Friday, August 5, 2016

Running a Bluff in Bluff Dale

Parties are even more fun at a winery, and the Bluff Dale Vineyards is just were we went to
View from the patio of Bluff Dale Vineyards
celebrate the birthday of a dear friend.  The vineyards were opened in 2004 by David and Teresa Hays. This is a lovely setting to taste their unique blending of Texas-raised grapes that are used in their award willing wines. Although the temperature threatened to reach the century mark, we were comfortably cool sitting on the patio listening to a band and sipping wine. The little town of Bluff Dale, just down the road, sits very near the North Paluxy River in northeastern Erath County. Originally known as Bluff Springs by pioneers who settled here, Bluff Dale became the town name with the establishment of a post office in 1877. In the late 1880s two events occurred that spurred the growth of the tiny town, and both had to do with the railroad.

In about 1887 the Fort Worth Rio Grande Railroad came through and decided that Bluff Dale was where they needed a maintenance stop for their trains. This stop was to provide
Old Public Water Well
water, so the railroad folks dug a well. The well was public, so it was not only available to the townspeople, but also to travelers and people driving cattle to market. The Old Public Water Well is still in use today, as it the Greenwood Saloon that is no more than 50 feet from the well and was built in the same year as the well was dug.

Since not only cattle, but people, had to cross the Paluxy River, in 1891 an iron bridge was
Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge
constructed, the Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge. Although identified as a suspension bridge, this is actually a cable-stayed bridge, and perhaps the oldest of this type in the US. A cable-stayed bridge has cables which run directly from the tower to the deck, rather than with suspension bridges that have the cables that support the deck suspended from a main cable that is anchored at both ends of the bridge. The cable-stayed bridge is best for distances longer than cantilever bridges, and shorter than suspension bridges. Unfortunately this historic bridge has been allowed to fall into ruin, so although you can see the bridge you can’t walk across it. There appears to be some effort to restore the bridge, but the limiting factors are money and interest.

With the railroad came a larger population, bringing banks, stores, churches and schools. The Bluff Dale Tabernacle was built in about 1906 for community events as well as
Bluff Dale Tabernacle
weddings, funerals, school graduations and revivals. It also served as the meeting spot for several denominations of worshipers over the years. The Tabernacle is basically a pavilion with places to sit and room for whatever the entertainment might be at the front. While it was constructed for use by a smaller population, it still serves as the place for graduation ceremonies in Bluff Dale. And the population of the area continued to grow with 680 residents in 1935 to slightly more than 2,000 people living in this little bedroom community by 2007. Almost all of these folks commute to some larger town for their employment.

Three and one-half carrots

The party was catered by Rooster’s GuitarBQ (2650 Camp Crucis Ct, Granbury, TX
Brisket, ribs and chicken
76048, 615-596-1202) and the food was very good. They brought a fresh green salad, as well as the traditional slaw. The beans were sweet without being cloying and the mac – n – cheese was creamy. All of the meats looked good, but I chose the brisket; it was tender enough to cut with a plastic fork. Dave chose the chicken and the ribs. He liked them well enough that he went back for seconds. The barbecue sauce came in hot or mild and both were very tasty. For dessert we had our choice of a fresh watermelon or key lime pie; many folks took both. The watermelon wasn’t quite a sweet as I’d have liked, but the key lime pie had a good flavor. If their restaurant serves food this good, we’ll be driving to Granbury more frequently.  For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

Greenwood Saloon and Dance Hall 

©2016 NearNormal Design and Production Studio - All rights including copyright of photographs and designs, as well as intellectual rights are reserved.