Wednesday, December 3, 2008

East Texas scenes

Here are some scenes of the East Texas town that my Mom recently left, after living there for almost twenty years. I took some photos during this month's visit.

During the day, when Mom was settled in with her books or her crosswords or her Sudoko, I would go out and take a walk around her neighborhood.

The street where Mom lived is in a wooded area, and the houses are pretty far apart. Although most of the native vegetation on the lots was cleared when the houses were built, there are some vacant lots in between houses, and they are thick with tall trees and foliage that feels primordial. You can really understand why this part of Texas is called the Piney Woods.

In this part of Texas the native trees are loblolly pine, longleaf pine, hickory, dogwood, and redbud. Nineteen oak species grow here, having adapted to the acid soils and high rainfall. Pines are commercially harvested here, and you often encounter logging trucks on the two-lane back roads.

Outside of town, there are farms. One of Mom's friends farms cattle south of town, and there are many chicken farms that contract for some of the country's largest chicken producers. This pasture with horses, goats, and a few cows is on the road to Mom's old neighborhood.

The town itself is home to one of Texas's state universities, and the campus dominates the northern part of town. The main road through town is lined with the usual fast food and chain restaurants, along with supermarkets, big pharmacies, liquor stores and other retail.

What I like is the small original downtown, which, like many Texas towns, is built around a central square. The streets are paved in red brick, and the buildings date from the mid 19th century. I've posted about it before here, here and also here. There are lots of antique shops here. This small mercantile store is an example of how the town values its history.

North of the town square is an historic residential neighborhood, with well-kept houses that range from magnificent to modest. This Victorian with amazing fretwork and gingerbread is a landmark.

This 1920's bungalow sits next door to its twin. I love the low lines.

The railroad tracks take a curve south of the town square, and when you go to the other side of the tracks, you find some of the older industrial establishments, like this plant for Lone Star Feeds, whose tower and sign is a distinct landmark in this neighborhood of small, sometimes shabby cottages.

Although I'm so thankful we've been able to make a change that will improve Mom's life, I'll miss being able to visit this beautiful little town.


shrink on the couch said...

adorable little gingerbread trim on a house that is so very texan to me. homes not seen like it on the east coast. beautiful tribute. I'm very curious which town this is, have my suspicions.

JCK said...

I can see why you will miss it. It has much charm in architecture. And it is so great to have actual woods around!

Woman in a Window said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous setting. And that shot of the horses suggests maybe you were being just a little sneaky? I feel that way when I snug up to someone's fence and steal a shot from within.