PRAIRIE LEA & FENTRESS: The first two
photos are of Prairie Lea, the rest from downtown Fentress.
Prairie Lea & Fentress
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
Headed toward San Marcos I was looking for Stairtown until I realized I'd
already been there. Up the road I abandoned the highway for downtown Prairie
Lea. Seems once you pass the quick-stop at the turnoff commercial activity ceases.
Apart from the handsome structure of an old abandoned church
Parry Lea doesn't provide much camera appeal so I lit our for Fentress.
ow here's a place high
on promise but shy on performance. Once downtown I let Nigel the Land Rover rest
while I took a picture from one side of the street and then the other. I crossed the
street to Doyle's Bar anticipating an adult beverage.
On the window was fairly recent
looking lettering offering food at prices even I could afford. Studying the menu on the
window I realized someone was pulling both my legs -- or I was up against another of those
Seems Pigs Knuckles were 15 cents more than a Veal
Cutlet. I don't know about you but I generally feed higher up on critters than that.
I remember Grandma Rosa ate pickled pigs feet but she experienced the Great
Depression. I just assumed she staying shape for the next one.
place was bone-bare. No beer, no sandwiches, no nothing. Okay, maybe
this is a homage the Fentress Hog Farm, which once raised performing pigs for Aquarena
Springs, but when Aquarena went out of business it took the Hog Farm down with it.
Anyway, the downtown which
is some two blocks long is filled with empty stores just begging to be occupied.
Back in 1929 the community boasted 500 citizens, thanks to the oil fields; but today there
are fewer than 80 souls still holding out.
Whatever else might be said about Fentress, it isn't
camera shy. Maybe someday a few dreamers will recognize its potential and put in a
few businesses. Someone could reopen the bar and restaurant ( maybe raise the prices
a little), or the obligatory antique shop, bed and breakfast, or an art gallery. A
general store wouldn't hurt either. I'd shy away from a dance hall though. The
last time that was tried the area church groups were mightily irritated and wanted to be
rid of the place. Anyway, about that time, the town water tower fell on the only
bank and some folks claimed it was divine judgement. Frankly, I don't get the
connection but I was
still pondering the White Front/Chocolate City paradox on my way to
PAGE 1: LOCKHART / PAGE 2: LOCKHART PT. 2
PAGE 3: LULING /
PAGE 4: LULING PT. 2
PAGE 5: FENTRESS / PAGE 6: THE BACKROAD HOME / MAP
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