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Tiny Texas Towns – Caldwell County

June 15, 2012

Hmmm… Stairtown, I wonder what that town looks like as I veer my car off onto a farm to market road. Nothing to see here folks, move along. How about Neiderwald? Uhland? Nope, not much there either. I drive into Lockhart. Okay, this is more like it.

I like small towns. Not all small towns mind you; I like driving into a town that evokes a sense of yesteryear. A town where the last vestiges of days-gone-by remain present in the architecture or simply the lay out of the place. A town where my imagination runs rampant as soon as I pull into it. If it seems to be lifted from the page of an O. Henry short story, then yep, I like it.

Downtown Lockhart

Lockhart is the county seat of Caldwell County, Texas. It’s one of those towns that is built on a square around the courthouse. And boy, what a courthouse it is. Built 1894, it is magnificent. Constructed of cream-colored limestone and red sandstone; the Caldwell County Courthouse makes a striking first impression to visitors arriving at the square. The businesses on the square surrounding the courthouse are largely late 19th and early 20th century buildings. Additionally, the downtown area is thriving, which is unusual these days.

Caldwell County Courthouse

Soon after leaving Lockhart on Highway 183, follow your nose to Luling.  Really, let your nose guide you, because Luling stinks. In 1922 oil was discovered in the area and the town is littered with pumps. These pumps emit an odor akin to natural gas with manure mixed in for good measure. Quite a few of these pumps have been turned into whimsical, mechanical art pieces.  It was fun driving around looking for them.  As you pull into one of the parking lots in the downtown area, it is evident that Luling got its start as a railroad town.  There is one main street running parallel to the railroad tracks that bisect the town. The buildings are old, although not as interesting as those in Lockhart. There is also a small farmer’s market in the downtown area.

Mmmmm…watermelon!

Downtown Luling

Head out west approximate 17 miles on hwy. 80 and you’ll come to Martindale. Martindale has a small, virtually empty downtown area. The windows have posters asking to “Believe in Martindale”.  The buildings seem to have been built at about the same time by the same builder. The only reason I even mention Martindale is because it has potential. There’s an old gin on the San Marcos river that flows behind downtown and some interesting looking “ruins”. Please everyone, if you believe, clap your hands. Don’t let Martindale die!

Noodle Farm Implements, Martindale, Texas

Downtown Martindale, Texas

 

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