We are overdue a Wednesday Wanderings travel that is close to home, don’t you think? Well, how about Mason, Texas? I am rather smitten with Mason, and have been ever since my husband surprised me years ago with a day trip to see fields of yellow flowers. There were fields that were a sea of yellow like I had never seen before, or since.
Mason is a small Texas town on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, and is the county seat of Mason County. The current Courthouse was built of granite in 1909 and is the centerpiece of the square which was recognized by Texas Monthly as one of the best town squares in Texas.
Mason is also known as the “Gem of the Hill Country” because the largest blue topaz found in North America was discovered in Mason County.
Mason has many things to offer the traveler, but, I am going to go out on a limb here, and bet that most of us have a greater familiarity with the literary work of one of Mason’s residents, Fred Gipson, than we have for his hometown.
Fred Gipson was a native of Mason and authored the 1956 novel Old Yeller. The dog in the novel, Old Yeller, is a stray dog adopted by a family living on a ranch in Texas. The story revolves around the relationship that forms between a boy and this dog as they deal with the trials and tribulations of ranch life in Texas. The novel won the Newbery honor and was adapted into the Walt Disney Studios film of the same name.
If you visit the M. Beven Eckert Memorial Library just south of the square, you will find a bronze sculpture in Gipson’s honor. The sculpture of a young boy and a dog evoke visions from the pages of the book, and it transports you for a second or two to those times in life where you appreciated the time spent with a canine companion.
I know Mason is nicknamed the Gem as a nod to the Texas Topaz in the area, but it’s a gem that sparkles for so many other reasons for me. If you visit, don’t forget your camera!