While in Texas I got in a short visit with some very dear friends and they took me to see the recently opened Klyde Warren Park in Downtown Dallas. The 5+ acre park opened in 2012 and is constructed over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway at the edge of the city’s art district. This privately managed park features various food trucks, a children’s area with a tree house, a dog park, outdoor seating, water features, gardens and a putting green. There was a very positive feel to the place as folks enjoyed the sunshine and one another’s company. The one photo shows my ice cream sandwich with homemade cookies and ice cream The bee actually got stuck to my hat, making for an easy photo. Yes, he then flew away.
There is some debate on the fate of John Wilks Booth. Most say he was killed by Federal soldiers who had tracked him down at the Garrett Farm.
But the more interesting theory is that the wrong man was killed at Garrett Farm, Booth escaped to Granbury, TX, changed his name to John St. Helen and tended bar in what is now the Nutshell Cafe. While extremely sick, St. Helen made a death bed confession, but then he recovered. Since his story was then out there, he needed to leave town. He went to Enid, Oklahoma where he committed suicide. A book, Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth by Finis Bates, was written about this (that part is for sure true). Bates later gained control of St. Helen/Booth’s body and exhibited in carnival sideshows.
So, that explains where there is a mural featuring John Wilks Booth next to his wanted poster and near a picture of Lincoln. The mural also features the Lady in Red, who was suppose to be the love of Booth’s life. And on the other wall is Davy Crockett. The Nutshell Cafe is reportedly haunted by the Lady in Red with her boyfriend, Booth, supposedly haunts the adjacent Granbury Opera House.
On a lighter note, I found the coffee to be good at the Nutshell Cafe and would be glad to go back to try the ice cream.
Catching up from the Texas trip.
A dear friend of the family and I had a summer goal of finding the alleged grave of Jesse James in the Granbury Cemetery. We had tried last summer, but had no luck in the approaching dark. This time we set out in early evening and found Jessie’s grave, as well as Granbury’s grave and the burial site of an amputated arm.
Granbury (sometimes seen as Granberry) is the namesake of the town. As far as I can tell he never lived in Granbury, but his body was exhumed (for the second time) and buried here. There is also a gravesite for his wife, Fannie Granbury, though she isn’t buried there. She died at the young age of 25 and is in an unmarked grave in Alabama which is where she died of natural causes.
The buried arm is that of W. H. Holland who lost his arm in a childhood accident on November 16, 1895. The rest of Mr. Holland died sometime later and is buried elsewhere in the cemetery. The photo that shows that is of three above ground tombs. The arm is in the middle and there are infants to either side.
History tells us that the outlaw Jesse James was killed by a member of his gang in 1882 for the reward money. However, relatives of James say that his death was faked and it is really somebody else buried in Missouri in a grave labeled Jessie James. The story goes that James was even a pallbearer at his own funeral! James took the alias of J. Frank Dalton and settled in Granbury eventually passing away in 1951 at the age of 103. Apparently toward the end of his life he even confessed. At the bottom of his headstone (look hard!) it says “supposedly killed in 1882”.
Haunted Granbury by Brandy Herr is full of interesting stories and well worth reading.
Paradise Bistro & Coffee opened on the Granbury Square in 2012, I stopped by for some relief from the heat and an iced coffee and slice of lemon cake. It was really a treat and I happily spent some time there reading my book. On the way out, I was given a ‘to go’ cup with ice water. They do understand that dehydration is a problem here in Texas! The website for the bistro is here.
The business is located in the two story masonry Harris Building, which was constructed in 1899 by local stonemason, I. W. Walley. It was originally occupied by a furniture store, It has a cast iron storefront.
When I was a kid my parents took me to the World’s Fair in New York and there was a dinosaur exhibit. I was startled to realize that two of those dinosaurs, the Apatosaurus and the T-Rex, had been relocated to the Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas. The Atlantic Richfield Company donated the fiberglass replicas to the park in 1970. The park did not get its name from the two replicas however, it is the site of real dinosaur footprints!
The 1,587-acre Dinosaur Valley State Park opened in 1972. Its mission: to preserve these valuable dinosaur track sites and to allow people to learn from and enjoy them. It is situated on the Paluxy River and many of the tracks on near or in the river. About 113 million years ago, this area had been ocean front and the ground was the perfect place for creating fossils. Both Herbivores and Carnivores would come to this area to eat plants and in the case of the Carnivores each other. There was an enormous river flood in 1908 and in 1909 a young boy, George Adams, found three-toed tracks of theropods. Sometime later, in 1937, R.T. Bird, who collected fossils for the American Museum of Natural History came to the area and found tracks of the much larger sauropod (70′ long, 13′ high, 40+ tons).
Some of the park’s visitors were very interested in the tracks. One can go right up to many of them and touch them and even stand in them to get a sense of scale. Other park visitors were more interested in cooling off in the Paluxy River. I visited the two main track sites and also drove around the camping area. There were plenty of spaces available, no doubt the heat was keeping folks away.
I would have stopped at the Creation Evidence Museum, but sadly it was closed. I heard that DInosaur World was something to see, but it was too hot to do any more outside exploring. So they will have to wait until next year.
I was on my way to get milkshakes at Sonic (1/2 price after 8 pm) when I came upon this handsome fellow. He let me snap a couple of photos and then moseyed along to find better plants to nibble on. The Texas Longhorn can have horns that go up to 7′ across.
I went on to see if there was a nice sunset and found a crane. And that was my night.
The story is that Bonnie and Clyde’s car was in need of repair and they stopped at the service station on the town square in Granbury, TX. While it was being fixed, they had a picnic on the lawn of the courthouse. The local law recognized them, but decided to leave well enough alone since they did have a reputation! They finished their lunch, picked up their car and skedaddled out of there. I’m not sure if that is true, but the building is certainly there.
The Baker-Rylee Building at 100 North Crockett Street in Granbury, TX was built in 1895 as a hardware store and has a limestone construction which is typical of the area. The Transcontinental Company bought the building in 1929 and removed two walls to make it into a service station. When my folks first moved to Granbury in 1981, it was still a service station though sometime in the early 1980s that use ceased. I remember going to it when it was an Italian Restaurant and now it is delightful restaurant called The Fillin’ Station. My swiss mushroom burger was one of the best that I’ve ever had and the fries and onion rings were also outstanding. The folks that work there are so very nice.
Granbury, Texas was named after General Hiram Bronson Granbury, which is sometimes spelled Granberry. His life spanned March 1, 1831 – November 30, 1864, passing away at the young age of 33 years. Per Wikipedia, he was a lawyer and country judge in Texas who later organized a volunteer company for the Confederate army and became its captain. He later was promoted to brigadier general and was one of the almost 2,000 soldiers that died at the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864.
From what I’ve read, Granbury was buried near Franklin, Tennessee, where he died, and later re-interred at a different cemetery. Finally in November 30, 1893 (on what would have been his 62nd birthday) he was again re-interred in the city of Granbury, Texas, seat of Hood County, as the town was named in his honor. Although he was as close as Waco, Texas, I’m not finding anything to suggest that he was ever in his name sake city.
The statue which features Granbury in military garb and a confederate flag was erected in 1913. The statue was important from Italy and the base was created by Waxachachie monument maker, James Youngblood.