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Old 10-19-2008, 10:06 PM   #21
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

Elzi, I went and checked out the Kimball ruins today. I was a little disappointed with the accessibility to the actual ruins. They were either behind fences or very far off the road. The stuff that's far off the road looks like the most interesting, from what I could tell. I'd like to go back with hiking boots and jeans on so I don't get my riding gear all torn up by briars and burrs. Besides, I forgot my camera today, so a return trip is mandatory.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:53 AM   #22
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

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Originally Posted by pacman View Post
Elzi, I went and checked out the Kimball ruins today. I was a little disappointed with the accessibility to the actual ruins. They were either behind fences or very far off the road. The stuff that's far off the road looks like the most interesting, from what I could tell. I'd like to go back with hiking boots and jeans on so I don't get my riding gear all torn up by briars and burrs. Besides, I forgot my camera today, so a return trip is mandatory.
Please do, and provide photos.
Many of the photos and descriptions for ghost towns on Texasescapes.com are outdated. Changes can occur quickly; old structures can crumble and disappear within a short period of time. Vegetation reclaims sites even quicker. Or, as in the case of a ghost town in Nevada, turned into a resort or amusement park.

One advantage of this project may be to update these places as they are now. Thus this thread/category can serve as an unofficial archive representing this time frame. Also, from the perspective of a biker rider; we are able to be more intimate with the locations' surroundings than those who drive/ride in a car and look or take photos from their car windows.

Additionally, as you commented, sometimes you just have to put the kickstand down and get off the bike to explore.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:56 AM   #23
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

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Originally Posted by DanS View Post
Great idea! I'll chime in before the new section arrives...

--- Bryant Station, Milam County, Texas, USA ---

Thanks, Dan!!!!

Good to meet you and chat on Saturday. I'll hope you'll contribute more stories and photos of these neat places.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:12 AM   #24
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

I did alot of work for the Corps of engineers at Kimball Bend and I was disappointed too. BTW Woodbutcher you passed through Osage going to Crawford. Osage was a town of over 3,000 people until the 1930s. They had a big fire and the entire downtown burned and never really rebuilt. I fyou look to left of the lowwater crossing you can see the burned foundation stones... I am a bit of a history buff so I have hit alot of ghost towns in the past...Would be glad to go back to them again...Don't forget about the The Grove off of Hwy 36 toward Temple. Most of its buildings still stand.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:01 PM   #25
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In search of Fort Spunky



I took some time off of my housework today (I am on vacation from the paying job this week) to go looking for a ghost town that had caught my attention a while back. Fort Spunky was originally Barnardville, and was never actually a fort. Settled by George and Charles Barnard in partnership with the Torrey brothers and Sam Houston, Barnardville and a neighboring community named George's Creek prospered for a while as trading posts on the Brazos River. It was hoped that the commerce would improve relations with the local Indians.

By the mid 1850s all of the Indians had been relocated to Fort Belknap and the trading posts declined. It acquired the name Fort Spunky because of the fistfights that broke out in town quite frequently.

A post office was opened in 1886, but by 1900 population had declined to about forty people. As of 2000 it was reported that as many as 14 people might still have been at Fort Spunky, but today I saw that a sand company has begun mining the spot.

All that is left is one lone windmill and a dilapidated barn that seems to be hiding behind some giant Mesquite trees. A fence and some no trespassing signs kept me from exploring the barn like I wanted to.

Fort Spunky is (was) in south Hood County, on Farm Road 2174 between CR 325 and CR 326. The barn is down CR 326, but in sight of the intersection of the farm road. Its GPS coordinates are 32.326549 lat and -97.650325 lon.









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Last edited by ed29; 10-20-2008 at 09:50 PM. Reason: add missing information.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:09 PM   #26
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

Fences are made to be climbed.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:22 PM   #27
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

Not while the mining company people are driving by every thirty seconds eyeballing me as if I were already doing something wrong.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:10 PM   #28
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

thanks to Dan and Ed for posting the first two ghost towns. I'd like to remind posters to include location; GPS coordinates or general location description like Dan did in his post.

Perhaps we'll get a delegated section soon
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:54 PM   #29
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

Okay, the missing information is added. By the way, there looks to be many miles of gravel, sand, and dirt to explore out there near this ghost town. Next trip I take that way will be on the KLR.

And the cobbler at Hammonds was pretty good today too.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:19 AM   #30
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

im going to try to get one this weekend.
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:24 AM   #31
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

Never had heard of Ft Spunky, thats a good story... Ft Belknap would be a ghost town also, it was once a bustling trading camp for buffalo hunters...I am going to start geting some fresh picks of the ghost towns near me...Kimball has been mentioned so I might skip unless someone requests info on it...
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:35 AM   #32
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

i fly in and out of Sabine Pass for work so i might try to swing over and see what is left of Sabine while im here. wont be on the bike tho...
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:40 AM   #33
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

There are dozens of ghost towns in West Texas. Check out the ruins of Hymen Settlement at 4:40 in this video I shot last summer:

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Old 10-21-2008, 11:57 AM   #34
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

Nice video, Tim. What car where you driving? 38-39 mpg is impressive!
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:53 PM   #35
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

Well alrighty then...... While heading towards the Hill country last memorial day weekend we rode thru Indian Gap, which is on CR1702, just east of 16. This first pic is of the old school dated 1913 that we took. the 2nd photo is one taken off of off this site:http://www.texasescapes.com/CentralT...ndianGapTx.htm





This next pic of the old small house is almost in front of the old school.



This picture of the old store was the general store in Indian Gap, but mine didnt come out so this one is off of the texasescapes.com website also......... although the store hasnt changed any....



This is the old church across from the old school.....



Im a fanatic of old rundown buildings and old churchs........... I think Im gonna take an afternoon ride and head down to Indian Gap again...... with a picnic basket in hand this time!
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:30 PM   #36
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

Indian Gap is a cool place. And nice road to ride. It's my preference for riding into the hill country, sort of a 'Through the Magic Door'.

Except for when you get lost on the gravel roads that surround it.....
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:52 PM   #37
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

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Nice video, Tim. What car where you driving? 38-39 mpg is impressive!
2007 Honda Civic SE with the ULEV package:

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Old 10-21-2008, 06:21 PM   #38
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

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<snip>
Except for when you get lost on the gravel roads that surround it.....
Sounds like fun to me!

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Old 10-21-2008, 08:23 PM   #39
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

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Sounds like fun to me!
On the Sherpa, it would be, and is. But on the top-heavy, too-tall thoroughbred, and with a bum ankle, and on golf-ball sized road rock, it was not. I almost lost the bike twice when trying to turn it around in said conditions. It was not fun.

The Sherpa, on the other hand, I could get lost on that forever and love it.
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:14 PM   #40
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Re: Texas Ghost Towns: proposal


Wizard Wells
Jack County, Texas

Historical Marker:
N 33.20077
W097.97113



I had never heard of Wizard Wells until researching stations on the Butterfield Trail in Texas. The name captivated me. Why 'Wizard'?

When the Butterfield Trail was rerouted from the original -Gainesville, Davidson's, Conolly's stations and Hog-eye Prairie- it went through Decatur and across the West Fork of the Trinity on Hwy 920, west of Bridgeport (Old Bridgeport was right on the bank for a few years, eventually moving east to present location). The next station was near Bean's Creek and east of where both old and new trail converged: Jacksboro.

Bean's Creek runs through, as you can guess, Bean's Valley. The valley and creek were favorite hunting and camping grounds of the Kiowa. By the 1850's, settlers were staking claims and setting up homesteads for farming and grazing livestock. It seemed a logical place for the Butterfield Overland Company to put a station. And the area prospered.

In the late 1870's George Washington Vineyard moved to the area. He dug a well for his household water, but it was so full of minerals it was undrinkable. Yet the water was used to bathe in. GW was plagued with chronic ulcers on his legs which the water supposedly cured, as well as his eye 'disease'.

News of GW's miraculous 'healing' from the water brought people from all over suffering from everything imaginable and hoping to find the cure-all, the 'miracle water'. Many camped along the creek during their stay. Eventually three hotels and 'soaking tubs' were built to accommodate cure-seekers.


Vineyard owned most of the property in the area, but I can find no mention of what became of him or his family. The town, then called Vineyard (or Old Vineyard), was established in 1882 with a general store. Later followed by several churches, a newspaper, school, sawmill, blacksmith shop, and post office. It became a thriving retail center for the local farmers and ranches and by 1890 had a population of 100. From the 1920s until the 1940s the town's population was near 175, and by 2000, 63.

You can't really get a complete story of Wizard Wells without nearby associated towns: Vineyard (be patient; you'll see) and Sebree. When the Chicago, Rock Island and Texas Railway bypassed Vineyard on it's way from Bridgeport to Jacksboro in 1899, many people left Vineyard and formed a new community around the depot two miles south. The historical marker claims they called the new town 'Sebree'.

HF Stamper and his two sons, all from Missouri, had settled in the town of Vineyard. When many left and settled to the south near the RR, the three male Stampers petitioned the Texas Legislature in 1914 to rename the town of Vineyard to 'Wizard Wells'.

In 1915, after the name change to 'Wizard Wells', the new town, then a center for shipping of farm and ranch products and a thriving community on its own, adopted the new name of 'Vineyard.' So this is the second 'Vineyard'. By 1925 the population of Vineyard was 212 and by 1933 the new Vineyard was a thriving community with a brick school, businesses and several stores. However, following the demise of the railroad no businesses or stores existed by the 1970s. The population had declined by the 1950s to 40. In 2000 the population was 37.

Now, another source reports that Sebree was a separate community; by 1910 it had become a community center for area farmers and ranchers. "Three general stores, a cotton gin, a grocery store, and a dry goods store served an estimated 200 residents in 1914. Soil erosion reduced the productivity of the land surrounding the community, however, and residents left Sebree for Jacksboro, the county seat, fourteen miles to the north, and for Bryson, where oil had been discovered in the 1920s. The post office was closed in 1915, and by the mid-1940s Sebree no longer existed."

So where is Sebree? I guess we'll have to find out

Interestingly, the Wizard Wells cemetery is the final resting place for many members of the founding families: Stampers, Beans, etc. An interesting place to explore, for sure.

The pattern I've seen here, and elsewhere, is "Build it and they will come." Railroads, stage coach lines, military roads, etc. And when the original impetus for many of the communities die, so do the towns. Look at the same pattern today, such as the strip malls, etc along the major highways/freeways. Transportation seems to be a significant factor in civilization, both birth and death.

Now on to some modern news. Wizard wells still stands; well and all.
I found this advertised by the current owner:

"Whispering Waters is a Holistic Retreat Center owned and operated by Kevin and Gail Leech. Kevin and Gail are registered massage therapists and artists who purchased the property in 1999. They have worked steadily (obsessively?) ever since to bring the land and buildings back to life in a creative, loving and respectful manner.
Your Hosts

As registered massage therapists, Gail specializes in cranio-sacral therapy, while Kevin's focus is myofascial release. The charge per therapy session is $40. Overnight stays are $50 per room for up to 2 guests(add $10 for a 3rd). Mineral soaks and outdoor hot tub are included with the room, as is a light breakfast and lots of peace and quiet.
The Property

The property consists of a 3 story building,built in the 1940's, whose bottom floor has been renovated to include 7 bedrooms with 16 beds, 7 bathrooms, 1 soaking room, 1 of 3 massage therapy rooms, a small esoteric library and a cozy plant filled entry-way. The second and third floors are in the process of being renovated to accommodate 3-4 longer term house guests. Kevin and Gail are currently living on the 2nd floor.Connected to the 3-story is a single 3,000 square ft building,built in the 1930's which includes a unique common area that serves as a dining room, classroom, gathering space, etc. Adjoining the common area is a large kitchen, another large soaking room, the other massage therapy rooms and a small gift shop. On the land are also 2 other buildings. One was originally the town's general store and hasn't been used since the 70's and is in need of repair.This building would eventually make a great sanctuary or community space for all to come and share in the oneness that IS. The other,the oldest, a native rock building, consists of 4 separate rooms which is currently in use as Kevin's pottery studio.

There are endless possibilities here and we are continually open to guidance about our purpose.In following the promptings of spirit, we feel now we are creating a gentle place to energize and heal.We stand back and look at what has been created and see artist studios, quiet places to rest your mind,body and spirit, energizing encampments,a place to nurture spiritual awakening, growth, renewal. Surrounded by ever improving organic gardens of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and cactus, guests can enjoy the medicine wheel, meditation gardens, massage therapy sessions, camping, comfortable lodging, workshop facilities, personal overnight and weekend retreats. We have also been blessed with a rich esoteric library, relaxing mineral waters for soaking,soothing or detoxing, magical musical chimes and so much more."


Thus New Age merges with Old Age

It certainly is an interesting place to visit. One of these days soon, the Sherpa and I will be paying another visit to discover more, stop to visit the New Age people and the hotel, and explore another nearby long-gone community and cemetery, Jim Ned.





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