Nice! I didn't realize Brownwood was this (relatively) big.
On February 5, members of the Fort Worth Forum took a field trip to Brownwood, which is about 135 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Brownwood has about 18,000 people. Almost the entire downtown is made up of beautiful historic buildings. Some have been restored, while others are awaiting restoration. This is a beautiful town with some very picturesque buildings. At one time, they had eight theaters in their CBD. We saw four of them, and one of them we were able to tour the interior. I thought I would share them with all of you.
We met at The Turtle Restaurant, which is owned by Mary Stanley. A table was waiting and lunch was served for us at The Turtle. The restaurant is in the last storefront on the right of the one story building. This is a shot of everyone looking at the building.
Next door, is the Montgomery Ward store.
The Stanleys have purchased the building and they allowed us to look inside. This is the view when you walk in the door.
This is the view from the front mezzanine looking toward the back. It appears this mezzanine was for the accounting and store manager. The back mezzanine was a sales level.
One of the light fixtures still remaining. The fans are also original, but I didn't get a picture of one of them.
Second floor with the staircase.
This is a view looking up Center Avenue. The street bends where the two grids in the city come together.
At the opposite end of the block from the Ward's store is Hamilton's. This building burned and it has been brought back to life. The style of this building is Streamline Moderne from the late Art Deco period. It was built in 1947.
Diagonally across Center Street, is an old theater that is now a frames shop. The little one story building with the modern facade on it is actually the remains of an early 1900's historic hotel that was originally built three stories, then two floors were added on top. The building was destroyed by fire and then the remaining first floor was left in place and later remodeled.
Another restaurant in downtown is Steve's Market and Deli. Steve was also one of our tour guides.
Another block up Center Avenue is the old Lyric Theater, with an intact interior.
The interior of the theater:
Behind the Lyric is an interesting building that has an arcade along the street.
This building was an old bank and it is being restored with offices on the ground floor and two apartments in the upper level.
Across the street from the bank, is this building. Many of the structures in downtown Brownwood are sandstone.
As we went back to Center Avenue, we approached the point where the grid shifts. This is the little building at the turn and an old theater has been converted into a furniture store on the right. They still used the old sign for the theater. This furniture store has closed and the space is for lease.
As Center Avenue turns, two other streets come in from the east. Each one aligns with a different grid. This leaves a very small triangular block where a building was placed.
The Brown County Courthouse is interesting. The exterior as we see it was completed in 1917, but hidden inside is an even older stone courthouse.
This is the old Jail. We were allowed to tour the inside, as well.
This alley was interesting evidence of previous remodelings on the adjacent buildings.
Toward the end of the afternoon, we returned along Center Avenue. This is looking south at the old furniture store/theater at the grid shift.
The city's tallest building is the Hotel Brownwood. It has been vacant for many years, but serves as a reminder of how prosperous the city was at one time.
This old building has been converted into residential for the elderly. Another nice old building.
By the time we arrived back at the Turtle, it was starting to get dark and it was time to head back to Fort Worth. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to look at any of the historic neighborhoods. I hope you enjoyed a tour of a Central Texas city, that most people don't even think about.
They only have 18,000 people at this time, but during WWII, there were up to 60,000 troops stationed nearby at Camp Bowie. The city was a large commercial center in the late 1800's and early 1920's.
I was also hoping the weather would be clear. It seems that every time I go out of town, it is cloudy at my destination.
Wow, great colors, especailly the alleyway photo.
"And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed."-"Farewell to Penn Station," New York Times Editorial, October 30, 1963
I was very pleased with the pictures, even though I wish it would have been clear. Dismuke has posted his pictures in the Fort Worth Forum, so I will give you a link where you can see them.
Hey, the town has a Starbuck's, so it must be big!
By the power of greyskull!
The photos appear to show an old run down city. Correct me if I am wrong. I dont see anything special at all.
Yes, it is an old run down city, but in 2005 when we took the excursion, the downtown area was beginning to come back to life. Several of those old buildings were in their early days of restoration.
I see a lot of potential. I wonder why Texas' downtowns never really made room for signifigant greenery though. I'd love to see some tall trees in there to lessen the apocolyptic impact of the city scape.
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