That’s What I Like About Texas

Just when you get used to land, lots of land, and starry skies above, Texas shows you something else.

All Rolled Up in Goodnight, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015

All Rolled Up in Goodnight, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015


Explore the Texas Panhandle (as I did on a fall road trip to research my next book), and you’ll see the state’s strength: its small, plain towns built on the hard work of farming, cattle ranching, and mining the vast resources of oil, gas and wind.

Claude, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015

Claude, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015


But when you detour past the fast food joints, convenience stores and motels on the bypass roads, you’ll unearth a more ornate side of small town Texas history. Even the humblest of buildings is adorned with a decorative sign, like the Gem Theatre in Turkey, Texas, the home of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.

A Gem in Turkey, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015

A Gem in Turkey, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015


Drive the Panhandle’s Historic Route 66 through Shamrock, Texas and you’ll be tempted to stop for gas—though the Tower Building and its connected deco cafe, the U Drop Inn, aren’t serving road food with a fill-up anymore. Instead, you’ll be treated to a time-travel experience, back to 1936, when the building’s geometric massing, curvilinear detailing and neon highlights lured travelers who were crossing the country in a day before interstates had been thought of.

Tower Building, Shamrock, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015

Tower Building, Shamrock, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015


U Drop In, Shamrock, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015

U Drop In, Shamrock, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015


Just down the road, you’ll find another tower, made of stone and unadorned, that makes you wonder if it was built as competition for the fanciful Conoco tower.


 Courthouses in Texas, often the most elaborate—and always the tallest—architecture in the historic heart of any small Texas town, get their due, like the Donley County Courthouse. Built in 1891 in the Romanesque Revival style, it’s the oldest operating courthouse in the Texas Panhandle.

Donley County Courthouse, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015

Donley County Courthouse, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015


And like many small towns, Dalhart, Texas takes enormous pride in its perfectly-restored La Rita Theatre, built before the Depression era and embellished with architectural touches that larger movie palaces would envy.

La Rita Theatre, Dalhart, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015

La Rita Theatre, Dalhart, Texas by Jann Alexander ©2015


You can cover a lot of Texas in six days—like the 1440 miles I drove to soak up life in the Panhandle. With 465 photographs and even more inspiration to show for it, my creative well got a much-needed refill. In fact, it’s brimming over. So as the friendly Texas folk say, y’all come back to visit real soon. I’m serving up more Texas lore, images and tall tales, with two books in the works. 

What did you discover when you got on the road less traveled?

  • Want to learn more about my upcoming novel? Subscribe HERE
  • For more on the art of writing, look HERE.
  • Stroll through my art prints and paintings HERE.
  • Or just find some inspiration among 45 quotes on writing, art and creativity, HERE.
  • I’m frequently shooting things from the past. You’ll find more in my Time Travels, HERE. 

Click Here to get your free monthly digest of Popular Pairings.

4 replies

I'd love to hear what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s