Sunday, December 28, 2008

East is East, and West is Eastland

"Somewhere west of Ranger, off the beaten path , it rises like a jewel on the Texas plateau..."

Eastland, Texas was home of "Old Rip" the legendary horned frog found alive in the cornerstone of the original 1897 courthouse as it was being demolished for the construction of the new courthouse (seen on the right) in 1928.

At eight stories the Connellee Hotel is Eastland's tallest building. Eastland founder Charles Connellee started a grand downtown hotel in 1919, but the project was abandoned after excavation had begun. Two Houston power brokers revived the project in 1927, and the 100-room Connellee Hotel opened to much fanfare in 1929. "It was booming and going well until the mid-1960s, when it started slowing down," said Debbie Wharton, executive director of the Connellee Hotel. The eighth floor roofgarden and ballroom had a commanding view of thesurrounding contryside. A gas leak forced the hotel's shuttering in the mid-1970s.

The former Eastland National Bank building,restored to the 1920-era style designed by architect Henry Phelps, now houses the Eastland Historical Museum. The first floor has a very large space for county and traveling exhibits. The mezzanine, overlooking the main floor, will have areas for exhibits and will also be available for lectures and meetings. The second floor is divided into the original small office spaces. These offices, with their original dark woodwork and patterned glass, will be used for permanent displays of history of each community in Eastland County. The basement includes the vault, used to secure important museum archives, and a large room for permanent historic display exhibits.

This is a dry cleaners on Eastland's main street. I thought the sign was unique.

Every repectable town of any size has a Masonic Lodge hall. This one is home to laodge #467.

Leaving Eastland on old Hwy 80 I spotted this interesting art deco styled building. It must have been a dairy company at one time since there are "bottles" adorning both front corners. Talking to my Eastland expert, T Ford, I was informed this is the former Dr. Pepper location, hence forth the corners will be referred to a "DP bottles."