Experiencing Old-Timey Decatur, Texas

Heading north out of Keller, Texas on US 287 you can enjoy a scenic ride and make your way into the town of Decatur, Texas.  Named after naval hero Stephen Decatur, the town was originally set up in 1856 and eventually was a stopover for ranchers and herders on the Chisholm Trail.

The old Eighter from Decatur Sign

By 1882, the railway came into Decatur from Fort Worth.  It was apparently at that time a gambling railway worker was talking about a female from Decatur and coined the phrase an “Eighter from Decatur,” which has stuck around ever since.

Welcome to Decatur sign

Today, the peaceful little town still draws traffic from ranchers and railway folk, but also from tourists trying to relive the olden days…like me.

The old Decatur Petrified Wood Gas Station with the Texas Cafe in the background
Sumoflam at the Petrified Wood Station

One of the really nostalgic points is the old Petrified Wood Gas Station as you come into town.  In 1927 a keen businessman named E.F. Boydston purchased a former feed lot in order to build a wooden shed and a gas station.   Boydston allowed people to stopover and camp there and eventually even built some cabins. As the highway was widened in the mid-1930s, Boydston added more cabins, a garage and other buildings and then made them sturdier by adding petrified wood as a facing on the buildings.    The entire complex was eventually named Texas Plaza.

Texas Plaza Neon Sign in Decatur, TX
No Gas
No Gas

He also built a one-room frame building next door in 1929 and called it the Texas Lunchroom.  In 1935 they renamed it the Texas Cafe and faced it with the same petrified wood to match the other buildings.  It is now called the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Whistle Stop Cafe in Decatur, Texas. Formerly the Texas Cafe
Texaco Gas Pumps at Petrified Wood Station
Here’s a sign you don’t see anymore in the U.S.
Another view of the Petrified Wood Station

Today the complex is a unique example of the early days of automobile tourism.  I recall the 1960s and going to gas stations similar to this.  I really enjoyed the nostalgia.  And Decatur has taken advantage of that as there are two other nostalgic gas stations in town.

Old Sinclair Station – Decatur, Texas
Old Gulf Station in Decatur, Texas
Old Gulf Pump – Decatur
Old Sinclair Pump in Decatur, TX

Have you seen my new book yet? “Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions” is now available on Amazon!

The book is 130 pages of FULL COLOR whimsy and kitsch as I tell stories of my visits to these places all over the U.S. and Canada. Definitely was fun taking these back roads trips to quirkville and I am excited to share them with you in words and photos.

 

I hope you will be able to check out the book or even get it on Kindle. You can order the book here:

SEE NEW BOOK

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Offbeat and Quirky Roadside Attractions Now Available on Amazon!

Yesterday my new book, “Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions” made its debut on Amazon!

The book is 130 pages of FULL COLOR whimsy and kitsch as I tell stories of my visits to these places all over the U.S. and Canada. Definitely was fun taking these back roads trips to quirkville and I am excited to share them with you in words and photos.

Even more exciting was that after a few hours the book was already #5 on Amazon’s Road Travel New Releases chart and #24 on their Travel Reference chart!!

I hope you will be able to check out the book or even get it on Kindle (#14 on the Road Travel chart). You Chang the book here:

SEE NEW BOOK

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My new book is right around the corner!

Getting so close to publishing my second book! I am getting so excited! My good friend Antsy McClain completed the back cover of the book so, attached you can see the front and back cover of the book. Start getting excited because I hope that by October 1 or thereabouts my book will be ready for purchase

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