Saturday – 03/23/13
A cold front from the north dipped down into northeast Texas this weekend, plunging temperatures into the low 50’s during the day. We had rainy weather throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, making for some cold and damp dreary days of camping. Fortunately, our trusty electric heater kept us warm and cozy in our Casita trailer.
We decided to take a tour of Sulphur Springs, Texas today. Downtown Sulphur Springs is a quaint old town square that has been wonderfully restored. The interior of the lovely landscaped and brick paved square is anchored on one corner by an amazing courthouse that was entered into The National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The exterior surface of the courthouse has been restored with a beautiful shade and pattern of black and pink speckled granite stone. The streets surrounding the square have been restored with brick pavers that complement the exterior color of the courthouse. As the visitor enters the Town Square from any direction, their attention is immediately drawn to this magnificent courthouse.
Another interior corner contains a wonderful memorial to U.S. Military War Veterans from Hopkins County, Texas. Seven massive white marble pillars, approximately five feet high by ten feet wide by two feet thick, are seated on a base and topped off by granite stone two feet square by ten foot wide. The granite stone has the same speckled color and pattern that is used on the courthouse. The pillars are positioned about ten feet apart forming a semi-circle. Both sides of each pillar have the names of the war veterans inscribed on their surfaces. A flagpole is positioned in front of each pillar, with each pole flying the flag of a particular branch of the U.S. Military Service with the first pole flying the flag of the state of Texas. The flag of the United States is proudly flown on a flagpole positioned in the center of the square.
Very unique features of the town square interior draw the visitor into two spaces. One side of the Town Square contains a chessboard inlaid into a concrete surface. Movable chess pieces approximately two and one-half foot high are positioned on the chessboard. Another side of the Town Square contains a checkerboard inlaid into a concrete surface. Movable checker pieces approximately one and one-half feet in diameter and one foot thick are positioned on the checkerboard. The positions of the game pieces on both game boards appear as though the games are actually in progress.
An unusual feature we have never seen in our visits throughout the United States to other town squares is the restroom facilities the Town Square of Sulphur Springs possesses. The visitor to this town square is presented with a vision of two buildings, approximately six feet square by seven feet high. Both are constructed with a reflective mirror-like material on their outer surfaces, including an access door. Upon opening the door, the visitor discovers there is a functional stainless steel flush toilet and stainless steel wash basin inside, available for use by the visiting public. One building is located adjacent to the chessboard and the other is located adjacent to the checkerboard. What a novel approach to a public comfort station!
The various businesses surrounding the square are comprised of sandwich shops, boutique shops and antique shops. It was so refreshing to have visited a revitalized and what appeared to be a thriving town square.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.