The ruins of what must have been a gasoline service station long ago beckoned us to stop as we drove down U.S. Highway 81 in Montague County. The “town” was called Stoneburg, and this building seemed fitting. Its charred walls seemed to reach plaintively for the sky.
Those walls intrigued us; we could see from the road that they were made from many different materials: stone, petrified wood, and glass of some kind. Someone got very creative using “mixed media” to build it. We had to have a closer look. With no traffic on the highway, we pulled onto a side road and just stopped. Then we battled our way through the Johnson grass to get closer.
Now a serious photographer would have come on this outing well outfitted with a tripod, hiking boots, mosquito repellent and a machete! Those weeds were thick and there could have been a serpent lurking in them. Ummm … that serious photographer would not be me. I was wearing my dainty little sandals while stomping around in that mess. But, I did manage to climb through the rubble to get some closeup views of the walls.
I can’t for the life of me figure out what kind of glass (that “greenish” looking piece) that was put into the walls. Were they glass blocks that just fused in the fire that destroyed the building?
Below is a shot from the inside looking out. The interior might have been made of the same material, but who knows. I would have loved to have seen this building before it burned.
Stoneburg is not far from Bowie, and it has never been very large. It got a post office in 1893 that was closed down in 1954. In its heyday, the population was only about 150 people, but by 2000 that had dropped to 51 people. The town was evacuated due to wildfires (probably what destroyed this building) in April of 2009, and I’m betting the 2010 Census will show many fewer people than that.
Stoneburg is just a wide spot on the road, perhaps not worth the stop. But, we enjoyed trying to photograph this relic from a time long ago. Now someone remind me to put a machete in the car, won’t you?