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:


Leslie said...

Oh, the time I spent eating greasy enchiladas at Los Nortenos and Dos Hermanos in downtown Bryan... good times, good times. (Gig'em Aggies!) Not to mention going to the Woolworth's that was downtown and the Bikini Hat Company (remember those things? I'm sure they were a big hit in Galveston!)

Chris said...

Sure, I was probably sipping tea on 6th Street about the same time...

I definitely remember Woolworth's (and Globe), but I've never heard of the Bikini Hat Company! I don't think there was one in Galveston.