Written by Texas Highways
It all started with a story. British author James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, told of a nirvana tucked away in the Himalayan heights, mysteriously filled with promise of peace, harmony, and other unearthly ideals. He called it Shangri-La. The name and fantasy caught on, going viral from Hollywood to the White House. Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt played characters seeking the promises of Shangri-La in Frank Capra’s 1937 movie Lost Horizon. President Franklin D. Roosevelt named the presidential retreat Shangri-La (since renamed Camp David). And in a far corner of the Southeast Texas coastal plain, philanthropist H.J. Lutcher Stark plowed some of his family fortune into creating a haven of flowers and forest he called Shangri-La, opening it to the public in 1946.
See related: Quanah Parker Trail
The Quanah Parker Trail is a project of the Texas Plains Trail Region, a participant in the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Heritage Trails program. Each site on the Quanah Parker Trail will be marked with a 23-foot arrow and a monument describing a connection to Comanche chief Quanah Parker.
The Hardeman County Historical Museum is at 105 Green St. in Quanah. Call 940/663-5272 or visit 102 Mercer St. to arrange a tour.
Red’s Drive In is at 103 E. 11th in Quanah. Call 940/663-5087.
For details about the Downtown Medicine Mound Museum, in the old Hicks-Cobb General Store building, see http://downtownmedicinemound.com.
Copper Breaks State Park is at 777 Park Road 62, between Quanah and Crowell. Call 940/839-4331.
The Foard County Historical Museum/Fire Hall Museum is at 116 N. Main St.
Gentry’s Country Store is at 101 S. Main in Crowell. No phone; generally open daily.
The Longhorn Ranch Steakhouse (open Fri. and Sat. for dinner only) is 10 miles west of Crowell at 5315 US 70. Call 940/655-3444.
To reach the marker commemorating Cynthia Ann Parker’s recapture in 1860, turn east on FM 3103 from Texas 6 between Crowell and Quanah and travel 4.5 miles. Continue east on FM 98, turn north on CR 246, then go east on CR 231 for one mile. The marker is on the north side of the road.
The Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus is on 4187 FM 654, about 14 miles southwest of Crowell. Call 940/684-1670.
Bob’s Oil Well is at US 70 and Texas 70 in Matador.
The Scurry County Museum is at 6200 College Ave. in Snyder. Call 325/573-6107.
To find the monument to the Battle of Adobe Walls, travel 24 miles north from Borger on Texas 207, turn east on FM 281 at the green sign, and go another 15 miles to the monument. For more details, call the Hutchinson County Historical Museum, 806/273-0130.
The U-Drop Inn is at 105 E. 12th St. in Shamrock. Call 806/256-2501.
To see items belonging to Quanah Parker and his family, visit these spots:
In Claude, the Armstrong County Museum (120 N. Trice St.) displays a beaded purse that belonged to one of Quanah Parker’s wives. Call 806/226-2187.
In Tulia, the Swisher County Archives & Museum (127 SW 2nd St.) displays a robe worn by Quanah Parker during peyote ceremonies. Call 806/995-2819.
In Canyon, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (2503 4th Ave.) features one of Quanah Parker’s headdresses on rotating display. Call 806/651-2244.
A Panhandle-Plains road trip in the heart of Comancheria—the Comanche homeland
By Russell A. Graves
Standing on a rock ledge looking south over the Pease River Valley in the Texas Panhandle, it is easy to understand why the Comanche loved this country. Peppered with junipers, mesquite, and cacti, the land is a patchwork of grasslands where bison once grazed by the hundreds of thousands, and where red-dirt badlands are stippled with ribbons of white gypsum. While more than a century has passed since this area was first inhabited by Anglo settlers, it’s still alive with the spirits of native people who lived here for centuries. This is the heart of Comancheria—the Comanche homeland.
The Texas Panhandle and Rolling Plains are the last haunts of the Comanche, who were moved to Oklahoma reservations after the Red River War of 1874 and 1875. When the war ended and the Comanche were forced onto reservations, Chief Quanah Parker emerged as a visionary leader among his people, introducing them to Anglo conventions such as ranching and formal school while encouraging them to retain Comanche cultural traditions.
In 2011, on the centennial of Parker’s death, communities throughout the region established the Quanah Parker Trail to honor Parker, the Comanche people he served in wartime and peacetime, Parker’s Anglo and Comanche descendants, and the Southwest’s Native-American heritage. A project of the 52-county Texas Plains Trail, one of 10 heritage tourism trails developed by the Texas Historical Commission, the Quanah Parker Trail is a still-evolving initiative designed to showcase places with a real or legendary connection to the famous chief. Across dozens of counties in such towns as Matador, Dalhart, Spur, and Lipscomb, 23-foot steel arrows mark spots of interest and significance. Since the program is still developing, new arrows are added on a regular basis.
The Trail’s website describes itself as a “road-trip guide,” and with exploration in mind, I begin my journey just south of the Red River in Quanah (pop. 2,500), the town founded in the 1880s and named for the famed Comanche leader.
The Quanah Parker Trail continues to add sites and monuments as communities throughout the region embrace their heritage. Northwest Texas yields rich rewards for travelers looking to explore one of Texas’ last frontiers.
See full story in the October 2012 issue.
Slow down and savor East Texas’ dreamscape of autumn splendor
By Joe Lowery
In the part of East Texas I call home, there are at least as many miles of country roads as there are official highways. Some of these byways have stripes and some don’t; some are paved and some aren’t. But they all weave a wonderful web through the Piney Woods, one of the prettiest regions of the state.
As a photographer for Texas Highways for more than 15 years, I have spent a lot of time wandering woods, hiking trails, and climbing hills to capture images, but I’ve found that some of the most beautiful views and vistas can be enjoyed from the comfort of a car. I’m often asked how I found a certain scenic location, and how difficult it was to reach the spot. While I have a few adventurous tales to share, for the most part photography is about slowing down long enough to see what we normally rush past. And I don’t dismiss the joy in wandering; many of my favorite images were taken when I was lost.
I live in Angelina County, close to Angelina and Davy Crockett national forests, both webbed by backroads that come alive with autumn hues, usually from late October to early December. The season’s splendor varies depending on the weather, and, unlike the riotous bursts of color in other parts of the country, Texas’ fall color comes and goes quietly with understated elegance.
In my autumnal exploration of the area, I make a point to visit Daingerfield State Park in Morris County, where the brilliance of sweetgum, southern red oak, red maple, and other tree species is reflected in the namesake lake. Another favorite spot is Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area, off Texas 7 between Lufkin and Crockett in Houston County, where cypress radiate orange against water and sky, sometimes through Thanksgiving. (The recreation area is temporarily closed—see Essentials.) And photographs hardly do justice to Boykin Springs Recreation Area near Zavalla, with its painterly mix of longleaf pine and hardwoods. The six-inch pinecones alone are worth the trip.
Some days, just to check on the progress of fall color, I take a half-day drive through a variety of East Texas landscapes, ranging from creeks in Houston County to gentle hills in Cherokee County. (Two reliably scenic legs of the loop are FM 227 out of Ratcliff and FM 23 south of Rusk.) And I always look forward to the maples—which glow lemon yellow, then orange—on FM 343 east of Rusk.
I’ll let the photos on the following pages further speak to the glory of autumn in East Texas. My rule for this story is that I had to be photographing within sight of my car, so there’s no excuse: Take a road trip, slow down, and enjoy the fine fall show.
See full story and more fabulous fall photos in the October 2012 issue.
Bastrop has always been one of my favorite day trips, and it’s one of the few places in Central Texas that reminds me of my Piney Woods hometown. I was quite nervous the first time I returned after the devastating fires of 2011, but what I found was a town offering more hope and opportunity than ever.
As the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the deep South, Barbara Jordan faced adversity on her road to success, but she did not let society’s limits define her.
With her passing in 1996, Barbara Jordan became the first African American to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, an honor for which she advocated for African Americans while in the Texas State Senate. Her grave rests behind that of Stephen F. Austin. Call 512/463-0605.
As Texans, “Remember the Alamo” is ingrained in our collective conscious. We’re taught the phrase in fourth-grade history, and the hallowed site in San Antonio is a mandatory stop on family road trips. However, “Remember Goliad” was also a rallying cry during the fight for Texas independence, and I set out to devote a day to this less-traveled town that played an important role in our history.
By Dale Weisman
One of the most remarkable discoveries in Paleoindian archeology comes alive in a small-town museum in North-Central Texas. At the Bosque Museum in Clifton you’ll come face to face with an ancient enigma set in bronze – the striking countenance of the “Horn Shelter Man.”
We’ll never know his name or how he died. Yet thanks to the extraordinary dedication of two avocational archeologists from Waco, Albert Redder and Frank Watt, we have a good idea how this prehistoric man lived some 11,200 years ago. Redder discovered the Horn Shelter site in a rockshelter on the Brazos River in Bosque County in 1954 while on a camping trip. In 1966 he and Watt began a systematic excavation of the south end of the shelter, uncovering cultural debris spanning 12,000 years, from the Paleolithic to the 1930s.
Redder and Watt’s most tantalizing find came in 1970 when they unearthed the skeletons of a male, believed to have died in his 40s, and a juvenile girl, 11-12 years of age, buried side by side and covered with limestone slabs. A very rare discovery, this double burial is one of thirteen known Paleoindian grave sites in the nation and one of three such sites containing burial offerings.
Experts at the Smithsonian Institution analyzed the skeletal remains and concluded that the prehistoric humans don’t share physical characteristics with modern Native Americans. Instead, they resemble the indigenous Ainu people of Northern Japan. Skeletal remains from other ancient burial sites in the U.S., including “Leanne” from a site near Leander, Texas, and the controversial Kennewick Man from Washington State, also bear an Ainu resemblance, which begs the unanswered question: Where did these Paleoindians originate?
The bust of the Horn Shelter Man, based on a cast of the male’s skull and a facial reconstruction performed by a sculptor, is a centerpiece of the Bosque Museum’s extensive Horn Shelter exhibit. Interpretive displays, photographs and a film narrated by Redder tell the story of the rockshelter’s discovery, excavation and significance to Paleoindian archeology. Life-size dioramas of the ancient burial and the excavation site (featuring Redder’s actual tools) bring the Horn Shelter site to life for museum visitors.
Redder dedicated more than 45 years of his life to excavating and documenting the Horn Shelter site. He has donated his life’s work at the Horn Shelter including all artifacts and funereal remains to the Smithsonian for ongoing research. Given the myriad human and natural threats to the rockshelter site over thousands of years, it’s remarkable that so many of the artifacts remained intact.
“A layered archeological site such as Horn Shelter is like a huge book of information," noted Redder. “Rip out a page or a single chapter without carefully reading every sentence and the story is changed or lost forever.”
For more information about the Bosque Museum, call 254/675-3845.
Houston's Kenny & Ziggy's keeping the New York style delis alive
By Lori Moffatt
In a recent conversation with a friend, a fan of Reuben sandwiches who once frequented Austin’s now-shuttered Katz’s Deli, I discovered that authentic, New York-style delis aren’t as common in Texas as I imagined. In fact, according to third-generation deli man and Houston restaurateur Ziggy Gruber, they’re disappearing across the United States, a culinary sea change that has seen the pool shrink from some 3,000 in New York alone in the Deli Heyday of the 1940s and ’50s to roughly 120 in North America today. “What happened is that a lot of immigrants came to this country during that period, and like many new immigrant groups, they opened restaurants,” says Gruber, who opened Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in 1999, just east of Houston’s Galleria. “Then over the years, new generations sought out other ca-reers and gave up the deli business.
“Lots of places serve corned-beef sandwiches,” Gruber continues. “But a true New York deli is about Jewish cuisine. Take a look at the menu, and you should see Eastern European specialties such as Hungarian goulash, stuffed cabbage, and blintzes—and everything will be made in-house.”
Is a Jewish deli necessarily kosher? The answer is no. “Kenny & Ziggy’s, because we have dairy as well as meat products, is not technically kosher,” says Gruber. “Plus, we are open on Fridays and Saturdays; a kosher deli would be closed those days.”
That means, in the case of Kenny & Ziggy’s, that diners have more opportunities to explore both the decor (the walls are plastered with Broadway playbills and signed caricatures of such famous clientele as Phyllis Diller and John Leguizamo) and the menu—which is chockfull of specialties such as grilled liver-and-onions, Romanian chicken fricassee, noodle kugel, and a grain-and-pasta dish called kasha varnishkas. For dessert, K & Z’s offers temptations like Russian chocolate babka, black-and-white cookies, and a chocolate blackout cake that pays homage to the revered Brooklyn bakery Ebinger’s, which closed in 1972 (and of which fans still speak with revered, hushed tones).
“Our number one dish is the pastrami sandwich,” says Gruber. “ We cure the meat for 45 days, roll it in spices, smoke it for about five hours, then steam it for another six hours until it is soft. At the end, it has this savory, smoky, almost sweet flavor that is unbelievable.”
Kenny & Ziggy’s is at 2327 Post Oak Blvd. in Houston. Call 713/871-8883.