Old friends

Sanger depot

The depot from Sanger (Denton County, Texas) was moved to Tioga (Grayson County) and now has a second life as an antique store.

Drove to Tioga (Grayson County, TX) yesterday and visited several places in Gene Autry’s home town: Clark’s Outpost (re-opened after a bad fire – best BBQ in North Texas), the Tioga calaboose, and the Sanger (Denton County, TX) depot!

Sanger’s Santa Fe depot is now the Cedar Depot, home to antiques, architectural salvage items, and a wood shop.

Whenever I visit old depots, I zero in on their graffiti. Passengers and workers idled their time away by either burning or writing their initials, dates, and artwork into the boards. Sanger’s depot has some fine examples, though you have to look past the wares to see it.

The owner, Andy, showed me around. One item he found of most interest was a tree stump from Pilot Point, with a farm implement grown into the wood. Andy told me that in New York, where he’s from, placing farm implements in trees became a tradition for young men drafted into war. When they came back, they took the implement out. If they didn’t come back, the farm implement stayed… he wondered if this was also a Texas tradition. I’d never heard of the practice around these parts, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

A cell complex from the old, demolished Denton County jail, which was state-of-the-art in the 1920s, is for sale at the depot. These are the same cells that I discovered at an estate sale earlier this year. I think the jail cells would make a great addition to the historic park in Denton.

Sanger grafitti

If you look inside the freight section of old depots (which aren’t wallpapered but simple boards), you’ll often find graffiti, like this inscription from 1922.

Sanger stump

A farm implement inside a cedar log may indicate that the person who placed it there never came back from war. At least, that was the tradition in New York state; unsure if that was a tradition in Texas. This log was inside the Cedar Depot (nee Sanger Depot) in Tioga, (Grayson County, TX). The log came from Pilot Point (Denton County, TX).

Sanger Denton cells for sale

The cells from the old Denton County Jail (1891), which I once found at an estate sale, are for sale at the Depot (at least as of this writing, April 2020).

Tioga calaboose 2

Another jail – Tioga’s old calaboose – sits in a park in Tioga.

Published in: on April 2, 2020 at 12:09 am  Comments (1)  
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An Embarrassment of Architectural Treasures in De Soto Parish

According to the National Register, De Soto Parish, which lies between the Red and Sabine rivers in northwestern Louisiana, contains the highest concentration of Greek Revival architecture, outside of New Orleans, in the state.

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A perfect example is this beautiful 1850 mercantile in Keachie (aka Keatchie, aka Keachi), an antebellum town north of Mansfield. Keachie’s history is palpable in its buildings.

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The antebellum Baptist Church in Keachie is similar in style to the Methodist and Presbyterian churches in this beautiful town.

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An old farm house sits on the site of the former Female Seminary, which served as a hospital in the Civil War and later burned in an unrelated fire.

Cobble Cobble

The cobble stones, also called “cannonballs,” used in the structures (pictured below) constitute good examples of Indigenous architecture of the western Red River Valley.  The stones were quarried from the rivers surrounding the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma. Oklahomans began using the native round, granite rocks at the turn of the 20th century to adorn school houses, homes, hotels, and even Fort Sill. Some of the stones made their way to buildings in northwestern Texas, too.

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Saddle Mountain, Kiowa County, Oklahoma. Not sure what the use of this building was. It is concrete, double pen, with cannonballs (granite stones) embedded in the mixture before it dried. (I’d live here!)

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Victory School near Saddle Mountain in Kiowa County, Oklahoma. I would have walked closer but there were A LOT of sticker bushes.

Medicine Park

Cannonball architecture exists all over Medicine Park, a beautiful resort town at the base of Mount Scott in the Wichita Mountains, Comanche County, Oklahoma.

Medicine Mound

The abandoned gas station in Medicine Mound, a ghost town in Hardeman County, Texas, also sports cannonball architecture.