• Part 1: Mullin, Texas. The Best Time I’ve Had In A Long Time!

    558827_371227732972266_1134680349_nWhat do you get when you send $15 and two 30-something best friends to Mullin, Texas, on a regular ol’ workday? Give up? Okay, okay… I’ll spill the beans. I’m quite sure the suspense is killing you. You get a DANG good time. Seriously. I had the time of my life in Mullin, Texas.

    Christy and I set off towards Mullin at about 11am last Thursday. I was certain I’d never been there before. Heck, I didn’t even know which road would get us there. Honestly, I was not too keen on this road trip, but we needed to go to Mullin for a couple of reasons. Christy was planning to do a little write up about the Duren Hotel there (which is SO beautiful and peaceful, by the way, but I’m going to leave it to her to tell you about that). And, I needed to go to Mullin to meet this week’s cowboy.

    Anyway, as we head towards Mullin, my tummy is growlin’! This girl does NOT skip meals. Our conversation goes a little something like this:

    Me: Umm… I’m starving. I hope we’re planning to eat at some point?!?
    Christy: Yeah… I figure we can eat at that little cafe there in Mullin.
    Me: Have you ever been there?
    Christy: No.
    Me: (I look at her like she’s risking her life by taking me somewhere she knows nothing about.) Have you heard anything about it?
    Christy: Nope.

    Hmmm… okay. Well, here’s the start of our adventure. Sure, I love good food. Sure, I’m the kind of girl that carries hand sanitizer at all times. Yes, I’m the girl that uses a paper towel to open a public bathroom door. Germs really bother me. So, when you go to a wee itty bitty little town without a gas station and one cafe, you really don’t know what you’re gonna get, right? This could push me way, way outside of my comfort zone. But, when I put myself in a mind set that this is an adventure, it’s much easier to momentarily dismiss my OCD.

    1546406_631335346902059_547432590_nAfter a quite enjoyable little jaunt through a winding country road, we roll up to Sandy’s Cafe. It’s a little ol’ metal building with oodles of charm. Really. If you can appreciate really quaint, honest to goodness, down home kind of settings, you’ll appreciate Sandy’s Cafe. I quite like that sort of place because they’re pretty few and far between these days. They are what breathes life and character into these little southern towns. They cannot be recreated in the city. You can’t force it, you can’t copy it… it just happens.

    In we go. It’s still a tad early for lunch, so there’s just a couple tables full of people. Of course, as is custom in small towns, they all turn to look at who’s just walked in the door. A gentleman sitting at a table near the door reading a paper turns and obviously knows we’ve never been there before. He greets us and tells us we can sit anywhere. We make our way up a little ramp into the other room & choose a table.

    I order a hamburger and fries. Christy orders a hot ham & cheese. When the sweet waitress delivers our food, I’m pretty sure we both looked at my plate, and our jaws dropped. “I can’t wait to see you try to eat that,” Christy laughs. Yeah, that burger was enormous! It was a very generous, very obviously hand formed patty on a jalapeno sourdough bun. And, the fries? The fries are what caught my eye. Golly, I wish I’d taken a picture of this plate, but, at the time, we weren’t expecting our trip to Mullin to turn into a crazy fun day and a story on TexansUnited.com.

    Anyway, the fries were also hand cut. They were big ol’ imperfect slices of skin-on fried potatoes. Dang, those babies were good! I managed with my oversized burger despite feeling awkward as heck. Christy’s hot ham & cheese was piled with thick cut ham. It really looked delicious, and she seemed to quite enjoy it. Ha!

    It just so happened to be Christy’s birthday, so I’d told her I was planning on treating her to lunch. I get to the register, and the lady gives me my total. “It’ll be $11.84.”

    I respond instantly, “Ummm… are you sure that’s right?!? That’s so cheap!” She just kinda looks at me. I quickly do a little math and realize, wow! That IS right. I also realize I’m such a big spender treating my best friend to an $11 birthday lunch. Sheesh.

    We pay, and we’re on our way. Next stop: The Duren Hotel. As neither of us had been there before, we weren’t quite sure which way to head. So, we pull off on a side road so Christy could reference her map… okay, okay… her smart phone. Ha! As she’s sitting there trying to figure out where we’re going, I am instantly distracted by the old building across the street.

    MullinTexasDowntown904JLKinseyI hop out of the car and walk over. It’s old. It’s dilapidated. It’s abandoned. There are bright yellow “no trespassing” signs on the doors and windows. The entire front of the building is all windows, and most of them are broken. I peer in and see aisles several of which still have product on the shelves. Christy and I just look at each other. We step back and look up at the faded old sign. It’s a grocery store. But, it’s a grocery store that just seemed to close the doors and lock up one day never to open again. So strange. There’s a stack of Cut-Rite Wax Paper on the shelves. Styrofoam bowls. It’s kind of eerie how the store still exists but has been untouched in years.

    And, then we peer in the windows of the adjoining building. It was an auto parts store. And, it’s state is really similar to the grocery store. Just… closed. It’s bizarre, really. This is a mystery to me. How does that happen? How do things just up and close one day?

    From there, we look across the way and see a really cool old garage. It sits kind of caddy corner on the intersection of the two (relatively) scarcely travelled roads. The whole length of one side still bears the big, bold letters spelling “GARAGE.” And, scattered around the property are old VW Bugs amongst other old cars. Glancing through the windows of that place reveals that those walls still contain old machinery applicable to the business.

    photo-2

    It was such a beautiful day. The sky was so very blue. The sun was warm. And, we were enveloped by the silence and mystery of this little town. We speculated much. We appreciated the treasures that were, unfortunately, sitting untouched and unwanted in these buildings. We simply enjoyed the company of a good friend in a small town on a beautiful day. We became engrossed, together, in it’s history.

    With countless questions, Christy spots the tiny little post office across the way. “We should go in there and ask some questions,” she says. I follow her across the street and photo-3into the post office. As we walk through the door, the old boxes are staring us right in the face, and we instantly look at each other in disbelief. This little town is becoming more charming and rich with history and mystery at every single turn. Wow. Those boxes were truly beautiful.

    After I snap a couple images on my phone, we approach the fella working there and start in with questions. Poor guy. When he finds the space to interject, he lets us know that he’s filling in from Goldthwaite and knows nothing. Ha! Okay. Whelp… I guess the questions will go unanswered for now.

    And, that… that was the extent of our trip to downtown Mullin. Old businesses, old buildings, old roads that once bustled with life and activity but are now abandoned and lifeless… it intrigues me and saddens me at the same time. And, so my love affair with Mullin began.

    This cannot possibly be enough to equate to “the time of my life” as I stated in the first paragraph, can it? No, no. It was just a piece of the pie. To read the next leg of the adventure, check out Christy’s piece about the Duren Hotel.

    **I did not take all of these images. The one of Sandy’s Cafe and the old auto parts & grocery store building were taken from Google Images.**

    About Amy Coffey

    Amy is a Texas based 30-something living the life in Comanche, Texas: population 4,259. Who says you have to live in the big city to live your dreams? Her soul’s hankerin’ to create has nurtured her love of writing, photography, design, daydreaming, and, oh, a billion other creative outlets that have caught her fancy at one time or another. Amy's crafty, clever, and conversational writing style is riddled with her quirky internal dialogue, not to mention raw emotion, introspection, and depth.
    This entry was posted in Down The Road, Just Texas! Presenting Bloggers From Texansunited.com. Bookmark the permalink.

    16 Responses to Part 1: Mullin, Texas. The Best Time I’ve Had In A Long Time!

    1. Nathan butler says:

      Interesting article. A little lacking in substance though. If you would like to truly capture the charm of mullin, I can help you out. My great great grandfather settled the area in the1800s. His name was john dan Chesser. He was the local judge, preacher, and sort of hotel. Most of the people in the area are related to me in some form or fashion. My mom is a Chesser, she grew up there, we still own land there. You will find a historical marker there relating to john dan. If you are ineterested in expanding the article, let me know. I can open up a whole world of info to you. It is my understanding that mullin was at one point considered as a potential location for the university of Texas, or so the locals will tell you.
      Sincerely,
      Nathan butler
      Attorney at law
      3253741922

    2. larry says:

      Did ya’ll check out hoop and holler ranch west of town.It’s an old dance hall.Lots if .memories there

    3. Joy says:

      I grew up in this small town! My dad was the Postmaster from 1987-2002 when he retired. My freshman year of high school we had 63 kids K-12. I love this little town!

      • Sandi Steele says:

        My mom’s graduating class was 7 I think class of 1963. I loved the celebration Mullin had in 1976. I still have several pictures.

    4. Camille Bryant Plagens says:

      You really need to visit with an older local to get more history. (Perhaps Paul filled you in.) The town came from Williams’ Ranch, a stop on cattle drives. At one time it was larger than the neighboring Brownwood (supposedly the outcast were sent there.) The buildings in Mullin had stories of “dance halls” with upstairs. (The stairs were still there.) Slowly some buildings have been torn down for their lumber, rock, & decorative tin) There are stories of fights where men were knocked from the top floor as westerns we have seen. The history has great stories of pioneers’ encounters with bears, wildfires, and indians. I invite you to visit the Mills County Museum and let Robbie Kirby (hopefully you will meet her, a walking history book) tell you some of the stories and please invest in one of the books by Hartel Blackwell, sold at the museum or Goldthwaite Eagle Newspaper. The history will help bring Mullin to life and add more meaning to what remains. (3 churches and community center exist in good order, A matter of priorities!☺)

      • Sandi Steele says:

        Camille, you are correct. Mom (Leonda Locke Smith) has so many stories of growing up in Mullin as well as stories from her father’s and his brother’s business. It was quiet the town from what she tells me. I believe I still have one of the books you are talking about. –Sandi

    5. Sandi Steele says:

      My mother grew up in Mullin. The picture of the Garage in your photo belonged to my grandfather (Herman Locke). I have a lot of family from there. My parents were married at the Church that has since been torn down. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary a few months before he passed away in November. They moved to Goldthwaite where my mother still resides. If you need more history, please let me know. We have many pictures and stories.
      Sandi

    6. Timmy Spinks says:

      My dads family is from Mullin Texas. We still have family reunions there each year. There are only cousins left now but as I’m told they still have a great time each year catching up and visiting.

    7. danella orum says:

      My granddaddy Eli Edmonson had a gas station and home where the Baptist church is now. I remember going to drug store across the street to get a coke and candy bar

    8. J Holder says:

      Amy,

      I enjoy your writing very much. My great-grandparents lived in Mullin and raised 5 kids there — the town is still very much alive in our hearts and memories. That closed grocery store you spoke of was THE PLACE for visiting grandkids to walk into with spare change and buy junk food. My cousin is the mayor, or was last time I checked…I’m not sure if she was elected or just assumed the title but I’m glad someone is keeping an eye on things. I’m related to the Calder family there, and the Williams clan, and the Chessers…heck, if you don’t have a cousin in Mullin you’re probably not from Texas. The little family cottage is still there, and the departed family members are just down the road in the local cemetery. It is sad that things change, but the memories are priceless. While some of us that spent time growing up there live in different places now, Mullin will always be home.

    9. Gayla Ethridge says:

      Growing up in Mullin in the 50’s and 60’s was just the best! So many good stories to remember and tell of the bustling town that it was back then. So sad to see it the way it is now.
      Great article!

    10. Sharon (Burkett) Fleming says:

      Wow! This was so exciting. I was born and raised in Mullin and got my first whipping in second grade from Mrs. Green! lol My Gramps (Edgar Burkett) was born one night there was a fight at the motel….country boys and city boys and removal of stairs also entered into the story. I believe Gramps’ dad (Joe Burkett) was the sheriff at that time. Loved your story and also Part 2!!!! Thanks!

    11. W.Jean Pafford Kirby says:

      I grew up in Mullin, have 3 sisters and we all graduated from Mullin High School. Our family ranch is 10 miles southwest of Mullin in the community of Ridge,Texas. My three sisters still own the family ranch. Mullin was a wonderful little town to grow up in, everyone knew their neighbors and had fun times together. I now live in Lometa, Texas about 35 miles from Mullin. It is a small town, too. I have two sisters who still live in Mullin.

    12. Charles Eilers says:

      I enjoyed all the comments above about Mullin. I grew up on a family farm near Trigger Mountain.
      I attended Mullin from the 1st thru 12th and graduated there in ’58. I just love all of the old area and it brings back lots of memories. I remember some of the folks you have written about.

    13. Amy Coffey Amy Coffey says:

      I’m so glad all you Mullin folk found your way to this article & have shared some of the history with me! I really would love to know more about the little town… I’d love those mysteries to be solved for me.

      Now I know of some great books to reference for Mullin’s history. Thank you all! :)

    14. Jerry says:

      Here is the Mullin web site – History:

      http://www.cityofmullintexas.com/History.html

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