Ever since 1921, when the U.S. Department of Health announced that Kerrville was the healthiest spot in the nation, this small Central Texas town has been a magnet for summer youth camps, sanitariums, and artists. The Guadalupe River runs through through the center of town, providing a welcome location for a picnic among the towering cypress trees.
Kerrville — Let’s Get Kinky
With a multitude of fast food franchises and national chain stores, we found nothing particularly charming about the town of Kerrville. However, the surrounding countryside is breathtakingly beautiful …filled with live oaks and lush green rolling hills. Our visit was short … only a few hours, so we recognized that our assessment of the town may be a bit harsh and unfair. Actually, we found quite a few gems among the stones.
Since Kerrville is recognized as Texas’ premier artist town, our primary destination was the Museum of Western Art … a place where, in their words, "… the legend of the American West lives on." The museum grounds are filled with large mature trees and are dotted with heroic bronzes like this one entitled: An Honest Days Work.
Sherry enjoyed this life sized sculpture entitled: Wind and Rain.
Although photography is not permitted in the museum, Danny was graciously allowed to take a photo of the main gallery. The highly polished gallery floor, made from squared chunks of mesquite wood, is the perfect complement to the Western artwork.
The downtown historic area, obviously once a vibrant and attractive area, is desperately in need of renovation … many of the buildings are vacant and deteriorating. One exception is the former home of Captain Charles Schreiner. Built in the late 1800’s his mansion is now home to the Hill Country Museum.
Captain Schreiner was a prosperous Kerrville pioneer who built a home of enduring beauty and exquisite detail.
Constructed of local limestone, expert masons and stone carvers were brought from Germany to create the intricate design work on the exterior.
The towering spiral on the vintage Arcadia Theatre provides a bit of whimsy to the downtown. Opened in 1926 for live performances and silent movies … it continued showing movies until 1988 when it closed. Although there are plans to renovate, nothing seems to have been started.
Built in 1870’s, this rock building once housed the Favorite Saloon.
Built in 1895 as the St. Gregory Hotel, this structure was purchased by J. L. Pampell in 1899 as a home for his drug store, ice cream parlor, candy store, and opera house. Now a restaurant and bar, it still retains the original fountain and back bar.
To our surprise we learned that Kerrville is the hometown to one of our favorite celebrities … Kinky Friedman. He lives just outside town on Echo Hill Ranch … a youth summer camp that has been operated by his family since 1953. His connection to Kerrville runs deep … back in 1986 he even ran for Justice of the Peace. His campaign slogan was "Elect Kinky Friedman the first Jewish justice of the peace in Kerrville, and I'll reduce the speed limit to 54.95." He lost badly … "I couldn't decide whether to kill myself or get a haircut," he remembers.
Fast forward 20 years and he once again jumped into the political arena … in 2006 Kinky announced he was running as an independent candidate for Governor of Texas. His campaign slogan was: "Why The Hell Not?" He made a serious attempt … he developed a campaign website, a populist platform and hired Jessie Ventura’s old campaign manager. The news media couldn’t get enough of him … even the New York Times, but he ultimately finished a distant fourth with fewer than 13% of the vote.
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