Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history TOURIN' TEXAS A FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER                                                       PAGE 3

   You Can Get There From Here But... (Continued)

Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history

H.D. GRUENE MERCANTILE: In 1878 Henry D. Gruene (1850-1920) established a mercantile business at this site. 
To provide more space for the growing business, this building was erected in 1904, one year after the local
post office name changed from Goodwin to Gruene. The mercantile served as the community's business and
social center until 1938.  The brick structure features corbelled cornices and reflects influences of both classical
revival and Richardsonian Romanesque styles. --Texas State Historical Marker / Photo: Ira Kennedy. Wallpaper click Here.

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Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
The Late FRANK SCHLATHER: Saddle maker and firestarter. After a quarter century I finally put a name to the face of this Gruene Hall icon.

      Frank wasn't just any regular. If he wasn't there all of the other Gruene Hall visitors would ask after him, especially the women.  A likeable character, Frank passed away on July 14, 1993 at age 72 and is fondly remembered.
       Ms. Intrepid and I were leaving just as a musician began setting up in the end of the bar for some Sunday afternoon entertainment. Focused on the task at hand, we needed to take a few more photos, and just as we hit the sidewalk the musician walked up and asked if I was Ira Kennedy. He looked kinda familiar.  Turns out it was Van Wilks, another classmate from the early 70's.
       It's a task to catch up on a quarter century on the sidewalk, but we did our best.  The topic turned to Rumors, an entertainment publication I edited back in 1977. An in-house publication for The Too Bitter, a nightclub in San Marcos, we featured Van on the cover. He still has it along with a poster I did of Beethoven. It's always a delight to find out someone has held on to some of my work.
       With a host of accolades and awards, Van gets some well deserved attention from the media. According to The Austin-American Statesman, "Wilks' two-handed fret fingerings and other talented tricks make him a perfect cross between Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen, a title he and his fans should be proud of."      
       Back inside.  The just-past-
noon crowd was gathering at this old watering hole while I divided my time between a Lone Star, the digital camera and just listening.

Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
GRUENE MANSION AND GIFTS: Located in the Gruene Mansion Inn  the Mansion handles antiques from England, France, and Eastern Europe. For Wallpaper click HERE.

              It had been decades since I
last had the opportunity enjoy the talent of Van Wilks and this moment seemed the perfect conclusion to an afternoon day-trip.

Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
VAN WILKS: Something of a legend in Austin, Van has toured Europe and Russia. And here he was at Gruene Hall on a Sunday afternoon.

       Returning home I dug into one of my boxes of published material and found an article I wrote for Rumors on June 21, 1977.  The title? "The Town That Slept". An article on Gruene written the same year the Grist Mill  River Restaurant & Bar opened its doors.
       I reckon the more you travel the closer you get to home.

Gruene Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history

GRUENE COTTON GIN: Built on the site of an earlier Grist Mill, the Gruene Cotton Gin was constructed in 1878 by H.D. Gruene.   Powered by the Guadalupe River, the gin was steam-operated and served to process the vast amounts of cotton grown in the area.  The gin played an important part in the economic development of Gruene, a community dependent upon the cotton crop.The gin was destroyed in a 1922 fire, and only part of the boiler room remains. A new electric gin was built at another location and served the community until the cotton crop was lost to a boll weevil infestation in 1925. --Texas State Historical Marker / Photo: Ira Kennedy

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