked popsicles. All these creations are the brainchild of Western Son master distiller Vinny Messina, who will become a familiar face for anyone who wants to experience one of their Saturday tastings and tours. “Our master distiller Vinny Messina has a passion to create something unique,” King said. “Having him in-house is a real benefit because we

can do the smaller, limited-edition products.” Despite the growth in both sales and the spirit line, the quality of Western Son’s products has never waned. Every single vodka in the Western Son line has won awards, including their original vodka, which received 95 points in the 2017 World Spirits Competition from Cigar Wine and Spirits. If you don’t have time for a tour, their Hospitality Center, which serves delicious cocktails from the Western Son line, is open Saturday afternoons. The word is getting around, as their biggest growth in the past year was requests from restaurants and bars to carry their products. “They want brands that people love and want,” King said. “This brand was built on hard-working, independent thinkers and we like to associate our customer with that. There’s an Americana aspect to the trailblazing characteristic associated with our brand. We’re a brand that people love. If people know Western Son, they love us.

DON’T MISS Visit Pilot Point Western Son Distillery 217 W Division Street Pilot Point, TX 76258 (940) 324-0008 Retail open Thur-Fri, 1-5 pm; Tours Saturday at 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm Lone Star Lodge 2200 W FM1192 Pilot Point, TX 76258 (940) 686-0262 Leo’s Pizzeria 212 S Washington St Pilot Point, TX 76258 (940) 514-6108 Powerhouse Burger 108 N Washington Pilot Point, TX 76258 (940) 202-9226 SPRING 2022



c i ty l i g h ts

Remembering Galveston’s Balinese Room by Dolores Mosser


he life-size storefront silhouettes of musicians on Galveston’s Market Street suggest an entertainment venue for partygoers. However, upon entering the Maceo Original Spice and Import Company, you experience the aroma of spices from around the world. Established in 1944, the humble shop features spices and recipe ingredients, a small deli and shop walls covered with Maceo family artifacts. Few patrons know the “Maceo” name has legendary status in Galveston. Originally from the island of Sicily, Rosario “Papa Rose” Maceo and Salvatore “Big Sam” 20


Maceo were affluent Galveston businessmen by day and organized crime bosses by night. Sam, the handsome entrepreneur, and Rose, the muscleman, operated as major players in the “gray area” between solid citizens and the outlaw world of Galveston, Texas. Although crime is not generally a component in weaving the historic fabric of American cities, Galveston gets high marks for embracing the presence of scoundrels. Islanders speak well of “colorful characters” and “notorious” places and events. Historically, with a shipping economy, as money and goods flowed through the port city,



DON’T MISS Visit Galveston Maceo Spice & Import Co. 2706 Market Street Galveston, TX 77550 (409) 763-3331 Signage at Former Site of The Balinese Room 2107 Seawall Galveston, TX 77550

(left) Side view of the original Balinese Room, circa 1942. | Photo courtesy of Rosenberg Library from The Maceos and The Free State of Galveston: An Authorized History (top left) The Maceo Original Spice and Import Company store established in 1944 | Photo courtesy Maceo Spice & Import Company (top right) The last hours of a Texas icon before Hurricane Ike struck in 2008 | Photo courtesy Texasbubba - Flickr

so did the pirates, smugglers and gangsters. The Maceo families immigrated first to New Orleans in 1912 where they witnessed the role Sicilian organized crime (Mafia/ Cosa Nostra) has played in many Italian-immigrant communities. Three hundred and seventy years after the first Europeans shipwrecked on Galveston Island, Sam and Rose Maceo arrived and added their names to Galveston’s story. On this barrier island located 2 ½ miles from the Texas mainland, the Maceo’s discovered a unique “free will” mentality that occurred in the business and cultural societies. The legacy of pirates, smugglers, transient soldiers and immigrants fostered an acceptance for vice as a natural state of business. Gambling, liquor and even prostitution were accepted because they kept the economy booming. Barbers by trade, the Maceo Brothers uniquely capitalized on “isolation” and “looking the other way.” During Prohibition, they assisted other crime groups, the Downtown and Beach Gangs, by storing bootlegged liquors under their stilted houses, and offered their winemaking skills to discreet customers. As they watched and waited, rivalries allowed them to take over. Bribes, retaliation and false testimony kept the

brothers in charge. Even Al Capone was told to stay away! At the same time as Sam and Rose fostered good relationships with business, church and law officials, smuggling alcohol and promoting gambling made them super rich. When Texas Rangers raided their first nightclub, the Hollywood Dinner Club, a million dollars’ worth of gambling equipment was confiscated. This led to the ingenious design of the infamous and exquisite Balinese Room, the Crown Jewel in the Maceo’s empire. Built on a pier that extended into the Gulf of Mexico, law enforcement raids were hampered by the length of the pier and elaborate alarm systems. Locals and tourists were happy with top entertainers, like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and George Burns, playing the Balinese Room. Even in the darkest days of the Depression, the superwealthy came to Galveston for food and entertainment. Eventually, the State of Texas moved to end bootlegging, rum-running, “Red Light” districts and flaunting the law on Galveston Island. Soon after, organized crime and the Maceo Brothers headed West to build a second empire at a placed called Las Vegas.

Invented at the Balinese Room: The Margarita While the origins of the margarita are widely debated, many stories say it was invented at the Balinese Room in 1948 where head bartender Santos Cruz created the drink for singer Peggy Lee. Supposedly Cruz named it after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita. Bartender Santos Cruz in the Balinese Room | Photo courtesy of the Cruz Family




c i ty l i g h ts

World-Class Wine in West Texas A Family Legacy That Shaped the High Plains Wine Industry by Dolores Mosser and Allison Kendrick

DON’T MISS Visit Lubbock McPherson Cellars

1615 Texas Ave. Lubbock, TX 79401 Tues-Sat 12pm – 6 pm (806) 687-9463

(left) McPherson Cellars concentrates on growing grapes best suited for the warm Texas High Plains climate. (top left) McPherson Cellars grows grapes and makes wines with a real sense of place. (top right) Enjoy a glass of red with friends in the McPherson Cellars tasting room. | Photos courtesy McPherson Cellars and


icture an elegant glass of a deep red, Texas wine. Where do you picture yourself drinking that wine? Fredericksburg, perhaps, the town considered to be the epicenter of Texas’ wine country. Now, picture a small West Texas town, say Slaton, in the 1960s with kids roaming the neighborhoods and grownups sitting outside in the cool evening shade. One house on Lynn Street, in particular, created much wonder for 22




the local kids because they knew all sorts of chemistry equipment, Bunsen burners and glass-beakers could be found inside. Lush grapevines were growing out in the backyard. To be sure for Slaton folks, the Clinton “Doc” McPherson family was “way above average,” even celebrities of sorts! In time, many of the neighborhood kids would attend Doc McPherson’s Chemistry Labs at Texas Tech University down the road in Lubbock. It was in this classroom where “Doc” became known for

his instruction, “All it takes to do this chemistry experiment, is a little Manuel Dexterity!” During those same idyllic days of the 1960s, the chemistry professor, Dr. Clinton McPherson, was joined by his friend and colleague, Robert Reed, a horticulture professor, to grow grapes, commercially, in Lubbock, Texas. The gentlemen vintners, capitalizing on the region’s soils and climate, used their expertise and passion to launch a new industry when they established Llano Estacado Winery in 1976. Soon after, vineyards began to dot the region. There is no mistake, McPherson, Reed and the wines of Llano Estacado helped the High Plains of Texas to enter the international wine scene. For over forty years, numerous awards have been bestowed on bottles of refreshing West Texas wines. Not surprisingly, the McPherson story did not stop there. In the 1970s, middle son, Kim

MARK YOUR CALENDAR The Texas Wine, Hops & Shops at McPherson Cellars is on April 23, 2022. This inaugural festival will showcase wineries, breweries and shop vendors from across the Lone Star State. For details, see texaswinehopsand

McPherson, entered the viticulture studies at the University of California-Davis before heading to the wine country of the Napa Valley. Upon his return to Texas, Kim brought along his experiences learning about the wines of the world. After twenty years of working alongside family and associates, Kim launched his own label in 2000, McPherson Cellars. Dedicated to his father’s legacy, and located in Lubbock’s Depot

Entertainment District, McPherson Cellars helped in developing “sustainably farmed, expertly crafted, small-batch wines exclusively from the Texas High Plains.” Awards and acclaim soon followed. By enjoying a delicious glass of McPherson family wines, you are participating in how one family’s grape growing and wine making helped to bring West Texas wines to the world.



Photos courtesy of Fort Chadbourne and Troy Myatt







by Ann Pate

Garland Holt Richards grew up thinking everyone had a historic frontier fort in their backyard.

Born in San Angelo in 1952, Richards attended Bronte Schools, went to church on Sunday, was an Eagle Scout, and played football as a defensive lineman for four years at Angelo State University. But his true heritage which would dictate his future began at home. Raised on a large ranch that his great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Lawson Odom established in 1877, old Fort Chadbourne was his playground. Richards’ days were spent playing cowboys and Indians among the fort ruins, kicking around old artifacts from days gone by and finding arrowheads long left by the Comanche. At the time, he never realized that one day this would become his passion, and he would be the one to create a special place to give all that and more back to the people of Texas.




don’t think any of us at a young age truly relate to history. Even as a young Girl Scout camping out at Fort Chadbourne, I didn’t see past the old rocks lying crumbled on the ground or have any idea that men like Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet and George Pickett walked these grounds. There was no special meaning to me. It was the same with Garland Richards. It was his home and nothing more. But his birthright is strong. During the Civil War his third great grandfather served in the Home Guard in San Antonio. Odom was elected to the 18th Texas Legislature in 1883, and during the Fence Cutting Wars was pivotal in passing the law making it a felony to cut another man’s fence. He was a strong man, settling the land, becoming one of the largest cattle ranchers of his time, and building an inheritance which today includes eight generations that have called this ranch home. But out of all the generations, Richards was the one that Fort Chadbourne seemed to keep speaking to and calling home. It all began one damp and dreary day. Richards was driving through the parade ground when he glanced over and saw a wall of one of the old fort buildings slowly crumble to the ground. He relates to me, “I knew then that was the last wall I was ever going to watch fall.” And so, it began. A few months prior his father, Conda Richards, had passed away, and had left Richards $125,000. He knew that day how he wanted to use his inheritance, and he sat down with his wife Lana to tell her the news. She never hesitated. She knew his dream and wanted nothing more than to share it with him. I work daily with Garland and Lana Richards in the museum; in fact, they are



my best friends, so I know them well. I also serve on the Fort Chadbourne Board of Directors, and I recently shared with them something they had not realized. In 1999, these two decided to establish a foundation; a 501c3 non-profit organization that would allow them to begin the process of restoring the historic site known as Fort Chadbourne. Every foundation must have a master plan which includes a mission statement, and it takes many years if ever to see it through. One day I was reading that statement, and I realized everything on it had been completed. I shared that with them, and they both sat quietly for a few minutes, reread the statement and said, “Wow, you are right.” Garland Richards is the most generous and kindest man I know. But I will tell you he is also one of the most stubborn men I know. He won’t be surprised when he reads this. I tell him all the time. But it is that stubbornness that drives him, the strong will to never give up. He never accepts a “no”. In 2000, he approached the Dodge Jones Foundation with his restoration ideas, thinking most likely they would show him the door. He had no previous experience, nothing carved in stone that would sell his dream other than he owned an old frontier post that he wanted to restore – one that would take years of restoration and more money than the inheritance his father had left to him. He was given some choice advice that day along with a small grant to get his master plan in order and told to come back after that and they would re-evaluate the request. The Dodge Jones Foundation had no reason to share in that dream, but

apparently Richards was a good salesman because he received that grant to begin restorations. A historic preservation architect was hired and advised Richards that he must disassemble the ruins and start anew: lay a foundation and rebuild from there. That didn’t fit the Richards’ plan. So, he came up with his own idea: to use braces and turnbuckles to steady the walls so a cement foundation could be poured underneath without having to remove the stones soldiers had laid in 1852. That was important to Richards. Then the walls could be maneuvered back into place and the mortar could be pressured between the stones using nothing more than an old bladder pump. It worked. He received the 2001 Texas Preservation Award for his idea. He tells people every day, “I’m a rancher, and ranchers use what they have and patch it up, and make it work for another day. That’s the way I looked at Fort Chadbourne. Use the ranching mentality to complete this project. Find a way and get it done!” The original grant was used to stabilize all the ruins, which he did in record time. He also completed the restoration of an officer’s quarters. When that was accomplished Richards found himself well under budget and a substantial amount of the grant remained. Without a second thought, he offered the money back to the Dodge Jones Foundation. They asked him if he had other plans. Of course he did, the east barracks needed a roof. The Foundation graciously allowed him to retain the remaining funds to shingle the barracks. Many people will say he’s been lucky. Everything was easy. But that’s looking at it

(top left) Garland Richards as defensive lineman for the Angelo State Rams football team. (bottom) Garland Richards poses next to a cannon inside Fort Chadbourne. (top left) Thomas Lawson Odom: State Legislator, rancher and Richards’ great-great-great grandfather. (top right) Restored east barracks for enlisted men. (bottom right) An authentic Butterfield Stagecoach inside the restored Butterfield Station at Fort Chadbourne

from the outside. When you look from the inside, it was a daily struggle just to keep the doors open while trying to do the restorations. Many days it looked dim, but he never gave up. One of his greatest accomplishments: there have been no state or federal funds used to reach his goal. It has all been done through grants and the private donations of those who believed this project was well worth completing. Today when you visit Fort Chadbourne, five of the original military buildings have been fully restored. Three officer’s quarters, a root cellar, east barracks and all the ruins including the hospital, west barracks, and commanding officer’s quarters have been fully stabilized to avoid further deterioration. It was an amazing fete. Completed in 2009, the last restoration was the Butterfield Stage Station which was owned by John Butterfield from 1858 to 1861. Currently, it is the only restored Butterfield Stage Station in the state of Texas. Archeological excavations were done at each site adding thousands of artifacts to the ones Richards found as a child. He is often asked if he will restore other buildings, but he prefers the stabilized ruins standing among the restorations. Not only from a maintenance point of view, but as a reminder of that first day he started this adventure, when he watched that original wall crumble. A beautiful museum and visitor’s center

was opened in 2012. The 12,500 square foot facility houses many of the artifacts Richards picked up as a child. His love of firearms began when was he was ten years old; today his collection of over 400 antique firearms is housed in the museum and is one of the most popular exhibits among the Native American, Ranching and Medal of Honor items on display. Many of those who visit the museum and fort today are surprised to find Richards on site and willing to lend his time and vast knowledge of West Texas history with them. We often hear them say “We can tell this was put together with heart.” And that is so true. Each object has a story. Besides the thousands of military and unique artifacts, many of the objects were family heirlooms from early ranching times. This wasn’t just a long-forgotten fort. It was a home to a family, a heritage built over 145 years, a dream that took hold and that Richards had the grit and courage to see through. Richards’ great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Lawson Odom started the legacy; his mom and dad, Nell and Conda Richards, raised him to be the good old Texas gentleman he is today; but Garland Richards himself is the one that will leave the biggest shoes to fill. Garland Richards took a forgotten part of West Texas history – Fort Chadbourne – and rebuilt a historic Texas treasure for all of us to enjoy and share.


Visit Bronte Fort Chadbourne 651 Fort Chadbourne Bronte, Texas 76933 (325) 743-2555 (325)743-2556 Hours: Tue-Sat 8:00AM-5:00PM Closed most major holidays.



13 Arrows photography courtesy of Steven Lyons

A New Taste of History Comes to Downtown Abilene by Larry C. Sanders

“West Texas Heritage” is a term that saturates Belt Buckle Distillery—the “Big Country’s” first and only distillery. Located in downtown Abilene, the enterprise has successfully launched production of 13 ARROWS wheated bourbon and PAINT CREEK gin. Both have gained regional praise, but more importantly to the upstart business: a rapid market share. Belt Buckle Distillery has been the dream of founder, Keith Sanders, for years. A native of Abilene, he grew up with his hometown’s reputation as the “Buckle of the Bible Belt”. When challenged with creating a corporate image, “Belt Buckle Distillery” was a name easily identified with Abilene and honored its deep faith heritage. Sharing Texas heritage binds the managing partners and creates excitement across all of Belt Buckle’s products. Sharing that heritage started with the distillery’s introductory product: 13 Arrows bourbon. In 2019, owner Garland Richards shared the story of Ruben Matlock, a Private serving the U.S. Army at Ft. Chadbourne in 1854. One September evening walking back from the Hog Farm saloon, Private Matlock, having over-indulged in whiskey, was ambushed by a

band of Comanche Indians. Struck by arrows thirteen times, he was left for dead. Regaining consciousness, he crawled back to the fort, was discovered by a couple and saved by the fort surgeon, Dr. Swift. Anesthetized by alcohol, the doctor pushed or pulled the arrows out of the soldier. Remarkably, he lived with only scars and a limp… and a well-documented story. With the sharing of the story, agreement was made on the first product’s name and that history should inspire future product names. Belt Buckle Distillery focuses on product quality and manufacturing excellence; a historic departure from the spirits once distributed across west Texas. Examples are frontier whiskey, which probably started out as bourbon, but during handling on the way to saloons, may have been mixed with water, grain neutral spirits or other additives to stretch profits. Mislabeled as bourbon, it could have been distilled from low-grade molasses with ingredients such as burnt sugar, glycerin, prune juice or even acids. This is one context where heritage has not been respected by the distillery! The business originally launched using “white labeled” spirits produced to Belt Buckle specification. This circumvented

multi-year aging required for bourbon. Belt Buckle Distillery is now producing in-house clear liquors-- vodka, gin and rum that move quickly from still to bottles; generating cashflow while expanding their Texas market. As the distillery’s product line expands, so do opportunities to match products to legacies Belt Buckle Distillery wants to illuminate. Expect to see Abilene Paradox Vodka, State 28 and a host of other Texas heritage spirits. Distillery site growth includes structural changes for larger stills, bottling system automation, continued development of Belt Buckle’s tasting room, and product maturation space. “Though there’s an overlap; we’re a tasting room, not a bar,” said Belt Buckle Distillery president Tim Yandell. “We’re excited people really enjoy it. Our guests love hearing the story of our historic bar, the stories our brands tell and the ambiance the building has. It’s adding attraction to downtown’s east side; bringing people in that wouldn’t normally be here.” The Distillery’s tasting area hosts a forgotten piece of Abilene history, a Civil War era bar that once was in Old Abilene Town’s saloon. Long assumed lost, the bar was purchased from Mr. Casey in 1986 and removed just weeks before his property burned to the ground. Originally, the Brunswick bar came to Abilene from Gonzales, a crossroad city during the time ill-fated Indianola was a major international point of entry for Texas. Manifesting the “Wild West” culture for which Gonzales had developed a reputation, at least four large caliber bullet holes mark the bar’s surface; including a slug hole below the mirror that caused a major diagonal crack. Belt Buckle Distillery is Abilene and west Texas history you can see, touch and enjoyably taste. SPRING 2022








(previous upper left) Opened in 1859, the historic Menger Hotel is the oldest continuously operating hotel West of the Mississippi. (previous upper right) Colonel Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt in his Rough Riders uniform, 1898. (previous bottom) Standing at the top of San Juan Hill, Colonel Roosevelt (center) surrounded by the 1st Volunteer Cavalry known as the Rough Riders. (above) Located adjacent to the Alamo, step back in time at the Menger Bar for a refreshing drink.



s a native San Antonian, I have visited every historic site, all the museums multiple times, and have been to the Alamo more times than I can count on both hands, and most toes. But there is a historic gem of a destination right next door to the Alamo that is one of my all-time favorite stops. Located in the Menger Hotel (c.1859), with a mountain of historic stories to tell on its own, the Menger Bar (I call it the Roosevelt Bar, and I’m not alone) is a verified blast from the Old West past. My husband and I don’t live in San Antonio anymore, but on January 1, 2022, we found ourselves there unexpectedly and decided to visit the bar. It had been a while. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been to the Menger Bar; I always see something new and have a great experience. The Menger Bar, the oldest continuously operated saloon in San Antonio, is an intimate one-room bar and a replica of the taproom in the House of Lords Club in London. It’s covered in solid carved and paneled cherrywood: the bar, the walls, the railings, the cabinets, the ceiling. Glass and mirrors add to the cozy ambience, while old-timey Edison bulbs make for perfect

lighting. The main floor has red tile floors and pub style seating with long tables. There is a steep narrow staircase that takes you upstairs to a loft overlooking the bar, with squeaky wooden floors, and a ceiling low enough that some people might have to stoop. The bar is an appropriately masculine space in design, and the gigantic, mounted moose certainly adds to the authenticity of its manly history. SO WHY CALL IT THE ROOSEVELT BAR? During the Spanish-American War in 1898, the regular U.S. Army was undermanned. So, President William McKinley appointed all commanding United States Army officers to recruit volunteer cavalry regiments from western states and territories. Perhaps the most famous of these units was the First United States Volunteer Cavalry enlisted and led by Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt first visited the Menger in 1892 on a javelina hunt. In 1898, he returned to recruit his regiment by setting up an enlistment table at the Menger Bar. Texas was the ideal place to find the tough and rowdy individuals he needed and





“We drew a great many recruits from Texas, and from nowhere did we get a higher average, for many of them had served in that famous body of frontier fighters, the Texas Rangers.”

(above) Teddy Roosevelt dining at The Menger with local military and civic leaders. (left and previous) Tributes to Teddy Roosevelt adorn The Menger Bar | Photos courtesy of The Menger Hotel

ended up enlisting over 1,250 men who were cowboys, Indian fighters, outlaws, Eastern aristocrats, and Ivy League athletes. “We drew a great many recruits from Texas,” wrote Roosevelt, “and from nowhere did we get a higher average, for many of them had served in that famous body of frontier fighters, the Texas Rangers.” These men famously became what were called the Rough Riders. The regiment was trained nearby, at what is now Roosevelt Park. The Menger Bar continued to be a favorite watering hole for Roosevelt and the rowdy Rough Riders. Ask the bartender to show you the bullet holes! Being a holiday, the bar was busy the day we visited. I asked the bartender to make me a vintage cocktail, their specialty. He suggested an Old Fashioned, a concoction of muddled maraschino cherry and orange, sugar, bitters, and whiskey, in a rocks glass. I took one sip and discreetly passed it on to my husband, as if he had

ordered it. Apparently, whiskey is not my thing. I spotted someone at the bar with a beautiful Bloody Mary, so I ordered one of those and was not disappointed! I did notice something that seemed out of place. On the top of the bar there is a row of display cubbies containing footballs. I asked about this, and the bartender explained that the footballs are from the Alamo Bowl. Still, I asked what does that have to do with Teddy Roosevelt or history? It happens that in the days of brutal and deadly American football, the forward pass was illegal, so battering strength and violence was the only way to win the game. Early on, now President Roosevelt supported the game believing it was essential for young men to engage in such sports to prepare them for battle, to be like a Rough Rider. But when the death toll kept mounting on the field, he acknowledged it required reform if it was to be saved. Using his “big stick,” Roosevelt summoned the head coaches and representatives of the premier collegiate powers urging them to curb excessive violence to set an example. In 1906 the forward pass was legalized, and dangerous mass formations were abolished. The footballs up on the bar are just a different kind of nod to Roosevelt. And I’m fine with that! We sipped our drinks inside for a bit, then headed out to the adjacent hallways, where we enjoyed viewing museum quality exhibits containing historic items from the Roosevelt times and more. As usual, we could have spent hours roaming around surrounded by the glorious history of the Menger Hotel.


Visit San Antonio Menger Hotel 204 Alamo Plaza San Antonio, TX 78205 (210) 223-4361 SPRING 2022



by Margaret Hoogstra



On May 11, 1971, the machine made its public debut and with the pull of a lever the machine successfully changed history for frozen alcoholic drinks.



Mariano’s Hacienda

(top) Inventor and entrepreneur Mariano Martinez dressed as a bandito serves up frozen margaritas from the first frozen margarita machine. (previous) The World’s First Frozen Margarita Machine courtesy of National Museum of American History



rigin stories are usually pretty hard to nail down. Who was the first to stir up a martini? Who was the first to make lemonade? But all Texans can take pride in the documented fact that on May 11, 1971, restaurant owner Mariano Martinez served the first frozen margarita from a margarita machine in Mariano’s Mexican Cuisine in East Dallas. Intriguing stories abound regarding the creation of the margarita cocktail; you can read one which we heartily subscribe to in this issue’s article on remembering Galveston’s Balinese Room! We do know that the margarita—a mixture of tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur served in a glass with salt on the rim— was mixed in bars along the Mexican border in the 1940s and became a standard beverage in Mexican American restaurants. In the 1950s, margaritas blended with ice and known as frozen margaritas, became popular. According to the National Museum of American History, “by the 1970s, the margarita had surpassed the martini as the most popular American cocktail.” The challenge in making a frozen margarita was the time-consuming task of creating the drink in a blender and getting consistency in flavor – especially when the bartender was serving large crowds. Fiftyone years ago this year, Texan Mariano Martinez solved this challenge.

6300 Skillman St. Dallas, TX 75231 (214) 691-3888

Hours: Mon. – Closed Tue. – 4:00PM - 9:00PM Wed. – 11:30AM - 9:00PM Thu. – 2:00PM - 9:00PM Fri.-Sat. – 11:30AM - 9:00PM Sun. – 11:30AM - 9:00PM Other locations

Mariano’s Hacienda Ranch 2614 Majestic Dr. Arlington, TX 76011 (817) 640-5118

La Hacienda Ranch

Preston Trail Plaza 17390 Preston Road, Suite 100 Dallas, TX 75252 (972) 248-2424

La Hacienda Ranch 5250 Hwy. 121 Colleyville, TX 76043 (817) 318-7500

La Hacienda Ranch 4110 Preston Road Frisco, TX 75034 (972) 335-2232

Margaritas are served up at all locations of Marianos but the original located near downtown Dallas on Skillman Avenue is worth the trip. | Courtesy of Mariano’s Hacienda (left) Resolution by the Texas State Senate recognizing the 30th anniversary of the invention of the frozen margarita machine. | Photos courtesy Mariano’s Hacienda.

The authenticated story goes that with just $500 and a small business loan, Mariano Martinez started Mariano’s Mexican Cuisine in East Dallas in 1971. Mariano also had his father’s margarita recipe which had been perfected since the days when the elder Martinez worked at a speakeasy in San Antonio. On opening night at Mariano’s restaurant, customers were encouraged to order margaritas that were made from the family recipe. A night or two later, it became apparent the bartender couldn’t keep up with the demand for frozen margaritas. Inspiration for how to quickly produce a consistently good margarita came during a stop at a 7-Eleven convenience store. Watching kids get a Slurpee, Martinez realized he needed a similar machine. He purchased an old soft-serve ice cream machine and with his friend Frank Adams began tinkering with the machine. Martinez also consulted with chemist John Hogan as adjustments were needed for the margarita recipe to work with the machine. On May 11, 1971, the machine made its public debut and with the pull of a lever the machine successfully changed history for frozen alcoholic drinks. Others quickly jumped on the concept; Martinez never obtained a patent or trademark on his machine. The original frozen margarita machine lasted for about ten years and can now be found at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. SPRING 2022









M e at m e i s t e r s

T h e C h i lt o n

The German roots of some of Texas’ historic meat markets.

Lubbock’s legendary drink and five ways to make it.

W e s t t e xas sotol

the art of w e s t t e xas

Desert Door Distillery brings sotol back to the U.S.

Odessa’s lighted spire and Comanche’s Durham Bull mural




T rai l d r i v e

Meat Meisters

Photo: © | C3PICS

by Bob McCullough

DON’T MISS Thorndale Meat Market 300 U.S. 79 Thorndale, TX 76577 (512) 898-5387


hree major European powers of the 18th century – Spain, France and England – competed for control of territory that ultimately would become Texas. To help solidify its claim, Spain established missions, introduced cattle-raising and thus founded the ranching industry that has grown over the past three centuries. Today, iconic meat markets near rural areas take the bounty from farms and ranches and transform it into a dizzying array of products to satisfy Texans’ carnivorous cravings. Three prime examples – each with German roots – are Thorndale Meat Market in Thorndale, northeast of Austin; Eckermann’s Meat Market in Shelby, between Houston and Austin; and Bernhard’s Meat Market in Ingram, west of Kerrville in the Hill Country, home to large populations of exotic hoofstock. 42


Eckermann’s Meat Market 2543 FM 1457 New Ulm TX, 78950 (979) 836-8858 Bernhard Meat Market 2920 Junction Hwy. Kerrville, TX 78028 (830) 367-2995

Located on property acquired in 1946, Thorndale Meat Market (far right) continues the family butchering and barbecue business began by (right) German immigrant Wilhelm Rubeck. | Photos courtesy

THORNDALE MEAT MARKET “My great grandpa – Wilhelm Rubeck – came to Texas from Germany in 1898 and settled in Detmold, near Thorndale,” says Trey Felton. “He was affectionately known as Papa Bill to his seven children and almost 100 grandchildren and great grandchildren. He owned a general store that also had an upstairs beer garden. He dabbled in barbecue and sausage-making and burned down his business while barbecuing…twice.” Papa Bill’s son, Marvin, continued the tradition and, at one time, owned a 2,000-head hog farm to make tens of thousands of pounds of sausage annually. His specialty was German-style pork sausage and beef-pork dried sausage, known as Landjager in southern Germany and Austria. He also operated a butcher shop in his garage where customers would drive from all over Texas. Felton and his sister, Summer, acquired the family property and built the current Thorndale Meat Market in 2011, using the existing structures to house barbecue pits and cold-smoking equipment. They applied their ancestral knowledge of butchering and barbecuing to create an artisan butcher shop specializing in domestic meat – beef, pork, chicken and turkey, plus bacon and sausages. While meat-processing remains a big part of their business, the brother-sister duo has witnessed a surge in the popularity of barbecue; on average, they prepare 100 briskets per week. SPRING 2022



T rai l d r i v e

(top left) Known for his German-style sausage, Rubeck’s son Marvin carried on his father’s butchering traditions. | Courtesy (bottom left and right) Get a “fresh cut from the country” at Eckermann’s Meat Market.





At Eckermann’s in Shelby, owner Buck Eckermann and his team also process beef and pork through their slaughter operation as well as deer and elk harvested by hunters for custom processing. “Our business roots began more than 70 years ago when our late father became involved with meat-handling as a young adult by slaughtering beef steers for local stores and rural beef clubs,” Eckermann says. “He also slaughtered hogs for many neighbors’ families during the winter months. ‘Hog-killing day’ was part of our German community’s tradition.” In the 1950s, at-home processing led to custom processing of beef, pork and lamb for people who could afford deep-freeze units in their homes. “The early custom processing was performed in a room within our home where a Philco freezer stored the processed meat until the customer could pick it up,” Eckermann recalls. “As the decade of the ‘50s was ending, the need for a total meat-processing operation was growing. Many local stores were finding it difficult to handle full carcasses, and the rural beef clubs were declining. So, our parents invested $900 in a new, stand-alone facility on the family farm as a turnkey meat-market operation.” Eckermann’s can manage all types of custom meat-cutting, but they specialize in smoked and dry sausages. “Our sausage label says it all – ‘A fresh cut from the country,’” Eckermann says. “We’re a rural market where you can get custom meat cuts in a country atmosphere.”

In contrast, Bernhard’s in Ingram focuses much of its attention on wildand exotic-game processing. Brothers Milton and Earl Bernhard started the business in 1952; it was sold in 1983 when Earl passed away. Under new ownership, the market faltered, so Milton re-established Milton Bernhard Meat Processing in 1995. Current owners Mark and Carolyn Lampson purchased Bernhard’s from Milton and Betty Bernhard in 1995, built a stateof-the-art wild-game processing facility and retail meat market in 2005 and added a custom slaughter operation last year. “In addition to wild game and exotic meats, we process domestic beef, swine, lamb and goats,” Mark Lampson says. “Our high-end retail meat market carries choice-graded beef, fresh chicken, quail, numerous sausages derived from Milton’s original recipes and many cured products and cheeses.” Up until the pandemic, Bernhard’s saw a decrease in carcass beef sales because of the higher cost of feedlot cattle. But beginning in March 2020, sales increased dramatically, the result of a perceived shortage of beef during the spring and summer of 2020. Thankfully, supplies of beef and other meats have rebounded. In 1984, 82-year-old actress Clara Peller wanted to know in a TV advertising campaign, “Where’s the beef?” Today, almost four decades later, the answer continues to be “all over Texas,” much of the credit belonging to country markets like Thorndale’s, Eckermann’s and Bernhard’s.


Eats & D r i n ks

The Legendary Lubbock Libation

Photo courtesy Troy Myatt

by Allison Kendrick


exas is known for many iconic foods and food groups: barbecue, breakfast tacos, chili, chicken fried steaks and TexMex – just to name a few. Our great state is also known for several famous libations: the margarita, Garrison Brother’s whiskey, Lone Star beer, Tito’s vodka and many others. However, in one West Texas town, a certain bubbly libation reigns supreme. While the rest of the state has not fully caught on, Lubbock has mastered the art of making and



serving the refreshing cocktail drink known as the Chilton. A salted rim decorates the outside of the glass while the contents are made up of ice, 1 ½ ounces of vodka, 2 ounces of fresh squeezed lemon juice (fresh is a must) and topped off with chilled soda water. Finish it off by adding a slice of lemon to the rim for garnish! So, where did this drink originate and why is it only well known in this part of the Southern Plains? As legend has it, a Dr. Chilton ordered it up at the bar of the Lubbock Country Club



and its fame has only grown since that original drink was poured. Many Lubbockites, travel writers and Chilton fans have tried to pin down who Dr. Chilton was, but none have succeeded. The Lubbock Country Club was established in 1921, but their membership records only go back to the fifties and no Dr. Chiltons are listed. Veteran staff of the Club don’t ever recall a Dr. Chilton either. Several people bearing that last name have resided or passed through Lubbock over the last several decades, but none being of the medical profession. While the history cannot directly be traced, the legend, and drink, lives on in almost every restaurant in Lubbock. The mystique adds a bit of flair to ordering one or introducing “out of towners” to their first sip of a Chilton. In fact, several establishments around town have now put their own unique spin by adding other types of fruits and

flavors of vodka. It’s rumored trying different versions help you as you find your way to becoming a true Lubbockite. Some of the local favorites were covered by Visit Lubbock’s McKenna Dowdle as she explored “Five Ways to Order a Chilton.”

CLASSIC CHILTON Caprock Café You can never go wrong ordering the classic, especially from Caprock Cafe!

HIPPIE JUICE CHILTON Flippers Tavern The Hippie Juice Chilton is made with Absolut Juice Pear & Elderflower Vodka and topped with fresh lemon juice and soda water.

BLUEBERRY CHILTON The Funky Door Bistro & Wine Room The trade for blueberry Western Son’s vodka makes this cocktail take on a fruity profile, and locals are raving!

JALAPENO CHILTON Cafe J This local favorite serves a popular spicy take on the Chilton with a muddled fresh jalapeno in a salt-rimmed glass. The bartender advises using Stoli cucumber to create a Cucumber Jalapeno Chilton.

RUBY CHILTON The West Table Kitchen and Bar We didn’t think the cocktail could take on more of a citrus body but check out this version with Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit vodka, lemon and club soda for a citrus overload.

DON’T MISS Visit Lubbock Get the full scoop from Visit Lubbock on the “Five Ways to Order a Chilton” at

The great novelist, J.R.R. Tolkien penned, “After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of ‘truth’.” We couldn’t agree more and to that we raise a glass and cheers to Chiltons!




Eats & D r i n ks

The Sotol Plant of West Texas Sotol: The original distilled beverage of Texas


hanks to three entrepreneurs, the first alcoholic beverage consumed in Texas – sotol – is making a comeback. The sotol drink is a product of the sotol or Desert Spoon plant which grows in the Chihuahuan desert. As the largest desert in North America, the Chihuahuan desert extends across parts of Mexico, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Here in the Lone Star State, this desert encompasses parts of West Texas and all Far West Texas. While driving in these parts, the observant traveler will spot prickly pear cactus, creosote 48


bushes, ocotillo, agave and desert spoon also known as the Dasylirion Texanum (Texas sotol). The Texas sotol plant has a short and thick central stem base for its numerous long, thin, flat and light green leaves and grows a tall stalk with a white flower on top. Throughout the Lower Trans-Pecos region and at Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site there is archeological and historical evidence the sotol plant was used in the everyday lives of our predecessors. Sotols provided man with material for making sandals, mats, baskets, roofs, and food; during droughts it provided fodder for livestock, and

by Melissa Hagins



man learned how to distill sotol. As an alcohol of Native Americans, Sotol was sipped as early as 800 years ago and predates tequila and mescal. According to an article by Clinton Lanier at, “The Spanish distilled the crude, fermented sotol beer into a spirit, and, eventually it became one of the most commonly consumed drinks in the country. . . Sotol was popular mostly along the US-Mexico border that shifted and changed over a few hundred years. It was especially treasured by cattle ranchers and vaqueros from southern California to the Texas panhandle.” Sotol has been smuggled into the United States since before the days of Prohibition; the famed Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa was known for running sotol across the border and had a “stash house” in El Paso. Today, sotol liquor is the state spirit of the Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila states of Mexico. More recently, the first sotol distillery in the United States was founded in Texas by three entrepreneurs — Judson Kauffman, Ryan Campbell and Brent Looby. About five years ago, these three veterans were taking a

DON’T MISS Visit Dripping Springs destinationdripping Desert Door Distillery 211 Darden Hill Rd Driftwood, TX 78619 Wild Spirit Wild Places Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site P.O. Box 820 Comstock, TX 78837 (432) 292-4464

(far left) Entrepreneurs Judson Kauffman, Ryan Campbell and Brent Looby at the Desert Door Distillery (top left) The sotol plant with its thin leaves and tall central stalk. (top right) Sotol plant hearts after they have been cooked. | Photos courtesy Desert Door Distillery

graduate class at the McCombs School of Business of The University of Texas at Austin. One of the class requirements was to create a new business venture. After throwing many ideas around, they stumbled upon the sotol plant which had a significant historical background but was not something familiar to many people. The trio started researching and learning about the sotol plant, its historic significance and how to distill it into a powerful Texas spirit. Ultimately, they decided to build a distillery and leverage something that they hoped to be uniquely Texan. The Desert Door Distillery became a reality on Veterans Day of 2017. Located in Driftwood, about 24 miles southwest of Austin, the distillery is a 10,000 square foot facility. Expertguided tastings are offered in the desert-modern tasting room along with comfy couches, live music and games. Desert Door’s Texas Sotol is wild-harvested, distilled and bottled in house - which is something many alcohol companies cannot claim. Most of the sotol plants harvested by Desert Door come from outside Sanderson in Terrell County. At harvest time, the

Desert Door team selectively collects only a few plants from each acre of land and the root systems are left intact so the plants can grow back. The leaves of the plant are trimmed, and the heart and base of the plants are transported to the distillery. After arriving at the distillery, the sotol hearts are steamed in large pressure cookers which breaks down the plant’s carbohydrates into fermentable sugars. The juices are then pressed out and stored in tanks to ferment using a proprietary yeast. After all of this, the mash is distilled in a custom-built hybrid still. Upon completion of this process, the Texas sotol averages 155 proof. Desert Door than reconciles the sotol with water to either make it 80 proof and bottled, or 120 proof to be aged in oak barrels. In addition to producing the finest Texas sotol possible, Kauffman, Campbell and Looby are passionate about preserving the untamed and wide-open stretches of Texas. Desert Door established the non-profit organization Wild Spirit Wild Places to protect Texas’ diminishing ranches and rangelands through education, research, and conservation practices. SPRING 2022



Eats & D r i n ks

DON’T MISS Visit Taylor Greater Taylor Chamber of Commerce 1519 N. Main Street Taylor, TX 76574 (512) 943-1670 Old Taylor High 410 W. 7th Street Taylor, TX 76574 (512) 595-0511 Plowman’s Kitchen 305 West 9th Street Taylor, TX 76574 Mallard Fare Delicatessen 410 West 7th Street Taylor, TX 76574 (512) 277-5502 Loose Screw Craft Beerhouse and Garden offers 410 W. 7th Street Taylor, TX 76574 (512) 595-5098 The Williamson Museum 716 South Austin Ave. Georgetown, TX 78626 (512) 943-3856

Old Taylor High Where History Meets Fun by Tim Crow


rom a New York style deli with a smoky Texas flare, to southern favorites such as chicken fried steak and fried green tomatoes, and entertainment options that include live music and a vintage pinball lounge, Old Taylor High in Taylor is fast becoming a destination for travelers looking for unique shopping and dining adventures. Nestled in the heart of one of Taylor’s historic neighborhoods, the orangish-red brick, two-story building served as a high school for





the Taylor Ducks from 1923–1969, then as the middle school from 1969–2001. Today it is home to nineteen restaurants and retail shops as well as food trucks and an outdoor venue for larger events. Restored to its original 1923 design by owners Cliff and Kaitlin Olle, the historic beauty of the campus combined with the mall-like atmosphere draws visitors of all ages from across the state. The school’s old band hall is now home to Plowman’s Kitchen, a family-owned restaurant where diners enjoy a variety of made-from-

BLACK-EYED PEA RECIPE Recipe provided by Drew & Kim Fulton. Kim grew up in Taylor and attended school at the Old Taylor High School when it served as Taylor Middle School. (left) The entrance of Old Taylor High. (top left) A hallway in Old Taylor High (top right) The Plowman family greets customers at their restaurant, Plowman’s Kitchen, in the former band hall at Old Taylor High. From left are Matthew Plowman, Lexi Plowman, Mark Plowman, Nora Plowman and Allison Plowman. Photos courtesy Tim Crow

scratch dishes. Salmon croquettes, shrimp alfredo and chicken fried chicken, along with black bottom cupcakes and buttermilk pie are just a few of the favorites where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served all day. In keeping with the band theme, the Plowmans have decorated their restaurant with photos of Taylor bands through the years, and several instruments, some of which have been turned into ceiling lights, lamps and wall art. Sitting at a table in the spot where she played percussion in the 1960s, Pat Helbert recalled one special day during band class when she found out a new baby sister had arrived. “Our director, Mr. Whitlow, took a phone call during class one day and then he called me to the phone,” said Helbert. “It was my mom calling from the hospital to tell me she had just given birth to my sister, Stayci. Everyone was waiting for me to come back and tell them if it was a boy or a girl.” Former students are often seen in the hallways looking for their lockers, and reminiscing about their school days while enjoying food, drinks, and shopping at their old campus. Twelve classrooms have been turned into apartments, providing opportunities for living in the areas where English, science and social studies were once taught. The Loose Screw Craft Beerhouse and Garden offers 42 hand-selected craft draft beers and four wines on tap in two classrooms where many former students studied math. Featuring live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, the Loose Screw is a favorite gathering place for family reunions and parties and includes an outside area with picnic tables under large oak trees.

Mallard Fare Delicatessen is another fan favorite, serving overstuffed made-to-order sandwiches, salads and mouth-watering cookies. They smoke their own meats on site and sell their deli meats and cheeses by the pound. Located on the historic site where Taylor’s first public school building was constructed in 1884, distinguished alumni from the old high school include Elmore Torn, a future agriculturist who is now credited with starting the good luck tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. His classmates knew he was destined for greatness, predicting a future in the movies. While that was not the path he took, his son Rip Torn, a 1948 graduate from Old Taylor High, and his niece Sissy Spacek, became award winning actors. Distinguished visitors to the old high school through the years include Congressman and future president Lyndon Baines Johnson, and former Taylorite Hank Patterson, best known as Mr. Ziffel from the TV show Green Acres. Patterson spoke to his niece’s Latin class in 1953 during one of his trips home to visit family. Old Taylor High’s connection with celebrities continues today as the campus has become a popular Hollywood filming location. Productions have included “Fear the Walking Dead” and the new “Walker” reboot as well as music videos, movies and a Showtime documentary. Cast and crew are often seen enjoying local flavors in the restaurants on campus during their meal breaks. A visit to Old Taylor High is like stepping back in time for a fun and relaxing destination to eat, drink and play. It’s obvious that locals are proud of the new life the Olles have given their old school, and they welcome visitors to come experience the fun.


black-eyed peas






stalk celery


cloves garlic


bay leaves


large ham hock

2Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2tsp

kosher salt


freshly ground pepper

1Tbsp brown sugar (optional) Rinse, sort, and soak peas per package directions. Heat oil in large Dutch oven. Chop onion, celery, garlic and sauté until tender. Add salt and pepper. Cut slits in ham hock and add to veggies. Sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Add peas and cover with water to 2 inches above peas. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, add bay leaf and cover with lid cracked a bit. After about 45 minutes or so slice jalapeño in rounds and add to pot (or leave whole if you want to remove before serving); add brown sugar, let simmer another 30 minutes to hour or until peas are tender. Stir occasionally and break up ham hock as you stir. Don’t overcook! Remove bay leaves, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.




d e e p i n t h e art

The Tallest Lighted Art Piece in Texas by Melissa Hagins


riving into downtown Odessa reveals a bright white object rising from the flat landscape of the Permian Basin, incongruous with its surroundings. The lit spire elicits a string of questions such as what is it? why is it here? and where did it come from? The mid-century architecture of the structure reveals its origins as a product of the 1950’s. It was originally built as a sign for the Rock Hill Springs Shopping Center in 1958-59 (the records of its construction have been lost to time). In the 1970’s, the fabric store Cloth World moved into the shopping center and assumed stewardship of the sign. Most Odessans referred to it colloquially as “the Cloth World sign”. When the fabric store closed in the early 1990s, the sign was no longer used and soon fell into disrepair. In 2014, Odessa Arts, an organization that supports and promotes the arts and humanities in Odessa and Ector County, held town hall meetings throughout the community as part of efforts to write a public art master plan. In all the discussions, the Cloth





DON’T MISS Discover Odessa Odessa Arts 415 Grant Ave., #200 Odessa, TX 79760 (432) 337-1492

(left) The Odessa Spire lit up at night | Courtesy Randy Ham (above) The spire in its original form and in disrepair. (top right) The spire lit yellow in memorium. | Courtesy Eli Hartman, Odessa American

World sign was mentioned. It became evident the sign was considered an important part of Odessa’s history and that while it was something of an eyesore, there was a communal desire to save the sign and reinvent it. The sign structure was donated to the City of Odessa which then provided Odessa Arts with seed money to commission a piece of public art – with the provision that the balance of the funds be raised privately. The community responded with dona-

tions ranging from five dollars to one hundred thousand dollars. One hundred and seventy artists applied to design and work on the spire. Out of the three finalists, Ray King of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was chosen to fabricate and install the lighted artwork on the remediated structure. With help from public art project managers Dyson + Womack from California, the sign was rehabbed and reinforced to be ready for the artwork. From August to December

2019, the sign was tented, lead paint was removed, and the girders were strengthened to support the structure. On December 16, 2019, the Odessa Spire was lit, and became the tallest lighted public art structure in Texas. The spire was also an inspiration for local business owner Austin Keith with Pinkies Liquor Store to make his sign reflect the spire and show his support of the art in the shopping center on Maple where his store is located.




d e e p i n t h e art

DON’T MISS Visit Comanche Texas Rural Living Business Group

The Bull Durham Tobacco mural can be seen at any time through the glass front of the building. 109 W. Grand St. Comanche, Texas (325)356-1725 Comanche County Museum 401 Moorman Road Comanche, Texas (325) 356-5115


(left and right) Clint and Jami Tunnell found a historic gem under layers of stucco while renovating their business location. | Photos courtesy of the Tunnells

It’s a Lot of Bull! by Loretta Fulton


hipping away at a stucco-covered wall is no fun, but it’s worth the work if a gem of a discovery is waiting to be uncovered. Clint and Jami Tunnell weren’t looking for a gem when they decided to remove part of the stucco from one wall of a historic building they bought in Comanche in 2019. They knew the building’s history and wanted to renovate it to house their three businesses on the courthouse square in downtown Comanche. But they had no idea what lay in store once the laborious task of removing decades of dirt, 54


grime, and “improvements” began. “Everything that was historical in the building was covered up,” Clint said. Even after the stucco removal began, they didn’t know what to expect. But then, slowly, red paint started to show, and then green paint. Before long, a tail appeared. When the chipping ended, an 18 by 18-foot “Blackwell’s Genuine Bull Durham Tobacco” mural, with the famous bull logo, was exposed. The Blackwell Company of Durham, North Carolina, was among the first to carry out a large-scale outdoor advertising campaign around the country. From the late 1870s



Bull Durham mural in October 2019, but they kept it quiet. The building wasn’t open yet, so no one could see the mural. Then, on New Year’s Eve 2020, Clint decided to take a photo of it and post it on Facebook. It was a secret no more. “That thing went viral,” Clint said, with more than 200,000 people seeing it within a few days. The interest today is higher as Clint and Jami have made their building even more compelling for travelers searching for authentic Texas experiences. The couple

built a two-story 1890’s replica farmhouse inside the building to serve as their offices and to make clients feel at home while doing business. The Texas Rural Living Business Group includes three businesses–landscaping and irrigation, insurance, and land and real estate. Clint and Jami discovered that they don’t have to do much to get their business names out to the public. “The building itself does all our advertising for us,” Clint said.

through the early 1900s, four teams of painters traveled throughout America constantly painting “Genuine Durham Smoking Tobacco” ads on billboards along highways and on the sides of buildings. The ads consisted of giant illustrations of the bull with either memorable sayings or the price. The mural has a faded look to it, but that’s not due to age. “They painted those murals to look old,” Clint said. An interest in the history of Comanche County came naturally to Clint. His family moved into the area in 1853, before the county was organized in 1856. Being somewhat of a history buff, Clint was drawn to the building on Comanche’s historic square. “I always liked the looks of this little building,” he said. When the mural was painted, most likely between 1892 and 1893, it was on an outside wall that faced a walk-through space. In the 1870s, the building now owned by the Tunnells was home to the Jack Wright Saloon. During construction of a bank building in 1891, the Jack Wright Saloon was torn down and then rebuilt after the bank was completed. Both the saloon and an infamous patron, outlaw John Wesley Hardin, are featured in the Comanche County Museum. In May 1874, Hardin added another notch to his gun belt when he shot and killed Charles Webb, a deputy sheriff from neighboring Brown County. The Tunnells discovered the SPRING 2022







T e xas Stat e L i b rary & Ar ch i v e s

T e xas H i sto r i cal Com m i ss i on

Recording Texas’ diverse history of foods.

German-Texan brewing history in La Grange

Members of the Schuetzeverein (shooting club) standing in front of the pavilion, including H. Kreische and his family. They’re waving the “Frisch Auf” banner, which was allegedly waived to announce that a new batch of Kreische beer was ready.




Setting the Texas Table with the State Archives


ood is elemental. It feeds the body but also fuels culture, identity, and our economy. The foods that define us as Texans are as diverse as the regions, ethnic traditions, and industries that populate the 268,597 square miles of the state. What we present on our table is not only a product of our own history and taste but the culmination of a vast and complex enterprise. From the farmer, rancher, or fisherman to the industry promoter and state official, the people and organizations behind the scenes are all part of a thriving system of food production, transportation, marketing, sale, regulation, and state support. The collections in the State 58


(above) From a 2001 Texas Department of Agriculture promotion showing a meal with Texas beef and all the fixings.

by Susan Floyd

Archives bring together publications from state agencies and others associated with the history of Texas cuisine that showcase how our tastes and styles have evolved over the years. The social, physical, and emotional significance of mealtime is never more evident than in troubled times. Texans, like people in all parts of the country, experienced hardship and scarcity during the lean years of the Great Depression and later learned to pull together to conserve and ration food and commodities during World War II. People eating the same foods and facing difficulty together is a major way that community and social bonds are formed. Government promotion of rationing and other strat-

Celebrating Four New Literary Landmarks by Rebekah Manley, Coordinator of the Texas Center for the Book (top) Preparing a turkey picnic in Fredricksburg. | Photos courtesy Texas Department of Agriculture – Food Products and Marketing. (bottom) Promoting Texas grain-fed beef at the 1972 State Fair of Texas. | Courtesy Texas Department of Agriculture - Advertising, Events, and Promotions (right) Gloria Meraz, Rebekah Manley, and Marianne Woerner, Director of the Meridian Public Library, celebrating the new John Avery Lomax Literary Landmark.

egies for addressing food needs often relied on calling upon the public’s patriotism. States often proclaim foods as “official” to promote a local product and state industries. Nothing says, “Welcome,” like a heaping serving of peach cobbler. Peaches in Texas are a familiar sight, especially at stands along the roads of Gillespie County in the Hill Country surrounding Fredericksburg. Other official Texas foods include chili (state dish), pumpkin (squash), pecan pie (pie), sweet onion (vegetable), pan de campo (bread), and chips and salsa (snack)! Interest groups, or organizations of people and enterprises, influence policy and are often at the forefront of promoting industries, and this is also the case in Texas food production. These groups work to shape the laws and regulations which govern and sustain economic industries of the state. Helping to establish the “official” Texas food in any category is one

way to increase awareness of a product and celebrate a state tradition. Fairs, festivals, fiestas, and other celebrations held around the state market local products and in turn promote the state’s diverse cultures and economic interests by highlighting and serving favorite dishes. Established in 1886, the Texas State Fair is the granddaddy of all state celebrations. The Texas Department of Agriculture uses the opportunity to promote home-grown flavors annually at the Food and Fiber pavilion, where one may find Texas meats, honey, nuts, sauces, and much more from the wealth of products raised and grown in the state. These and other items can be browsed in the permanent online exhibits on the TSLAC website at Millions more records can be accessed online for free in the Texas Digital Archive at www.tsl.

In 2020, Texas had only five registered Literary Landmarks statewide. My colleagues at the Texas State Library and Archives and I decided it was time to add more to our state map to better reflect the rich literary heritage of our great state. So, in late 2020, we launched the Literary Landmark Roundup, organized by the Texas Center for the Book, where I have been working to advance reading and literacy as Coordinator since 2015. Literary Landmarks are special places located across the country that attract tourists, book lovers, and history buffs to educate the public about the important literary works and history in their state. A Landmark is tied to a specific deceased literary figure, author(s), and/or their work. It could be a writer’s home or birthplace, a library where work was crafted or is housed, an author’s burial site, a special place where literary figures met and discoursed, or an establishment where an author worked or did research.

With special funding from the Summerlee Foundation of Dallas, the Texas Center for the Book’s push for more Texas sites covered the application fee, which also included cost of the foundry-made Literary Landmark plaque, and ongoing assistance to local institutions in creating awareness of the site’s importance to the state’s literary heritage. Final selection is made by United for Libraries, the national administrator of the Literary Landmarks program. We advertised widely online, in major and ...continued on page 61 SPRING 2022



Message from Gloria Meraz, the New State Librarian of Texas



We live in an information-based economy, and success depends on access to accurate, authoritative, and diverse information, technologies, and educational resources. The mission of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is to help Texans lead informed and productive lives. Indeed, I believe that all knowledge organizations share this fundamental purpose. As the new State Librarian, I am incredibly honored to be in this work alongside the talented and committed professionals who staff and support libraries, archives, records management, and information organizations. TSLAC has served the people of Texas for more than a century. Since 1909, when the state founded the agency, we have been supporting the reading, learning, and historical preservation needs of Texas and its people. Going back to the days of the Republic, there has always been an official library and archives of Texas. While fulfilling our unique and longstanding place serving

Texas government, the State Library and Archives Commission accomplishes its mission to serve Texans through four main areas: • Archives and History: TSLAC preserves the archival record of Texas, supports research, and makes primary resources available to the public. •

Libraries and Learning: We assist public, academic, and school libraries across the state in meeting the needs of their communities and students.

Access to Public Records: TSLAC is responsible for helping public agencies maintain their public records.

Reading Services: We support the reading needs of thousands of Texans with disabilities. Our programs provide access to materials and services to virtually every citizen in the state regardless of age, geographic location, or physical ability as well as to local governments, libraries, schools, insti-

tutions of higher education, and state agencies. We work to make sure Texans can connect to the global information infrastructure. Libraries remain trusted places, where knowledge is preserved, literacy championed, and librarians work for the well-being of their communities and schools. Libraries serve as anchors for broadband access and the promotion of digital literacy—the not-so-new benchmark for personal agency in today’s complicated marketplace of ideas, technologies, and platforms. And TSLAC is here to partner with libraries and communities statewide. We want everyone to know that history and information is available around the corner and at your fingertips. I encourage you to visit your local library. It may have a wonderful genealogy collection and rich archival materials. It will certainly have reading materials and probably a lot of local titles. With TSLAC’s statewide electronic resources, you can also access an incredible array of digital materials – databases, maps, videos, ebooks, business reports, and so much more at your library or at home with your library card. Local historical collections—usually found at universities, museums, and research centers—are also great places to spend time investigating. I hope you spend time exploring! You can check out our website (www. to discover some resources, services, tools, information, and programs that are meaningful and useful to you. Our Texas Digital Archive ( has almost 90 terabytes of digitized primary material that you can access for free. And visit us in person, as well, whenever you are in Austin or Liberty, where we are proud to run the Sam Houston State Library and Research Center and a terrific museum housed there. We are here to serve you. Gloria Meraz Director and Librarian, Texas State Library and Archives Commission Austin, Texas

...continued from page 59

DON’T MISS Texas State Library and Archives 1201 Brazos St. Austin, TX 78701 (512) 463=5455 Theodis “Ted” Shine, Jr. Literary Landmark Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts 2501 Flora St. Dallas, TX 75201 John Avery Lomax Literary Landmark John A. Lomax Amphitheater 305 W. Morgan St. Meridian, Texas 76665

local newspapers, and through library, reading, and literacy channels seeking nominations from libraries, historical associations, Chambers of Commerce, educational institutions, museums, and literary societies, among others. After a review period, four new Literary Landmarks were announced on August 25, 2021: • Theodis “Ted” Shine, Jr. Literary Landmark, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas, Texas • John Avery Lomax Literary Landmark, John A. Lomax Amphitheater, Meridian, Texas • Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa Literary Landmark, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Library, Edinburg, Texas • Lonn Wood Taylor Literary Landmark, Jeff Davis County Library, Fort Davis, Texas Dedication ceremonies were scheduled throughout late 2021 and early 2022, starting with our kick-off event in Meridian on October 9, followed by a trip to Fort Davis on October 22, leading to a visit to Dallas on January 14, and winding things up with an exciting program in Edinburgh on January 31. You can watch video recaps at TXLitLandmarks2021.

Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa Literary Landmark University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Library 1201 W University Dr. Edinburg, TX 78539 Lonn Wood Taylor Literary Landmark Jeff Davis County Library 100 Memorial Square Fort Davis, Texas 79734

(right) The Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building in downtown Austin, east of the Texas Capitol, home to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

It has been such a pleasure seeing these important sites being recognized across our state—and especially meaningful to join local communities and literature lovers in celebration after the distance and isolation of these last months. We are reminded of the enduring power of books to span time, distance, and differences. The Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building, home to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and located on the Texas Capitol grounds, is also a designated Literary Landmark unveiled December 3, 2009, on TSLAC’s 100th anniversary. In commemoration, a Landmark designation event honored TSLAC’s place in the state’s history, recognizing how its library resources and archives provided research and inspiration to prominent Texas authors and scholars. Speakers included then-State Librarian Peggy Rudd and former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush. Read more about these four new Literary Landmarks at We hope to offer the Literary Landmark Roundup again in the future. Stay tuned to the website for the next application window, and… read, y’all! SPRING 2022



A Pint of History German-Texan brewing heritage on tap at La Grange historic site by Andy Rhodes and Rob Hodges, Communications Division, Texas Historical Commission


the late 1800s, many German immigrants gravitated to east-central Texas, where they continued the customs of their homeland. The region’s fertile prairies and natural springs were reminiscent of the German countryside, where families had spent centuries perfecting the craft of brewing lagers, often with water from limestone-based artesian springs. Although dozens of regional breweries were officially documented, only a few survived to become significant businesses retaining historic legacies to this day. “The little brewery in Shiner,” the 113-year-old Spoetzl Brewery, is 62


known for its venerable beer, traced to founder Kosmos Spoetzl’s centuries-old family recipes. To the west, the Lone Star Brewery complex—now housing the San Antonio Museum of Art—was constructed in 1895 and eventually earned San Antonio the title “the Milwaukee of Texas.” About 100 miles northeast of San Antonio lay the ruins of the once-prosperous Kreische Brewery, just outside of La Grange. Now part of the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Kreische Brewery State Historic Site, the ruins tell the story of German stonemason and brewmaster Heinrich Kreische, who purchased 172 acres on a scenic bluff overlooking the Colorado River in 1849.

Kreische’s gravity-based water filtration system started with a natural spring source and moved downhill through a series of specially engineered stone-based filtration systems toward the brewhouse. There, Kreische oversaw the brewing process via German rules—the only permissible ingredients were water, barley, and hops—for the lager known as Kreische’s Bluff Beer. When a new batch was ready, it is said Kreische would raise a flag high on the bluff with the German phrase Frisch Auf! (meaning Freshen Up!) to proudly advertise its availability. The THC’s historic site remains a testament to his craftsmanship. In 2020, Kreische’s craft was resurrected—in a sense. Twisted X Brewing Company released a bock beer called Kreische Bluff inspired by the historic site. For a couple years, Central Texans have been able to “freshen up” and taste the Kreische legacy in this amber-colored beer that uses 100 percent German malt and hops. Heritage travelers and beer lovers alike can sample Kreische Bluff in Twisted X’s Dripping Springs taproom. In summer 2021, the Kreische collaboration continued. Live Oak

BEER BLUFF German immigrant Heinrich Ludwig Kreische built a three-story house (above left) on 172 acres south of LaGrange and, in 1860, began building a brewery. By 1879, it was the third largest brewing operation in Texas, with its flagship product being “Kreische’s Bluff Beer,” inspired by the dramatic overlook (left) on the property.



(right) The brewery began to deteriorate years after being shut down. (below) Bluff Schuetzenverein members, c. late 1870s or early 1880s. The barrel and glasses seen here likely contain Kreische Bluff beer.

DON’T MISS Kreische Brewery State Historic Site 414 State Loop 92 La Grange, TX 78945 (979) 968-5658 kreische-brewery-statehistoric-site Bluff Schuetzenfest May 14, 2022 10:00am to 8:00pm Texas History on Tap @ Bluff SchuetzenFest Sample a variety of beers inspired by Texas history and meet the creative teams behind your favorite Texas breweries. Enjoy live music, German food, and a good old time on the Bluff. Ticketed Event 5:00pm to 8:00pm Tickets available at friendsofkreische 64


Brewing Company released an Old World/La Grange-inspired pilsner called Schuetzenverein Pils, co-branded with Kreische Brewery State Historic Site. On May 14, beer will flow once again at Kreische Brewery! That evening, the site will host a celebration of GermanTexan brewing heritage called Texas History on Tap as part of the daylong Bluff SchuetzenFest. Attendees can taste three-ounce samples from several breweries linked to the history of the site or German-Texan heritage. The inaugural Bluff SchuetzenFest is a revival of a celebration once held on the grounds. From the 1870s to the 1920s, the Bluff Schuetzenverein (or shooting club) hosted a gathering on the bluff for German traditions such as marksmanship competitions, games, folk music, and dancing. The Bluff SchuetzenFest will recreate many of these traditions and more fun activities for families, with live music, food, games, guided tours, living history, and more. Admission is free from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The Texas History on Tap portion is a ticketed event from 5–8 p.m. Learn more and purchase tickets at

find a piece of your

Come experience it all.


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.