Visit Historic Round Rock Texas / Sam Bass and the Palm House

outlaw sam bass

Some may call it The Daffodil Capital of Texas, but the city of Round Rock has quite a noteworthy historic past and it’s a great place to visit during your Texas travels. Attractions in Round Rock Texas include plenty of historic sites and buildings, excellent dining and unique shops.

Round Rock and Sam Bass

Look back at the history of Round Rock Texas and the name Sam Bass will come up. There is much more to the history of Round Rock aside from the infamous train and stagecoach robber Sam Bass and his gang but it’s a theme that has stuck around for nearly 140 years.

outlaw sam bassThe legend left behind about Sam Bass is somewhat larger than his real life actions. There’s even a major street in Round Rock Texas that bears his name. Bass’ entire life lasted but twenty-seven years however during that relatively short time he was involved in plenty of criminal activity.

Like most legends from the old west there are a few versions of Bass’ exploits. Following is the most common version.

After prospecting in the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory with two other men and losing all their money, Bass decided to replenish their cash by robbing stagecoaches and they were given the name the “Black Hills Bandits“. Stagecoach robbing then turned into train robberies which typically paid better. The gangs big payoff occurred in Big Springs, Nebraska on September 18, 1877 when they robbed a Union Pacific express train of $60,000 in $20 gold pieces being transported east from the San Francisco Mint.

historic buildings round rock texas

The Palm House Museum

The gang, then being chased by lawmen and army soldiers, had to split up. Most of the robbers were killed or captured, one fled to Canada with his share of coins and Bass and another fled south. One year later Bass held up a train in Allen, Texas north of Dallas.

The Texas Rangers made sure that the fugitive Sam Bass met his end in Round Rock when he was gunned down on July 19th, 1878. bass was reportedly in Round Rock with some of his gang planning a bank robbery. He was recognized and lawmen approached. After being confronted in a store the Williamson County Deputy Sheriff was shot and killed by the four gang members. A Travis County Deputy Sheriff was outside the store and entered and subsequently shot Sam Bass. The bandits attempted to flee from the alley and were shot at and hit by Texas Rangers who had heard the original gunshots. Not long afterwards Bass was found mortally wounded outside of ton and was brought back to Round Rock where he died of his wounds.

This particular shooting actually took to being called the “Sam Bass Shootout” and you can view it’s reenactment every July 4th at Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park during their annual Frontier Days’ event.

Round Rock and the Palm House

Located in the old downtown area is the Palm House, one of the many historic attractions in Round Rock. The house was moved from Palm Valley to it’s new location in Round Rock in 1976. In 1979 the Palm House received it’s State Historical Marker. The Palm House is located at 212 East Main Street next to the library.

Today, the Palm House serves as both a museum and the offices of the Round Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Palm House was built in 1873 by Andrew J. Palm who moved to a valley east of Round Rock with his mother and siblings in 1853. A.J. Palm and his wife Caroline Nelson Palm raised eight children in this house. An interesting side note was that the Palm family was related to Svante Palm who served as the Swedish Vice-Council to the Republic of Texas. Svante Palm encouraged members of his family to relocate to this area of Texas.

brushy creek texas

Old Post Office and mercantile store in the settlement of Brushy, the first name for Round Rock

You can walk through the house and visit the rooms, filled with authentic period furniture. When you visit the Palm House today you will see early settlers furnishings as well as interesting items donated from local residents. The house has authentic furnishings, an elegant parlor and Swedish kitchen.

You may enjoy the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

Visit Luling Texas / Railroads, Oil and Watermelons

Visit the National Ranching Heritage Center

Visit Round Rock Texas

Round Rock Texas is located nineteen miles north of Austin. Old Town Round Rock is located just east of Interstate 35.

palm house museum

A room at the historic Palm House

The area of Round Rock and Austin offers many historic sites to visit including the historic buildings in Old Town including the Palm House Museum.

You’ll also want to visit the  area of the first settlement which was named Brushy just across on the west side of Interstate 35 along Brushy Creek. By request of the U.S. Post Office the name had to be changed because there was another town in Texas named Brushy. The settlement then took the name Round Rock in recognition of the large rock in the middle of Brushy Creek.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)

The Mysterious Vortexes of Sedona / Where to Find Them

sedona arizona red rocks

What are the energy vortexes found in Sedona Arizona? Can they really be explained? Will I feel the energy?  Our suggestion from Trips Into History is to visit this absolutely beautiful part of Arizona and experience the Sedona vortexes first hand.

sedona arizona red rocks

View of Uptown Sedona

Sedona’s Lure

There are many reasons to visit Sedona Arizona and one of the best has to be the spectacular and stunning red rock scenery. Recreation attractions in Sedona include plenty of excellent hiking trails, biking trails and off road jeep tours either on your own or with one of the jeep tour companies.

Sedona is all about tourism and you’ll find an excellent selection of unique shops, including crystal shops and restaurants, as well as fine lodging and resorts. The city is also a cultural center for the arts featuring over forty galleries.Sedona also offers more than 220 miles of dedicated trails for mountain biking and over 300 miles in total for hiking, biking and equestrian pursuits.

There’s something for everyone in Sedona including nightly UFO tours in the nearby desert and of course tours of the world renown vortexes which draw millions of people annually from around the globe.

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View of Cathedral Rock

Sedona’s location in Arizona is also advantageous for tourists being about a two hour drive north to the Grand Canyon, a forty-five minute drive north to historic Flagstaff and about a two hour drive south to Phoenix and Scottsdale.

The Sedona Vortexes

In short, a vortex is an area of concentrated energy to which seekers of enlightenment are drawn. These are also referred to as energy vortices. Another description would be a swirling concentration of energy emanating from the earth. Yet another description would be a formation where visitors have witnesssed a feeling of inspiration from a beneficial source of energy.

Native Americans of this part of Arizona, Hopis, Navajo and Yavapai, were well aware of the special properties of these mystical sites for generations. The term “vortex” as we know them in Sedona Arizona was actually created by a local Sedona medium by the name of Page Bryant during the early 1980′s. Bryant called Sedona the “heart chakra of the planet“.

It’s very true that Sedona vortexes affect different people in different ways. Some may notice the power of the vortex and others may not.

Types of Vortexes in Sedona

The Sedona tourism industry has been in high gear for just a matter of decades whereas, as mentioned above, Native American knew these sites as sacred places for generations. The three recognized forms of Sedona vortexes are the balanced, electrical and magnetic. The balanced vortex is a combination of both electrical and magnetic. A magnetic vortex is of a feminine characteristic and the electrical vortex is of a masculine characteristic.

Where Are The Sedona Vortexes?

sedona hiking trails

View along the hiking trails

Vortex attractions in Sedona include four well known sites. These are found at the Airport, Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon and Cathedral Rock.

The Airport Vortex is located high up in the area of the Sedona Airport. This particular vortex is considered a balanced vortex. The site has ample parking and the views you’ll have from this location are second to none. Sunset viewing is stunning from this site. The vortex is located behind the saddle in the rocks near Airport Road. Getting there requires just a short drive up Airport Road, off of Hwy 89 A about one mile west of Uptown Sedona.  on a paved road. This is the closest vortex to the town of Sedona.

The Bell Rock Vortex is considered a strong energy field located just north of Hwy 179 between  Sedona and the village of Oak Creek about three miles south of Uptown Sedona. The youngest rock found in this formation is said to be 272 million years old. The vortex is found anywhere on Bell Rock.

See the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

Could Be the Best Hiking Trail in Sedona

Visiting Arizona / The Roots of the Long Apache War

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The Boynton Canyon Vortex is located on a short spur off the Boynton Vista Trail. In fact you can take the spur directly to the vortex. The main trail is considered easy to moderate and is about 2.5 miles in length. The vortex site itself is located between the Kachina Woman and Warrior formations. To reach the trail

and vortex you’ll take Dry Creek Road north from Hwy 89 A about three miles west of Uptown Sedona.

The Cathedral Rock Vortex is said to have a relaxing energy. Cathedral Rock is probably the most photographed formation in Sedona. To reach the vortex points on Cathedral Rock drive south on Hwy 179 about three miles from Uptown Sedona (near the Bell Rock location) and turn right on Back O’ Beyond Road. Drive 0.6 miles to the parking lot on the left and the trail head. This is a steep climb with a 600 foot elevation change and should be taken with caution. As with all hiking be certain to wear hiking shoes and take along sufficient water.

airport vortex sedona arizona

View from Sedona’s Airport Vortex site

Sedona Arizona is known as a gem of nature and an excellent travel destination during all four seasons of the year. As you can see from what’s written above, Sedona attractions are plentiful.

Sedona Arizona is one of the most unique and popular tourist destinations in all of the U.S. and truly has something for everyone. If you’re visiting Arizona you’ll be glad you added this one to your travel planner.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)

 

Could Be the Best Hiking Trail in Sedona Arizona

west fork trail sedona

If you’re looking for ultra scenic hiking it may be time to head to Sedona Arizona. Sedona and it’s unique red rock scenery not only offers a large selection of hiking trails but also some of the best photo opportunities you’ll find anywhere in North America. One of these fun trails is the West Fork Trail.

west fork trail sedona

Sedona’s West Fork Trail

Sedona’s West Fork Trail

Many people will tell you that the West Fork Trail is the best hiking trail in Sedona.

This trail is located in the Call of the Canyon Recreation Area about 9.5 miles north of downtown Sedona along Hwy 89A. The trail head is on the left side of the highway when traveling northbound. It is between mileposts 384 and 385. There’s plenty to see along the West Fork Trail as described below.

Mayhew’s Lodge

Near the start of the West Fork Trail you’ll come across the ruins of what was Mayhew’s Lodge. The lodge was built near the confluence of Oak Creek and the West Fork of Oak Creek. Mayhew’s Lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 but ended up being delisted in 1980 after it was destroyed by fire. Today, hikers will view ruins of fireplaces and foundations.

mayhew lodge sedona arizona

Old Mayhew Lodge fireplace ruins

History tells us that the first structure built on the site in 1870 by Charles “Bear” Howard. It’s said that Howard killed five bears with his knife thus the nickname.

Later Howard moved further into the canyon and the cabin was occupied in 1881 by the Thomas Family. A second cabin was constructed on the site in 1902 by a Judge Bennett from Phoenix.

The first road through the canyon was built in 1912 and ten years later in 1922 the movie of Zane Grey’s story, The Call of the Canyon starring Richard Dix and Noah Beery, was shot at this site.

Carl Mayhew, a photographer who worked on the Zane Grey movie, liked the area so much that he and a partner purchased the site in 1925. After making the cabins into an operating lodge, Mayhew bought out his partner in 1927. The Howard and Thomas cabins were connected and more rooms were added over the years. After Mayhew’s death in 1943 his family continued operating the lodge.

All in all, the Mayhew Lodge operated from 1925 to 1968. The lodge boasts many famous guests including President Herbert Hoover, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Walt Disney, Cesar Romero, Maureen O’Hara, and Susan Hayward.

During the years of the Mayhew Lodge, many movies were filmed in and around Sedona Arizona drawing in well known actors and actresses. In 1968 the Mayhew Lodge was acquired by the Forest Service when the Mayhew children were unable to manage the property full-time.

What to Expect on the West Fork Trail

The West Fork Trail north of Sedona Arizona offers a little bit of everything. The official trail start is just beyond the Mayhew Lodge ruins. Signage may give you conflicting ideas of the trail’s total length. It’s a good guess to estimate that the trail spans about three miles each way with a total round trip hiking time of about five hours.

Below are links to additional Trips Into History articles you may enjoy…

Explore Tucson Arizona’s Historic Landmarks

Visiting the Southwest / Apache War and Historic Sites

Visiting the Mysterious Vortexes of Sedona Arizona

An excellent guide to Sedona’s red rock country includes…Sedona Arizona Red Rock Country Tour Guide Book: Your personal tour guide for Sedona travel adventure! by Waypoint Tours.

sedona west fork trail photo

One of the stream crossings along the West Fork Trail

Obviously you can make the hike shorter depending on your wishes and abilities. We found the trail to be moderate and accommodating to most day hikers.

The trail is nearly always level and close to the stream for the first three miles. After the three mile mark the trail will climb steeply. The trail does continue past that point for several miles and joins another trail. For our purposes we used the three mile mark as the trail end. A good portion of the trail consists of stepping on rocks so make sure to take along those hiking boots or comfortable footwear.

You’ll cross small streams stepping from rock to rock. Stream crossings one way total six. The stream flows year round through a forested canyon.

Your West Fork Trail hike will lead you through forests, along the stream and past towering walls of red rock giving you some terrific photo opportunities.

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Looking up at one of the rock walls along the West Fork Trail

Explore Sedona Arizona / Hiking, Historic Sites and Vortexes

The West Fork Trail in Sedona is just one of the many fun recreational opportunities offered in this beautiful part of Arizona. The list of hiking trails in Sedona is large. Off-road jeep tours are also quite popular and will take you to some out of the way sites such as the historic Van Deren Cabin which you might not visit otherwise.

Sedona attractions also include the Chapel of the Holy Cross which was constructed in the red rocks in 1956 and draws tourists from around the world. Sedona also has a world wide reputation as being a spiritual mecca and global power spot. Sedona vortex sites have drawn people to the area for many decades. Vortex sites are believed to be locations having energy flow that exists on multiple dimensions. It is said that the energy from a vortex interacts with a person’s inner self.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)

 

Luling Texas / Railroads, Oil and Watermelons

oil museum luling texas

Luling Texas is one of those historic towns with more than one version of how it got it’s name. One version has the town named after a Chinese railroad worker, another that it was named for a Judge and yet another that it was named after a railroad owner’s wife. Whatever story is true, there are plenty of attractions in Luling Texas both historic and recreational and it makes a fine addition to your Texas travel vacation planner.

luling texas theater

Luling’s original 5,000 sq ft. theater

A Fun Visit to Luling Texas

Luling Texas is located on the San Marcos River south of Austin Texas and northeast of San Antonio. The town is located just off I-10, near the US Hwy 183 – I-10 interchange. Luling is 45 miles from Austin, 139 miles from Houston and 90 miles from Victoria Texas.

This is a trip stop that will make a good addition to your Texas travel planner. Luling is renowned for its barbecue, rich oil history, decorated pump jacks, fresh produce and plants, abundant watermelons, and Texas’ first inland canoe paddling trail on the San Marcos River.

luling texas watermelon stump

Luling Texas Watermelon Shop

Luling the Railroad Town

Luling as a community came into being because of the railroad. In 1874 the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio railroad laid track from Columbus to a terminus three miles west of Plum Creek. The area around this terminus became the city of Luling. Most of the first settlers in Luling were from the area of Plum Creek and from the Atlanta community.

Fifteen years later in 1889, a second railroad, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass, laid tracks through Luling, connecting it with both Lockhart and Shiner, Texas.Luling’s population rose and fell during the last part of the 1800′s and by the year 1900 the population was estimated at about 1,500 residents.

oil museum luling texas

The Luling Texas Oil Museum

The 1922 Oil Discovery

The discovery of oil in Luling Texas in 1922 led to rapid growth. Prior to this discovery Luling, Texas had an economy that relied essentially on one crop, cotton.

A man named Edgar B. Davis moved to Caldwell County Texas from Massachusetts to manage oli leases on his brother Oscar’s property. In 1921 Edgar founded the United North and South Oil Company. When his brother passed away Edgar bought the oil leases from the estate and began drilling. After six dry holes, Edgar Davis hit oil on the seventh try in August 1922. This was despite the claim of geologists that there was no oil to be found there.

The discovery was large. By December 1924 Davis’ field was producing 43,000 barrels of oil per day. In 1926 Davis sold his oil leases to the Magnolia Oil Company for a reported $12 million.  In celebration of the sale Edgar B. Davis threw a barbecue and reportedly gave a substantial cash bonus to each of his employees.  Davis was known as an oilman and philanthropist.

Oil fields attract a good number of retail and service businesses. The 1922 oil discovery drove population steadily over the years and by 1930 Luling’s population was about 6,000.

When you visit Luling Texas make it a point to stop into the Luling Oil Museum located at 421 East Davis Street. The museum is located in the historic Walker Brothers Mercantile Store which was established in 1885.The museum pays tribute to Luling’s rich cultural heritage and the significant role the oil industry played in the growth of the area. As of this writing, the museum hours are M-F 9A-5P Their phone number is (830) 875-1922.

luling texas attractions

East Davis Street

The World famous Luling Watermelon Thump

The world famous Luling Watermelon Thump is always held the last Thursday-Sunday in June in downtown Luling, Texas. The Watermelon Thump is comprised of several events over it’s four day run.

One such event is the “watermelon seed spit” contest. Luling has the distinction of having the world’s record for this event. The Guiness Book of Records Watermelon Seed Spit Record is 68 feet 9 1/8 inches from the starting line.  The Championship Watermelon Seed Spit record was set in 1989 by Lee Wheelis from Luling.

You may also enjoy the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

Visit the National Ranching Heritage Center / A Texas Trip Into History

A Tour of the Texas State Capital Building / Austin

Visit Round Rock Texas / Sam Bass and the Historic Palm House

luling texas historic buildings

Historic Walker brothers Mercantile Bldg.

The Best Kept Secret in Texas, Luling’s Paddling Trail

Luling has one of the states inland paddling trails for canoeing/ kayaking recreation. The paddling trail, designated by Texas Parks and Wildlife, is a six mile stretch of the San Marcos River. This stretch of river offers a relaxed paddling experience for both novices and seasoned paddlers. The paddling trail takes an estimated 2 to 3 hours to complete. You can put in your canoe or kayak at  the Hwy 90 Bridge two miles west of town and take out at the Zedler Mill.

Shuttle & Equipment Rental can be arranged through Luling Parks & Recreation Department. Phone  (512) 227-1724.

An Area Where Early Texas History Abounds

You’ll find plenty of attractions in Luling Texas and it makes a fine addition to you Texas travel planner when you visit other nearby towns and cities such as Austin, San Antonio, Lockhart and Gonzales. All of these towns and cities offer Texas historic museums, historic buildings and structures dating to the 1800′s and fun recreational activities like canoeing and kayaking.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)

Why We Need To Save Our Historic Post Office Buildings

houma louisiana post office

While traveling around the U.S. many historic sites include old post office buildings. The historic appeal of some of these structures has to do with their architectural style, the era in which they were constructed and some of the unique artwork found on their walls and ceilings.

bronx post office

Bronx Post Office Bldg

While these buildings were built to handle mail, some indeed are more like living museums and are important to a communities history. Some are in historic districts and are visited by tourists.

The USPS idea of selling off post office buildings has met with solid opposition from preservation groups from coast to coast. The sales were going to go ahead without adequate time for public comment and fortunately this opposition has had some positive effect.

The Need For Money Meets the Need For Historic Preservation

The USPS has been putting post office buildings, many quite historic, on the selling block  along with an effort to cut back mail delivery to five days a week to help save an estimated $20 billion over the next several years. Their plan to sell some of the larger buildings raises cash faster but the downside of course is that many of the larger facilities have a lot of history attached to them.

old philadelphia post office

Old Philadelphia Main Post Office Building

Architecture Heritage At Risk

Local post office buildings have traditionally played an essential role in the lives of millions of Americans. Many are architecturally distinctive, prominently located, and cherished as civic icons in communities across the country.

Unless the U.S. Postal Service establishes a clear, consistent process that follows federal preservation law when considering disposal of these buildings, a large part of the nation’s architectural heritage will be at risk.

What is key in this controversy are the historic buildings planned for sale and the fact that some are planned for sale to developers. The U.S. Postal Service is required to take several steps before actually selling a building. After announcing their intent to sell a property, it is required to hold a public meeting and a comment period for feedback.

houma louisiana post office

Houma Louisiana Post Office constructed in 1935

Only after this is completed is the USPS allowed to make a final decision about selling. In this respect, some in the opposition feel that due process has been worked around. Others protest the dual roles that developers have had in the actual sale of buildings. On the flip side of this and a major concern for the USPS, holding on to an old building no matter how historic it might be requires a lot of funds for it’s upkeep.

Bronx General Post Office

One very historic structure is the Bronx General Post Office, and it’s beautiful murals  by artists Ben Shahn and Bernarda Bryson Shahn which, was built during the Great Depression as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The USPS believes that the Bronx Post Office has a value of around $14 million. The building went on the market in January 2014.

It was announced in September 2014 that Youngwoo & Associates has purchased the historic Bronx General Post Office.

Berkeley California Post Office Building

The Berkeley Post Office building is located within the city’s Civic Center Historic District and was built in 1914-1915 in the Renaissance Revival-style. The historic post office lobby has a mural by Suzanne Scheuer depicting Berkeley’s history and a limestone bas-relief by David Slivka on the exterior arcade wall are two examples of New Deal-era works of art.

In regards to the building’s sale, Berkeley residents have shown up in droves to city council meetings and hearings with the postal service to voice their concerns. Some city officials, including Mayor Tom Bates, have thrown their support behind efforts to fight the sale of this iconic Berkeley California structure.

As of September 9, 2014, The Berkeley City Council passed a Zoning Overlay.  After a second reading at the next Council meeting, the Zoning Overlay Ordinance will become law. The Berkeley Zoning Overlay provides protections for the Post Office, Old City Hall, and our historic Civic Center against commercial development.

Philadelphia Main Post Office

This very historic post office building in Philadelphia was sold to the University of Pennsylvania for $50.6 million.  now is planning to sell the iconic building to Brandywine Realty Trust, owner of the nearby Cira Centre, for $20 million.

Brandywine Realty Trust completed a $252 million renovation of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Main Post Office, converting the building into office space. While taking on one of the largest historic rehabilitation projects in the nation, Brandywine modernized and retrofitted the building while maintaining its designation as a national historic site.

Brandywine also built a $90 million parking garage to support the new office space, and serve future development.

berkely california historic post office

Beautiful architecture of the Berkeley Post Office Bldg constructed in 1914-15

The National Trust For Historic Preservation

The National Trust For Historic Preservation has outlined goals regarding the sale of post office buildings. These are as follows…

  • Work directly with the U.S. Postal Service and other federal agencies to develop a consistent,  public process that follows established federal preservation law and protects those historic post office buildings identified for closure or sale.
  • Promote and support successful advocacy campaigns for saving post offices around the country.
  • Identify and encourage sensitive and appropriate reuses for post office buildings.
  • Support policy and legal solutions that encourage the preservation and reuse of post offices nationwide.

For more information on the status of post office building sales, see website http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/11-most-endangered/locations/historic-post-office.html

You may also enjoy our Trips Into History articles on the links below…

The Historic Carnegie Libraries

Barrio de Analco and America’s Oldest House

While the USPS has an urgent need to cut losses and raise money, we believe that the sale of old post office buildings, particularly one’s that have high historic value, must be approached with preservation concerns high on the list.

(Article copyright 2014 Trips Into History. Photos in the public domain)