Heritage, Volume 6, Number 2, Summer 1988 Page: 29
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began to gain population faster than metropolitan
areas for the first time since 1940.
Job openings in non-metro counties, too,
were increasing at twice the rate of those in
metro areas. Studies showed that more
than half of city dwellers would prefer to
live in small towns or rural areas, though
most would like to live within commuting
distance of a major city.
While the happy achievements of the
citizens of Granbury are uniquely their
own, a process has been followed in the
Town Square revitalization which has
many elements in common with successful
redevelopments of this type across the
The Granbury Opera House is the pride
of Granbury. Live family theater is offered
11 months of the year by a resident professional
company. During the summer
months, when musicals are the order of the
day, the company is expanded to take
advantage of the talents of nearby university
drama students who obtain college
credit while gaining professional experience.
The rest of the year finds delightful
melodramas, hilarious comedies, and
straight-from-yesteryear vaudevillian acts
presented on the weekends. Longtime
patrons are known to arrive 30 minutes
early to participate in the sing-along entertainingly
led by Tom Hartford, proprietor
of Rinky-tink's Sandwich Shop and Ice
Cream Parlor. After the show, visitors
congregate at Rinky-tink's where locals
pick 'n grin till late at night.
Built in 1886, the Opera House was
restored and re-opened in 1975 through
the unified community efforts of the citizens
of Granbury and Hood County. The
complete restoration was funded by the
private sector and is governed by a board of
directors. The most elaborate building on
the square, this two-story Italianate theater
has detailed pressed tin cornice and
pediments that crown the roof. Ornate
hood molds are found over the upper windows.
The Opera House is representative
of the Victorian, commercial buildings
located on the old town square.
Many buildings on the square have the
Texas designation as historic landmarks.
The square as a whole was the first in Texas
to be listed in the National Register of
Historic Places. The designation includes
the courthouse and all buildings on the
four sides of the square, extending 150 feet
in all directions.
The application material submitted to
the National Register described the square
as "one of the most complete nineteenth
century courthouse squares in Texas."
Dominated by the Second Empire style
courthouse built in 1893, the square is
lined with one and two-story native limestone
buildings, built mainly in the late
nineteenth century. A few commercial
structures completed the rows of buildings
in the early twentieth century, but they all
conform to the architectural unity of the
"Designed by W. C. Dodson, a Waco
architect, the courthouse was constructed
in 1890-91. The three-story limestone
structure, patterned after the popular
French Second Empire style, possesses a
basic composition that Dodson had previously
used in the county courthouses of
Lampasas (1882), Parker (1895), and Hill
Granbury was the
model for the National
Main Street program.
Local legislation enacted in the early
1970s protects the architectural integrity
of the 19th century structures and preserves
them for the future. The Nutt House
still reigns supreme on the square. Built by
two blind brothers, Jesse F. and Jacob Nutt,
to house their mercantile store, the twostory
limestone structure was one of the
first in Granbury to be restored. This handhewn
stone building was erected in 1896.
After the family grocery story was remodeled
in 1919, the second floor of the building
became the Nutt Hotel. For years the
building housed a collection of small shops
and offices. The Nutt House was reopened
by Nutt family decendant Mary Lou Watkins
in 1970. Famed for its dining room and
turn-of-century guest rooms, in 1971 the
dinner bell rang out again to proclaim the
tempting country fare offering to homefolks
and visitors alike: hotwater cornbread,
buttermilk pie, and chicken and
Located behind the Nutt House is
Wagon Yard Antiques, with 10 huge rooms
filled with memorabilia that will delight
every family member. Ray King, decked
out in suspenders and bow tie, will spin old
favorites from his vintage record collection.
Horse-drawn carriage rides through
the historic district embark from the
Wagon Yard throughout the weekend.
Guests to Granbury will certainly want
to take advantage of the self-guided "Walking
and Driving Tour of Historic Granbury
and Hood County" available at the
Granbury Visitor Center. A simple-to-follow
map of the area along with interesting
commentary and easy to identify sketches
of various buildings and private homes
make the tour a pleasant way to view the
lovely Victorian structures that make
Granbury an enchanting place to visit.
Those who desire to view the interiors
of the private homes may do so during the
Candlelight Tour of Historic Homes held
the first Saturday in December. During the
1987 tour, 14 homes and public buildings
were opened for tour.
A trip to Granbury is like a journey into
yesteryear. It's a place with a special grace
and enchantment all its own. Tucked away
in the central Texas hills, Granbury lies
just a short jaunt from its metropolis neighbors,
Fort Worth and Dallas, a mere 30
minutes southwest of the metroplex on
State Highway 377.
There's something for all who visit
Granbury. It's nestled on the shores of Lake
Granbury, a 33 mile long lake created some
twenty years ago when de Cordova Bend
Dam was built across the Brazos River.
Water sports abound. Sailing, skiing, cruising,
or sun worshipping await the outdoorsman.
U. S. Bass and other groups love to
hold fishing tournaments here.
If lake activities are not tops on the
vacationer's list, feel free to browse
through shops for the unbelievably arcane,
or tee off on golf courses that, of course, are
top flight. The turn-of-the-century limestone
buildings that make up the historic
square house an array of unique boutiques,
galleries, and restaurants.
Granbury is gentle and genteel, gracious
and good-natured, filled with lore and an
allure all its own and with recreational
opportunities that do re-create life. Such is
the stuff legends and history are made of,
and the legend lives on in Granbury where
meaning silently, slowly seeps in while
endearing souls Catch the Country Spirit!
Carol Hillman is the Director of the Granbury
[For more information, contact the Granbury Visi
tor Center, a division of the Lake Granbury Area
Chamber of Commerce, P. 0O. Box 100, 208 North
Crockett, Granbury, Texas 76048, (817) 5735548.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 6, Number 2, Summer 1988, periodical, Summer 1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45434/m1/29/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.