Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Religious Experience

Last year I decided to photograph some places of worship in Gainesville, Texas. Gainesville is home to some beautiful and historical churches.These are some of the ones I was able to photograph on an afternoon trip to town.

I added Biblical passages to them. Here are the four I photographed.
St Mary's Catholic Church
Gainesville, Texas
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."
~ Psalm 28:7 ~

First Presbyterian Church
Gainesville, Texas
"Through difficult times, I will rejoice because the Lord God is my savior,
He gives me strength."
~ Habbakkuk 3:17-19 ~

St Paul's Episcopal Church
Gainesville, Texas
"I will say of the LORD,
He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
~ Psalm 91:2 ~

Westminster Presbyterian Church
Gainesville, Texas
"I am like a large olive tree in God's house.
I trust the mercy of God forever and ever."
~ Psalm 52:8 ~

A History of Gainesville, Texas...

Gainesville, Texas is the hometown of my dad's family. It is the source of a a lot of my photos.

When people hear the name Gainesville, most think of Florida or Georgia. Texas is usually not first in anyone's mind, but Gainesville, Texas is a western town with great history. Gainesville, along I-35 in North Texas, is about 65-70 miles north of Dallas. Gainesville, Texas got its first beginnings while Texas was an independent country. According to the Gainesville city website...
In 1841, W.S. Peters and associates signed their first contract with the Republic of Texas “which provided that within three years, they would bring 600 families into North-Central Texas” into what came to be known as the Peters Colony. The first settlers arrived in the area after the newly created Peters colony offered 640 acres to each head of family and 320 acres to each single man, plus land for a church in each settlement.  Before acquiring their tracts of land, these settlers were first required to swear allegiance to the Republic of Texas.  They had to agree to construct a dwelling, to cultivate their fields, and to fence at least ten acres within three years.
With the constant threats of Indian attacks on this Red River frontier, the need for military protection became a most pressing problem.   In 1847, Ft. Fitzhugh, named for Colonel William Fitzhugh, an experienced soldier and Indian fighter, was the first site of settlement in the region. The following year, the state legislature created Cooke County, named for William G. Cooke, a hero of the Texas War for Independence.
Gainesville, Texas, like many towns, got its start thanks to the California Gold Rush of 1849.
Folks, on their way to their fortunes in California, would pass through Gainesville for rest & supplies. One of the main roads through town is still California Street. The Cooke County Court House sits with California Street to its south.
In 1850, Gainesville was established on a 40-acre tract of land donated by Mary E. Clark. City residents called their new community Liberty, which proved short-lived, as a Liberty, Texas already existed.  Colonel  Fitzhugh suggested that the town be named after General Edmund Pendleton Gaines.  Gaines, a United States General under whom Fitzhugh had served, had been sympathetic with the Texas Revolution.
Gainesville was a stop on the infamous Butterfield Stage route, as well as the MKT's Katy Rairoad lines. It is the site of the Red River Wars that took place with Native American tribes in a struggle for the land, as well as two major cattle trails, the Chisolm Trail and the Shawnee Trail, which flanked Cooke County. Cattle money helped finance the Cooke County courthouse, as well as the local school & roads.

One historical first for Gainesville helped change the landscape of all of Texas...
In 1875, Henry B. Sanborn, a regional sales agent for Joseph Glidden’s Bar Fence Company of DeKalb, Illinois traveled to Texas.  That autumn, he chose Gainesville as one of his initial distribution points for the newly invented barbed wire which his employer had patented the previous year.  On his first visit to Gainesville, he sold ten reels of the wire to the Cleaves and Fletcher hardware store – the first spools of barbed wire ever sold in Texas.
Farming added to Gainesville's local economy with cotton becoming the major crop produced. The high price of cotton spurred Gainesville's growth once again. Dad use to pick cotton, as did most of his family at a family friend's farm near Valley View, a town just south of Gainesville. In fact, his uncle for which his eldest brother is named, died from blood poisoning after several days because of an infected pimple he had scratched while picking cotton at the farm.

In 1884, a mule-drawn street car served as public transportation serving the downtown business district.

Gainesville fared the Great Depression better than most, as oil was discovered in the nearby town of Callisburg just to the north. In addition, the Gainesville Community Circus was in its prime gaining national recognition. The circus participants were instrumental in starting the Frank Buck Zoo, named for Gainesville, Texas native Frank Buck.

Gainesville helped do its part in WWII when Camp Howze was opened as an army infantry training camp. My dad's sister met her husband while he was stationed at Camp Howze. Camp Howze's construction helped bring Gainesville through the end of the Depression. After the war, Camp Sweeney opened as a camp for diabetic children about 1950 and has served diabetic children ever since.

With the return of Amtrak in the late 1990s, Gainesville is experiencing yet another rebirth of sorts. It is become a known destination for antique enthusiasts as well. Recently, the Frank Buck Zoo has also been revitalized. What makes Gainesville most proud is being a Medal of Honor Host City. Gainesville features the Frank Buck Zoo, the Morton Museum, the Santa Fe Depot, the Cooke County Courthouse, and many other places of historical interest. Gainesville now sits in the middle of Quarterhorse country.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Early Spring

Today's spring-like weather, a high of 78F, conjures up the memory of beautiful Texas wildflowers! In honor of this beautiful day, here are some beautiful memories of last spring.

Infamous Texas Bluebonnets
Butterfly Pea

Desert Marigold
Pink Evening Primrose
Field of Texas Toadflax
Alpine Vetch
Crimson Clover
Texas Paintbrush
 One of the best things about living in Texas is springtime wildflowers. However, wildflowers bloom almost all year long. There are some that are in bloom from spring throughout summer, and some that wait until the fall to bloom. I will be posting some of my best photographs of these beautiful seasons in the future.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another RR Depot

The historic Gainesville Santa Fe Railroad Depot in Gainesville, Texas.

It has two historical plaques. The first plaque reads:

Santa Fe Passenger Depot
By the end of the 19th century Gainesville was established as one of the state’s major rail centers.
This depot was built about 1902 to handle the increased traffic on the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railroad. The red brick structure contained a Harvey House Restaurant until 1931. Although railroad use declined after World War II, this depot stands as a reminder of Gainesville’s importance in Texas’ early economic growth. – Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 1983.
Gainesville - Fort Sill Road
 The 2nd one shown here reads:

The U.S. Cavalry constructed roads to improve logistical routes in the west during the 19th century. Henry O. Flipper, the first African American graduate of West Point, was an officer in the Tenth Cavalry Regiment “Buffalo Soldiers” at Fort Sill, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). By late 1879, Fort Sill required a more significant railroad town than nearby Caddo Station, and the army placed Flipper in command of building a road from Fort Sill to Gainesville. Two years later, the railroad reached Henrietta and replaced Gainesville as a Fort Sill supply town. Neverthe less, the construction of the Gainesville-Fort Sill road is a historic example of the Buffalo Soldiers’ contributions to the west’s economic development. 2006

Choo Choooo... Clickity Clack Down Track

Always loved trains!

On March 29, 2009, my family decided to go to the Red River Railroad Museum in Denison, Texas. I took several photos while there.

A little history of the Red River Railroad Museum & Katy Depot from the Museum's website:

The Katy Depot is the former passenger station and general office building of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. The depot was the center of operations for the railroad till it's merger with the Union Pacific Railroad on August 12, 1988. Also called Union Depot it was the transportation center of the city and was used by other railroads. These included the Frisco and the Houston and Texas Central later to become part of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Located one block east of downtown Denison off U.S. Business 69, the depot is opposite the highway overpass from the former location of the M-K-T Denison Carshops. The Katy Depot and a small part of the once huge Ray Yards are all that remain of a major point on the Katy System. The former site of the original Denison Union Depot is not far away, it was used till the opening of the Katy Depot around 1914. Every famous Katy passenger train used the depot, boarding passengers for travel from Denison to the many destinations throughout the Katy System. Although all passenger service ended on the Katy in the mid 1960s the depot remained the general offices for the railroad till the merger with the Union Pacific Railroad.
Here are some of the photos I took that day...

The engine as it comes down the track.
Denison, Texas was an important hub for railroads.
The MKT, Missouri-Kansas-Texas, line was infamous in its heyday.

The MKT was known as The Katy line.
It was so popular merchandise was sold commemorating the line.
The Katy in all its glory with the railroad depot in the background!

The Caboose: a much missed site along the railroads of today.
If you are a fan of the old railroads or a railroading enthusiast, please visit the Red River Railroad Museum's website.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Duck Hunting in Palo Duro Canyon

A little while back, I took a trip to West Texas, Palo Duro Canyon to be exact... during Texas' rainy season.

Now, most folks would think taking a trip during rainy season to be a bad idea. Not me. I bring the camera anyway! You just never know when the opportunity is going to present itself.

In this photo, a couple of Mallards didn't mind the impending West Texas storms or a little water off their backs, which of course is probably how the phrase "like water off a duck's back" got started anyway.

While passing them by, hoping not to disturb them, I zoomed the camera out an open car window. Well, you didn't expect me to get out and stand in the rain, did you? Not that I would mind getting wet. I was in a Ford Expedition with 5 dogs - 2 very large, 2 medium and 1 small - I probably could've used a dip in that creek along side them Mallards! Shoot, though, the camera's an expensive camera; I didn't want to get it wet!

They do make rain coats for cameras, but alas, I do not have one. Maybe in the future.

Not many more pics came after this one, the storms moved in with severe lightning and torrential downpours. West Texas storms can get pretty bad pretty fast, as the land is flat, wide open prairie.

However, if you are looking for an affordable vacation, I highly recommend Palo Duro Canyon and it's sister canyon just to the south, Caprock Canyon, where the photo to the left was taken. I call it Texas Igloo. Well, doesn't it look like an igloo? At least from my camera's angle it does!

Here's another shot of Caprock Canyon

As well as a shot from deep within Palo Duro Canyon.

What? You were looking for actual duck hunting?
Come on, this is a photography site!

What did you think the title Duck Hunting in Palo Duro Canyon meant on a photography site?

See ya next time!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Great Bonanzle Photographer

Interesting the first real post is a friend's photography & not mine. :)

This fella is another great photographer from Bonanzle.
His Bonanzle ID is Polzar.

You can visit his "booth" at to view & purchase his great photography. He offers his prints by mail & electronic via email. He also offers varies sizes and canvas.

He is a Marine Vet who was wounded in Vietnam. He enjoys listening to classic rock, watching movies, and surfing the web. He's got an old barn cat, Ruby, whom he raised from a kitten. They are best friends.

If you like lighthouses, he has probably got a photographic print for you. The photo above is just a sampling of what he has to offer. He has some nature shots, as well as a photo of Lambeau Field. You can see some of his other prints below, but please be sure to click the link above to go to his booth and browse his photos, drop him a line in his chat box and tell him I sent ya! He's an all American hero and always ready to chat!

He's a great photographer, a respected seller and an honorable man.

A few of his other photographic prints...