CRABAPPLE COMMUNITY: This series of pics follows the route to
the Community Center, the old school house (where John wants to live), crossing Crabapple
Creek, a view from Nigel the Land Rover, and finally the view from the high hill of the
A World Unto Itself.
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
There was a time when places like the Crabapple
were alive with activity. Much of that came to an end between
1949 and 1957 when the rural schools merged with nearby ISDs.
I'll never understand how more and more folks can crowd into
leaving some of the most charming spots virtually abandoned.
I know -- wills, lawyers and relations can get a decent structure tied up in limbo
for decades or even generations. It still doesn't make sense.
Texas is one of the best kept ghost towns you'll ever lay eyes on. Fortunately,
every now and again a wedding reception, family reunion or such is held there. Over
a decade ago I had the privilege of attending a reception in the Community Center and
there's something about the experience that stays with me as one of those timeless moments
that could have occurred a half century earlier.
( Richard Zelade has posted some nice photos of
The Crabapple school opened in 1878 educating some 40
students until 1957 when it merged with the Fredericksburg ISD. The school started
taking shape when local farmer, Mathias Schmidt, beat out several other contenders in a
footrace for the honor of donating the land for the school. ( Is that anything like
running for the school board?)
Another fine structure is the St. John's Lutheran
Church (photo below) built in 1897.
John and I stopped for a look-see we drove a little further looking for a
turnaround. That's when he spotted the neat limestone house tucked away behind the
"Stop!" John commanded. "Now
there's a place I'd like to live."
There must be a really idiot reason its sittin' empty."
"I can do idiot.
Maybe I'll qualify."
"Well, don't let me hold you back. I'll even write up a character reference."
"Look," he continued ignoring my offer.
"there's the sign for the Crabapple Cemetery. Let's
check it out."
"A cemetery on a "Dead End Road". How cool is that?"
I've been down more dead end roads than most
folks - so much so that I'm surprised I haven't had to junk my car with
all the miles and wear it's been put through - but after living in this piece of Texas for
decades I'd never been down that road which
is remarkable considering my affinity for all things old, wore out or worse.
The road crossed Crabapple Creek, one
of the sweetest streams in these parts. As I
paused to take a drive-by photo out the window of Nigel the Land Rover,
John spotted some fair-sized bass lurking near the low water crossing.
"Shoot!" he exclaimed (Okay,
he didn't actually say shoot). "If I had
my rod and reel I could fish right from here and never leave the air conditioning."
There was a time, back in the 70s when
neither of us would have been unprepared for such an event.
But we were younger then and ready for any eventuality. But the world didn't didn't come apart as fast as
we expected and our vigilance has relaxed a mite.
Up ahead, the road was tightly wrapped
in a tunnel
of live oaks and just beyond it opened up exposing a high hill on the right. On its summit a lone grave marker stood like a
sentinel as the only sign indicating the cemetery's location. We climbed the hill and explored, careful not to
be intrusive, and took in the vast panorama of the valley below.
Before long I had taken us south toward Fredericksburg turning left just where Balanced
Rock an old landmark used to be until some culprits dynamited it off its pedestal. We were headed to a spot I discovered about a
decade ago which, given John's interest in ancient artifacts, I knew he'd appreciate.
Along the route there is a stretch,
perhaps a mile long, that was an ancient Indian flint quarry. Virtually every limestone cobble along the way was
whacked open for quality flint -- the first process in flint knapping arrowheads and other
stone tools. North of here the land is mostly granite and there is no
flint to be had. I reckon this was The Last Chance Flint Quarry for several thousand
Just as I figured, I had to drag John
away from the place and caution him, more than once, to stay on the right of way. When Cork and I took the same route we were so
busy talking about past lives (or, more specifically, youthful experiences) we missed it
altogether. In fact, somewhere just after the
Balanced Rock turnoff, Cork pointed out a spot alongside a creek, tucked tightly away in a
grove of live oak near a quiet stream, where he had his first romantic encounter in Texas. (Somehow I'm disinclined to believe such
conversations are just a guy thing.)
are a few ways to meander between CR965 and Hwy16, but any of them are equally pleasing
but once that is done you have to take in Willow City Loop.
PAGE 1: FROM LOST HOLLOW / PAGE 2: ENCHANTED ROCK
PAGE 3: CRABAPPLE COMMUNITY /
PAGE 4: WILLOW
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