On Wednesday (May 22, 2019), a wildfire in the Big Bend National Park reportedly burned an estimated 1,200 acres of land. The fire also claimed two historic structures in the Castolon Historic Area of the Park. The buildings included the barracks building/La Harmonia Company Store, and the Castolon Visitor Center. (HERE is a news article if you are interested)
I realize the threat of wildfires is always a real concern, particularly in this area of Texas. While this fire could have been so much more destructive, somehow the news hit me hard because the loss happens to include one of my favorite places to visit in Big Bend.
CASTOLON HISTORIC AREA - STEP BACK IN TIME
The Castolon Historic Area is/was like a step back in time. The first clue is the lone pay telephone (sans telephone) located at the perimeter of the area. Seriously. When was the last time you saw a pay telephone? I would venture to say, we have a generation who has no point of reference, nor grasp the concept of what, or why a pay telephone would have existed. Ah, the days of land lines, and rural “party lines” where multiple households shared the same phone line with absolutely no privacy. I do NOT miss those days, but somehow seeing that pay phone makes me reflect, and serves as a reminder to be grateful for the equivalent of a computer/phone/camera/”radio”/organizer the size of my hand tucked safely in my purse (or backpack as the case may be).
The interior of one of the buildings also included this slice of nostalgia. Can you just imagine standing in line to purchase a few postage stamps, visit with the post master, and check your box for mail. Again, once upon a time, there was a day where no text messages or emails existed, and folks actually wrote letters, thank you notes, notes, sent post cards… WHAT?!
But, as I sifted through the 4,000+ images I have taken over the years of visiting the Big Bend area, I was on the search for my favorite part of the Castolon area… the machinery. Yep. I have never claimed to be a girlie-girl. I could (and have) spend hours photographing the equipment on display at the Castolon Historic Area. The equipment is primarily related to farming cotton in the area, and, while I have a connection to that aspect which could be a whole blog post in and of itself, I always felt the details of the equipment were sculptural in nature. To me, they are worthy of being a piece of fine art. Those details… can I say, OOH LA LA!
I am grateful the fire was not worse, no one was injured, no one lost their home… but, I still feel a little guilty about being hopeful a few of the built-to-last farm implements might still be standing proud and ready for a few more cameras pointed their way - someday soon perhaps.