See the rest of the photo's below!, But go to the original entry to see some of the finer photographs.
So before I get an official leg up on this blog, a few things need to get rolling. First and foremost, my car. The other week Texas got quite a good bit of snow. When I say quite a good bit, I do mean maybe 3 inches at most, but that's a lot to us. We don't see it very much down here, we considered ourselves lucky to have it twice this year. Personally, I could have done with the once. On my way to work during the snow, my car spun out of control, hit a curb, and busted the axle. Since I don't have much money, a neighbor introduced us to a "shadetree mechanic". He should have it fixed up by this week, or early next week.
1. Walling's Ferry
A town surrounded by a beautiful pine forest, developed around a crossing of the Sabine river, and one of the earliest communities in Gregg county. The last documented report on Walling's Ferry claims that little houses remain, and the ones that do, are very unsafe to enter as they look as though they are about to cave in.
A town nearly completely submerged in the Sabine river, very little is known about the town. The maximum residents they've had was a total of 75 people. It's unsaid whether any buildings or landmarks are present to give it's location.
One of the more well known ghost towns, a town that was settled by a man named "Isaac Killough" and his family in 1837. It is also the site where the entire Killough family was attacked, and massacred by indians, a tragedy now known as "The Killough Massacre"
Now cast your vote in the comments and let me know where to to go to next! I will go to this town, photograph, and document it's history on this blog for you to read.
"We found that the community was once called Dextra, which was settled before 1900. In the mid-1930s, the community had a school, a church and several stores. After World War II, many of Dextra’s residents moved away, but as late as the mid-1960s, the community had a store and two churches. In the early 1990s, Dextra was little more than a dispersed community."
The trip to Dextra was a bit of a long one, and consisted of quite a few wrong turns, and enough dirt roads to make my old clunker of a car just about cry. We stopped in Jacksonville for a bite to eat, and to ask for some directions, which amounted to nothing but more wrong turns. Eventually we made it there as the sun was setting, to find a very eerie cluster of old wooden homes, and buildings. A pack of dogs approached the car as we pulled up to the homes, we rolled down the windows and gave them a pet to see if they were hostile, they weren't, and were very excited to see us. We stepped out of the car and started walking towards the eerie group of buildings that made up some of the once live "Dextra"
We got out of the car and found the dogs were very friendly, but tame. We figured they must belong to someone, and because of this, didn't want to stay too long, fearing we may be on privately owned property.
The first house we waltzed up to was a wooden two story home, still mostly in tact, but missing a portion of the front of the building, as though a cannonball had broken it down. This inconvenienced us as it made the front door inaccessible,
so we trekked through tall weeds around to the side of the house. We noticed all of the bottom windows were broken out, so we entered through one of those.
We saw a newer looking, but empty bottle of "Parrot Bay" on the floor in front of us. Guess some kids or bums decided to hang around here at some point. We looked around, me snapping pictures of everything, watching my step as I went so as to not step on any potentially rotten wood.
We then cautiously walked up the stairs, which looked like something straight from, a horror movie. They creaked very loudly as we took each step upwards. Much of the floor on the second floor was warped, so we decided not to walk too far in, so as to avoid falling through the floor and getting hurt.
I snapped pictures of what I could, which was everything set aside the interior of one closet on the other side of a large room of the second floor.
We descended and then looked to the church across the road. The church looked to be completely in tact, windows and all. The front door was slightly cracked open, so we let ourselves in.
Once in, we were greeted by quite a few full size pews, which I hope to go back and pick up at some point to sell, as pews tend to go for quite a bit of money. Everything looked as though the whole town immediately got up from a church service and left. There were a few very old school books, and church hymnals on the seats.
There was also an old green piano to the left of the building. Some of the keys worked, most didn't, and those that did work sounded horrible out of tune. But I bet someone who knows their way around a piano could grab this thing, spruce it up and sell it for a nice profit.
The stage to the back of the church had a pedestal where the preacher would stand, and to the side, a lone wooden chair, with torn and tattered red cushions. It was a bit eerie. There were two more full size pews there, obviously for a church choir,
Also on the stage was a framed "Certificate of Appreciation", which I couldn't quite read very well.
To the right of the stage was a small walk in closet-esque room with a window at the end. Inside were abunch of hymnals, and what looked to be the torn remnants of an old robe.
I took the photos I could, at this point the sun had nearly set, and I was a touch creeped out, so we decided it was about time to leave. My girlfriend wanted to grab herself an old hymnal so she got herself one and we left. The dogs chased us down the road a little bit, but they eventually were out of sight, as was the old town, and the starting point of this project.
This was in Jacksonville I believe, my girlfriend snapped this photo as I was leaving a gas station, frustrated that no one knew where in the world to find Dextra.
Finding Ghost Towns is a lot like modern day "Treasure hunting", there are some facts here on the good ol' internet, but a lot of locating them comes from local word of mouth, rumors, tips, and "Oh, hey, I passed that place up on the way to go buy some booze". Dextra was one of these cases. I had to ask around a little bit before I finally pinpointed it's correct location. We made it there first try, but it wasn't an easy one.
My featured photos of Dextra itself should be soon on their way in the Dextra post from earlier, and I'll make another one with some extra photos.
For now, I am going to give you the details on what I am working with on this project.
This project, which I call "Dead West" was an idea a friend and I came up with one night, that I eventually decided to take into action, by visiting, and photographing, the abandoned town "Dextra". (As written about in an earlier post)
To take these photos I am using a cheaper SLR, a "Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD Standard Zoom Lens", and a few different lenses. I am by no means a "Professional Photographer", and have never claimed to be, some may think my photography is "Mediocre", my project is to document and preserve the history that played a role in forming the society I live in today, to further my skills in composition, and journalism, and to have fun doing it!
This is the second day of my blog, and I am very happy about the support I have received from loved ones and friends on this project. I hope you all choose to view this blog frequently to see some forgotten bits of history in it's current state, and learn where it all came from.
Later tonight or tomorrow I plan to list out a few of the towns I can go visit soon, and will post them on here, with some already known "Information" on the towns and let YOU all decide where I go to next. Thank you all for your support, I hope this blog will end up being a successful one!
I would also like to note that due to the nasty ice that's been on the road lately, I totaled the axle on my car when I swerved out of control and hit a curb, and had to have it replaced, so until next week I will not be able to make a trip to a local abandoned town. I will continue with updates on where I should go next, maps, and information I've learned about the town through the local library.
"Not that many us living here care, but the city of Houston was almost established in East Texas -- not once, but twice.-Bob Bowman, www.texasescapes.com
When brothers J.K. and A.C. Allen, who founded Houston, purchased land in 1837 on Buffalo Bayou in what is now Harris County, they also purchased 640 acres at Town Bluff on the Neches River, a location they considered as promising as the one on Buffalo Bayou.
But it wasn¹t in the cards for Town Bluff to become a metropolis. Instead, it became a ghost town."
I didn't see much of a ghost town, in fact I saw someone wandering the streets a little bit, but most of the homes around the area did look old, run-down, and abandoned. I could not find the post office anywhere as I drove about (The post office is what normally qualified a village as a "Town" back in the day)
This ghost town was a bit of a less interesting venture, certainly not as appealing as Dextra was.
This blog is dedicated to appreciating and preserving, the architecture, raw beauty, and sheer mystery of the remnants of old abandoned towns around Texas. We are an East Texas based organization, all of us college students, so updates will be sporadic, but as a personal project I've been planning for a while, they will also most definitely happen. Whatever posting drought we may have, be sure to stick with us. You're bound to see some interesting stories and photos of our adventures. So follow us and enjoy!
Ghost towns dot Texas more than any other state, I realized this once while driving down a highway, and getting lost and having to maneuver through quite a few. It was night and a bit eerie, but intrigued me and inspired me to start this project which I've rightly dubbed "Dead West". So far me and my group of friends have visited two. I will post photos, some information, and our experience here VERY soon!
The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy
Ratatat - Montanita
Ratatat - Gettysburg
Here are 2 tracks from Magic Potion and Heavy Soul from their debut the Big Come Up.
The Black Keys - Strange Desire
The Black Keys - You're the One
The Black Keys - Heavy Soul
Being that I'm finally here and settled I'm going to try and kick my blog out of it's undead state. finally being in New Zealand I've been trying to go out every once and a while and find some of the local music. One of the first band I got into was the Black Seeds, a local Reggae group. What's interesting is that while reggae is the flavor it is infused with dub more then most sounds anywhere else. I would say it sounds like the laid back reggae/dub of the gorillaz. Most importantly while it sounds a little light it's a little more true to reggae then some of the limp college rock reggae back home. While I would like to substantiate that claim with names of bands, they're so bad I actually forgot.
On to the Black Seeds - Turn It Around
K-os - The Love Song
Jurassic 5 - Future Sounds
The Soundtrack features everyone from Smashing Pumpkins to Soundgarden to Paul Westerberg, lead singer for the Replacements which had broken up by then. On the soundtrack is one of Westerbergs best songs Waiting for Somebody. It's a catchy way to start a solo career which never quite took off. Theres also a solo track by Chris Cornell called Seasons, his first solo recording away from Soundgarden until his solo album released 8 years later.
Paul Westerberg - Waiting For Somebody
Chris Cornell - Seasons
Mother Love Bone - Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns
It's a guy who goes by the name Curumin. He's signed to Quannum, DJ Shadow's label which is also home to Blackalicious and Lyrics Born among others. He released his debut last year and it looks like it slipped under the radar. It's brazillian funk kind've mixed with his own DJ stylings. It's a pretty cool album and sounds like what I expect to hear from Cut Chemist this July.
Curumin - Guerreiro (Nike Soccer website track)
Curumin - Samba Japa
Most recently I checked out a show called Fast Inc which is on MTV. It's about a business of guys who hunt down rare, weird, odd cars for Celebs or other people that need something but don't want to do the looking themselves. It's kind've interesting because it's about these guys wandering around all parts of LA and California dealing with whoever they need to talk to to get the job done. On the second episode their was a really cool song featured by a band called Tangiers. The whole cd it's featured from isn't too swell but the single Energy Jaws is a hot track. Check it out.
Tangiers - Energy Jaws
The first ever soundtrack sunday which may become either soundtrack saturday or featurelength friday. I'm not sure. Probably Soundtrack Sunday. For now it's soundtrack Saturday on Sunday. Just roll with it. Okay.
So I still havn't seen Devil's rejects. So maybe I should feel rather ashamed for making a post about it's soundtrack. But fuck it, I'm not. It's got such a good classic soundtrack. Makes you feel like you're living 1972 all over again...for the first time. I was born in 1984 so that's how it goes. But the soundtrack's got songs from Terry Reid who turned down both the lead singer role in Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple in order to pursue his solo career, and music from the Allman Brothers, Otis Rush, Three Dog Night, Lyrnyrd Skynyrd, and Joe Walsh. Devil's rejects the movie should be on it's way to my place via netflix, as for you, check out part of the soundtrack right here.
Terry Reid - To Be Treated
Allman Brothers - Midnight Rider
Come mondays sometimes you just don't quite no how to proceed. God knows you got a ton of stuff to do, a full week ahead, and arn't quite sure what the hell is going on. There's no better song about this feeling then Stormy Monday. And so begins, a brand new little theme. Every monday, and maybe more, I'm gonna be throwing down the blues upon you. So despite the fact that the week ahead might suck, or maybe the weekend was just so explosively badass, but you need to cool down, that's what the blues is for. So swing by and check it out.
First up is Texas blues god T-Bone Walker and in namesake of the post I have one of his classics, Stormy monday. T-Bpne cut tracks all over the country and despite being from the South even ended up in the Midwest blues mecca of Chicago. B.B. King said T-Bone Walker was an strong influence and most of all Texas Blues came out of his riffs.
T-Bone Walker - Stormy Monday
T-Bone Walker - Louisiana Bayou Drive