Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Look into Lockhart

Even though we are staying between two large Texas cities, one of the first internet searches was: "small towns near Austin."

Among the towns on the Google list was Lockhart. Granted, the fact that Lockhart is known as the "Barbecue Capital of Texas" had a major influence on our choosing to visit the town, but its description as one of the most historic commu-nities in Texas led us to put Lockhart at the top of our list of places to see.

The town was established by Byrd Lockhart in the 1800s. He farmed the land around what would become the town until the area was struck by a serious drought.

Since the small town was situated on the Chisholm Trail, some of the farmers joined the cattle industry. Others found certain strains of cotton were resistant to drought, so cotton farming became a popular occupation for the early settlers.

The homes shown here were on the main street into town. Interspersed among more modest homes, many of the homes classified as historic were Victorian or Greek Revival homes built in the late 1800s.

One of the first historic buildings we saw was the Eugene Clark Library, the oldest continuously used library in Texas. Built in 1899, the library is an example of the French Renaissance style.

There was a lot of activity along the main street through this town of 12,000 on the day of our visit. Although Lockhart is only 30 miles southeast of Austin and 15 miles east of San Marcos, it has not lost its identity to the larger towns and their malls.

Two archi-tectural components present in several of the downtown buildings were the arches and the triangular peaks.

The main building in the next three photos is the Brock Building.

"Thanks in part to an inspiration that came to horologist Gene Galbraith during the early morning hours of a cold and rainy January 13, 2007, the Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches now resides on the historic square in downtown Lockhart.

"Galbraith, the founder of the museum, was lying awake mulling over various ideas to increase public interest in horology, the art and science of making timepieces, when he came up with a vision of establishing the clock museum.

"On March 29, 2008, the Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches officially opened its doors"

In 1902 Emil Seeliger of Lockhart hand built the first car the city had ever seen.

The railroad came to nearby Luling in the 1870s, and a decade later, to Lockhart. By the 1920s, oil was being discovered in Luling as well as Lockhart, and the city was known as a boomtown during that time period.

Westy's Pharmacy has been in the West-moreland family since the days of the horseless carriage.

Next to the posters announcing the appearance of the Glenn Miller Orchestra in February, we peered through the glass doors of the The Gaslight Baker Theater to see paint cans and ladders.

Unfortunately, calls to inquire about a tour of the theater were not returned.

As we completed our walk around the town square, we came upon this wall of faded advertise-ments.

But before heading off for lunch, we will talk about what was in the center of the town square . . . tomorrow.

No comments: