Day Twenty: Temple to Taylor, Texas

November 1, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Sat. – Nov. 1.

Left Troy and had muddy roads, got stuck four times.  Drove through Temple, Little River and got to Bartlett and stayed all night in our car. – Lena Bevers

The introduction to Route 778 in the The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920 describes the roads from Waco to Austin, Texas: “Most of the road has been gravelled but heavy rains have washed the lowlands leaving several dirt stretches which become mires in wet weather.”1  Lena and Herbert Bevers and their children became well-acquainted with the mires on this route.  They got stuck in the muddy roads four times on November 1, 1919.

Due to the terrible condition of the roads they were only able to travel about 32 miles.  After leaving Troy, they came to the large town of Temple.  In this town, the headquarters of the Santa Fe Railroad’s Southern Division was located, so the train depot was much larger than other depots in smaller towns.  The Santa Fe Depot currently houses the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum.  My mother and I toured the museum, which elicited many questions in our minds about Willis and Arthur Bevers experience as they traveled with the Bevers’ cattle and horses from Watertown, South Dakota to Raymondville, Texas.

The Santa Fe Depot in Temple, Texas was built in 1910. (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
The Santa Fe Railway established the Santa Fe Hospital in Temple. The center building above was built in 1907 and the wing on the left was built before 1919 when the Bevers passed through Temple. The wing on the right was finished in the late 1920s. (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
A postcard of the corner of Avenue A and Main Street, Temple, Texas, about 1915 (Courtesy of TXGenWeb Project2)
The First Methodist Church in Temple was completed in 1914. (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
A unique way to preserve the architecture of historical buildings – the front of a 1912 building and the one beside it are supported by steel buttresses, but the roofs have been removed and the interiors of the buildings have been turned into a courtyard; Temple, Texas. (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
A mural on the side of a building in Temple, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)

Upon exiting Temple, we took Texas State Highway 95 south to the small towns of Little River and Bartlett.  This highway roughly follows the route that Herbert and Mr. McElhany were on one hundred years ago.

(Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
The only building we could find in Little River, Texas, that looked old enough to have been in existence when the two-car caravan went through the very small town. (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
When we turned the corner onto Main Street, Bartlett, Texas, we were delighted to see such a well-restored historic street. (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
This is probably one of the banks that is noted in the 1920 Blue Book at the four corners in Bartlett.3 (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)

Evidently, there were no accommodations available in Bartlett, because Lena wrote that they stayed in their cars for the night.  There currently are no motels in Bartlett either, so we drove further south to Taylor, Texas to check into a motel we had reserved online.  We arrived in Taylor about 3:00 PM.

Notes:

  1. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920, vol. 7 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1920): 652, https://ia601208.us.archive.org/26/items/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7.pdf.
  2. Corner Avenue A and Main, Temple, Texas (ca. 1915), https://sites.rootsweb.com/~txpstcrd/Towns/Temple/TempleMain_AveACa1915.jpg.
  3. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920, vol. 7: 653.

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