Friday, February 20, 2015

Aimed at Aledo and Restaurant Review

House on the prairie
From the time I was in junior high school, the Aledo Bearcats athletic teams (football and basketball) were terrifying. This wasn’t because they were so much better than other athletic teams we played, but because those kids were ‘rough’. We dreaded playing away games because we had to ride the bus all the way out to this foreboding town, were likely to lose the game, and might get into some sort of altercation ~ at least that was what we believed when we were kids. In retrospect, both schools were classified as 2A (105 to 219 high school students) with the only difference being that Aledo was a bit more rural than Everman at the time. Now a visit to Aledo is a nice ride into an area of cattle ranches, prairie houses, and historic settings.

As with many small towns in Texas, Aledo (once named Parker Station) began as a railroad
Bryant grain elevator
stop. It was a place for the Texas & Pacific Railroad to refuel before making the swing north to Fort Worth. Eventually enough families, many from nearby Annetta, settled in the area to support a post office, which was established in 1882. The town continued to grow, adding a cotton gin, corn mill, and bank, but didn’t incorporate until 1963. The grain elevator is still in downtown Aledo, and the train tracks still bring in cars to be filled. Two churches made up historic Aledo, the Aledo United Methodist Church which began (1878) in a nearby settlement but was moved to the area with the advent of the railroad in about 1890; and the  First Baptist Church of Aledo, which began there in 1879. Both churches have grown with the town and now occupy large areas just off the main thoroughfare; both also have State Historical Markers. These two churches dominated the religious life of the town until 1999 when the Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish was established with the support of the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Baptist Church
There are two historic cemeteries (and rumors of a third) in the Aledo area. The Hood Family Cemetery can still be seen on the outskirts of Aledo. First used in 1865 for the burial of his wife, Elizabeth, it was established by a South Carolina lawyer, A. J. Hood. The cemetery is located near their first home; the site was originally Elizabeth’s choice for the location of a future house. Her grave is marked with a stone from the nearby creek. The town of Annetta was founded by Confederate soldier, A. B. Fraser, and named after his daughter. The Annetta cemetery had previously been a burial ground, but was turned into a cemetery in about 1882 with the interment of Edgar M. King. The more than 900 graves are a testament to the early pioneers of this area. The third cemetery is mentioned in passing on an internet site as having an historical marker, but I could neither find the physical place nor more information about this marker. It alludes to a cemetery for slaves and other African Americans. If anyone can find evidence about this cemetery, I would appreciate the information so that I can update this blog.
Roadrunner in Prickly Pears

While you’ll see several historical markers in Aledo, my favorite sights are along the road sides outside of town. On this gorgeous winter day, with its high of 71oF (22oC) and slight winds, we got to see one of the famous denizens of the Texas plains: the Roadrunner. This bird was zipping across the highway and into the prickly pears when we caught a glimpse of him; Wiley Coyote was nowhere to be seen. There were also open pastures hosting cattle still covered in their long winter coats munching contentedly on bright green grass, or relaxing on this lovely carpet in the bright sunshine. Among the cattle on these ranches was one of the biggest cows I had ever seen; she stood
Angus cow
head and shoulders taller than the other cattle and occupied the place of pride at the entrance to the ranch.

Giant cow

What we ate…

You never know what sort of food you’ll find when you go into a small town. Since I’ve begun the blog we’ve had good luck ~ and our luck seems to be holding! For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.
Four Carrots

Maria Bonita Mexican Cocina (100 S Front St, Aledo, TX, 817-441-1652) is literally on ‘the
Clockwise from top left: Restaurant, Crispy tacos,
Chips, Flautas
other side of the tracks’ in downtown Aledo. Lots of locals eat here and I can understand why. The chips are homemade with lots of crunch and little grease. The salsa, also homemade, is spicy but won’t take your head off. Vince and I had crunchy tacos that boasted spicy beef with very fresh lettuce, tomato and cheese. I was quite pleased with the heat level, but Vince asked for tobacco to pep up his rice, beans and tacos. Dave had flautas that in his words, ‘wouldn’t offend folks with delicate mouths’. We all agreed that the big hit was the refried beans. These were excellent with a surprising smoky flavor and grated cheese on top. Everything was made onsite rather than coming in pre-packaged. We would make the drive back to Aledo just to eat here, again. Service was good, and when I commented on the freshness of the food and ask what was homemade, I got a huge smile from our waiter; he was very proud of the food that was being served.
Prickly Pear
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