May 9, 2007


Columbus, Texas (population: 3,916) is Colorado County Seat. It is 72 miles W of Crazytown (Houston), 24 miles W of Sealy and, 29 miles SE of La Grange.
Colorado River bridge leading in to Columbus

The homesite of Fannie Baker Darden, known as "Poet Laureate of Columbus." Daughter of Texas war for Independence hero, Gen. Moseley Baker, and his wife Eliza; married attorney W. J. Darden, January 26, 1847; had two sons. Moved to Columbus, 1852. Taught art at Colorado College. Wrote for Columbus, Galveston, Houston, New Orleans newspapers.

Most likely didn't cost $3 per gallon.

Buildings along Milam Street - the white one in the middle is called the Ehrenwerth-Ramsey-Untermeyer Building, and it dates from 1873.

Looking down Milam Street from the Old Stafford Opera House, with the Confederate Memorial Museum to the right.

The Confederate Memorial Museum, built 1883 by town of Columbus, using over 400,000 handmade bricks. Has 32- inch walls. Served as water tower and fire house until 1912. Since 1926 owned by Shropshire-Upton Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The Old Stafford Opera house, built 1886 by R.E. Stafford (1834-1890) millionaire cattleman, stately interior (which seated 1000) had gas burning chandeliers and an elaborate hand-painted curtain. Architect was N.J. Clayton, who designed many opulent Texas buildings. Opening performance, "As in a Looking Glass," starred famous Lillian Russell. Magician Houdini also played here as did other prominent entertainers. On performance days, special trains ran from the distant towns. Some details:

The Oaks Theatre (the Columbus Opry closed in 2006). My mother and father saw movies here when they were dating in the '50s. They could have seen a movie in nearby (20 miles) Eagle Lake (where they both grew up), but why do that when you could drive to Columbus??

Dairy cone, day and night

Blue Star Memorial Highways are a tribute to the Armed Forces that have defended the United States of America.

Colorado County Courthouse (c. 1891 - Renaissance Revival style)

The District Court Tree - in 1837 this oak sheltered Texas jurors. Courthouse was unfinished because logs coming down river for building had swept past in strong current. R. M. Williamson, presiding, was called "Three-Legged Willie" due to appearance; he had good leg, crippled leg, and wooden leg.

The oldest commercial building left standing in Columbus, the Old Brick House was owned and occupied 1850-67 by Thomas W. Harris, a physician from Virginia, who built it of locally made bricks. No big deal maybe, but look what I found in the window:

This must have been part of a service station.

Former Sinclair gas station?

Check out those old light fixtures. Possibly vintage - I don't know.

Another Sinclair station

A former car dealership? I liked the Art Deco-esque detailing and light green color. I think that shade of green is so indicative of the '30s and '40s.

Baker Motel sign

Topcat Cafe

I dedicate this post to my maternal grandfather, Orville Powers, who passed away last Thursday (May 3) at the age of 92. Funeral and family activities have made it difficult to post, thus the recent dry spell. He lived in nearby (to Columbus) Eagle Lake, and he avoided the nursing home in Columbus, where a room had been prepared for him.


dana said...

Enjoyed your Columbus post. Great pictures.

Chris said...

Thanks, dana!

Leslie said...

Sorry to hear about your grandfather - he looked like a sweet man (and I'm sure he was.)Even though he lived a very long life, it's never easy when someone you love is gone.

On another note, I was just in Columbus and Eagle Lake yesterday...

Chris said...


I may have spoken briefly to your aunt(?) at his house after the funeral.

Week before last, and last weekend, I spent a lot of time driving through Columbus, going to Eagle Lake. It was nice (despite the circumstances!).

Robert said...

Interesting photos of the Top Cat Cafe. We are the Owners; was this Cafe special to your grandfather? If so, we would love to know how and why.