TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
 
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map

Counties
Texas Counties

Texas Towns
A - Z
Hotels
Texas | Architecture | Preservation

Unique Buildings of Texas

THE BATH HOUSE
THAT WOULDN'T DIE

Luling, Texas

by John Troesser
This modest, yet noble structure sits on the recently overdrawn banks of the San Marcos River just south of Luling. It has a lot to be modest about, being a simple child's drawing of a building, now without a roof. The only thing now noble about it is the inscription BATHHOUSE carved above the door.
Bathhouse in Luling Texas
The inscription once again sees the light of day
Photo by John Troesser, 2000
Designed to be the center of river activities in Luling, the bathhouse was given to the city on the occasion of Mr. Davis' big picnic. Edgar Davis' picnic will be featured soon, along with the story of this interesting and generous personality. He had the bathhouse designed to withstand future floods of the capricious San Marcos. The reinforced concrete later proved to be the structure's insurance policy against demolition.

Mr. Davis' plan: while waiting for air-conditioning's arrival, the bathhouse would be where teenagers would meet, mothers would cool their heat-prickled infants and young men would show-off their swimming prowess to young girls too concerned with their weight to notice.

Unfortunately, Mr. Davis also provided several thousand bottled drinks to wash down the tons of barbecue, and many of the empty bottles were broken when thrown into the river. Enough broken glass was produced to cut the feet of bathers for generations to come.

So the generous gift sat unused for years, with plenty of time to reflect on what would've been its salad (and watermelon) days. The decorative iron grating that once matched the golf course clubhouse was cut away by torch for the scrap drives of WWII. Defaced by graffiti and worse, a decision was made by "the powers that were" to raze the structure.

It was to be made a part of the San Marcos' banks, dozed by a bull or it's mechanical equivalent. But our plucky little pillbox would not go gently into that rubble pile, and withstood the best efforts of diesel power and steel blade.

The people who play golf are used to aggravation, but eyesores they can't stand. So they came up with a plan to bury the bathhouse. It was done in no time at all and soon looked like a Mayan pyramid (to a lesser diety). Weeds sprouted on the mound, but they were green at least and sometimes they appeared healthier than the course's landscaping.
Chinaberries sprouting from the windows
Photo by John Troesser, 2000
Enter Mother Nature. The river rose and raged and some of Luling's best sandy loam is now covering parts of DeWitt County and flounders in the Gulf.

Like the man condemned to hang, but set free when the rope broke, is Luling being told that they should preserve this sturdy gift from Luling's past? If plowed into the dirt, will the Roman-looking inscription confuse future archeologists? Will historians think early 20th Century Pre-Schlitterbahn Lulingites advanced for building it? Or will they think (very) early 21st Century Lulingites barbaric for razing it?

As water use becomes more restricted, we're sure the ingenuity of Lulingites will devise a flood-proof stairwell to facilitate access to the river from the little Bathhouse that asked for a second (and third) chance. Besides, the broken glass has been swept away or at least has been worn smooth by now.
Luling jTexas bathhouse
The recently unearthed bathhouse
Photo by John Troesser, 2000
Luling Texas Zedler's Mills retaining alls and San Marcos  River view

Looking away from Zedler's Mills at the site of "Texas' biggest picnic."
Photo Courtesy Sarah Reveley, March 2006

While Luling's larger population prevents its original use; it could still be a concession stand or a headquarters building for a revenue-producing non-profit organization like the Lion's Club tube rental operation in San Marcos.

We'll keep our preservation-minded viewers apprised.


John Troesser

Luling Texas Zedler's Mills and spiilway

After nearly four decades, Zedler's Mills is revealed from Nature's green cloak.
Photo Courtesy Sarah Reveley, March 2006

Related places and stories:

  • Zedler's Mills in Luling

  • Pixilated in Port Arthur & Reincarnated in Luling:
    Alfred Stillwell and Edgar Davis


  • Luling, Texas

    Our appreciation to the Caldwell County Genealogical Society for their assistance.
    November 2000

  • Related Topics:
    Texas Architecture
    Preservation
    Small Town Sagas

    Columns

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Home »
    TEXAS TOWNS & COUNTIES TEXAS LANDMARKS & IMAGES TEXAS HISTORY & CULTURE TEXAS OUTDOORS MORE
    Texas Counties
    Texas Towns A-Z
    Texas Ghost Towns

    TEXAS REGIONS:
    Central Texas North
    Central Texas South
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Texas Panhandle
    Texas Hill Country
    East Texas
    South Texas
    West Texas

    Courthouses
    Jails
    Churches
    Schoolhouses
    Bridges
    Theaters
    Depots
    Rooms with a Past
    Monuments
    Statues

    Gas Stations
    Post Offices
    Museums
    Water Towers
    Grain Elevators
    Cotton Gins
    Lodges
    Stores
    Banks

    Vintage Photos
    Historic Trees
    Cemeteries
    Old Neon
    Ghost Signs
    Signs
    Murals
    Gargoyles
    Pitted Dates
    Cornerstones
    Then & Now

    Columns: History/Opinion
    Texas History
    Small Town Sagas
    Black History
    WWII
    Texas Centennial
    Ghosts
    People
    Animals
    Food
    Music
    Art

    Books
    Cotton
    Texas Railroads

    Texas Trips
    Texas Drives
    Texas State Parks
    Texas Rivers
    Texas Lakes
    Texas Forts
    Texas Trails
    Texas Maps
    USA
    MEXICO
    HOTELS

    Site Map
    About Us
    Privacy Statement
    Disclaimer
    Contributors
    Staff
    Contact Us

     
    Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved