Sunday, May 19, 2002
Open Spaces beckon to visitors
By Larry Zelisko
Reporter-News Staff Writer
to the Wide Open Spaces tour. Our destination is Clairemont, a
ghost town in Kent County, the least populated county in the Big
Country. Our goal is to leave the traffic behind, to get away
from it all.
In keeping with the
theme, start where there are no buildings perhaps one of
Abilenes 26 parks or a lot full of wildflowers.
Take U.S. Highway
83 north to Anson. Make a note to come back to shop in a few months
once a beautification project is completed around the courthouse.
Just after 83 veers
toward Hamlin, flat red fields surround you. These are cotton
fields, holding the hopes of farmers that the rains will fall
at the right time, that the price of cotton will be high and that
a bumper crop is on the way.
Youre in the
country now, off the four-lane highway. Traffic is lighter. Youre
more likely to meet pickups many of them diesels or duallies.
And the drivers are more likely to raise a finger or hand off
the steering wheel in a friendly wave.
Still, this is too
busy. To press our quest to get away a step further, take Farm
Road 1835 from Hamlin to Old Glory. Here, passing through the
Swenson Flat Top Ranch, the road is empty except for dove.
At Old Glory, stop
at the only business and buy tickets for a quilt to be raffled
on the Fourth of July. The raffle is the only gambling in town.
You cant buy a Lotto ticket because the isolated communitys
phone lines cant handle computer connections, said Joe Castro,
owner of the Mercantile of Old Glory.
On to Aspermont and
you may think youve reached the middle of nowhere
but youre only at the edge. Clairemont to the west or Guthrie,
home of the Four Sixes Ranch, to the north make Aspermont look
we reach Clairemont. It is deserted as expected.
The Kent County Show
Barn is still used, but other buildings are abandoned. At the
center of what was the town is the old red sandstone courthouse.
Nearby is the jail, clearly not a place any one would want to
stay. The bars on the windows and cages inside the small building
Exploring the old
jail gives a sense of desolation that makes you want to get back
to it all.
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Reporter-News Online: Local News - 10 Great Drives Texas Monthly Missed
Stories, special section celebrate Big
Texas Monthly didnt see fit to include Abilene and
most of the Big Country in this months cover story, 10
Great Drives. So, today we celebrate ourselves. And well
laugh about all those city-slicker magazine readers who wont
know about the great steaks, sophisticated museums, drug store
cherry sodas and friendly people of our area.
Abilene, prettiest town Ive ever seen."
Open Spaces beckon to visitors
modern technology meet west of Abilene
furry critters make drive a joyous occasion
Hilton began empire of hotels just down the road
creators memory lives on in Cross
down Highway 6 offers antiques, tasty treats
visual feast waits for motorists taking southbound route
offer local color on excursions to small Texas towns
Escarpment gives clear view into West Texas history
from pool to lake teems with welcoming lures for the traveler
"50 Great Things About
the "50 Great Things About Abilene" section in Adobe
Acrobat, click on page 1, 2,
3, 4, 5,