Terlingua, Texas – May 2019 – Pretty Busy for a Ghost Town

The town of Terlingua, Texas is billed as a ghost town, which is amusing because there are all sorts of random structures serving as homes, as well as numerous artist studios, and apparently the Chili Cook Off Capital of the World!




As with Boquillas, this was a mining town where the mines closed long ago, leaving numerous structures to fall into disrepair.





















No clue why there is a stake through a cactus.



Newer buildings are scattered throughout the ruins.






The Terlingua Cemetery is quite interesting as well. Next time you find yourself in the area stop by for some interesting sights, people, and some chili.











Langtry, Texas – May 2019 – Views of a (Mostly Former) Town

Langtry, Texas is a town in west Texas, but just barely. In the early 1900s it was a busy place as they built the railroad nearby. Today it is a post office and the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center (detailed on another posting).



Most of the buildings in the area have been abandoned.















Those that remain have a sense of humor, as evidenced by a sign pointing toward the Rio Grande that says ‘Mexico’ this way.





The town does have a beautiful view of the Rio Grande Valley, and the cliffs and caverns across in Mexico.









And with that we took the lonely road west.




San Antonio – May 2019 – Historic Homes and Buildings

As a historic city San Antonio had a decent amount of older homes and buildings in the center of the city.

The King William Historic District is just south of downtown. It has a great collection of restaurants and shops, but the highlights are the beautiful old houses.







As we reached downtown we passed by a couple great old buildings.





A classic clock, which we appear to have caught at high noon.



Nix Hospital s housed in a very fine example of an Art Deco building.






There are still a couple vintage theaters in town.





The Post Office and Court House is located across the plaza from the Alamo.





The Tower Life Building was completed in 1927. This eight sided classic Art Deco skyscraper also housed San Antonio’s first Sears store when first opened.








The Drury Hotel occupies the former Alamo National Bank building. Located along the famed Riverwalk the 24 floor building has many impressive details in the lobby.









We chose instead to stay at the Gunter Hotel, another great old hotel.



The Gunter Hotel is famous for being the location that blues legend Robert Johnson recorded most of the 29 songs he ever recorded. The bar celebrates the fact that he recorded in room 414, by calling themselves the Bar 414.



Despite the fact that Robert was from Mississippi, he was brought to San Antonio by a talent scout for Vocalion Record, Ernie Oertle. A producer from the label, Don Law, set up a recording studio in room 414 and 413 of the Gunter Hotel.

The drawing below is from an album cover of Robert’s music that was re-released in the 1960s depicting this recording session.



This is the room today, with the small white chair in the corner where Robert was sitting, facing the wall for the acoustics. How do I know this? This was our room for the night!!!

When we arrived every cushion was turned on end, every drawer was open. I immediately assumed it was Robert welcoming us! We spent the night hanging out listening to Robert’s music, either his original or the hundreds of covers from the Stones, Clapton and others.





Houston – May 2019 – The Beer Can House

The website Roadside America is one of my favorites, and easily one of the most ‘classic Roadside America’ is the Beer Can House of Houston!

As you arrive you are greeted by a fence of (of course) beer cans.





In the late 1960s a retired upholsterer named John Milkovisch started inlaying thousands of marbles and rocks into concrete and wood to make landscaping features because as he said at the time ‘he was tired of mowing grass’.



For the next 18 years he flattened beer cans, that supposedly he and his friends emptied, and attached them to his house. Today the estimated 50,000 beer cans cover the entire house and former garage.




The early morning sun shining through the beer can top fence made an interesting pattern on the driveway.




It is owned today by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, who have the interesting exhibit next to Smithers Park.




The stringers on the front of the house sing in the wind. It is said that the beer cans actually help keep the house cooler in the hot Houston summers by reflecting the sun rays away from the house.




The Beer Can House – a Houston classic!






New Orleans – May 2019 – St Charles Streetcar Line

The St Charles Street Streetcar line is the oldest continuously used street railway route in the world. Streetcars first started rolling down this way almost 200 years ago, in 1833.

The current cars were built by a company called Perley Thomas in the 1920s.



As the route leaves downtown it passes through the Garden District neighborhood, with a number of small shops and cafes.



Some of the homes have been converted into B & Bs.



Further out you pass educational facilities such as Tulane and Loyola.





The Audubon Zoo is along this route as well.



The homes of the Garden District are a highlight. Many are quite large, and all are beautifully maintained.











As you make your way past Riverbend and onto Carrollton Avenue the homes become somewhat smaller, but still nicely maintained.



It takes about an hour and a half to ride the entire distance out and back on the St Charles Streetcar, but it is well worth the time, and the very low fares.






New Orleans – May 2019 – Residential Architecture

New Orleans is a city with a lot of history, from many different places, resulting in one unique culture. They like to refer to themselves as living on ‘the island of New Orleans’.

Their residential architecture and style reflect that diverse environment as well. There are a number of different residential architectural styles prevalent in the Crescent City. Perhaps the most common one is the duplex ‘shotgun’ house.

So named because if you had all the doors open in the house you could fire a shotgun straight through the house and out the back door without hitting anything. Note while they all started out the same, the owners have given their own unique style to each.















The bungalow is another style commonly found in New Orleans.



Most streets have a mix of architectural styles side by side.



While the term townhouse is used for this style, it is not what is commonly found in northern cities where they are a row of attached houses, rather they are the two story ‘boxy’ look that is detached from the neighbors.





There are even modern variations of the townhouse scattered throughout the city.



Some of the new construction seems out of place.



In this new construction the traditional courtyard was replaced with a pool.



With the damage from Hurricane Katrina, many sections of the city had numerous properties that the structures were no longer habitable, so the new construction is welcome.



There are a few cottage styles found as well – again with the owners unique take on style.



As noted previously courtyards are a very common use of the small space behind the home.



While not common, there are some examples of larger duplexes often found in American cities.



Another unusual structure for the city are more traditional rowhouses.



This unique home appears to have once been a firehouse.



Easily the most unique houses in New Orleans are found in the Holy Cross section of the lower 9th ward. They are known as the Steamboat Houses.

In the early 1900s a steamboat captain designed and constructed the first of the two homes, adding the second in 1913.

Built to resemble a steamboat, they even use steel stacks instead of chimneys.

New Orleans is a fantastic city for architecture fans, just make your way to any neighborhood and you will find examples of multiple styles.






Maysville, Kentucky – May 2019 – Great Architecture in an Unlikely Place

Maysville, Kentucky was one of the original settlements west of the Allegheny Mountains, as it is situated along the Ohio River about 80 miles upriver from Cincinnati.

We entered the town via the 1931 Simon Kenton Bridge. Spanning the Ohio River for almost 2,000 feet it is a classic old steel bridge.



As with many river towns the flood wall is adorned with murals. Maysville’s are well done – including this one as a tribute to favorite daughter Rosemary Clooney, who from the 1940s until the turn of the century was an actress and fantastic singer (and also well known as George Clooney’s aunt).




The town is in remarkably good condition compared to most of the little river towns of this part of the world.




Much of the center of town has been restored, including this fountain and square.




More of the excellent flood wall murals – horses are a big deal in Kentucky.




This mural depicted the street we were standing on 100 years ago.




For most of the Ohio River valley in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky there are steep hills just a few blocks back – Maysville is no exception.




The Washington Opera House dates from 1898 in a Beaux Arts style. It is used today for theater and concerts.




Another great example of the nice restoration done in town.




The main street has some galleries to go with the small stores.




Some architecture is reflective that we are in the beginnings of the south.




The Kentucky Gateway Museum is a new building, but well done and blending nicely with it’s surroundings.




Maysville was once a center of wrought iron manufacturing, and many of the homes show this heritage.




Even a vacant lot has been re purposed as a small park – along with another great ghost sign.



Even the vacant house it very cool – the building in front and most of the house appears to be covered in kudzu, which I haven’t seen this far north before.




Just down the rest are more restored homes.




This row of houses to me is reminiscent of the famed ‘Painted Ladies’ of San Francisco – only at 1/10th the cost.




If you ever get the chance stop by Maysville, Kentucky – it is worth the visit.