Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Columbus, Texas

Fenceline and historic home

Mired in the sprawling urban behemoth of Houston, it is easy to forget that most of Texas is a patchwork of small, rural towns. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the chance to get out of the city now and again, and drive out through the country between metro areas. Growing up in a creaky old farmhouse, in an equally creaky old mill town, these sojourns feel a lot like coming home. The politics are a little different than where I grew up, and the barbecue is infinitely better, but for the most part, small towns are small towns wherever you go.  Describe a place with big trees over big lawns, old rows of semi-occupied storefronts on Main street, a Dairy Queen down the road, houses that are referred to by the name of the family who lived there three generations ago, and a cow:human ratio that tips toward the bovine, and you could be about anywhere in the country.  Their roots go deep, and the current place lives in and among the bones of its past incarnations.

Columbus, Texas,is a quintessential posterchild for a subspecies of that rural archetype, the Texas county seat. If you want to understand historic Texas, don't go to the Stetsons and lattes crowd of the urban centers; go spend some time in rural Texas county seats. I guarantee you'll find a massive limestone courthouse, big porches on small streets, probably a historical marker every 5 feet.

I had a meeting there last week, and got in earlier than expected, and took a walk around town. I need to go back there in better light some day with a proper camera some day..

Rural Texas landscape

Columbus is awash in old and sprawling Live Oaks
In no less than four places, the roads actually bend or split to make way for old trees

County Court House

Courthouse and Tower
As one would expect, many of the street names are historical Texas surnames. 
Lots of big sprawling old houses....often built with slave labor, sadly.

Small Texas town trifecta: Big porch, pig trees, American flag.
Old storefronts in the center of town
Masonic Hall

'56 Chevy Bel Air decomposing

Roadside Wildflowers (Indian Paintbrush)