While down in Texas on an unexpected visit these past 2 1/2 weeks, I had a few minutes one day to stop at the City Park in Breckenridge. In 1936, H. P. Drought, the Texas director of WPA announced that 38 projects had been approved, including improvements for the Breckenridge City Park. It was to employ 35 workers, using $2,978 federal funds and $1,295 from local sponsors (Breck city park project approved, Breckenridge American, vol. 16, no. 361, ed.1). The park has been a part of my ‘roadside memory’ since my first trip from Graham to Breckenridge and beyond. At one time, I recall the concrete slabs on the benches were painted green. Additional improvements have been made over the years by the local garden club, according to two signs I located, including one on the covered pavilion visible beyond the entrance gate columns. There is nary a WPA sign anywhere.
This could mean that the WPA project was never completed, and I could find no record of the work being performed. According to news items in May, 1938, the city continued to attempt to complete a “tabernacle” in the city park.
Work to start soon on city building, Necessity school…tabernacle in the city park…set to cost about $1,250″ of which the city was to pay half. (May 17, 1938, p. 1, Breckenridge American)
County ’38 exhibit plans meet topic… discussed…getting the tabernacle constructed in the City Park as soon as possible. This is a WPA project in which the city and county will assist. May 26, 1938, p. 1, Breckenridge American)
The rocks and rock work in the picnic tables appear to be more weathered and irregular than the others. The last year the newspaper archives are available is 1938.
While home last weekend, I was helping Mom select photographs for a family collage she has been wanting me to put together. I spied this picture, flipped it over, and the notation was “Aunt Omer’s hospital.” Omer (short for Wyomer) was a “nurse” though with no formal training. This was the family home for the Beckham’s and she was married to Caswell Beckham in 1895. They had several children, and Caswell was killed in a train wreck in 1905. Records indicate that the bottom floor was the hospital and the family home was on the second floor. It was opened in 1915, 10 years after Casewell’s death.
The house is still standing, though in need of repair, at 710 Grove Street, Graham, Texas.
In 2914, 3 Graham businessmen chartered a hospital for Graham and constructed a $40,000 facility a few blocks over.
The snow has begun in earnest now. I posted earlier on the Lottabusha Chronicles about the beginnings of the winter storm. I went out early this morning to fill bird feeders, and it has gone from this:
I am such a sucker for birds at the feeder, from the little nondescript brown and gray ones to the gorgeous cardinals, both female and male. It was enough to make me don my boots, put on a hoodie, wrap a scarf around my face, pull on leather gloves, and venture forth through about 6 inches of piled up snow to refill the feeders. Unfortunately, the one in the above photo and I had a bit of a mishap whilst rehanging it, and after falling on my head, it landed in a pile of snow and half of the seeds spilled out. Because I had replenished all of the other 4 feeders out there, I opted not to unscrew that very difficult apparatus yet a third time. It’s their favorite though, because the overhanging roof is better protection against the snow in the seeds, not to mention it has an easier perch.
Enjoy, my little feathered friends! This is how much I love thee.
Yep, this is pretty much how I feel right now—like last spring’s flowers, droopy, ice-covered, in a fading pot.I have those intermittent moments where it seems like there is a spotlight showcasing something of importance…like photography and blogging. You know, those things that help me keep my sanity in this world “spinning hopelessly out of control” (Willie Nelson, “Hands on the Wheel,” 1975).Not too long ago, a fellow blogger said taking a picture–even on a phone camera–was like looking through a spyglass. Focus. It is all about the focus.
I suppose that is the good thing about finding solace in a whirlwind–focus. When you train your eye on the one thing, you stop focusing on the giant whirlwind encompassing you–obscuring the view in the maelstrom.
Libby invited Son House to come in and play. He said he would think about it.
This building was still standing, albeit barely, and in very poor shape, when I was there in December 2011. The original post can be seen at the link to the Elbert School. This is the school my mother attended in Texas from 3rd grade until she went to high school. It was closed in 1956 when Elbert consolidated with Throckmorton schools. Prior to that, she walked across the pasture, with her father accompanying her and picking her up on horseback if it was bad weather, to a small rock school for the rural students–the term rural being relative, since the town of Elbert a few miles away was still rural–very rural. Is there a word for more rural than rural? In Alaska, they call it the bush, or remote.
My assumption is the piles of dirt and equipment surrounding the building in 2011 meant it was about to be demolished. In August, 2014, this is what remains–a “memorial” of sorts. There was a brief effort by some of the alumni of the school, or at least those who still lived in the area and had connections with the building, to address its rapidly deteriorating status about the time I took the photographs in 2011, but clearly, that was not a successful outcome. In a community with 51 residents, I suppose they asked pragmatically what they would do with the building if it was saved, and where would the money come from for renovation and upkeep.
One of these days, when I get a “round tuit” I will go through all my abandoned school building photographs and scan them into digital files and create a series of my favorites from Texas. Back in my younger days, I would boldly go into the buildings for photographs, but these days, I am considerably more restrained. Those old stages, some with velvet stage curtains still hanging, should be memorialized at least in some way, as I am sure they are now long gone. I always wanted to jump up on them and tap dance, or sing, or recite a few lines from one of my favorite plays…and sometimes, I did.