It’s been just over four years since I’ve been on an official road trip out west and even longer since I’ve visited certain spots that I like to visit when I’m in the area. So when I had the chance to make a short trip I planned my October 2021 West Texas Road Trip. Below I will share some of my stops along the way and eventually more details/images will be given about these locations over at Vanishing Texas in the near future.
October 2021 West Texas Road Trip
In early October I had some free time so I decided to take quick road trip out west. The plan was to take the Subaru Outback so I could get the better gas mileage than my truck or SUV and still have some basic off-road capability so I could explore some of the dusty dirt back roads out west. I decided to drive out west about 3 or 4 hours and then turn around drive back. After dropping my wife at DFW International Airport I made way out west. Because of cell phone issues, morning traffic in DFW and a late start getting my wife to the airport I was only able to go just over 3 hours out west.
Loving Café in Loving, Texas
I came across what looks to be an old service station that had been repurposed into a local café as I was on my way to my first stop. I had to stop and take a quick picture. The café looks to be an old service station. The pumps were removed and the café was opened at some point and then closed down. The building looks to be in good shape, maybe the café is a business just not open for business just closed during the time I passed by.
Abandoned Church in Jack County, Texas
Although this is a popular church for photographers, I prefer to keep its location private due to damages caused by vandalism. The church is one of my favorite places to stop when I’m in the area. There isn’t much history on the church. The church is about 100 years old but judging by the kitchen appliances (mostly stolen now) the building hasn’t been used in decades. During my first visit I tried to find old church records but all those were removed a long time ago. I’m still looking for the church’s history and if you know more or know a contact in town that I can speak with people contact me.
New Castle Bridge over the Brazos – Young County, Texas
I love old bridges. I prefer these over today’s boring functional only bridges (happy to see some cities are building modern bridges that look more like art than function). The bridge was built in 1933 and was closed to vehicle traffic in 1988 when the new HWY was built . The bridge may look familiar to you if you have seen Netflix’s Bonnie & Clyde Movie. One of the scenes takes place here. I do not know if this bridge was actually used by the Barrow Gang (I’m looking into this) and I haven’t seen the movie to know why the bridge is important or if it was just a prop.
New Castle Farm Supplies in New Castle, Texas
There isn’t much of downtown New Castle left. A found most of the old inline brick main street buildings were knocked down and replaced with modern buildings or are open lots. As I was driving through town this old farm supply store caught my eye. It really doesn’t look like its changed much over the years. For now it looks unused or maybe just used for storage.
The Old High School in Megargel, Texas
Next up was one of my favorite little west Texas Towns. For the last few years I’ve been wanting to photograph the old High School. It’s been closed for years but it’s not abandoned. The owners lives nearby and the school looks to be decent shape. I did stop and photograph a few other buildings in town and will share those at some point.
Abandoned Grain Silos and Elevator in Westover, Texas
Another favorite place to stop when I’m traveling this route are these old silos. There isn’t much left of the town. Only a few houses, these grain silos, and a historical marker that talks about an old school that use to be nearby. Over the years I’ve watch as the grain elevator slowly sank and leaned over even more. Sometime in the last 4 years the top of the elevator collapsed.
Large Grain Silo Installation in Seymour, Texas
Near downtown and the railroad track there’s a large granary silo and elevator operation. It’s an impressive site. The site is maintained and there are trucks parked nearby. I don’t know anything about it yet, but it’s an impressive setup and I thought it would make a cool photograph. I have a handful of pictures to edit and plan on sharing them over the next few months.
West North Texas Dirt Roads
Roads out this way are interesting. Depending on what part of West Texas you are in you will find red dirt roads, natural surface dirt road (No rock or gravel mixed in), or white dirt roads (usually a mixture of native limestone and recycled crushed (if the road is lucky) concrete).
Old Brick Farm House
This old house is another popular stop for photographers. I’d love to know the history. You just don’t see old farm houses with brick facades. When this house was built (I’m guessing about a 100 years ago) it was difficult to get brick hauled that far out from the rail line systems. I can’t find any information on the house and the property. The property records show the property to have no value in the buildings and have removed any information about them.
Old Catholic Church in Baylor County, Texas
This was my turn around spot. I had planned 3 more stops about an hour away but daylight would be ending soon and I doubted I would reach those last 3 stops before sunset. The pictures I wanted were daylight only shots and I was also planning a different route home so I needed daylight for that section of the trip so I could make stops along the way.
This old church is another stop I like to make when I am in the area. I stop here maybe every 3 or 4 years. Generally for this stop its when I’m on the highway that passes by the church. I do not stop here that often unless I’m taking some someone to see it or it’s been a few years since I last visited. The church is not abandoned, it’s being taken care of and it doesn’t really get any worse unless vandals decide to mess with it.
The Wintering grounds for The D. S. Dudly Show – Mankins, Texas
The D. S. Dudly Show was old traveling circus/carnival show that ran for half a century and ended in the 1970s. The town of Mankins is where they chose to rest for the winter. The above picture is a small house where D.S Dudly is believed to have live. Behind this house there is an identical one that is believed to be where his children may have lived. The other buildings on the property is where the employees lived/worked and where circus equipment was kept.
The Mankins town site was originally on a large ranch owned by Sam Lazarus where the Wichita Valley Railway ran a spur up to the ranch headquarters. The ranch was sold in 1908 and in 1909 a post office was opened. Sadly the town never really grew that large. By the 1960s there were no more businesses. In the 1970s roads and utilities were improved. But it is said that the Mangold Estate owns/owned most of the surrounding land and did not allow the land to be sold for growth. By the 1990s the population had dropped to 48 and then down to 10 in 2000. Today the area has gotten a little more populated. Today, the town is on the list of Texas Ghost Towns.
One of my final locations to shoot was an abandoned building in Ringold, Texas. For whatever reason this building caught my eye and I had to stop and take a quick picture. The building looks to be an older building that was repurposed and expanded for business needs over the years. It’s one of the few buildings left in town. The town is one of those small towns on HWY 82 that if you blink you miss most of town as you pass by.
Please Note: This article was originally posted over at my personal site on November 4th, 2021 with plans to cross post it to this site. That article will not be updated.
About the Images
The October 2021 West Texas Road Trip pictures Started Out in the Late Morning that was mostly sunny with my final pictures in the blue hour and gloomy because the storms were coming. Several locations were under cloud coverage or in direct sunlight. I used my Sony a6000 and my Sony SELP18105G E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS lens. The images were then edited with Adobe Lightroom CC and Topaz Labs Denoise AI and Topaz Labs Sharpen AI and DXO NIK Collection