Sunday, October 20, 2013

“Where BIG Things Happen”

That’s one of the mottos (we’ve seen three, so far) of Littlefield, TX.  Far as we can tell they don’t happen in October.  Since we like it quiet, we’re okay with that.

Our latest free Texas city stay was in a BIG area, though.  That gave everyone staying there lots of room to spread out.

Don’t get us wrong.  Things do happen in Littlefield.

Did you know that the most westerly piece of debris (a Thermal Protection System tile) from the February 1, 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster was found in a field here.

  This is not it.  At least we don’t think so.  We’ve sent it off for confirmation.

Although they do not have a Carnegie Library, Littlefield does have a library.  Currently, it is located in the original Post Office building from 1940.  We should clarify that it isn’t just located in the building.  It is located IN the building having been melded around or incorporating pre-existing structure.

The safe (don’t know why a post office had one) is still there with the original instructions dated 1940 on the door.  It is now an ‘Employees Only’ area.

The original customer windows (they look like bank teller windows from old westerns) are still there too.

They line the wall dividing the children’s area from the computer area.

     Sculptures created by William Mozart McVey in 1940 can be seen.


The history and significance of these sculptures (which are made out of Tymstone, by the way) is something quite special.

The Works Progress Administration (also known as the Work Projects Adminstration or WPA) was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency.  We have heard of and learned much about the Civilian Conservation Corps but we were unfamiliar with this other program which reportedly was even further reaching. 

Between 1935 and 1943 this division of Roosevelt’s economic relief plan employed more than 8.5 million people who built bridges, roads, public buildings, public parks and even airports.  It has been said that almost every community in the United States had a new park, bridge or school constructed by the agency.

One of the ideas that came out of the W.P.A. program was a sub-division called ‘The Section’ or The Federal Art Project.  The Federal Art Project created over 5,000 jobs for artists and produced over 225,000 works of art (sculptures, paintings and murals) for the American people and led to the creation of the National Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Because its focus was to make art accessible to all people and Post Offices were visited by nearly everyone most of the murals and sculptures were placed in them.

The second of two located at the Post Office / Library.

It is said that the New Deal arts projects made a lasting impact on American cultural life. They did not portray the harsh social or economic realities of the time but rather celebrated historical events and courageous acts.  The ones that remain today stand as a reminder of a time in our country’s history when dreams were not allowed to be destroyed by economic disaster.

We would have explored more but the librarian broke code and yelled something to the effect of “That’s it!” or “We’re  done!” to indicate that they were closing.  So, we hightailed it outta there.

Did we tell you that the town of Littlefield is a literal one stoplight town?   And by literal we mean ask anyone for directions they’ll mention the light, followed by some form of a statement that let’s you know “there’s only one in town” because there really is only one in town!

This is it.  If we’re being picky then they technically have more than one stoplight.  But they are all at the same intersection.  You couldn’t say Littlefield was a one intersection town though because they are not.  So, here we are back where we started.  Toe-may-toe… Toe-mah-toe.  

And there is more to this little town of big things happening.

                                 Waylon Jennings lived in Littlefield.

You know how most towns have “Welcome to such-n-such” painted on their water tower?  Well, we were greeted with a one that announced…

                       Water Tower
  If we didn’t already know where we were, we’d have probably felt pretty lost.

       These are his boot prints on display at the Waylon Jennings RV Park.

                   Self described horseshoe also on display at the park.

We had heard that Waylon’s brother ran a liquor store in town that housed a collection of memorabilia.  We didn’t plan to go because 1) we don’t drink liquor and 2) we felt bad that we could not name even one Waylon Jennings’ song (though we were pretty sure he sang country given our location). 

But, as we were walking down the road to take a photo of what we thought would be a single stoplight hanging in the middle of the street, we spied…

Waymores Liquor, Beer and Wine (a.k.a. home to Waylon Jennings memorabilia)!

The universe had stepped in and there was no avoiding it now.  So, in we went.

        We only snapped one photograph because we were busy taking it all in.

There’s a lot of neat stuff crammed into the back room of this liquor store.  Check it out if you’re ever in Littlefield.  It’s easy to find.  Take Waylon Jennings Blvd to the only stoplight-intersection in town and there it is.

Additional random fact:  Until 1926 the world’s tallest windmill was located in Littlefield.  It toppled over and was replaced with one a few feet shorter.

There’s actually more that we learned and can say about this small Texas town but we’ve got to end this post at some time.  So, here’s what we have.

Littlefield would normally be considered ‘out of the way’ by most folks and not given much thought in terms of its offerings.  It’s a small town.  A small, fading town in some respects.  A walk down main street or a good drive around will show you that they’ve had better days.  Despite this it is a thriving community of friendly people and a pleasant place to spend some time.

It seems we may just have stumbled upon a diamond in the ruff.

These folks sure thought so…


                      We’re not ready to put down roots so onward we go.