Sunday, October 23, 2011

Madisonville

We'll be taking a break from Bryan and College Station to focus on other cities in the Brazos Valley. Yesterday, I went to the Texas Mushroom Festival in Madisonville, which was pretty good. I was feeling a bit under the weather (even worse today, really) but I was able to see Madisonville for the first time since 2005 (or 2003, I think, the last time I went to the Festival), and found that I sort of liked Madisonville. Highway 21 cuts right through the middle of town: two way, stoplights, the whole shebang.

As a small town, it would be rather forgettable: the downtown is functional yet boring. There's no interesting shops, but it seems to be well-occupied at least. But the cool thing is, when you start getting away further from downtown, you can see more of town. There's a closed Movie Gallery, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, a Walmart, a Brookshire Brothers, an even smaller supermarket called "Madisonville Supermarket" (with a Godwin's labelscar clearly obvious: based on online research, it must have de-branded in recent memory), and then a bunch of very tall signs signifying the closeness of the Interstate. Pizza Hut, Jack in the Box, Sonic, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and many others not typically seen in small towns, plus a Buc-ee's, too.

In many ways, it was a forgettable small town fed only by the Interstate. It also lacked a feature seen in most Texas towns: a railroad. A branch line once ran from Navasota to Madisonville, but the line has been abandoned for almost 70 years now.

Madisonville also has a curious lack of hotels, given the Interstate access. Most towns blessed with Interstate access feature a large assortment of restaurants, fast food, and hotels. But Madisonville only has about three hotels, with the only chain being a Best Western. Conversely, the entire I-35 corridor in the Waco-Temple-Killeen area has all sorts of restaurants and the like. But it is worth mentioning that I-45 is basically a straight-shot between Dallas and Houston, while the I-35 corridor has Waco, Temple, Austin, New Braunfels, et cetera. Still, it leaves a bit to be desired. You'd think they would at least have a Wal-Mart Supercenter there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

East 29th and Texas Avenue ~ The Ex-Greyhound

The short-lived Burger King that opened in 2009 and closed in less than two years. [Source: Yelp]

405 E. 29th Street
(Later Renumbered to 401 S. Texas Avenue after demolition)

As a College Station kid (this was originally named "College Station Roads & Retail", after all), I never went to downtown Bryan all that much. That's not to say I didn't at all...I specifically outline a memory in the Palace Theater post, but most of them were a trip up to the amazingly dirty, run-down bus station up at 29th and Texas Avenue (though we wouldn't take Texas Avenue all the way up or back...I specifically remember taking College Avenue back, and I know it was College Avenue because where "Woody's" is now, was an old military surplus place (there was a statue of a plane that had "surplus" on it). What was especially stunning about it was not the building, but the fact that even though it was COMPLETELY EMPTY (no sign or anything), there was still a lit neon border on the sign. That's even more impressive than the still-lit Service Merchandise sign I saw in early 2003 (San Antonio) a full year after the chain shut down, but I digress, or that one time in December 2003 where, while waiting for my cousin from Waco, I used my toe to squish a mosquito (I was lying down in the middle seats when this happened), and my sister didn't even notice until maybe 450 miles in the subsequent trip (second day, now in Alabama en route to central Florida) because she had napped most of the first day and the morning of the second.

What I didn't know at the time was it started out as a UtoteM (and that may have had Amoco gas, from what I've heard) and became a bus station by 1980. I don't think it was remodeled much at all between tenants, and it had a drop ceiling, florescent lighting, really worn tiles, possibly dated from 1960s to 1970s (it started out as a UtoteM that may have had Amoco gas, however, it was a bus station by 1980), some rather drab and cheap-looking chairs, and the like. There were a few vending machines, including some candy dispensers and I believe even a coffee vending machine. While it was a miserable place that seemed to be falling apart, it had charm (though I'm sure I'm the only one that thinks that).

In the mid/late 2000s it was closed and demolished. I never got to visit any of the replacement bus stations in the years following (though I did see the new bus station in the parking garage last fall), mostly because the relatives picked up either got their own cars (like my cousins, one of which still lives in Waco) or became too old to travel (like my grandfather).

I'd still like to find photos of the place.

The replacement of the store was a Burger King, part of a proposed bunch of new stores as part of a new franchisee. The new Burger King opened around April 2009 and closed in January 2011 (but not reopening). Reason was probably because B-CS just isn't a Burger King town (the one at Texas and Deacon seems to get pretty low volume). It reopened as a Chicken Express some months later which did little to the restaurant except give it red trim instead of blue. The other problem with the restaurant pad is poor access: there's no entrance to Texas Avenue at all, even though it was renumbered to a Texas Avenue address! That hasn't seemed to stop Chicken Express, which still continues to operate after about 4 years.

Post overhaul completed in June 2015

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

101 Fairview

REMOVED FROM INDEX AS OF NOVEMBER 2015

I don't have a lot of information for this building. It was once a crummy old house at the corner of Fairview and George Bush.




However, in circa 2010, the building was renovated, a concrete parking lot built, and numerous other accoutrements were added.


Anyone know some more backstory to this?