Focus on the Backroads » Photo Journeys

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    There is approximately 50,000 miles of Interstate Highway in the United States.....filled with cars traveling at an average of 75 miles an hour. Several years ago I began driving the BACKROADS throughout Texas and the surrounding states - discover many fascinating places and people. While traveling "off the beaten path" I have tried to capture the spirit of these forgotten roads in photographs.

    After sharing some of these journeys with folks I have met I've been encouraged to document my travels.........I invite you to FOCUS ON THE BACKROADS!

    "To often......I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen"
    Louis L'Amour


In 1858 George Marnoch, a Scottish immigrant, purchased the land that would later become the site of Helotes, Texas.  His home served as both a stop for the stagecoach and a post office for local cowboys driving cattle from Bandera to auction in San Antonio.  In 1880, Arnold Gugger bought a portion of the land and built his home and a general store.  Around this store Helotes began to grow.  In 1908, Gugger sold his property to Bert Hileman, who opened the towns first gas station and dance hall.  The towns population began to decline and he sold his holding in 1919.

As World War II ended John T Floore managed the San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre.  In 1945 he purchased  land outside of San Antonio and created the Floore Subdivision, with plans to make it the center for the small community of Helotes.  He and his wife operated a Red and White Store.  Red and White Stores were a chain of independently owned food stores that operated in small towns throughout the United States.   In 1942  John T.  Floore’s Country Store was opened.  It was not just a store but a Dance Hall and Cafe that also offered meat and groceries.  It quickly became know for its world famous tamales, exceptional homemade bread, distinct Texas menu, cold beer, and of course great music by some of the biggest names in the industry.

Some of the artist that have performed at John T. Floore’s Country Store include Bob Wills, Ernest Tubbs, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Elvis, Dob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, George Jones,  Waylon Jennings, Dwight Yoakam, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl King, B.B. King, Little Richards, and of course Willie Nelson.   Floore’s is known as the birthplace of Willie’s musical life – in his early years he played there every Saturday night.  Floore’s continues host the current Texas and Red Dirt Stars.

Floore’s has a stage inside and seating that can accommodate 400.  Also outside there is a stage and what John Floore billed as “the largest patio in the Southwest”.  The outdoor area will accommodate up to 2,000.

When entering the building you immediately enter the ultimate TEXAS atmosphere.  From the ceiling there hangs boots, cowboy hats, and wagon wheels.  On the walls there are framed pictures and concert posters of famous country singers and actors.  Through the room are signs – many of them clever quotes that were found in a trunk after John Floore’s died in 1975.

In the March 2001 issue of Texas Monthly, John T. Floore’s Country Store was listed as one of the top 50 Things Every Texas Should Do.  Please remember you don’t have to be a Texan to visit!  In 2006 they received a Texas Historical Marker.

When visiting the San Antonio area remember the famous words of General Sam Houston  REMEMBER THE ALAMO……..but don’t forget to visit FLOORE’S COUNTRY STORE!


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Sisterdale, Texas is located in Kendall County, in the valley of Sister Creek.  It is 13 miles North of Boerne, Texas.

Sisterdale, Texas was settled in 1847 by Nicclaus Zink, a German surveyor and one of the many freethinkers that settled in the area.  During the middle 1800 many freethinkers immigrated from Germany to the Texas Hill Country with the hopes to settle and live without the interference of government and church authorities.  Most freethinkers who settled in this area were  very well educated and respected scholars in their native country.

In 1851 Sisterdale received a post office.  Eventually a school house , general store, a cotton gin, and a factory that made cypress shingles were built.  The cotton gin, which was built in 1885 has been restored and is the home of the Sister Creek Vineyards.

It is not know exactly when when the Sisterdale Dancehall was built.  Some of the structures on the site date back to the mid-1800s.  There are remains of the pre-Civil War stone block fort with narrow angular openings that allowed gunmen to fight off indian attacks and to protect the folks from return fire and arrows.  These have the same designs used in Medieval European castles.  Originally the Dancehall was a Opera House, dance hall, and community center.  As in other early Texas towns the Sisterdale Opera House was the center of social activities for the towns folks.  Both the post office and general store stood next door.

A visit to the Sisterdale Dancehall is a must for Texas Road Warriors.   The dancehall sits on the banks of the West Sister Creek.  When you walk into the 3,000 square foot dance hall you step into an important part of the Texas historical past.  It is amazing to step on the original dance floor that was built out of 300 year old long leaf pine.  You then look up at the amazing wood ceilings.  On the grounds there are century old oak trees and of course the old weathered tin roof.

Sisterdale Dancehall is available for private functions and is a very popular wedding site.  During my recent visit I had the pleasure of meeting a soon to be bride and her father.  The future bride had a smile on her face that lit up the hall.  She said that her dream since she was a little girl was to be married at the Sisterdale Dancehall.  To think about 170 years ago Nicclaus Zink had a dream and established a settlement and a new life at the exact location that this young girl today shares that same dream……..Dang DREAMS DO REALLY COME TRUE!

We’ve got to have a dream if we are going to make a dream come true…….Denis Waitley



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There are days when we have to celebrate the music  that we listen to when we FOCUS ON THE BACKROADS.  Well yesterday just happened to be one of those days.

The Ranch 95.9 and Masha Milam Music presented their annual Texas Country Music Festival, celebrating the radio stations birthday, which features some of todays biggest names in Texas country music.  RANCH BASH is an annual  one day music festival held this year at Panther Island on the banks of the Trinity River, just north of Downtown Fort Worth.  Past festivals have featured Stoney LaRue, Kevin Fowler Jack Ingram, Wade Bowan, Casey Donahew, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Josh Abbott, Reckless Kelly and many more.

This years line up was no disappointment!  Featured were many new and established artist.  Included were Preston Scott Band, Shane Smith and the Saints, Charla Corn, Prophets and Outlaws, William Clark Green, Green River Ordinance, (THE GREAT) Ray Wylie Hubbard, Bob Schneider, Cory Morrow, and Roger Creager.   This line up proved once again that Texas is the music capital of the world!

Ranch Bash 2014 was a fantastic event and the good news is if you were unable to attend – MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR NEXT YEAR.  It was a day of fun in the sun (90 degrees in October -only in Texas).  Next year join us again as we celebrate the artist and their music that are the soundtrack of our travels down THE BACK ROADS.

Ranch Bash 2014 is summed up with a quote from a Texas Music Legend; George Strait……..I AIN’T HERE FOR A LONG TIME,  I’M HERE FOR A GOOD TIME.



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Kendalia, Texas is  located about 25 miles northeast of Boene off FM Raod 473.  The  town was named after George Wilkins Kenall who established  a sheep ranch in the area in the 1840s.  In 1883, Kendalia was first surveyed by D. W. Grady for an early settler, Carl  Vogel, who built a gristmill there.  In 1895 the Curry’s Creek post office was transferred to Kendailia.  By 1900 the town had a general store, a post office, a drug store, and two churches.   Like many of the other towns and communities in the area Kendalia’s economy  was and continues to be dependent primarily on ranching.

Kendalia Halle was built in 1903.  Like many halls built during the period Kendalia Halle was the “place to meet” for entertainment,  family gatherings, and to enjoy live music and over course dancing.  Folks would travel from all over the area spending the weekends visiting, eating, dancing, and family fun.

The red fir lumber used to build the hall was shipped by train from Oregon arriving in Boerne and hauled by horse drawn wagons to the construction site.  Kendailia Halle stands today as a remarkable example of the Texas Dance Halls that were built in the 1800s.  It’s dance floor has been voted the best in Texas

A visit to Kendalia Halle is a step back to a simpler time.  There are regularly scheduled dances at the hall featuring popular Texas artist – at the door you will be greeted by current owners Lee and Judi Temple.  For more information and schedules please visit

For more information about Kendalia Halle and other Texas historic Dance Halls visit

Way down texas way they play fiddle music every night and the dance hall rings with laughter till the early morning light………….A SLEEP AT THE WHEEL: “Way Down Texas Way”

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Twin Sisters, Texas is located in southern Blanco County.  It is named after a pair of hills that can be seen for miles that served as a landmark for early settlers in the area.  In 1854, Joel Cherry homesteaded in the area.  Cherry was from Tennessee (we Texans consider Tennessee a very important ally – REMEMBER THE ALAMO).  In 1856 settlers petitioned and received a post office.  By the end of the 1850’s, Twin Sisters was a major German settlement.

Max Krueger settled in Twin Sisters in 1875.  Krueger owned a grist mill, cotton gin, and one of the three general stores in the town.  In addition to these business ventures he served as the post master and the justice of peace.  In 1869  he opened a dance hall and bowling alley,   these became the entertainment center for the folks in Twin Sisters and the surrounding area.  Max named these Twin Sisters Hall and Bowling Alley.  A major two year drought hit the area in 1894 forcing many of the local famers and ranchers into bankruptcy.  Krueger had to sell out because of the hard economic times.  In 1951 the Twin Sisters Post Office closed and moved to near by Blanco, Texas.  In 1967 the bowling alley burned to the ground.

Through these many years, the Twin Sisters Dance Hall remains.  This hall is considered the oldest Dance Hall in Texas.    Twin Sisters Dance Hall  continues to host a public dance every first Saturday of each month as well as special events through the year.  These dances feature live music and ALL ARE INVITED!

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of these monthly dances at Twin Sisters.  It was a great experience – people of all ages,  young and old, enjoying live music and dancing the night away.  I sat and watch (in my Nikes – little advise wear cowboy boots) as generations of families and friends delighted in  each others company.

When you dance, you purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.  It’s to…..ENJOY EACH STEP ALONG THE WAY               Wayne W Dyer

For more information on Twin Sisters Dance Hall and scheduled events please visit the following websites:        this event is schedule at Twin Sisters on Saturday December 6th  – mark you calendars to FIDDLE AROUND AT TWIN SISTERS!


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