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 December 20, 2001
Talk In Texas - Newsletter

 A Tale Of Two Texas Cities

A new commuter train called the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) now joins the friendly 'rival' cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. Historically, Fort Worth was built on the wealthy cattle trade, while Dallas made its mark as a finance and commerce center. Now the TRE offers both locals and tourists luxury public transportation between "Cowtown" and the "Big-D." For the first time in over 60 years, people can commute along the 34-mile route for as little as $1.00 U.S! Visitors no longer need a car to see all there is to see in these two very diverse urban centers. For example, they can start their day in true cowboy style by exploring "Where the West Begins" in the historic Stockyards, then get civilized at one of the world class museums in Fort Worth before heading east to Dallas for a round of golf at one of the award-winning courses or indulging in some shopping and dining downtown. The TRE also offers a route to and from the Center Port/DFW Airport Station where a free shuttle service will take riders to the airport.

In Texas, Even Jesus Wears Cowboy Boots

In Paris, Texas, deep in the town's Evergreen cemetery stands an elaborate statue of Jesus in a traditional robe, bearing a cross and wearing cowboy boots. Willett Babcock, a wealthy Texan with strong religious faith and a strange sense of humor commissioned the statue in the late nineteenth century. The monument now stands directly atop his gravesite. The statue has gained such notoriety among visitors that the Paris Chamber of Commerce has named it as one of the most visited attractions in the city, and recently added it as an attraction on city tours. For those who may be wondering, Paris, Texas is also home to a steel replica of the Eiffel Tower that stands 55 feet tall and is topped with a 10-foot wide red cowboy hat!

Texas Streets Are Paved With Gold

In 1936, when Texas highway US 81 and parts of US 287 were being built, workers discovered a glittering substance in the sand that was being used to make the concrete mixture for the roads. It was discovered that the sand contained gold dust particles. Tests concluded that the value of the gold was approximately 54 cents per ton. The owner of the sand pit decided that it wasn't worth the cost to extract it and as a result, the roadways in Montague County are literally paved with gold! It is estimated that 39 miles of the roadway contains gold dust valued at $31,000 U.S. It is rumored that over $250,000 U.S. worth of gold was found in the sand pit, which means whatever was not used for the roads was used in the concrete structures that surround the area.

Experience Texas History

An historical sensory journey awaits you at the new Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. With the 200-seat Texas Spirit Theatre (the only one of it's kind in North America) you can experience The Star of Destiny show, a unique multimedia presentation with cutting edge technology and spectacular special effects. The audience can actually feel the rain and wind from the Galveston hurricane of 1900, shake in their seats from the stampeding herd of cattle, and squirm with the thought of a rattlesnake slithering under their feet. Other effects include explosions of gushing oil fields, gunshots and smoke from the battle of The Alamo, and the rumble of a NASA rocket blasting off.

The museum also houses a 400-seat IMAX theatre and 3 floors of exhibits outlining The Lone Star State's eventful history. Visitors to the museum March 2, 2002 through to August 18, 2002 should not miss the temporary exhibit Sunrise In His Pocket: The Life, Legend and Legacy of Davy Crockett. A gallery of pictures, memorabilia and artifacts will be on display to honor the American legend. The Texas Spirit Theatre will also feature an interactive one-man show where audiences can join Davy Crockett on a virtual buffalo hunt through the unsettled Texas countryside and follow him to the battle of the Alamo where he met his demise.

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum opened on April 28, 2001 and has already received more than 400,000 visitors.

Gruene Hall

Forget about BBQ and pecan pie, treat yourself to an authentic Texas meal of bratwurst and strudel instead! Deep in the Texas Hill Country a strong German vein runs through the town of New Braunfels. Established in 1845 by German settlers, New Braunfels soon prospered into a successful farming and ranching community where German heritage and traditions are still prominent today.

Of special interest is the Gruene Historical District. Once a town of its own, Gruene (pronounced "green") was established in the 1850's but after the Great Depression, it turned into a ghost town. Today, the Gruene Historical District has rejuvenated the area and invites visitors to experience its legacy through distinctive architecture, an art gallery, ice cream parlor and a rustic beer hall. The Gruene Hall is actually the oldest dance hall in Texas. Established in 1878, Gruene Hall was re-opened in 1975 and has become a popular spot to see up-and-coming musicians. The 6,000 square foot space remains faithful to its original design and nostalgic pictures from the past adorn the walls. Some of the famous performers that have graced Gruene Hall include George Strait, Garth Brooks, Chris Isaak, The Dixie Chicks, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson and Jerry Lee Lewis.