Welcome to City-Data.com Forum!
U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Texas
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-18-2009, 05:31 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
47 posts, read 376,225 times
Reputation: 98

Advertisements

I just graduated from Abilene Christian University and decided to change my habit of spending every day I have off from work sitting in front of the TV or computer. So, five times now, I have spent my free days driving to various abandoned or semi-abandoned towns around Abilene. The most distant drives have been around 90 minutes each way. Here are a few shots from my journeys:

Ghost Town #1 - Belle Plain, Texas

If you drive south out of Baird on 283, you'll eventually come to CR 483 just about smack in the middle of Callahan County. Follow 483 for several bumpy, hilly, dusty miles. Eventually, you'll turn on CR 471 and come to a bend in the road where there sits a crumbling stone house behind a low barbed wire fence. This is one of the only visible remnants of a once-bustling frontier town. Belle Plain was established in 1876 and soon became the Callahan county seat, home to several businesses, doctors, lawyers and a newspaper. In 1881, Belle Plain College was established and soon became recognized as one of the leading institutions of higher education in the state. Particularly famous for its music department, the college was home to 15 pianos, a brass band, an orchestra and over 300 students at its height. However, the railroad bypassed Belle Plain and within a couple years, the new town of Baird, 6 miles north, became the new county seat. Belle Plain's population dwindled as residents moved to the growing new railroad town, and by 1892 the college was closed. By the turn of the century, only 4 families remained and the post office was closed in 1909. The hulking, collapsing walls of Belle Plain College are perhaps one of the most haunting reminders of the fragility of life on the Texas frontier.

The College as it looked in about 1885.


The College today. It is virtually untouched by vandals, as it sits on private property in a very remote area of Callahan County.





















































Last edited by WestTexan87; 06-18-2009 at 05:46 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-18-2009, 06:00 PM
 
4,604 posts, read 8,228,724 times
Reputation: 1266
I visited those ruins at Belle Plain College in about 1968. Looked about the same then as now. Thanx for the reminder. Imagine what might have been if the railroad had run closer to the college than to Baird which today isn't much of a stop for the railroad.

I trust you'll visit Camp Barkley? I have an uncle who tells of large numbers of soldiers who passed thru the camp during WWII.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-18-2009, 06:03 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
47 posts, read 376,225 times
Reputation: 98
Ghost Town #2 - Bradshaw, TX

About 30 miles south of Abilene on US Hwy 83 lies the town of Bradshaw. It was founded in 1909 when the Santa Fe Railroad laid tracks through the area. Initially, it was populated by the residents of the town of Audra, two miles west of Bradshaw, who moved there to be nearer to the railroad. By 1910, the town had 2 gins, 2 grocery stores, a mercantile store, a butcher, a drug store, a blacksmith, a hardware shop, and a Methodist Church. By 1914, a Baptist Church, a Christian Church, a hotel and a bank had opened up in Bradshaw. By 1929, the population of the young town had reached about 450. In the 1930s, however, road improvements provided increased mobility to residents of Bradshaw and thus easier access to Abilene, and the town began to lose its status as a center of regional commerce. By 1988, the population had dwindled to a mere 25. Today, there exists a feed store, a gas station, and about 60 scattered ranching residents in the area.















































Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-18-2009, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 8,340,191 times
Reputation: 1420
good for you! I love to take weekend trips too! There is some great things to see in Texas off the beaten path. I drove from San Antonio to Taos, NM last weekend. I took I-10 through West Texas on the way there and on the way back I made my own route through Clovies, Lubbock, San Angelo, etc. Some great scenes along the way.

great photos keep up the good work!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-18-2009, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Abilene, Texas
8,746 posts, read 9,029,109 times
Reputation: 55906
Interesting pics! I've been through Bradshaw going down 83 before but not Belle Plain. Even though I've lived in Abilene for a long time, I knew virtually nothing about either one of these places until now so thanks for the interesting stories behind these ghost towns.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-19-2009, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Plano, TX
714 posts, read 2,931,782 times
Reputation: 438
WestTexan87,

I have spent a little time in Bradshaw, and I remember that several years ago, Bob Phillips of Texas Country Reporter did a feature about something in Bradshaw. I can't remember what it was about though.

There are several neat ghost towns in your area. Rayner was the former county seat of Stonewall County, Silver Valley is southeast of you on the way to Coleman. Echo is another one between Coleman and Cross Plains.

Hope to see more great pictures.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2009, 07:04 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
47 posts, read 376,225 times
Reputation: 98
Town #3 - Wingate, TX

There isn't much of a story to Wingate. It was founded in the early 1890s and built a school and a post office soon after. By the 1920s, the bustling little town had eight businesses and a new brick schoolhouse. However, road improvements drew residents to nearby Winters for their shopping and errands and the commercial base of Wingate slowly eroded. By the 50s or 60s, the Wingate school had shut down along with most of the town's businesses. Today, there remains a relatively large population (about 200) living in and around the town, but the vast majority of its major buildings and infrastructure are slowly succumbing to the west Texas sun and wind.

Driving past a windmill farm on US 277 southwest of Abilene in Taylor County.


Main entrance to Wingate School.




A peek inside the main doors. Obvious squatter usage.






The entire front elevation of the school. With my car.






The gymnasium complex is hidden in the trees.


Sidewalk leading around the school to the gym.






Gym door.


Concession area.



Rear of the school.


The monkey bars have been infiltrated by a tree.


The gym's abused roof.






A dog house. Weird.








After satisfactorily exploring the school, we headed to the abandoned commercial strip on the main road.





A seemingly brand new bank, already empty and abandoned.








Locks are useless here.










A nearby sunflower field.


Back home by the windmills again.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2009, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 8,340,191 times
Reputation: 1420
wow! Its so hard to believe people just up and leave places and let them crumble....you are brave to go inside! Neat work!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2009, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Abilene, Texas
8,746 posts, read 9,029,109 times
Reputation: 55906
Interesting new pics! I used to commute between Abilene and San Angelo a lot so I've been down 277 many times but I never got off the main road and went through Wingate.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-29-2009, 01:12 PM
 
4 posts, read 43,838 times
Reputation: 10
so interesting pictures, thanks a lot!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Texas
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2024, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top