Memory Lane Trip~Part 4

10 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 4 – Friday 4/20/2018


I was out bright and early this morning heading west on I-10 to visit the MKT Railroad Depot Museum situated at the little “Pocket Park” in Katy, TX.  This turned out to be a small restored 1894 railroad depot, whose memorabilia centered on the history of the Missouri/Kansas & Texas Railroad (MKT) and its influence on this part of Texas in the early 1850s.  According to Wikipedia, the town appears to have taken its name from the early evolution of the MK&T Railroad.  Once called “the K-T” that, over time, evolved into “The Katy” and I guess the people honored the railroad by naming their town “Katy” when it was officially established in 1896.  The depot provided the MKT with passenger rail service needs until it closed in 1957.



Next I headed west on I-10 to Sealy, TX where I turned north on SR-36 for a short side trip to visit the Austin County Jail Museum located in Bellville, TX.  Greta took me to the address I had given her for the museum but I was confused.  A sign on the building said “Austin County Jail” but it looked new, modern and functional. I strolled inside and asked about the museum, and was told this was the “real jail” and that the jail museum was downtown on Bell Street.  For some reason the internet information is using the “real jail” address instead of the museum’s address.  Anyway, this 1896 jail replaced a smaller 1886 structure, and served Austin County until 1982, when it was closed and converted into a museum. I stopped by for a photo, as the museum was closed.



Now I spent another hour traveling southwest on several Texas back roads, to get back onto I-10 west, so I could visit the Stanzel Model Aircraft Museum located in Schulenburg, TX. This is a very interesting museum for any model aviation enthusiast like me.  The museum displays memorabilia, artifacts, and technical data covers the history of the Stanzel brother’s model airplane designs, and their influence on the country’s model airplane industry from the early 1930s to the present.



Heading west again, I took another little side trip, south of I-10 this time, to visit the Gonzalez County Jail Museum located in (you got it) Gonzales, TX.  There wasn’t much new about this 1885 jail except for the size of it. This jail was almost as big as the Austin County Jail and I couldn’t imagine the need for such large jails in the mid-1880s.  The city of Gonzalez is only about the size of my hometown now, so I can’t see it that big back then.  That goes for the large city hall and huge mansions I saw as I drove through the town.



This time it was northwest on U.S.-183 and then just a few miles north of I-10 to visit the Pioneer Flight Museum located in Kingsbury, TX.  As it turned out, the museum was the headquarters for the Vintage Aviation Services facility there at the Old Kingsbury Aerodrome.  A couple of cars were parked in front of an open hanger so I stopped for a look.  There were two, what could have been, vintage airplanes being built or repaired.  I called out for someone to show me around, but no one seemed to be there, so I took a couple of photos and left.  I learned later that the museum aircraft were in another hanger that was closed when I was there.



Traveling west on I-10, my next stop was to visit the Texas Transportation Museum located on the northeast side of San Antonio, TX.  This is a small museum with memorabilia and artifacts covering the history of the Longhorn & Western (L&W) Railroad and other transportation advances over the years in and around the San Antonio area.  In addition to offering short train rides, the museum houses a model train layout and several antique automobiles.



I had planned to stay two days in San Antonio because of the many museums I had on my list to visit there. So now it was time for Greta to take me to the motel so I could check-in and find a good Mexican restaurant where I could enjoy some good old TexMex food.  My pre-trip research for the “Top 10 Best Restaurants” in the cities where I was going to spend the night, listed “The Alamo Café” (what a coincidence). So that’s where I ate tonight, and they were right – the food was great.  One of the best Chili Rellenos I have ever eaten!



—–To Be Continued—–




Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 58 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, writing blogs for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing. He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville. Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

Bill’s favorite Scripture is: Philippians 1:6

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