Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Winkelmann: The Town that Really Never Was

Yes, I have an obsession with old, abandoned, broken buildings.

I have driven past this "development," named for the developer, now deceased, for thirty years on the drive from Austin to Houston, specifically Brenham to Hempstead. 

The developer's idea was to start a quaint tourist town for shopping just outside Brenham, but it never got off the ground. I remember seeing some of these move on to the property just at the edge of Highway 290. The buildings weren't in good shape then. Many were never "ready" with power boxes not hooked up. Many do have newer roofs. What an enormous project to ready and returned that many old buildings. Could you imagine the foundation repairs? 

Molly and I visited my mother in law in Austin, played around in Austin and did some shopping, then decided to stop and pull the camera out on our drive home again. 

She's used to being my subject because I get bored of buildings and like to bring a little life to these. We didn't go into any of the buildings, there are no trespassing signs, but also because of the wood rot! The wooded board walks are scary. 

I heard this property is under bank control with the historical society having a stake in what happens to it. Winkelmann is a very dreamy, interesting place, but, sadly, I don't see it ever having a rebirth.


  1. That was a really interesting 'walk through a town that never was'. Enjoyed :-)

  2. Mary
    Was trying to find your email was going to send you this funny. You left me a comment today, husband was asking me, "which Mary?" left comment. I was explaining how I enjoy your blog and how much we have in common; "Mary and I both had our last babies in our 40s, have children who have left home, and Mary and her husband are renovating/building like we are" as I'm saying all this he is scrolling through your blog, sees these pics and says "Gee they've got their work cut out for them" Laughed so hard and explained to him this isn't your property, just some 'random' buildings.

    1. Hi Erin,
      Oh my! That is funny, and thank God we didn't take that on.

      This developer bought over a hundred buildings through his career, not all made it to the site. Talk about a dreamer! I think we would have gotten along. I would have love to had heard his stories. The little house we had to remove that was condemned by the insurance company wasn't in as bad a shape as some of these. It was a hundred years old too. :(

      Oh well, we do have enough to do with our one house!

      I should put my email somewhere on the blog, I'd hate to miss out.

      Thanks for all your support, Erin. It is fun knowing your family is out there and all we do have in common.


    2. Another thing funny,
      When our oldest was in college in Galveston, we missed him and thought we should buy this place to renovate:
      A haunted orphanage, 15000 sq ft. Crazy, but gorgeous.
      Haha, thank goodness we never had the money to do it. :)
      But it's always fun to dream.