WILLOW CITY LOOP: With the first three pics were taken on The
Loop, and the building is the old school house
located in downtown Willow City.
On The Loop Again
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
If, as some say, Enchanted Rock is being loved to death,
then Willow City Loop is being driven into the ground.
Let me explain. Neither notion is all bad and they're
both popular for good reasons.
Enchanted is all foot traffic for tens of thousands annually.
Willow City Loop is virtually gridlock during the Bluebonnet Trail season.
n the first trip, about the time John and I were winding our way through
scenic Willow City Loop, Cork and I -- on the second time around -- were pulling into the Knot in the Loop Saloon
for an adult beverage. Located at the southern end of Loop's trail head, the Saloon
is one of two roadhouses in Willow City and it's worth a stop. The place is pacious,
with high ceilings and plenty of stuff hanging on the walls, dollar bills stuck on the
ceiling, two pool tables, a gift shop, used bookstore and indoor restrooms.
The other place, Harry's on the Loop, is
located downtown. Well, "downtown" is oversizing the situation. You
won't find any shops, restaurants or the like, just an old two-story schoolhouse (which
shared the fate of all other rural schools in the state), post office/gas station,
volunteer firehouse, Methodist church (now a private residence) and Harry's.
Several years ago Harry's was counted among the top
50 barbecue joints in Texas by Texas Monthly, but their barbecue days are no more
and a sign outside proclaims "no public restrooms" which must be kinda hard on
the beer drinkers.
Willow City was settled before the Civil War by a
Baptist preacher disinclined to associate with his German neighbors. After the war
more settlers arrived but the attitude stuck. Ponder this, instead of traveling some
twelve miles to Fredericksburg for matters of commerce, they would traverse some 90 miles
to Austin. (Note: that mileage is based on today's roads. Back then the rugged
wagon trails where a real ordeal and on a good day they might manage some 30 or so miles.)
Willow City came to life in the 1880s, and a lively
place it was. Reputed to be a hangout for outlaws, the ornery behavior spilled over
into the schoolhouse. Apart from three stabbings, teacher John Warren Hunter was
called upon to disarm a disgruntled student. I reckon negotiations over his grades
Around the turn of the nineteenth century the
population of Willow City was 132 and the town boasted three general stores, a drugstore,
two blacksmiths and a cotton gin. Four decades later the population was whittled
down to forty souls and today there are fewer than a hundred folks living in the area.
Back to our road trip at the Knot in the Loop Saloon,
Cork was holding forth regarding an event confirmed by two other witness in the bar, Bill
and Terry. Being neighbors and all, one afternoon they were sitting outside
enjoying the cool weather and the comfort of a shade tree when Neighbor Bill spotted a
bagel shaped cloud all alone in a perfectly clear sky. When he got up to walk around
the house to water some plants a meteor streaked right through the middle of the cloud
which dissolved into the blue sky a few minutes later.
That may sound way too weird, but in these parts
strange things happen and for the most part they're simply taken for granted.
Meanwhile, back on the road trip with John, we're
taking in The Loop which I won't try to describe. Just check out the photos --
or better yet, check it out yourself. You won't be disappointed.
Along the way, down in a tight canyon, John spotted a
cozy hunting cabin tucked in at the base of a high cliff.
"I could live there," he mused while I
pondered the logic of cabins such as these which are unoccupied more than ten months out
of the year. But then again, logic is in short supply these days and I might as well
accept the fact and simply enjoy the ride.
P.S. Okay, now my life is
officially truly weird. While writing this opus I received numerous e-mails from
someone Unnamed who is searching for "a fully functioning stargate or
other vortex technology" so they can go back [in time] and "prevent a friend
from walking off a job and taking an o.d. then getting himself getting into two serious
auto accidents then willing himself into hell on earth creating several unpleasant and
life threatening medical problems..."
Seems some Bright Spot told Unnamed in an e-mail that
there is an "electrical vortex and your pathway to the past and the future... "
at Enchanted Rock.
So now -- don't ask me why -- I'm being
asked to help save Friend's life as a guide to the fully functioning stargate, electrical
vortex, or whatever that Bright Spot claimed was at at Enchanted Rock.
(How do I respond?)
PAGE 1: FROM LOST HOLLOW / PAGE 2: ENCHANTED ROCK
PAGE 3: CRABAPPLE COMMUNITY / PAGE 4: WILLOW
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