Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bandera, Cowboy Capital of the World

Birdie, Anita, and I are staying at Lake Medina Thousand Trails Park. This is my campsite beside Anita's.
 In the campground is an old ranch house, the Spettel Riverside House, circa 1881.
 Spettel was a cattleman, as were many in this area. The ranch and this house was beside the Medina River in an area now submerged by Medina Lake. The house was moved to this location when the Medina Dam was built to create the lake.
 I don't know if this barn was part of the ranch or not, as there isn't a sign, but it could have been.
 Other side of the barn. 
We decided to take a day trip to nearby Bandera, to learn more about what is called the Cowboy Capital of the World.
First things was lunch time. We had lunch in the OST (Old Spanish Trail) restaurant, the oldest operating restaurant in Bandera County, established in 1921.
 Inside was everything cowboy. We ate in the John Wayne room. Note the chuckwagon salad bar.
 Wagon wheel chandelier, bedecked for Christmas.
 Their menu has a little history on it. You can read it better in the next picture.
 We learned the John Wayne room was once a horse corral. The food was good. Birdie had the chicken fried steak, and Anita and I had some Tex-Mex selections.
 The walls are lined with photos. I imagine this town was used in several Western movies.
 John Wayne...
 Christmas Elk
 And the Saddle Bar.
Yes, I tried it out.
After lunch we walked around town. Western decor on all the lampposts.
 In addition to the rodeo cowboys, Bandera was also prominent as the starting point of the Great western Cattle Trail.
 This small park commemorates the Cattle Drive.
 Map of the Western Trail in the sidewalk.
 Brands of Bandera County
Flags of the stops along the trail...Oklahoma,  Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas.
Fountain and murals on the public restroom building in the park.

 How Bandera got it's name:
 Mural depicting the cattle drive.
And just to prove that Bandera is still the Cowboy Capital...three cowboys came riding by the County Courthouse.
 Bandera became the county seat in 1856, and this courthouse was built in 1890.
The Nativity Scene on the Courthouse lawn is entirely Texan, with cowboys coming to worship, longhorn cattle, wild turkeys and even an armadillo!
 A monument honoring local cowboys:

When the town was first surveyed and platted, the center of town was what is now 11th Street, site of the famous 11th Street Bar. Today there are motorcycles outside, but some days there are also horses and pickup trucks.
 Note the swinging doors...

Longhorn cattle mural..
 Interesting siding on this building.
 We looked in some of the many western-themed shops.
 Some of the store names reflected Western humor.
 A store that has everything Texas.
 Bandera has its own sidewalk of stars.
 Some murals in an alley.
 The Bandera Methodist church was built in 1880 of handout limestone and oak timbers.
 Another, more traditional, Nativity scene.
 I was interested in what this mansion and other buildings was behind the fence.
 Apparently it is a private hotel & restaurant that was once members-only. I googled it and learned a lot: The Whistle Jacket Inn
 Restaurant & Pub
 The mansion
 Continuing our walk...some things that caught my eye.

Oh and one item from the shops came home with me:

1 comment:

  1. You did a great job capturing Bandera. Too bad your visit wasn't on a Saturday so you could have seen the shootout and ridden on the conestoga wagon. Don't miss dinner at the 11th St bar on Wednesday's fun.


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