November 29, 2006


Bryan, Texas, 95 miles NW of Houston, is the county seat of Brazos County. Bryan was named after William Joel Bryan, a nephew of Stephen F. Austin. I just happened to be there on the day of "the big game," a former tea sipper in "enemy" territory. I headed straight for Bryan Avenue, where more than $25 million in investment has occurred. I must say, it's the nicest job of any small Texas town I've seen to, on the one hand, revitalize an old downtown area, while on the other hand, maintain the inherent charm of it's historic architecture. Bravo, Bryan!

The conductor of the train had a slight resemblance to John Lennon, circa 1967. I wondered if it could outrun Blue Meanies.

Bryan Avenue

Hotel Bryan

The Charles Hotel, now 13 apartments

But if you could afford, wouldn't you rather stay here (I know I would):
The Lasalle Hotel (c. 1928), recently named a Historic Hotel of America, reopened its doors six years ago as an upscale boutique inn of 55 rooms.

And right down the street, back in the day (can you imagine?!), you could walk a block and see a film at the Queen Theater (the Holy Grail of my journey to Bryan):
The Queen Theater is a perfect example of how Bryan has been able to preserve, and yet not over-modernize. I can't imagine anyone tearing it down. Can you?
Across the street from the Queen, Palace Theater

Parker-Astin Hardware (c. 1911)

The empty Varisco Office Building

I don't think this sign is old, it just looked cool. Again, probably an indication of Bryan's efforts to preserve the early to mid-20th century aesthetic.
Old Masonic Lodge Building

Carnegie Center of Brazos Valley History (formerly The Carnegie Library, c. 1902); and yes, that Carnegie
Lovely old ghost sign: "FINE CLOTHING/SHOES FOR LADIES/HATS" with a colorful Coca-Cola ad thrown in for good measure

A ghost sign faded beyond recognition on the side of a building now housing an antiques dealer:

Be a cowboy at Catalena Hatters

A look back at fabulous Bryan Avenue:

I had to get some shots of the Longhorn Tavern Steakhouse before pulling out of town:

November 26, 2006

Burton, Texas

Facts and history from

Burton is 90 miles W of Houston, 11 miles W of Brenham. In 1885 there were only 150 people, but there were 400 just eleven years later in 1896. The highest population was in the late 1940s when there were nearly 1,000 people living in Burton. It is the first stop along Scenic Highway FM 390. I stumbled upon it on a foggy, overcast Friday morning after Thanksgiving.

a corner in Burton

Houston and Texas Central Railroad Station (c. 1898) historical marker

The town was named after John M. Burton who was an early settler. The town of Union Hill (2 miles NE of present Burton) moved to the Houston and Texas Central Railroad tracks when it came through Washington County after the Civil War.

The Ed Schatz Store (c. 1906)

Burton Cafe (c. 1937)

The Knittel House (c. 1880)

Most likely the largest residence in Burton; it was built to resemble a steamboat.

say...PEPSI please

Burton Grocery Store

It was time to get going, next stop, Somerville, where everybody is somebody (or haven't you heard?).

And onward to Caldwell, ultimate destination being Bryan (on the day of the U.T. - A & M game)....Bryan pics to come.

November 24, 2006

Star Trek moment #3

Heavenly shades of night are falling, it's amok time...

Spock feels an urgent need to beat something.

This Star Trek moment occurs during episode #34. This episode was first broadcast on September 15, 1967 and later repeated on April 26, 1968. It was the first episode of the second season, and the first to air after the series moved to Friday nights at 8:30pm. In "Amok Time," Mr. Spock returns to his homeworld for a brutal Vulcan marriage ritual which results in the "death" of Captain Kirk.

Like adolescent boys around the world, Spock attempts to forget his frustration by playing a musical instrument.

During that scene where Spock plays the Vulcan lyre, this is the strangely haunting, yet beautiful music (Sol Kaplan and Gerald Fried composed) used, called "Mr Spock." I always imagined Spock was playing the guitar part on the lyre.

Here is the music played during the ritual. It's appropriately titled "The Ritual-Ancient Battle-2nd Kroykah" (I shortened it by about a half). You may remember Jim Carey's interpretation of it in The Cable Guy.

Dr. McCoy (hoping to prevent Kirk's slaughter) injects the Captain with a neuroparalyzer drug that simulates his death, and ends the ritual.
Back on the Enterprise, Spock lowers his guard momentarily when he realizes Kirk isn't dead.