Monday, August 31, 2015

Inside the Old Blanco County Courthouse

In one of my first posts I visited the Old Blanco County Courthouse. In June (2015) while enjoying the Lavender Festival I went inside the restored building and made a few pictures.  These really don't do the building justice, but they will give you an idea of how the interior was restored. 

This photograph was one of many historical pictures on display. It probably dates to the early 1900's when the building was home to the Blanco National Bank.   Blanco County only used the building as a courthouse for four years before the county seat was moved to Johnson City; after that time the building was used for a variety of purposes.  It is perhaps remembered best for its use as a hospital where many of Blanco County's citizens were born.
                There are two identical staircases that lead to the second floor. 

An arched door on each side of the building leads into a cross pattern hallway.

The Blanco County Courthouse Preservation Society operates the Visitor Center on the first floor and there are tenant offices on the second floor at this time.  I stood on the landing for a moment and wondered about all the souls who travelled through the building at some point in its past.  I also gave a thankful thought to those who labored tirelessly for many years to save this remarkable building so that future generations will understand the history of this place!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dallas Heritage Village

My last post featured the Dallas Heritage Village and its history.   Each building on the grounds was moved there from a location either in Dallas or North Texas. The visitors guide and information plaques by each one gave me a feel for that building's (or a similar building's) contribution to the history of the area.  Since there are 21 buildings featured on the property I can only feature a few here.  But do visit their web site to read about all of them and the service that the Village provides to the Dallas community.  Just to note, the Village is closed during August so they can do upkeep and other projects.

I had posted about the Renner School on Small Simple Things of Life, so click here to read about it.
I wrote about the Millermore house on the first post.  So, that covers two of the buildings.

As soon as I walked into the Village the depot caught my eye; I'm always drawn to depots and trains.
The first train rolled into Dallas in July 1872 and a year later the Texas & Pacific arrived in town.  Dallas became the first major railroad crossing in the southwest, linked to Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago.  The population of Dallas soared and business boomed!

This depot was built in 1886 and served the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas (MKT or KATY) line. Each railroad used standardized colors and most buildings followed a similar plan with a gabled roof and hipped ends. The depot is painted in the MKT's colors.  Prior to its relocation it had been cut in half and one half was being used for hay storage. All aboard!
The Worth Hotel was built in Carrollton in 1904.  Hotels were vital to the railroads.  Often space was limited and guests not only had to share rooms they often had to share beds!
The Sullivan house was built a few blocks away from the Village in 1885.  Mr. Sullivan was a plumbing and gas fitting contractor and the house featured an indoor bath and gas fixtures. I found it interesting that the picture of the house in its original location showed it to be painted white. Isn't this color scheme much more pleasing?

The Gano house was built in the dog-trot style in 1846 near Grapevine.  This practical plan of joining two rooms with a breezeway offered cross-ventilation.  The dog-trot house was very common in Texas.  In 1852 two rooms were added to the back as well as the loft above making it very roomy.  The house was covered with hand planed siding for extra insulation.
Like most parks of this time City Park had a gazebo (bandstand) similar to this one. 
The Main Street features buildings that would have been typical of Dallas in the late 1800's.  A saloon, a bank, a general store, and a law office comprise this street.  The murky day and small camera kept me from capturing the Dallas skyline just behind the trees, but it was a vivid contrast.
The Blum House, built in 1901, is currently closed.  This poor lady needs another makeover and the Village is currently soliciting funds.  The DHV is a non-profit 503(c) organization and gladly accepts donations and other forms of support.  At this time they do not plan to add any other structures unless they come with their own endowment.  Upkeep is costly!