Hats Off to Texas

Could some of Cordell Walker’s predecessors have taken on a killjoy role in the eyes of lustful San Angelo, Texas, residents and visitors?

Well, some might argue that was the case. City attractions include Miss Hattie’s Bordello Museum, a one-time house of ill repute that began operation in the 1902, before closing its doors when the Texas Rangers – a law enforcement agency featured in the 1990s TV show Walker, Texas Ranger, which had martial arts guru Chuck Norris playing the lead role of Ranger Cordell Walker – finally shut it down in 1952. It was reborn as a museum in the 1970s, offering an ambience that recalls the time frame in which it served as a bordello.

Diann Bayes of Discover San Angelo says the structure is now a bonafide tourist attraction, with visitors wanting to tour it working their way up steps locals dubbed Stairway to Heaven and then viewing rooms with screen doors in which the female occupants plied their trade.
“It was a very upscale bordello,” Bayes said during a Travel Texas Tuesday gathering in Toronto, adding recent visitors included a group of amused teenage boys who were joking throughout their visit.

Bayes said that unusual attraction is only one of many things that draw visitors to her destination, adding animal enthusiasts will be certain to appreciate the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, home to a huge number of donkeys gathered from far and wide that were at one time mistreated, but now have a restful sanctuary where visitors are free to pet and befriend them.

And the Toronto delegation said that those types of attractions underscore that a Texas visit needn’t be a mainstream vacation.

McKenna Dowdle of Visit Lubbock noted that her city’s native sons included musician Buddy Holly, who famously died young in an accident, but who’s well remembered in Lubbock, home to the Buddy Holly Center, a tribute to him and his group, The Crickets.

“We definitely hold to his legacy,” Dowdle said, adding fall will see the opening of the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, which will feature the likes of Broadway shows and other entertainment.

The Dixie Chicks’ lead singer is also from Lubbock, said Dowdle, adding that Lubbock also has a flourishing Texas country music scene. Texas country music is a a country music “sub-culture.”

Nightly live music is easily found in Lubbock, Dowdle continued, adding Holly’s legacy “really motivates local talent.”

Dowdle also said wine aficionados will be in their element in Lubbock, which has numerous wineries, six of which have won awards. The wineries can be toured and their wines sampled by visitors.

Dowdle added the Lubbock area produces some 90% of all of Texas’ wine grapes.

Those who appreciate craft beers will appreciate time spent in Lubbock, with locally produced suds including one that has a chocolate influence, she continued.

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Pictured are Rita Spizzirri of VoX International, which represents Texas in Canada; Ilona Biro, there on behalf of San Antonio; Rosalyn Hunter of VoX; Debra Bustos, Travel Texas; Amanda Koone, Fredericksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau; Morgan Taylor, TaxFree Shopping Ltd.; Dowdle; Bayes; Celia Morales, Visit Houston; and Samantha Carreira, VoX.