Columbus Historic Homes and 500 Year Old Live Oak Tree

3/13/13 Wednesday at Columbus, TX (Colorado River Campground-TT)

Another beautiful day so we went to Columbus to admire their historical homes.

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Stafford Miller House: Built by Robert Stafford, a millionaire cattleman who also built the

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Opera House (2nd floor), where the Visitor’s Center is (1st floor).

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Confederate Memorial Museum: Built by the city with 400,000 hand made bricks, creating 32” thick walls. They tried to blow it up (was a water tower) many years later but failed, so it continued as a fire house and is now a museum.

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Columbia County Courthouse (now being renovated).

Stephen Austin’s father, Moses Austin received a land grant to establish a colony in this area, then Stephen came with 300 colonists. He formed the first group of “rangers” to protect them from the Indians.  In 1835 the Anglo colonists and the Mexicans in Texas rebelled against the oppressive policies of Santa Anna (President/dictator in Mexico).  Their struggle peaked with the fall of the Alamo (March 1836).  Sam Houston ordered the evacuation of the colonists.

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Abram Alley came to Texas to join his brothers in Austin’s “Old 300” colonists. He tried to help the group escape Santa Anna in the “Runaway Scrape” (moving colonists East to the Trinity River. Their flight ended April 1836 when Sam Houston and the Texas Army defeated Santa Anna and the Mexican Army at San Jacinto.  Abram was able to return later and built this cabin of oak timbers.   It was moved from its original location in 1976.  After the war, the Republic of Texas was established.  Later, though, the Republic teetered between collapse and invasion from Mexico, until it became a part of the United States in 1845.

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The Santa Clause House: Where Mary Elizabeth Hopkins lived and collected Santa Clauses for most of her life.

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NC Wyeth Santa Clause painting for a magazine-the angle was to avoid major glare.

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Historical info (double click on images to enlarge them, if you want to read the info).

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In needlepoint

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Dilue Rose and Albert Harris House – the first known house with a basement, unusual after 1860. Dilue wrote of her experiences during the Mexican Texas war as well as raising 9 children.

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Back home after lunch we treated ourselves to ice cream, courtesy of the preserve: 2 scoops of chocolate with toppings for $1.00. We met this lady who’s been traveling solo ever since her husband “passed over”, for 13 years. Soon we were reading in the lovely shade and then sunshine. Bill came over (he’d just arrived in his 2005 Safari Gazelle) and we visited in his coach. They’ve been retired since 2001, he likes to golf and they are heading for New Orleans too!

For supper we enjoyed scrumptious grilled sausages, wrapped in tortillas. Thanks for the idea, Sharon!

Some other fun moments from this day, like all the birds just singing their hearts out for spring. The most common in this campground are Cardinals and Mockingbirds.

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Cardinals-agitated guys – won’t stand still for their photo, but this guy was so intent on attracting a female, he gave me lots of time for picture taking.

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Mockingbirds

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As we were exploring the historical houses we saw this vehicle with these stickers:

Texas licensing requirements: besides license plates the vehicle must have a top label indicating that it passed the yearly review of proper lights and emissions as well as a bottom label indicating the vehicle is registered. And I thought Washington State had it bad.

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We also found this 500 year old live oak tree, the 2nd largest live oak in Texas. It’s 70 feet tall with a trunk circumference of 329 inches

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Finally the best news ever: Pope Francis I has been elected. He sounds like a special, holy, humble man who sees as the “Little Prince” – “What is essential is invisible to the eye”.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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