June 13, 2008

Main Street, Bandera, Texas

the cabaret neon sign
Cabaret Dancehall, c. 1936

From TexasEscapes.com:

Bandera, Texas, became "Cowboy Capital of the World" in part because of its numerous Dude Ranches. The area became popular with San Antonians wanting to escape the city's summer heat - and in the 20s and 30s - with increased car ownership (Bandera never had a railroad) "Dude Ranches" started appearing. Several of the oldest are still in business today.

There's an old Texaco on the corner:

corner view of bandera texaco
side view of bandera texaco
ost restaurant sign
The OST Restaurant (OST = Old Spanish Trail) has been around since 1921. John Wayne supposedly visited the area during the filming of The Alamo and ate here. There is a burger called "The Duke" in his honor.

arkey blue's silver dollar sign
Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Saloon is a honky tonk that opened in the 1930s. Ernest Tubb once performed with the Texas Troubadours at Arkey's. Entertainer/singer/songwriter Arkey Blue has performed here since 1968.

bandera county courthouse
Being the Bandera County Seat, Bandera is the location of the Bandera County Courthouse. It was constructed in 1883 in the Renaissance Revival Style. They unlocked the courtroom (court wasn't in session) for my father and me. We came close to getting a tour of the cupola.

bandera county courthouse through the trees


Michael Suzich said...

Hello Chris,

I just caught this great topic! My father did his initial pilot training for the Air Force in Hondo, Texas in the late '40's. I took him there about five years ago to see some of the remaining hangars and building from the era, and then we drove to Bandera. It was while looking at this very neon sign for the Cabaret that he told me about his favorite "hot spots" at the time. The Cabaret was "THE place to be", and he often went there with his buddies. He also told me of their piloting escapades while in training, often buzzing drive-in theater audiences in Hondo in their T-6's!

Chris said...

That's cool, Michael! I've also been to Hondo, by the way.