Monday, December 3, 2012

Georgetown, Texas

We have had a busy and wonderful week in Georgetown.  Friday night, after our tour of Austin, we stopped to do the Christmas Stroll and wander through Bethlehem Village.  The town's square had been lit the week before in preparation for the big doings.  Pictured below is the Williamson County Courthouse, built in 1911.
For the Christmas Stroll craft vendors filled the streets and local businesses around the square were opened for holiday shopping.  We returned to the area on Saturday morning to view the Christmas parade and also to see more of the town, which has many fine old Victorian homes.  Some of the shops around the square are also older buildings from around the turn of the twentieth century, as the building pictured below, constructed in 1882.  It is one of the few remaining examples of 19th century city hall fire stations. 
Also, while walking around town, we came upon an older home with an historical marker in front of it.  It was the home of Jessie Ames, suffragette and lynch reformer.  She fought against using lynching of African Americans as a misguided excuse for protecting the virtue of womanhood.  At the time it was known as "chivalry lynching".   In 1930 Jessie Ames formed the Association of  Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching.  In 1918 she also led a group of women to the courthouse to vote for the first time.  It is very fascinating to me what interesting bits of history we discover while traveling around!
Also in the past week we have enjoyed the Lake Georgetown San Gabriel River Trail.  We have had some very nice warm days to spend time hiking and biking out on the trail.
After church on Sunday we toured Inner Space Caverns.  This cave was discovered in 1963 by a Texas Highway Department core drilling team.  They were taking core samples to determine if the ground was stable enough to support a large highway overpass (this is now Interstate 35).   After drilling through forty feet of limestone the bit broke into what is now the caverns.  Interestingly enough, this happened to be on the land of Pastor Laubach, founder of Christ Lutheran church which we had attended that morning.  The cave is not as spectacular as some of the larger ones we have toured, but it still has its own unique crystal formations.  Bats are living in the cave, our guided was able to point out a few of them which were close to our heads.  According to him the type of bat in the cave, the Eastern Pippistelle Bat, does not live in colonies and hence may not get the white nose fungal disease which is currently killing much of the bat population in other caves.  Equally interesting to us is that the cavern is a very important paleontological site.  The bones of a large variety of animals, both living and extinct,  have been recovered from three major areas within the cavern.  Some of the bones are displayed in the visitor's center.  On exhibit are the bones of the Columbian mammoth,  it is hard to imagine a sinkhole large enough for that size of an animal to fall through!                Our day Sunday ended at the Klett Center for the Performing Arts where we heard a wonderful Christmas concert by the Temple Symphony Orchestra.  Baritone singer Robert McFarland  sang a rousing Figaro's aria and O Holy Night.  Soprano Teri Ann Johnson did equally well with Angels We have Heard on High.  I also enjoyed the duet they did together of Gesu Bambino.  Today we are moving on to Houston.

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