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Category Archives: Photography

Larissa, Texas

From my driveway to “X-marks-the-spot” in East Texas is roughly a five hour drive.  It takes me seven  hours or more because there is plenty to see along  US 69.  It is a lovely scenic drive once in the Piney Woods region, otherwise a pleasant stretch of open countryside with cows and horses grazing in the fields pass by.  There are plenty of historical markers on the way and if you stop at all of them and read them the drive may take an additional hour or two.  It all depends if you meet others along the way with similar interest in the Lone Star State’s story.

I’ve driven this route for the past 12 years and I must add I never tire of it.  That’s because each time I take a trip there, I look for something new to visit.  East Texas offers a rich historical heritage that swings way back to the early years of Civil War.  I’m not going to write the history of Texas here right now.  Or ever.  But I will share one little treasure I found while seeking “ghost towns” on the internet last month for my week long excursion to visit family.

North Cherokee County has a tucked away and pretty much abandoned rural townsite known as Larissa.  The town is about 20 miles northwest of Rusk.  If you search for information on anything north, west, south, etc of Rusk, you will be delighted to find plenty to explore but you must gather information for there are no large billboards or adverts welcoming tourists to these areas.  These are the back roads of the back roads.

Larissa is known for the Killough Massacre that occurred October 5, 1838 and documented as “believed to have been both the largest and last Native American attack on white settlers in East Texas”.  The purpose of this blog entry is to share with you my journey and my picture(s) and not to go on about the history.  You can look that up yourself.  I will tell you how to get there for it’s not shown on many maps and did not pop up on any of my GPS maps.

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This was shot with an IR converted Nikon D70 in case you are wondering why the trees and grass are white.  The effect gives a more eerie feel.  The site is located far back in the woods and appears to be well maintained although it is apparent that over the years some vandalism and partying have taken place as evidenced by a condom package and a few flattened beer cans scattered across the empty parking lot.

IMG_20170221_150712752[1] A chain link fence surrounds the memorial and a maintained road and parking lot lie to the north.  And the entrance is shown in the photo below.  The site is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  I spent about half an hour there reading all the markers and enjoying the cool air of the February Monday. Nothing could be heard but the breeze soughed through the tall pines with a cawing of a hawk overhead.  For a moment I had forgotten the rest of the world, the daily routine, who was where and why.  I sat on a large rock and looked over my shoulder toward the dense forest of brush and pine imaging the life of the settlers in the 1800’s starting anew, building from scratch as they migrated West.  My phone rang.  I had to get to Lufkin in time for supper.

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How do you get to this monument?  Follow me.  North of Jacksonville on State Highway 69, hop onto the 855 in Mt. Selman.  Drive West.  Turn left on FM 3405.  I saw no sign about the Killough Massacre but another blogger wrote there was one there.  Once on the 3405, drive a short distance and look for the 3411.  The sign is clear.  Turn right.  Keep going until you reach a split.  This will be the 3411 and the 3409.  Stay on the 3411 veering to the left.  You are going to drive a bit and begin to feel like you have driven too far.  Keep driving.  The road is going to curve to the right a bit and then to the left and you’ll pass some farms.  It all looks the same in the woods doesn’t it?  Keep your eyes open on the left for the gate.  It’s CR 3431 with a sign for the Killough Massacre site.  Enjoy your visit.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2017 in Photography, Texas

 

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Winter Likes and Dislikes

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Many where I live long for the Winter months.  I’m really unsure why.  Perhaps its the enjoyment of being warm and snug inside home with family, the joy of the holidays, comfort food, hot chocolate.  I have no use for Winter but it is inevitable so I make the most of it.   I’ll share my likes and dislikes here.

Dislikes:

1.  See the above photo taken in town after a snow/rain/pellet day.  Does that look like a lovely morning to you?  Of course not!

2.  Snow and ice.  It’s pretty to look at from the window for a few hours.

3.  Cold wind.  It’s just terrible for your complexion.

4.  Being snowed in.  Who on earth lives for that?  Not a single soul benefits from being snowed in.  There are people in need in the world and if you can’t leave your house, you cannot help them.

5.  Gray winter skies.

6.  Short days.  At least the sun is now coming up at 7 am end of January.

7.  Seasonal affect disorder.  Results from short days.

8.  The flu.

9.  Heavy winter clothes

10.  Not so many good IR photography opportunities.

Likes:

1 . On clear days, the sky is a deeper blue.

2.  Orion is visible all Winter long.

3.  The geese at the wildlife refuge are abundant.

4.  A good cold frozen winter reduces many of the summers insects (for a while).

5.  Many more yellow finches at the bird feeders.

6.  Valentine’s Day.

7.  Planning for the Spring planting.

8.  Butternut squash.

9.  Comfort food.

10.  All things leather.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Black and White, list, Photography, Texas

 

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Aside

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Also known as “The Castle In The Cornfields” this gorgeous building dates back to 1930.  I have driven past it for years and in 2012 I finally stopped in front but only briefly to take this shot.  This section of Decatur is where corn processing takes place and it smells of it too.  It is now called Tate and Lyle, one of the largest processors of corn in the United States. 

As with most buildings I post on this blog, there lurks a ghost story, conspiracy or some sort of mystery that I rarely write about for I don’t take enough time to get all the facts.  This is drive-by shooting and not ghost mystery-1000.  Perhaps I start a new blog when I have time to interview locals and sneak down into the basement to collect information.  If you google E.A. Staley there you will find stories of the building and business over the past 84 years.

If you are ever in Decatur, stop and look around.  It’s all about farming out there.  Don’t get lost amongst the cornfields.

 

A.E. Staley Building, Decatur, Illinois

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Illinois, Photography, small towns

 

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Traveler’s Hotel, Denison, Texas

Careful I am of writing about images I post on the web when researching other websites, photo galleries, etc. I won’t write too much about the subject of an image such as the one shown above. There are all kinds of stories, legends, and wild fabrications written by people who “claim to know” all over the internet.

Texasescapes.com shows to be pretty accurate with Texas history. According to Texasescapes
Built by a German sea captain named Ernst Martin Kohl, who opened it as a grocery store and saloon in 1893, it was converted into a hotel for railroad travelers in the 1930’s. You can go to the webpage to read more about this interesting structure. It’s occupancy is unknown by me although I’m sure if I ran across the street to the history Katy Rail Museum, there might be someone who knows the comings and goings of individuals associated with that property. It appears that someone is managing it for there are flower pots on the porch and some chairs that appear in good condition.

It’s always been one that I like looking at. It had its day in the sun I’m sure and it certainly stands with some authority. I sure would like to see it used as a lodge/bed & breakfast. Denison’s one of those kinds of towns—artsy, historic, rural.

If you have spent any time in the Traveler’s Hotel in Denison, tell me about it.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2011 in Photography, small towns, Texas

 

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Dinosaur World, Glen Rose, Texas

You can’t miss it. In fact it reaches out and trips you as you turn right onto the road that takes you to Dinosaur Valley State Park. If you don’t go there first you will stop in on your way home. Dinosaur World!

I’ve only associated the town of Glen Rose with horse shows. North Texas Arabian Horse Club is having a show there second weekend this November. My friends invite me to Glen Rose for various horse shows. And when you drive along the road horses graze in fields on both sides.

The big attractions though are the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Dinosaur Valley State Park, and the Creation Evidence Museum. Dinosaur World at the entrance of Dinosaur Valley State Park was the exciting part of our family’s day especially for the Kid. We will be returning.

To see more of my photos from this date check this out!

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Photography, small towns, Texas

 

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Monday Monday

It seems that Monday is the most hated day of the week. There is even a song written on the subject by Boomtown Rats, “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Google “Why do we hate Mondays” and you’ll find a thousand or so discussions on the web on the subject.

There are two angles to approach this dreaded day. First, Monday is disliked simply because one slept in all weekend long and messed up their internal clock. You’ve rearranged for two days all your normal activities leaving your mind and body up for a real challenge Monday morning when the alarm screams.

Secondly, Monday is dreaded because for most of us we have to face all the complications of our jobs because two days passed with none of our attention paid to the many problems that developed. It doesn’t matter what field you are in. It’s all the same. We are dealing with humans. Nothing is new under the sun.

Tomorrow is Monday. I plan on it being a fabulous day. I guarantee it because God guarantees it. I’ll pray that His will be done and it should go much easier than it does when I decide Monday’s structure. Ya’ll have a good one now!

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2011 in home, Photography

 

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More Carter

It seems that almost all of Carter’s pictures I put here are of this same side with that same canter. It just works out like that. We get him running but he gets on his own pace. My camera has video so maybe next time I will shoot him running and post that here. The weather doesn’t help. The temperature needs to be cooler and this makes for a very energetic horse who loves to show off. For now, we are still in the 90’s.

I think I’m going to ride some next week.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in My horses, Photography

 

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