Friday, November 14, 2008

Gruene, Texas

On Wednesday my friend Leslie and I made a 30 minute trek to Gruene, Texas (pronounced Green). Even though it is a short trip, I have never made it there in the three years I have been here. It is located on the Guadalupe River which is always a great place to go tubing and spend a day during the summer, provided we get rain and the river makes it to a decent depth and isn't dried out. In the mid-1840's German farmers became the first settlers in what is now known as Gruene. Ernst Gruene built the first home in Gruene in early fatchwork style. His son planted his land with cotton and it became the #1 cash crop . The cotton business soon brought 20-30 families to Gruene's lands. They built houses in various styles--a Victorian cottage, a large brick home, and a frame house for the farm foreman. The first mercantile store was built in 1878 and a cotton gin powered by the Guadalupe River was added soon after. Further construction during this time included a dance hall and saloon--Gruene Hall (pic above)--which became the center of the community's social life. In 1922, the original cotton gin burned down and was replaced by a modern electric model. The economic disasters of the boll weevil and the Depression were too much for the family businesses and they went under, except for Gruene Hall, which never closed. Gruene Hall is the oldest, continually operating dance hall in the State of Texas. Its stage has seen the likes of Lyle Lovett, George Strait, Bo Diddley, The Dixie Chicks, Jerry Lee Lewis, Garth Brooks, and Willie Nelson. It has also been featured in music videos and movies, of special note being a favorite of mine--'Michael' starring John Travolta, whose dance scene was filmed in the hall. For some reason, I really LOVE that particular scene. We had a couple of glasses of wine and watched an alternative band from Austin who were fairly decent. We also toured some of the shops with local art--pottery, paintings, etc. Got some green jalapeno jelly and pumkin coffee beans-yum! The jalapeno jelly is great spread over cream cheese and used as a dip with crackers! Pumkin coffee screams of fall!

The inside pic is the dance hall itself, the floors are all OLD wood planks.Crrreeaak! Not all that easy to danceon really, especially in certain spots!The pics on the bottom were taken of a van parked out in front of the dance hall. All I have to say about this hand-painted mural is.....ahhhh, only in Texas!!!! The deer scene struck a special cord in me and I had a chuckle. Just had to photog it! --grin---


  1. Gotta love a road trip. I would never guess that you pronouce that as "Green." Good times.

  2. I was raised in San Antonio and never once did I hear it pronounced "Green". I was pronounced like it was spelled - and it means green in German. Maybe I just had a lot of friends with a German background.


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