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Texas Ghost Towns: proposal

Joined
Jun 7, 2006
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Exit. Stage West.
I'm submitting a proposal for a category in the member's* section: Texas Ghost Towns.

Along the lines of the 'historical markers' thread introduced by Cowboy, the category could serve as a deposit and archive of ghost towns riders happen upon or intentionally visit. For some (perhaps it is already), it could be a new 'treasure hunt' like Gilke's and Janet's courthouses.

A few books in print list and locate ghost towns in Texas, but they are not complete. A short list is in the first several pages of the current "Roads of Texas" mapbook. I've been in a few over the last two months that are not mentioned anywhere. It's a big state with lots of territory and history; there are probably MANY ghosts towns that are less known, some perhaps lost in the memories of the old timers.

Regardless, I propose a criteria:

"A Ghost Town is a town or community that at one time had a commercial or population center, and is either wholly abandoned or faded greatly from its peak, and now is just a shadow of its former self." (1)

And classification (1):

"All ghost towns can be categorized into five basic classes based on what remains at the site.

· Class A...barren site

· Class B...rubble and/or roofless building ruins

· Class C...standing abandoned buildings (with roofs), no population, except maybe a caretaker.

· Class D...semi/near ghost towns. A small resident population, many abandoned buildings.

· Class E...busy historic community, yet still much smaller than in its boom years.

· Class F...Not a stand-alone class, but an addition to any of the above. This class usually designates a restored town, state park, or indicates some other “additional” status.

Riders must submit a photo of the location and/or any buildings, structures, ruins, or anything that occupies the space where the town once stood.

Other data required: location. Using roads and/or distances from nearby places, or GPS coordinates.

Something, anything, no matter how short or long, about the significance of the town: history, personal perspectives, anecdotes, even, yes, historical markers. Stories are welcome.

If a moderator is needed for this, I volunteer. I don't wish to add to the burden of those already donating precious time and energy on the forum.

* Does this mean that only members can view the thread? That's a shame. It would be really nice if visitors that are not members can view it.

(1) Source: Ghost Town USA’s GHOST TOWN CATEGORIES.
 
Joined
May 29, 2003
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Dallas, TX
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Charlie
I like the idea!

I've seen a few places that could qualify in my travels through Texas into New Mexico, so scouting for these could be fun. Add in the history lesson, background story behind the ruins that you find ... this could be a lot of fun to participate in.
 
Joined
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Coryell city
Jesus, I live in one!!!!Coryell City used to have over 2,000 people, stores, doctors, etc...Now it has less than 70 people and postoffice closed back in 93..1993...only thing left is a church and the volunteer fire department......
 

WoodButcher

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Myers
I rode through there today on my loop from Austin to Crawford and back. Nice to meet you by the way.
 
Joined
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Exit. Stage West.
I've seen a few places that could qualify in my travels through Texas into New Mexico, so scouting for these could be fun. Add in the history lesson, background story behind the ruins that you find ... this could be a lot of fun to participate in.
Exactly!

Coryell City used to have over 2,000 people, stores, doctors, etc...Now it has less than 70 people and postoffice closed back in 93..1993...only thing left is a church and the volunteer fire department......
How appropos... (ghost rider living in a ghost town... cool! :mrgreen: ) If and when we get approval, and a spot, you can lead off with your home(ghost)town. I have two to submit, also.
 
Joined
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mike
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brown
how weird. i was thinking about doing the same thing. found a cool site that lists all the ghost towns in Texas.

http://www.texasescapes.com/Texas-Ghost-Towns-A-to-Z.htm

i was wanting to do a "towns with funny names" project and thats when i found out that most of them were ghost towns. so i thought, why not do a ghost town project and combine the two. i like the way yall think!!
 
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Exit. Stage West.
i was wanting to do a "towns with funny names" project and thats when i found out that most of them were ghost towns. so i thought, why not do a ghost town project and combine the two. i like the way yall think!!
Must be telepathic. ;) I started a "towns with funny names" collection last year, too. (Energy and Indian Gap were first ones) With same observation; most are ghost towns.

My only objection to inclusion of towns that don't meet the ghost town criteria is 'funny' name is too subjective and relative. 'Energy' was an odd name to me, but may not be to everyone else. Yet it definitely meets the ghost town criteria. Other town names I consider odd, they are definitely not ghost towns. The ambiguity and loose characterization of towns with odd names might detract from the ghost town thread, which might be better as specific.

However, you might propose a category for places with odd names, which happens to be another interest of mine (in my insatiable curiosity bucket). For example, a certain county road -Coca-Cola Ranch Rd- is full of character, mystery and history. No one knows where the name originated (I've asked everyone I run into in that area), it's a sweet ride, and for three miles it runs right on the old Butterfield Stagecoach Trail as well as being part of the old (but later) Jacksboro-to-Gainesville Wagon Road.

So, that category could encompass towns, roads, landmarks (?). And be just as much, if not more, interesting. (btw -trivia moment here- the study of this is called 'ethnogeography'. That, too, is interesting ;) )

How does that suggestion sound?
 
Joined
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yea, thats fine. i like the ghost town idea. pretty much going to accomplish both at the same time anyway. did you get a chance to look at the web site?
 

pacman

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Outstanding! Thanks for sharing this link. I've already read several of the stories, and so far this is my favorite:

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Subject: Brazos Point
"The Old Man's Place"
[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
My brother H.L. Stephenson and his wife Denise first took me to Brazos Point back in 1970. We all called it "The old mans place," for the old farmer who lived there. He ran a campground right on the river called Braden's Camp. It was just to the left as you passed over the bridge head'n toward Walnut Springs.

For three dollars you could camp all week (and probably not see anyone else). When I reached driving age it was a favorite destination of mine. I would take friends and camp all weekend or longer. Sometimes I'd take a date for a picnic there. It never failed. Everyone loved the old bridge, the river, and the old man's camp. I have slept under the bridge on a sand bar and made coffee from Brazos river water. I camped with friends and loved ones, some of whom are now gone or I have lost touch with. My best dog Buzzard loved it also. I could say to her "Wanna go to the river?" and she'd start danc'n. When we got there she'd run and play for hours, trying to bite us on the rear as we jumped in the water. I remember her plum tuckered out with a sunburn on the tip of her nose laying by the campfire.

We'd go every weekend during the summers, and sometimes we'd camp in winter. Buzzard and I went the most, just the two of us. Brazos Point has changed, the old man has passed on and his camp is no more. A new, ugly bridge has been built right beside the original. Buzzard has been gone for about 15 years now. I have my memory and lots of pictures and a rock that I carried up from the river floor when my wife and I were dating. It is in the shape of a triangle and must weigh well over 100lbs. It's right out the back door of my house for the last 25 years. I can place my hand on it and I'm almost there. - Don W. Stevenson, July 16, 2007
[/FONT]
 
Joined
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Fort Worth
Great idea! I'll chime in before the new section arrives...

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

In early 1836, (Captain) Bejamin Franklin Bryant raised a company of men and joined the main body of Sam Houston's army in March of that year, after the fall of the Alamo but in time for the Battle of San Jacinto.

Captain Bryant so distinguished himself at San Jacinto that Houston and the new Republic awarded him around three thousand acres (surveyed by George Erath - later member of the Republic of Texas house of representatives and the United States Senate) north of the Little River in modern Milam County. Bryant's charge was to develop a trading post which would also serve as a fort to protect the new capital of the Republic at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

As one of the most important crossings over the Little River (including the Marlin to Austin stage run) the new community, called Bryant Station, flourished. Jacob deCordova visited around 1858 and found what he called "a large and flourishing settlement." Bryant Station by then had Captain Bryant's fort/store, many other commercial buildings, hundreds of homes, several churches, a permanent Mason's lodge, and a large Czech community. (Jacob deCordova was born in Jaimaica, set up a land business in New Orleans which he later moved to Galveston in time to become a citizen of the Republic, and laid out (with George Erath) the town of Waco.)

In 1881, the Santa Fe railway passed Bryant Station. The town began a decline that saw the town effectively gone by the end of the 19th century. All of the commerce conducted in Bryant Station moved to the town established by the railway company (Buckholts, Texas) even though the crossing on the Little River remained important. The State of Texas continued to improve the crossing until as late as 1909 when a steel truss bridge was erected.

Bryant Station's cemetery and the 1909 bridge are all that remain. The State of Texas moved Captain Bryant's and his wife's grave to the State Cemetery in Austin in 1931.


My Dad's Adventure Bonneville and My Adventure Cyclone in front of the cemetery.


The cemetery gets mowed, but the forest is making progress.


It's a beautiful spot. Like most 19th century cemetaries, this one is full of infants and children.


The view across the steel bridge today. There is a new concrete bridge that opened not long ago. At one end of this bridge there is a grove of huge old pecan trees. Go at the right time of year and eat lunch off the ground!

--- To Get There ---

Take Highway 190 eastbound from Temple. About 4 miles west of Buckholts (the railroad town that killed Bryant Station), county road 104 splits off eastbound 190 and parallels the highway eastbound for a short distance. Follow it as it turns south (crossing the railroad tracks that made Buckholts) and turns to gravel. You'll go about 3 1/2 miles and it will make a sharp turn east. Keep following it, cross two bridges (probably 1/2 mile) and you'll find a turn to the south. Go south and you'll find a sign for the cemetery after about 1/4 mile. There's a trail through the trees and across a pasture to take you to the cemetary. To get the to bridge, stay on the south-bound road down to the river.
 
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Joined
Aug 11, 2003
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Denver, Colorado
Anyone know of some books on the subject? I have always found the subject interesting and been to a few of them in Oklahoma. It also helped that I have a book called Ghost Towns of Oklahoma[/i] which made it easier to find some of the towns. I also knew the author (an OU professor) who was putting the book together when I worked in an art supply store.
 
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mike
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Anyone know of some books on the subject? I have always found the subject interesting and been to a few of them in Oklahoma. It also helped that I have a book called Ghost Towns of Oklahoma[/i] which made it easier to find some of the towns. I also knew the author (an OU professor) who was putting the book together when I worked in an art supply store.
http://www.texasescapes.com/Texas-Ghost-Towns-A-to-Z.htm

go to the very bottom of the link. there are a couple of books for sale.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2007
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253
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Copperas Cove, TX
how weird. i was thinking about doing the same thing. found a cool site that lists all the ghost towns in Texas.

http://www.texasescapes.com/Texas-Ghost-Towns-A-to-Z.htm

i was wanting to do a "towns with funny names" project and thats when i found out that most of them were ghost towns. so i thought, why not do a ghost town project and combine the two. i like the way yall think!!
Thats a neat site and the whole idea is great. years ago a group of us used to go ghost town hunting in colorado, but had not considered it in texas. the site is very helpful and gives another reason to ride and learn. already got a couple places to check out. Thanks.
 

pacman

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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.
 
Joined
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Exit. Stage West.
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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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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Ed
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In search of Fort Spunky

Spunky.jpg


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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