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Postcards from Small Town Texas

The Complete Package and I have been enjoying scenic drives to small towns throughout Texas. This is the fourth in a series of photos documenting our lazy day adventures and highlighting these small town Texas treasures.

Fourth Stop: Gonzales, Texas
Gonzales - Come & Take It 2

No single statement sums up Gonzales, Texas more than “Come and take it!” Why? Because that single defiant phrased uttered about a tiny but powerful cannon is believed to have launched the Texas Revolution in 1835. Rarely has such a small piece of hardware launched such a contentious battle.

Gonzales - Masonic Building

In a nutshell, it was borrowed from the Mexican military by the citizens of Gonzales for protection from native Indians. When the Mexican commander asked for it to be returned a few years later, the citizens of Gonzales declined his invitation. In fact, their response was “Come and take it” which, judging by the ensuing battle, was not well received. To learn more about this tiny cannon and its impact on Texas history, you can click here. As if to prove that Texans are tenacious by nature, the cannon still resides to this day in the Old Jail Museum. There you’ll also find the Gonzales Visitor Center.

Gonzales - Visitor Center & Jail Museum Bldg

Gonzales - Visitor Center & Jail Museum

But there’s more to Gonzales than one cannon. A town rich in history, this little gem is what leisurely drives to small towns are all about. Besides friendly people and a laid back atmosphere, Gonzales is beautiful. Just take a look at their Grand Dame of buildings – the historic Gonzales County Courthouse.

Gonzales - Gonzales County Courthouse

Gonzales - Courthouse Clock Close-Up

The Old Jail Museum, county courthouse and historic Gonzales fire department can all be found on the city’s main square. It’s a lovely picnic spot.

Gonzales - Town Square

Gonzales - Town Square Marker

Established in 1884 when the city first authorized the purchase of 200 feet of fire hose, Gonzales takes great pride in their fire house history. The original firehouse bell hangs in the town square as a tribute to the firefighters who’ve protected the citizens of Gonzales throughout the years.

Gonzales - Fire Station Bell

This great old vintage fire truck totally charmed my socks off.

Gonzales - Antique Fire Truck

We parked next to it while we walked around downtown. When we returned, we found this cute little stowaway on our truck tire. If only he knew how much I love squirrels. I took it as a lucky sign this would be a lovely day.

Gonzales - Tiny Stowaway

Just across the from the fire station, you’ll find a lovingly restored movie theater. I just love it when a small town takes the care to restore these great old landmarks. Too many of them are gone, replaced by giant mega-theaters. It’s a shame, really. The small, quaint & historic theaters are so much more fun.

Gonzales - Classic Old Movie Theater
Speaking of nostalgia, who remembers these great old gas stations from the road trips of our childhoods? This one is still in remarkably great shape. Makes me want to open a donut/coffee shop in it. Cool, huh?

Gonzales - Vintage Gas Station

And that’s convenient, because the perfect house is for sale across the street. What do you think? Too big for just the two of us?

Gonzales - Gorgeous Old Home

Yeah… you’re right. It’s too big. Maybe this one. It’s smaller.

Gonzales - House Built in 1895

Nah… probably not. Still too big. But this one? I think this one is just right.

Gonzales - Beautiful Home Fabulous Porch

I’m such a sucker for a big wrap-around porch, and I’m in L-O-V-E with this one. It’s easy to fall in love with Gonzales. It’s charming. It’s friendly. It’s proud of its heritage and comfortable with its place in Texas history.

Gonzales - Hero Square Monument

It’s a great place to spend a day, and a great excuse to take a day trip. And that’s my advice to you. Take advantage of the next pretty day, get in your car, and…

Gonzales - Come & Take It

Gonzales - Header with Courthouse

To learn more about Gonzales, Texas visit the Texas Escapes website.
To see the other small towns featured in my Postcards series, click on:

Postcards from Small Town Texas: Halletsville
Postcards from Small Town Texas: Yoakum
Postcards from Small Town Texas: Shiner

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Postcards from Small Town Texas

The Complete Package and I have been enjoying scenic drives to small towns throughout Texas. This is the third in a series of photos documenting our lazy day adventures and highlighting these small town Texas treasures.

Third Stop: Shiner, Texas


Shiner has an unconventional downtown compared to other small towns we’ve visited. Instead of a town square, Shiner’s downtown appears to be one long street running parallel to a railroad track, with shops running for a block or two on either side of the tracks. While I missed that town square vibe, there were plenty of historic buildings to ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ over. Most of these were built in 1910-1911. I can never get enough of the gorgeous brick details in these old buildings. The craftsmanship is just stunning and so colorful.

This might just be my favorite downtown shop. Why? Because my mother’s name is Martha and she is an avid quilter; has been ever since she was a wee girl. If she ever decides to move away from Oklahoma, I think she could step right into this place and take over. How perfect is that?


Once you’ve hit all the shops and taken a lunch break, take a short stroll down 6th Street to this bridge over the creek (that’s downtown in the background).


For your efforts, you’ll be rewarded with a visit to the Spoetzl Brewery, home of Shiner Beer. For Texas beer lovers, this place is sacred.


There’s something about visiting the Spoetzl Brewery that makes you feel like you’re experiencing Texas history firsthand. Heck, I’m not even a beer drinker and I get excited seeing those gorgeous, enormous copper brewing kettles.


Tours of the brewery are only available Monday through Friday (I know… I don’t get it, either) so plan accordingly if you want to take in the heady brew room in person. If you find yourself in Shiner on a weekend, don’t despair. The gift shop is open on Saturday from 11am-3pm, and you can sample Shiner’s many varieties while browsing the t-shirts, ball caps and other treasures.


If you’re lucky, you might even find yourself there during a beer-themed trade fair. We found table after table of antiques & collectibles under the live oaks in front of the brewery. While we didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without, there was certainly plenty to see and some really interesting people to chat with.


Our last stop was one of the famous painted churches of Texas. Built by Czech and German immigrants, these churches are among some of our most treasured Texas historical buildings. This historical marker tells the tale of Saints Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church in Shiner (click on the photo to see it in a larger format, then click the ‘back’ arrow on your computer to return to this post).


Just outside the church, we found this pretty little grotto/shrine.


But the real show-stopper is the church itself. Built in 1920-21, it’s a testament to the faith and perseverance of Shinerites as well as a nod to their history and heritage. As luck would have it, the church was locked when we were there. To see photos of the painted interior, you can click on this link to a Google Images page or visit the Texas Escapes page for Saints Cyril & Methodius Church.


What I can tell you is that it’s enormous and absolutely gorgeous from the outside. Even if you find it locked, it’s still worth a leisurely stroll around the church just to enjoy the details of the exterior. It really is a lovely church.

Shiner is located approximately 125 miles west of Houston, 80 miles southeast of Austin, or 90 miles east of San Antonio. For more information on Shiner, visit their website at http://www.shinertx.com/ or visit the Texas Escapes Website.

To see the other stories in this series, go to:
Postcards from Small Town Texas – Hallettsville
Postcards from Small Town Texas – Yoakum

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