Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Granbury: Off-The-Square & Into Some Lost History

The Sunday before Independence day my wanderlust took me down US 377 to Granbury to scout around a little.  As expected,  the town was hopping with the flags flying and the vendors set up all around the classic Hood County courthouse.

Hood County Courthouse Square in Granbury

While it looked like fun, it was blinding hot and I really didn't have much interest although it looked like the city had done its usual classy job of getting things set up and moving..  I had stopped at Witherspoon's Antique shop on the way in and had scored some nice stuff at a good price, so I decided to move on around on the fringes and see if there was anything unusual and/or interesting.

Map of Granbury with Courthouse Square at lower left

The Google map shows the Courthouse at the bottom left.  I turned north on west side of the square on FM 51 and drove up toward the FWWR railroad tracks and the old restored Frisco Depot which is marked on the map at teh top left.

Restored Frisco Depot at Granbury

Granbury was the first major stop on B.B. Paddock's Fort Worth & Rio Grande Railroad in 1887.  By the time this station was built in 1914 to replace an earlier depot, the Frisco railroad owned the FW&RG and later, the Santa Fe came to own the railroad. The depot is owned by the city and has been restored.  I'm always proud of Granbury for doing this, since other towns like Comanche have let historic places like this fall to ruin or be demolished. I took too many pictures of the depot to show here and then headed east on Ellis toward Brazos street.

1904 Granbury Light Plant Historic Site

The 1904 Granbury Light and Power plant is not one of Granbury;s featured historic places, but it has been preserved and conserved and in my opinion has a great deal of Interest as an early 20th century industrial site.  The location is shown at the top right of the map..

I'm a sucker for cut limestone masonry and this is a fine example of rough squared stone construction without any pretense.  Over the years the stone and mortar have developed a patina that almost glows golden when the sun angle is right.

Front exposure of the Granbury Light Plant

The fence was not closed, so I walked inside and caught some close up images.  Above is the front or west exposure shooting from the south corner. Below is a window detail shot..

Masonry & window detail - Front exposure

Front exposure looking from the North corner

South side of the Granbury Plant

The windmill is probably over a well that provided water for the original steam boilers before the later diesel engines were installed. It looks like the stacks have been shortened since the plant is no longer in use.

North side of the plant

Plant interior through a dirty window
A look inside through the windows shows the old power plant frozen in time. Much as it was when the engines and generators stopped working in 1954.  We can hope that maybe sometime in the future tours might be available since it is a genuine modern archaeology site.

Hand laid dry stone wall under construction on Barton Street
 I turned north across the tracks by the old plant and wandered up to Barton Street then turned left toward FM 51.  About halfway down the street I found this man laying up a couple of dry stone walls on either side of his driveway. He gave me permission to use the picture because he said it will prove to his wife he was really working!

Several blocks west of the square

Time and light were running out, but I decided to head over to the historic area west of the courthouse.  I found this couple out working on their yard in the high heat and obviously enjoying themselves. They were kind enough to let me take the picture.

Beautiful home all decked out for the 4th
 Granbury is a city of many beautiful homes.  I couldn't resist including this one..

Brazos Motel
 On the way out of town I finally took the time to get a picture that I have wanted for years. This forlorn sign stands next to a dilapidated old green building that is all that is left of the earlier tourist hospitality business before things went big-time in little Granbury.  Right next to it on the lake is a monster development and I'm sure that this little landmark will quietly disappear in the near future. 

In spite of its growth and all the kitsch, Granbury is a town that understands about history.  It retains a charm and works hard to keep things from spilling over into the gaudy.  It's a good place..  


  1. Since you seemed to enjoy Granbury so much, let me pass on a website..

    Rebecca is a local Granbury resident and an amazing artist. On her website you will find paintings of the local area, including the power plant that you attempted to photograph...

  2. Enjoyed your blog. When we toured a Utah park, the ranger said of their stone walls, "These were made by the young men of the community in order to give the teen-agers something constructive to do." This was in the 1800s in southern Utah. The walls have survived. Your pictures are nice & so is the commentary. :)