May 15, 2007


Navasota, Texas (population: 7,400), is 25 miles NE of Brenham, 26 miles SE of Bryan, and 43 miles SW of Huntsville. My pictorial journey is arranged based on driving through on 105, heading east toward Anderson.

Something about this view always makes me think "Last Picture Show".
Old First National Bank of Navasota
The Texas Historical Commission plaque info - Local architect, contractor and stonemason James Davern and his brother-in-law C. C. Camp built this commercial edifice in the 1880s. Constructed of cement-covered stone rubble, it was remodeled with Renaissance Revival detailing in the 1890s, during the ownership of the First National Bank of Navasota. Occupied by the bank until 1952, it has also housed a hotel, offices, a telephone company, and a variety of stores.
The ghost sign is a lot more impressive in real life.

Looking eastward down 105; Nemir's Department Store on the left.

At my flickr page, a commenter added this: "This was always one of my favorite stores in Navasota for many reasons. Either Nemir's or Patout's had the pressed tin ceiling. I could get a real fountain drink (Dr. Pepper float) at the drug store."
The Giesel House
The Texas Historical Commission plaque info - Situated near the Houston & Texas Central Railroad Depot, this three-story stone building was erected in 1860 by R. H. Giesel (1833-1872) and his German-born wife Fannie (1828-1881) to house a restaurant and hotel. A two-story frame porch originally extended across the front of the structure. Giesel, a Confederate veteran, served as temporary mayor in 1867, when a yellow fever epidemic struck Navasota. Fannie Giesel renamed her restaurant "The Good Morning John" in 1871. She managed the business until her death in 1881. Later owners operated the hotel as "The Exchange" and "The Hoyle."

This strip of buidlings was a stone's throw from the railroad tracks, so you know these places were bustling, centers of life and commerce, a mere hundred years ago.
The Giesel House on the right, with the P.A. Smith Hotel to its left

P.A. Smith Hotel

plaque on the P.A. Smith Hotel

Another indication of the importance of the railroad to Navasota.

I love the simple, yet vintage, Miller's Theater. It's still open and showing first run films, so bonus! Here are a few pictures, taken at different times over the last year.
note the great lodge sign

from my car while sitting at a stoplight

Robert de LaSalle (a.k.a. Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle) - the plaque says: "Treacherously slain by his own men near this spot in March 1687." I'm guessing his long list of names (and the almost certain, accompanying pomposity) were somehow involved....Locals constantly have to clean it off - their football rivals keep decorating poor LaSalle with various things. Once he had a watermelon on his head.

The former Navasota High School (erected 1930). I half expected to see the Beaver and Whitey to walk out and get on their bikes. They didn't.

I liked the neon hanger.

As I left Navasota, and headed home toward Anderson, rush hour "traffic" had begun. Note the train in the background; the plaintive wail of the engine's whistle made this a near-perfect, small town Texas scene.

Navasota Livestock Auction


Anonymous said...

I think "Sieur de La Salle" was actually his title.

Chris said...

You are correct sir/madam!

Anonymous said...

This is the town my father lives in, I love to visit.

You didn't show any of the old southern houses though, which are one of the best things about the town.

It is a great town for pictures though isn't it.

Chris said...

There are some amazing old homes, that's for sure. Photographically, at least, I tend to focus on old businesses -- preferably the ones with old neon signs or ghost signs. Navasota is so "Texas." I love it.