On the day we were planning to return home, we stopped by The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History*(pic #4). What a disappointment to find it closed for Memorial Day! However, a great surprise was waiting around the corner for us!
One of the staff members had seen us lingering by the front entrance and invited us to come in for a private tour. What a wonderful gesture shown to visitors from out of town.
Although this is a small museum, there were many things of interest. A special highlight was an exhibit chronicling the life of the Kazakh people, complete with a YERT, their musical instruments and detailed information on their daily lives.
Another fascinating display was a collection of assorted Clovis points and other arrow heads found throughout Texas and other parts of the United States (pic #3).
Like many other people, I am fascinated with the prehistoric era and there were several fossilized specimens at the museum to hold my attention (pics 1 & 2). Not a large number, but a sampling.
To thrill the kiddies, one of the side rooms held aquariums which were home to many types of snakes, a tarantula and lizards. Also, bob cats, a baby bear and other creatures posing in stiff fashion after the work of a taxidermist.
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the museum and appreciated being able to see it even when closed for the day!
*Admission is $5 for each adult; $4 for children 4-17, seniors, members and students; Free for children 3 and under; $3.50 each for groups of 10.
Hours are Tues.-Sat. 10am-5pm.
When the town of Bryan officially incorporated in 1872, one of the non-official organizations forming called for a county fair every year. How sad that so many communities have forsaken this tradition.
Here are some other historical tidbits:
The first public school system was created in 1880 by levying property taxes.
In the late 1800's, Germans, Czechs and Italians immigrated to the Brazos Valley. In time, their children and grandchildren left the cotton farms to join the business side of things in Bryan.
The City Barber Shop (pictured), has been open for business since 1938. Could anything typify the early days more than a barber pole?
Just look at this etched glass window! The LaSalle was first open for business in 1928, but in 2000 got a $6 million dollar facelift turning it into a boutique-style hotel (pic #2). As we explored Main Street, we couldn't resist a look inside.
As we entered the lobby, we noticed a plaque marking it as a historic hotel. There were small seating areas placed here and there, along with a flat screen making it a cinch to catch up on the latest sports scores. To one side of the lobby was a large restaurant filled with fun-loving ladies from a local card club.
Their website reads "The Main Street-style boutique hotel now boasts an all-original terrazzo lobby floor and individually appointed guest rooms*, each outfitted with period antiques and reproductions to give each room a distinct feel without sacrificing any of the state-of-the-art amenities expected by today's worldly traveler". I guess that says it all!
Accommodations for two with a double or King size bed cost $149; a suite is priced at $159. For other amenities please check the website listed below.
As the railway made its way through Texas, small towns cropped up along the way. One of these became Bryan, Texas, named for William Joel Bryan, the nephew of Stephen F. Austin. The railroads delivered freight and Civil War troops, as well.
By the 20th century, Bryan was home to 'five cotton gins, two cotton yards, compresses, warehouses and rail lines headed to distant markets'. I read that many businesses revolved around the export of cotton, grain, oil, livestock, wool and hides. Bryan was a hoppin' town!
This secure looking building pictured is First State Bank and Trust, located on Main Street.
Established in the early 1800's by Stephen F. Austin settlers, Bryan has all the appeal of a small Texas town that we've come to love. Historical buildings, interesting looking shops, restaurants and even a museum. Like so many of you, my husband and I love taking the occasional weekend to explore what our state offers us in the way of its historic past.
As for its recent history, Bryan was struggling to survive as recently as the late 1980's, but thanks to some forward thinking visionaries things began to slowly change and now it has much to offer the visitor. One finds this again and again throughout Texas and it's called 'revitalizing'!
The Howell Building (pictured) currently houses a bistro-type restaurant, with a loft apartment above.
Since Texas is an adopted homeland of the first President Bush, he built his memorial library hear. A moderately interesting look at the life and achievements of this president.