FunStuff

While in McAllen to do a volksmarching event in conjunction with the Texas Volkssport Association, we had some time fill. We hit upon Quinta Mazatlan, a unique historic adobe mansion.

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It is the McAllen Wing of the World Birding Center under the stewardship of the City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Department. Its mission is to preserve the 1930s adobe estate and the native plants and animals of the Rio Grande Valley, by providing a sanctuary for environmental education, eco-tourism and inspiration to people of all ages.

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The word ‘Quinta’ in Spanish translates to a country house, villa or estate and the area was originally surrounded by grapefruit orchards when the home was built in the 1930s. The word ‘Mazatlan’ has an ancient Indian translation in Mexico meaning ‘Land of the Deer’ and the name was inspired by the Spanish architecture of the City of Mazatlan area in Mexico which was frequented by the original owners. The admission rates are: Adults: $3.00. Seniors and Children 12 and under: $2.00.

I was unaware at the time that this was also a Volksmarch Year Round Location.  Then we saw familiar faces leaving and stopped to chat.

Bruce and Ed

Bruce and Ed

Ellen and Darlene

Ellen and Darlene

We continued on to the house and took the self-guided tour.

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We enjoyed a short stroll around the grounds. 

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This will be added to my bucket list as a place to return to and do the official Volksmarching event.

While doing a volksmarch in Buffalo Bayou Park we found some these neat statues.DSCF6264 DSCF6262 DSCF6263 DSCF6265 DSCF6266 DSCF6267

After the walk we visited the nearby Art Car Museum which is actually a mixture of cars and art.

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From there we went looking for Statesman Park with its Presidential Heads.

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Next we went to visit Virtuoso, an abstract of a well moustached man playing a cello in downtown Houston.

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We had heard that there were statues of the Beatles and also one of Charlie Chaplin.  We went looking for them.

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We found Charlie Chaplin and lots of President Heads but no Beatles were found.

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Did you know that Trinity University began life at Tehuacana, TX? Where is that you ask. It is in Limestone County in Central Texas. Despite recognition as a “Class A University” and sacrificial efforts by trustees, faculty, and staff they were unable to overcome a chronic lack of financial resources. By the end of the century, enrollment had dramatically declined. The only options were to close or to relocate.

Having just discovered that this old college was in the neighborhood, I went looking for it. It is on the National Register of historical places, but it is literally falling to pieces. What a waste of a beautiful building.

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When I circled the building I found the back door standing wide open so I ventured inside. What a mess. But the stairs were still intact so I ventured up and found the auditorium.

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The windows are mostly broken out and the vultures were making themselves at home.

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We were passing right by Cisco on our way to Baird, so we decided to get off I-20 and see what was there.  There were several interesting items already waymarked for us to visit like the First National Bank (now a Car Quest Parts House) which was robbed by Santa Claus on 12/23/1927.  A.C. Greene wrote a book that tells the story of how “Santa Claus” attempted to rob the Bank.  So we stopped by Car Quest and there is a historical marker near the front door.

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Next we visited the Mobley Hotel  where Conrad Hilton’s hotel empire began.  A.J. Olsen Construction built the Mobley Hotel in 1916 for Henry Mobley. Conrad Hilton purchased the hotel in 1919, during the time it catered to the participants of the Ranger oil field boom in west central Texas. The building is significant for being the first Hilton Hotel even though it never actually bore the Hilton name.  The nearby town of Abilene got that honor when Conrad Hilton bought its Windsor Hotel and renamed it.

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The Mobley Hotel is now the home of the Cisco Chamber of Commerce and it is also a Community Center.  Nearby is a gorgeous clock.  It had been formerly mounted on the corner of the bank building (the one that got robbed).  It has a Frank-Lloyd-Wright-ish Prairie-style design, and probably dated somewhere between 1910s-1920s. 

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Further back is playground with the Union Pacific caboose number 25223.  The rail line through Cisco was originally the Texas & Pacific, which was bought out by the Missouri Pacific in 1928.  In 1980 Union Pacific bought out the Missouri Pacific.  The caboose is locked but you can climb the steps and peek inside.

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Another waymarking category is “Victorian Homes” and Cisco has a lovely one at Sixth Street and Avenue I.  This is a private residence and not open for tours.

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Right next door is the Log Cabin Guest Haus.  This is a bed and breakfast.  This historic two story cabin from the 1840’s was moved to Cisco from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and lovingly restored and furnished with period antiques.

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Then there is the beautiful stone arch made of local sandstone at the entry to Cisco’s historic Oakwood Cemetery.

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Those were all existing waymarks, but seeing all the beautiful churches I had to stop and take pictures so I could add waymarks for them.

First United Methodist Church -1920

First United Methodist Church -1920

 

First Presbyterian Church - 1924

First Presbyterian Church – 1924

 

First Baptist Church - 1926

First Baptist Church – 1926

 The city has lots of murals which I have not as yet waymarked.  To waymark they require you to furnish the artist’s name, and none of these murals were signed.

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We saw other interesting places that might fit into an architectural design style like “Art Deco” or “Frieze Art”, but since I’m not an expert on this I won’t be waymarking these buildings.

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Cisco is an interesting place to visit.  Well worth a detour off of I-20.

We were in Eastland to do a volksmarching event.  We heard that there was outdoor art along the walk route.  We watched for it as we walked along and we found several.  We had to stray from the walk route a little but we found these.

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As we drove back toward I-20 we found several more and pulled over to take pictures of them.

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So if you happen to be traveling I-20 between Abilene and Fort Worth and need a break, pull over in Eastland and see how many you can find.  Or if you know ahead of time you are heading that way, you can get a map from the Chamber of Commerce.

Information from the Eastland Foundation website:

Eastland’s Outdoor Art Exhibit consists of 41 wonderful pieces of art placed near or on businesses throughout Eastland. Each piece of art includes a story of the painter’s life or interesting details about the original piece of art. Maps are located at the Chamber of Commerce and at the huge Campbell’s Soup Can next to Dairy Queen, on the Interstate Service Road.

After we did the volksmarch in Fredericksburg, we ate lunch at Mamacitas Mexican Restaurant and then headed over to Cross Mountain Park to hunt for two letterboxes. At the bottom of the mountain is a historical marker with this text.

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This marl and limestone hill, elevation 1,915 feet, was an Indian signal point, advancing news of the intrusions of white settlers. The hill was first recorded and described by the German geologist, Dr. Ferdinand Roemer in 1847.

A timber cross found on the hilltop the same year suggests that Spanish missionaries recognized it as a landmark on the path from San Antonio to Mission San Saba. John Christian Durst (1825-1898), arriving with his family in 1847 from Germany, received a town lot and 10 acres of land, including this hill. On finding the cross, he named it “Kreuzberg,” or Cross Mountain.

The Easter fires on Cross Mountain and the surrounding hills recall a German tradition of burning the old growth to make way for the new, and also commemorate the 1847 treaty made by John O. Meusebach and the settlers to establish peace with the Comanche nation. In 1849, a Bohemian priest, Father George Menzel, erected a more substantial cross as a symbol of redemption and civilization. Easter Sunrise Services were held on the mountain for many years prior to 1941. In 1946 the Very Rev. F. X. Wolf threw the switch to illuminate the permanent cross of metal and concrete built by St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

After reading the marker we headed up.

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There were other hikers there so we waited around. Found this marker at the base of the cross.

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When the cost was clear we did our search and found both boxes. We headed back down and on the way out I photographed this marker and the park entrance.

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Waymarking is a game where you mark unique locations on the planet that you feel others might enjoy visiting. You also can visit waymarks created by others, take a picture, and post it to the sites log.

So I went online and looked up McGregor’s existing waymarks before heading out. With nothing much listed I felt I had lots of opportunities to create new waymarks. Our first stop was the Coffee Cup Café.

Independent Diners

Independent Diners

We waymarked it and then drove around town. We next found this nice old church.

Lutheran Churches

Lutheran Churches

After photographing the Church we drove on and came on this new house.

U.S. National Register of Historic Places

U.S. National Register of Historic Places

We found out this new home is a replica of a home that was on the National Register of Historic Places. We continued driving around town and found this vacant church.

This Old Church

This Old Church

The church has a historic marker and we found out it is over 100 years old. Our search for interesting locations continued and we found this old movie theater.

Vintage Movie Theaters

Vintage Movie Theaters

While photographing the theater I noticed this old bank building with a date on the top. Lovely frieze art decorates this now vacant building.

Dated Buildings and Cornerstones

Dated Buildings and Cornerstones

Just down the street from this old bank building was an old Masonic Temple and next door was the Odd Fellows Lodge.

Masonic Temples

Masonic Temples

Both of these buildings are interesting and deserve to be waymarked.

Odd Fellow Lodges

Odd Fellow Lodges

We continued on and found the old RR depot. This depot is actually still an active depot and the Amtrak Trains stop here.

Train Stations/Depots

Train Stations/Depots



We did another drive through town and we found a lovely mural painted in 2008.

Murals

Murals

We also found another vintage movie theater. This theater is now a library.

Vintage Movie Theaters

Vintage Movie Theaters

I have submitted these locations to waymarking.com and some have already been approved.

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