Sunday, March 18, 2012

Brenham, TX

The plan was originally to head to Canyon Lake, but forgot about spring break.  Since we did not make reservations, going there for the weekend was out.  So we stopped in Brenham instead.  And I'm glad we did.  It is a small town of about 5000 and we are staying at the Elks Lodge, which is within walking distance from downtown.  They have revitalized the downtown area and it is filled with sidewalk cafe, gift shops and mostly antique stores.

I am standing at the birthplace of Texas.  Here at the town of Washington-on-the-Brazos is where the Declaration of Independence for the Republic of Texas was born and signed in 1836.  Texas is the only state to have been a separate republic prior to joining the U.S. (which it did in 1845).

The town of Washington was once a thriving port on the Brazos River.  There was a ferry and much cotton and other goods were transported down river to New Orleans.  The town was platted out in 1834,  and was a thriving metropolis of around 3000 in its heyday.  But after the Civil War, the town refused to bring in the railroad, believing the river would continue to be a major transportation source.  The town started its decline and is no longer recognized as a town, but is only a rural community. 

Last year Texas had a drought and the wild flowers just did not bloom.  But that is not the case this year.  The rains came and the wild flowers are abundant.  I am standing in a small field of Texas Bluebonnets.

Brenham is also the home to Blue Bell Ice Cream.  Started in 1907 as the Brenham Creamery  Company, it was formed to purchase excess milk and cream from local farmers.  Their primary product at that time was butter.  But in 1911, E.F. Krause started making ice cream, 2 gallons per day.  E.F. Krause managed the creamery until 1951, changed its name to Blue Bell in 1930.  This statue is E.F. Krause along with his sons.  His sons managed the creamery until 2004.  It was not until the 1960s that Blue Bell could be found outside Brenham.  At that time it could be purchased in Waco and Houston, but not Austin.  In the 1980s they started shipping ice cream out of state via Continental Airlines.  There are now plants in Broken Arrow, OK, and Alabama, as well as 2 more plants in Texas.

This painting was created in honor of the companies 100th birthday.
We could not get on a tour last Friday, but do have tickets for tomorrow.  Blue Bell has always been my favorite ice cream.  I like it better even than Ben and Jerry's.

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Siobhan said...
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