On my day off between sessions at Camp CAMP, I borrowed a car and drove to nearby Kerrville, Texas. A town of 20,000, it is home to Schreiner University and is the center of a thriving arts scene in the Texas Hill Country.
While ostensibly there to use a laundromat to do a load of laundry, I took the opportunity to enjoy the sights. First order of business: lunch. I had picked out a likely place on Google Maps, but when I parked downtown, it turned out to be a fancy Italian restaurant. I figured that was more than I wanted to spend on a solo meal, so I wandered down the main street past art galleries and antique shops, then along a side street. I decided to stop at Rita's Famous Tacos--even though we'd had burritos for lunch the day before--IF there wasn't something else down the way. I walked all the way down to Wolfmueller's Books, turned around, and decided to give Crumbs a try. This brightly painted cafe is so new that it doesn't show up on Google Maps--still, about five months after opening. The owners are still getting the kinks the worked out, but I was glad I tried it. (You can read my review here.) I even came back for an ice cream cone later.
Across the street, a banner for an exhibit on tuberculosis at the Hill Country Preservation Society caught my eye (above). Unfortunately that museum was closed for the month of July. So I visited the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center instead. (Click here for that post: Beautiful Things to See in Kerrville, Part 2.) Afterward, I enjoyed the view from the lookout pavilion over the Guadalupe River. To the right of the dam, the water was deep and green. Families swam, fished, and canoed. To the left of the dam, children played with dogs in the shallows or tubed on a short stretch of rapids. The park you can see across the river (Louise Hays Park) was built in one day, on April 26, 1950. About 2,000 volunteers constructed picnic platforms complete with tables, a performance stage, a miniature golf course, and a children's playground.
Along the railing of the pavilion, large cards provided a history of Kerrville. The area was originally settled by Apache and Comanche tribes. Lumbermen settled along the river in the 1840s and 1850s. One of them, Joshua Brown, named the growing encampment for his friend James Kerr. Kerr had moved from Kentucky to Texas in 1825, but he died before ever visiting Kerrsville. The "s" was later dropped. The Native Americans were assimilated or driven away.
From shingles and lumber before the Civil War, the economy shifted to cattle ranching. Confederate Captain Charles Schreiner (of recent French extraction) moved out of San Antonio to head up cattle drives 900 miles north to Oglalla, Nebraska. Schreiner soon realized that the Hill Country was better suited to sheep and goats, so he pioneered the wool and mohair industry in this region. He is of course the namesake of the Presbyterian university in town.
As long as the breeze blew away the heat, then I wanted to sit on the bluff for hours. However, my next destination closed at 5pm to new visitors, so soon it was off to the Museum of Western Art. (Click here for that post.)