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Mixed Media

by Shelly Kneupper Tucker on June 1, 2010©

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.

charred gasoline station in Stoneburg, Texas

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.

closeup of gasoline station

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.

stone and glass 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.

inside looking out

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?

{ 13 comments }

Robin from Israel June 1, 2010 at 12:30 am

What an intriguing building – I’m glad you stopped. I’d have been in sandals too if I were there, and nope, there’s never a good machete around when you need one, is there?

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My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!
.-= Robin from Israel´s last blog ..Memorial Day, Summer Stock, and last chance to vote =-.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker June 1, 2010 at 5:00 am

I have two machetes, actually, and we really did pull one out last night. I don’t know if I’d put it in the car, though. I’d probably get car-jacked and my attacker would then have a weapon :-). It’s such a shame that old building burned, but it might have been decrepit before the fires.

Van Sutherland June 1, 2010 at 8:50 am

Really cool find, Shelly! This is something Chris would love, especially the glass in the walls. But, I guess I’m not a ‘serious’ photographer, as I don’t have a machete! :)
.-= Van Sutherland´s last blog ..Remembering =-.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker June 1, 2010 at 9:26 am

I can loan you a machete, if you would like :-). At least you remember to carry your tripod. You should hear Eric & I now when we take pictures: “Van would take this from several angles. Van would try different speeds. Van could do wonders with this.”

I love you, but you intimidate me :sad:

Van Sutherland June 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Don’t be intimidated! Dang, you’re a National Treasure, I’m the one who’s intimidated! Just talk to Chris; she’ll fill you in on all the reasons you need not be intimidated by me! :)
.-= Van Sutherland´s last blog ..Remembering =-.

Sheila Atwood June 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

So that is Johnson Grass. My mother always used that term. It looks wicked.
The building is fabulous. What creativity. Thanks for the effort and pictures.
.-= Sheila Atwood´s last blog ..Herbed Mustard | Ez Herb Gardening =-.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker June 8, 2010 at 8:36 am

Yep, that’s Johnson grass, but I don’t know why it is called that. It will cut you faster than the machete (hey! I could have used it as a weapon!). Oh, taking those pictures was worth the effort. I always enjoy finding “odd beauty.”

Thorne June 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm

That building is simply wonderful, and so are your photos, Red! The glass is very cool. My best guess is that it was already fused in those great, asymmetrical chunks when the builder mortared it all together. “Clear” glass tends to be tinted greenish by the amounts of impurities in the silica when it’s fired. They do look to be melted globs, but I’m thinking maybe cast-off slag chunks from some glass manufacturing process. What a find!

Shelly Kneupper Tucker June 8, 2010 at 8:38 am

I confess to stealing a tiny bit of the glass that was on the ground. Don’t tell anybody, because I don’t want to get arrested. It does seem to be some kind of “slag” as you called it. Wonder where in Thunder they acquired it?

slamdunk June 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Interesting photos and I can see where you would have been attracted to that structure. Looks like it was definitely worth stopping for a closer inspection–I would have done it as well.
.-= slamdunk´s last blog ..Out Shopping, and You See This? =-.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker June 8, 2010 at 8:38 am

But, you would have had a machete, wouldn’t you :lol:

Damien Riley June 4, 2010 at 9:21 pm

These pictures are hauntingly pretty. Thanks for this post.
.-= Damien Riley´s last blog ..Following the Old School Way =-.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker June 8, 2010 at 8:39 am

Thank you, Damien, and I appreciate you posting this in your blog safari roundup

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