Take a Quick Tour of the Shop

Monday, October 20, 2014

Explore Texas History -- Visit a Local Museum

A Trip Down Hwy 36 in Coastal Texas

Mertie's This and That is just outside Brazoria, TX. Brazoria is on Hwy 36, a small highway that runs to the coast of Texas, ending in Freeport. At West Columbia, Hwy 36 is about 22 miles west of  288 and joins with it in Freeport. Hwy 288 runs through the middle of Brazoria County from Houston to Freeport. Today's post is about 4 museums within easy travel up Hwy 36 from the beaches in Freeport, TX.

 The Historical Museum in West Columbia
Columbia Historical Museum, West Columbia, TX

The Columbia Historical Museum concentrates on the founding families of  East and West Columbia, which happen to be one of the first ports of this area and the first capitol of the Republic of Texas, respectively. Often, volunteers at the museum will be available to answer questions and lead tours.

Open Thursday -- Saturday
10:00 - 2:00 
and by appointment.
This picture is used from the West Columbia, TX city website.

Be sure to visit the pocket garden next to the museum, take a look at the turn of the century school behind the museum, and wonder at the ancient oak tree in the field across the street (east) from the museum parking lot (in the rear). Head east down the street to the parking lot behind the Prosperity Bank and visit the replica of the first Capitol of Texas. Yes, West Columbia was the first. If you have time, visit Varner Hogg Plantation. Go East in front of the Prosperity Bank to the stop light and turn left. The plantation is at the end of this short road, a bit past the city park and pool.

From Hwy 36 take Hwy 35 east towards Angleton for each of these locations. 

 Two Museums in Brazoria, TX

Brazoria Historical Museum, Brazoria, TX
The Brazoria Historical Museum  is a block west of the highway on 202 W. Smith St. The museum depicts history of the area from 1800 to the present. It houses its collections in 4 themed rooms and outdoors in the side yard. 

Open Monday -- Friday
 9:00 -- 4:00 
Tours with docents on Wed 10-3 and Sat 11-3 
979-236-1154, or 979-236-0241 or 979-248-1150
The community attends the Santa Ana Ball in costumes of the 1800 farmers, businessmen and their wives and wears the costumes for other community activities from time to time.

In front of the historical museum is the tribute to local fallen heroes, the veterans. Like others in Brazoria county, the memorial is a black stone wall carved with the names of these heroes. Surrounding the memorial wall are black stone benches on a rock terrace. There is, of course, the American flag flying above all. These Texan tributes to our soldiers are beautiful and moving, no matter in what town you find them.  The artist that designed the black stone wall gifted us all with an enduring symbol that moves us to tears, fierce pride, and patriotism.

Brazoria Valley Railroad Society Museum, Brazoria, TX
Also in Brazoria, just across the fenced yard with its display of old farm building and statue of a  bull is the Brazoria Valley Railroad Society Museum

Open Saturday
 10:00 -- 4:00 

It displays old tools, railroad lamps, and model trains. It also has a large diorama of the Brazoria area from the 1950's in which a model train makes its run. The members of the society craft additions to the diorama and model trains and such to be added to the other displays.

 Freeport, TX, has a Museum within Minutes of  Quintana Beach

The City of Freeport Historical Museum  is 3 building complex with a beautiful two-story blue-green Victorian building on the corner. There are large spaces in the museum that can be rented for private meetings and parties. I was told by a Freeport resident that a section of the museum was an old Masonic Lodge that had been well maintained. Among the many exhibits, there are children's displays called "Shaking Hands with Other Lands," and "George the Dinosaur,"  and Dow Chemical's "The History of Magnesium."

City of Freeport Historical Museum, Freeport, TX
In addition to its permanent displays, this museum rotates exhibits and features art and antiques owned by the local community at various times. It has close ties to the museums of Lake Jackson just north a few miles on 288.

Tuesday - Friday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday: 1:00-4:00 pm
City Hall at 979-233-3526

Across the street is the lovely 2-block-long city park with its old oak trees, palms, fountains and benches. It is a town square between the lanes of E. Park St.  Around and near the square are antique shops, art galleries and pubs.


Part Journey down Memory Lane, Part Lesson in History

There is Beauty in the Artifacts of Bygone Days

Pelicans, pier, lighthouse ceramics

I have often felt that walking into Mertie's This and That was like visiting a museum. It is a feeling I get frequently when I visit antique shops. Locating old items to use as designed or add to home decor is a nostalgic exercise. I often find items I remember from my mother's homes--she made many because my dad was in the Navy and moved us around a lot, an my grandparents' homes. The memories that flood through me are always welcome.

The First Capitol of Texas was West Columbia.

Proud of its heritage, West Columbia built a replica of the first capitol building and set it in a city park and pocket garden.  It is in the grounds of the city hall complex behind Prosperity Bank, one block off Hwy 36, as I mentioned above. Don't forget to go inside. It is furnished much as the capitol was originally.

Replica of the First Capitol of Texas


Monday, October 6, 2014

Stuff for Sale: Recycle, Repurpose, Refurbish, Redesign, Reuse

What do the Shabby Ole Barn, Garage Sale Junkiee, Ramblin Rose, Farmhouse Salvage and Mertie's This and That have in Common?

Quite a bit, actually, do these 5 shops have in common. They all resale stuff, from furniture to kitchenware; from solid metal to softest fur or leather. These 5 shops all sell vintage items, even antiques. But the source of their items varies a bit.

Red chair, antique side table,
framed print and silk flowers
at Mertie's This and That
Merite's This and That shops garage sales and estate sales to find quality used items. Often, vintage and antique items make their way to her store. For Mertie, the items she locates must be in quality condition when she buys them. She will do a little sprucing up, but nothing major. She has been known to bond glassware items into an artistic plant pot or cake tray, to replace a screw or hammer a new nail in place, to polish old wood with Old English. However, for Mertie, what she buys is what you get.

Not so for the ladies at the Shabby Old Barn or Garage Sale Junkiee. These ladies gamble on the future beauty and usefulness of old items. They will strip a wooden piece and restain or repaint it. They will paint designs on it. They will combine pieces into something totally new. They will also sell items "as is."
These chairs and side table are at Farmhouse Salvage

Now the owner of Ramblin Rose Antiques gets her items in a totally different way. She travels to antique markets for most of her stock. The owner of Farmhouse Salvage rips her items from the buildings she helps salvage. Each of these stores will buy from a few local individuals who bring items in to sell. Farmhouse Salvage also carries repurposed and redesigned items from local artisans on consignment. Ramblin Rose will buy only if the item is salable and offered at a price that makes it profitable to sell.

Ramblin Rose is ready for Christmas with Santas, Dolls, and Toys
The owner of The Shabby Old Barn will rip items from a room that she is redesigning or redecorating. Other sources are known to her, but not to me, except for the next source.

That source is sometimes the Garage Sale Junkiee. The Garage Sale Junkiee is part of a team of estate sale ladies. These ladies frequently place their clients items in a massive yard sale that opens days early for local antique and resale dealers and as scheduled for the general public. In fact, they are holding a large yard sale just outside Brazoria, to the southwest on Hwy521, later this week. (See flier below.)

And if that weren't enough, Garage Sale Junkiee buys the contents of abandoned storage units.
A few Wooden Items in The Shabby Old Barn

Bottom line, among the inventory carried by each of these shops are gems, treasures of bygone days that are still perfect for giving that polished look to a home or office; of creating that look you seek whether it be shabby chic, rustic, country casual, elegant or highly sophisticated. You might not find the look of punk rock or heavy metal, but the comfort of yesterday is easily reproduced. And at a couple of these places will be the occasional old, non-running car or pick-up truck. In fact, Ramblin Rose currently has a turn-of-the-19th-century car battery in its original wood casing!
Garage Sale Junkiee recently placed the items in shop in Rosenberg

The last 2 thing in common between these 5 shops that I will mention now is that they are all featured in the website Antiquing Brazoria County (see Directory for addresses, phone numbers and a quick link to website's shop page for each store) and they are all located near highways that will take you from Houston to the Texas Coast. Visit these shops on the way to the beach, whether it be the beaches of Galveston Island or Quintana and Surfside via Freeport, TX.

Be sure to visit for hours, phone numbers, and addresses.