DAY 59 April 28 – Chickens and Baptists and Antiques

Buescher State Park camping worked out well. The park staff running the “how to camp” program in the tent area were very friendly and welcoming.  We opted for the truck because of the rain forecast. And it did rain some.  Chris even brought over hot coffee in the morning.

I had low expectations for Sunday, but exceeded them. Lagrange is yet another  county seat with a courthouse square and business district surrounding it. These huge courthouses are starting to look the same.  They were built in the late 1800’s, very imposing with mansard roofs and cupolas. I’m always impressed with how well preserved they are.  Most now have Confederate Memorials on the lawn.

LaGrange felt like a southern town.  Some great old houses with metal roofs, large porches, floor to ceiling windows and ceiling fans on the porch.  More Live Oaks and magnolias.  Some of the farm and ranch homes outside of town are looking like plantations.

While walking around town, I ran into a couple who told me an interesting story.  LaGrange’s history includes a brothel called the Chicken Ranch, that was the model for the musical and movie “Best Little Whore House in Texas. It operated from 1844 to 1973, mostly out of a rambling farmhouse outside of town. Keep in mind, prostitution has never been legal in Texas. The local sheriff would visit every evening to pick up local gossip and find out if any patrons had boasted of crimes.  That’s where he got his inside information. When the new sheriff took over, he had a direct phone line installed to the ranch, so he could skip the visit but get the info. During the Depression, payment was made in chickens when money was scarce. At it’s peak in the 1960’s, the ranch earned $500,000 a year, $3.64 million in today’s money. & g

I also got an explanation for my llama & sheep combo pastured together.  Llamas will defend sheep from coyotes!  Who knew?

We are northeast of Houston in ranch-farm-antique land.  Wildflowers, tiny towns, gently rolling terrain. Not much going on here, but it’s pretty. LOTS of antique shops. More water and green every day.  The town of Independence was the original site of Baylor University, a Baptist school established in 1845. At that time, Texas was still a self-declared republic claimed by Mexico. Little Round Top was a German community in the 1800’s and now a cluster of upscale gift shops, galleries and cafes.

We stayed at Somerville Lake Marina campground. Pros: $15, site on lake to ourselves, #6 Fawn came with site, beautiful sunset. Cons: trash around campsite & lousy bathroom & shower house.



5 thoughts on “DAY 59 April 28 – Chickens and Baptists and Antiques

    1. joandr Post author

      Can’t help it. I majored in History. Our family trips always included forts & historic sites–usually at my request.



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