I ventured east along the mighty muddy Brazos River the other morning, hoping to capture images of a few buildings of historical note before those structures crumble.
Booth and Thompsons are two tiny communities tucked into a river bend so isolated that they appear to be suspended in Time. Both are named after the wealthy men who carved them out of the woods in the mid 1800s. Both rose to some prominence before the turn of the next century, only to see their respective populations nearly melt away today.
Freeman Irby Booth established a school in his town in 1912, taking its place alongside his other ventures, including cattle, sugar cane, a general store, hardware store and lumberyard. It was this Booth Public School I came for – a distinctive stucco Mission-style building long-abandoned and standing in decay in a field of weeds. I found it surrounded by barbed wire fencing decorated with numerous No Trespassing signs, and even signs along the tiny country road nearby warning that parking was not permitted. If you want to catch a glimpse of this piece of history, Booth denizens apparently prefer you do so from a moving vehicle.
Another village road a few hundred yards east led me to the Booth Trading Post, although it appeared trades and exchanges have not taken place in some number of years. Grass had begun growing on the store roof, yet the place gave off a comfortable feeling, and I would have liked to sip an iced tea from the porch had it not been so early in the morning and me with other stops to make.
The next one was supposed to be Thompsons, but first I found a former horse ranch whose glory days obviously had come to an end. A very large sign topped with a very large equine statue stood curiously bereft of letters, such that one was left to guess at the identity of the place.
I daydreamed of designing a faux ranch logo and applying it clandestinely upon this landmark signage, while driving the scant few miles to Thompsons, at the end of Richmond’s Thompsons Highway, a.k.a. FM 2759 (for those unaccustomed to Texas, the FM stands for farm-to-market road, which is what most country roads were most often used for back in the day). The photo gallery below includes the Booth School, the trading post, the anonymous horse ranch sign, and what once was the Thompsons General Mercantile – now abandoned but in pretty good repair. Just a short trip back to another era; in 15 minutes I was back in 2015.
Meanwhile, the height of the Texas bluebonnet season is nearly upon us and, while bluebonnets are rare here in Fort Bend County, you can travel 90 miles west to Lavaca County and view wildflowers such as most humans have only dreamed of. The last gallery shot is from the Polka Farm hayfield, taken just two days ago.