Saturday, January 5, 2013

'Texas Confidential' Travel Resources

Many of the subjects covered in my latest book, Texas Confidential: Sex, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in the Lone Star State have sites that can be visited and this can be a fun way to experience them in a deeper way. Some places have a P.O. Box listed rather than a physical address but in all such cases provide detailed directions on their websites. Some sites do not have an official website and in such cases the best available unofficial site has been provided. Be sure to also keep your eye on this site and Texas Confidential Online for more detailed writeups on many of these sites, related articles, additional photos, and information about events like festivals and annual gatherings associated with them.

The Alamo
300 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 225-1391

“People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds — a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.”

Aurora Cemetery
Cemetery Road (about a half mile south of FM 114)
Aurora, TX 76078

“This site is also well known because of the legend that a spaceship crashed nearby in 1897 and the pilot, killed in the crash, was buried here.” (For more photos, see The Aurora UFO Incident on Michael O. Varhola's TravelBlogue.)

Eastland County Law Enforcement Museum
210 West White Street
Eastland, TX 76448
(254) 629-1774

“Built in 1897, the old Eastland County Jail, contains many artifacts and memorabilia of Eastland County and Law Enforcement history.”

Enron “Old” Headquarters Building
1400 Smith Street
Houston, TX 77002-7311

Enron “New” Headquarters Building
1500 Louisiana Street
Houston, TX 77002-7311

Neither of these buildings, which are connected by a skywalk, is currently owned by what remains of Enron, and the “new” 40-story headquarters was sold off before the company could move into it.

International UFO Museum and Research Center
114 North Main Street
Roswell, NM 88203

In the summer of 1947, a UFO crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, and its remains were subsequently packed up and flown to Fort Worth Army Air Field in Texas. A good first place for anyone interested in delving into this incident is the UFO Museum and Research Center in downtown Roswell; the museum is fun and enlightening and the associated research library is a bona fide public service to anyone interested in doing any sort of in-depth study into the subject.

Jean Lafitte Home
1417 Avenue A
Galveston, TX 77550

All that remains of Lafitte’s home, Maison Rouge, is the foundation, located near the Galveston wharf.

Johnson Space Center
Space Center Houston
1601 NASA Parkway
Houston, TX 77058
(281) 244-2105

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is NASA's center for human spaceflight training, research, and flight control and is a complex of 100 buildings located on 1,620 acres in Houston, Texas. It is home to the United States astronaut corps and responsible for training both U.S. and foreign spacefarers. It is often popularly referred to during missions as "Mission Control".

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park
P.O. Box 329
Johnson City, TX 78636
(830) 868-7128

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park tells the story of the 36th U.S. president, from his ancestors to his final resting place on his beloved LBJ Ranch.

Marfa Ghost Lights "View Park"
For as long as anyone around the west Texas town of Marfa can remember, they have seen strange lights burning at night on the Mitchell Flat, an otherwise unexceptional stretch of desert that runs along U.S. Highway 90. Today, a convenient viewing area has been established nine miles east of town.

Miss Hatties Bordello Museum
18 ½ East Concho Avenue
San Angelo, TX 76903
(325) 653-0112

From 1902 until 1952, one of the best-known and most successful businesses in the Concho district of San Angelo, Texas, was Miss Hattie’s Bordello. Today, it has been reopened to visitors as a charming and informative historic museum.

National Border Patrol Museum
4315 Transmountain Drive
El Paso, TX 79924
(915) 759-6060

“One of our Nation's best kept secrets is the National Border Patrol Museum. Here you can journey through the history of the U.S. Border Patrol from the beginning in the Old West, through Prohibition, World War II, into the high-tech Patrol of today. The museum exhibits uniforms, equipment, photographs, guns, vehicles, airplanes, boats and documents depicting historical and current date sector operations throughout the United States.”

Robert E. Howard Museum
Junction of Highway 36 (Fourth St.) and Avenue J
Cross Plains, TX 76443

"The Robert E. Howard Museum, located in the home of Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian. Howard lived in this home from 1919 until his death in 1936. Howard's home, restored by Project Pride, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and attracts hundreds of visitors each year."

Texas Capitol Visitors Center
112 E. 11th Street
P.O. Box 13286
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-5495

The Capitol Visitors Center is located on the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds in the restored 1856-57 General Land Office building. The three-story castle-like structure reflects the mid-19th century mock-medieval revival architectural style and is the oldest state office building in Texas.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre House/“Junction House” Restaurant
1010 King Street (on the grounds of the Antlers Hotel)
Kingsland, TX 78639-5252
(325) 388-3800

“If the outside seems eerily familiar, then you've probably seen "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" because this 1900's Victorian house was featured prominently in the movie before it was moved to this location from Williamson County in the 1990's.”

Texas Prison Museum
491 Highway 75 North
Huntsville, TX 77320
(936) 295-2155

“The Texas Prison Museum offers an intriguing glimpse into the lives of the state's least-loved citizens. The museum features numerous exhibits detailing the history of the Texas prison system, both from the point of view of the inmates as well as the men and women who worked within the prison walls.”

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
100 Texas Ranger Trail (Interstate 35 Exit 335-B)
Waco, TX 76706
(254) 750-8631

Treue Der Union Monument
High Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets)
Comfort, TX 78013

After the conclusion of the Civil War, the remains of many of the Germans killed on the banks of the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers were relocated to the town of Comfort, where a monument to them was erected. It was dedicated on August 10, 1866, on the four-year anniversary of the Nueces Massacre, and is inscribed with the words TreĆ¼e der Union—“Loyalty to the Union.” It is the only German-language monument to the Union in the South where the remains of those killed in battle are buried and one of only a half-dozen burial sites where a U.S flag—an 1866 version with 36 stars—flies at half-staff in perpetuity. Contact information provided here is for the Comfort Heritage Foundation, which helped to restore the monument.

University of Texas Tower
Texas Union Hospitality Center
24th and Guadalupe (2247 Guadalupe)
P.O. Box 7338
Austin, TX 78713-7338
(512) 475-6633 or 1-877-475-6633

There is also a Tower Garden on the site “dedicated to the memory of all those who died and those whose lives were touched by the August 1, 1966 shooting.”

White Sands Missile Range Museum
Just inside the Las Cruces/Alamogordo Main Post Gate of White Sands Missile Range
Off U.S. Highway 70 between Las Cruces and Alamogordo, New Mexico
(575) 678-8824

“At the White Sands Missile Range museum you can trace the origin of America's missile and space activity, find out how the atomic age began and learn about the accomplishments of scientists like Dr. Wernher von Braun.”