If you’ve read Love in the Balance then you already know that the Caldwell County Courthouse figures large in many scenes. And how could it not? It’s gorgeous!
Two years ago my friend Shanna and I visited Caldwell County for research in preparation for The Ladies of Caldwell County Series. I drove and she took these amazing pictures.
Lockhart is full of beautiful architecture like the courthouse, the library and this…the old Jail.
Now, Molly didn’t go visit her friend in this jail. The Caldwell County jail in 1880 looked like this…
And notice I didn’t say which friend she was visiting there. No spoilers. 😉
Now you might be wondering about the little town of Prairie Lea. Yes, it is still there and just as quaint as you’d imagine. Discovering how the town was laid out 130 years ago was very simple. The streets are named Church Street, Market Street and School Street. I asked some locals if they knew where an old sawmill existed – the Lovelaces were inspired by the very prosperous Mooney family of Prairie Lea. They’d never heard of the Mooney’s old sawmill. But then I found this…
Yep. There’s a “Mill Street” and it leads right to the banks of the San Marcos River. By the way, I’d never seen street signs like this before. Newer ones were up, too, but a few intersections still had these. Are they common where you live?
We didn’t want to trespass our way to the river to look for the Mooney’s…I mean the Lovelace’s….sawmill, but we did find one nearby in Luling.
Now known as Zedler’s Mill this mill was owned by Merriweather family in 1880 and is contemporary to the story. The City of Luling is doing a fantastic job preserving this landmark and it helped me greatly to understand how a mill works, all the various tasks that could be performed with a waterwheel and how many separate buildings were required. A large mill was a small town by itself.
Unfortunately the waterwheel is not in place yet, but can’t you picture Bailey here, fishing by the dam?
Don’t you love to visit communities that treasure their heritage?
So that’s Molly’s Caldwell County for ya. Of course now Lockhart offers all the modern conveniences you could imagine…and the best Bar-B-Q in the world (just ask them). So if you’re ever in Austin, it’s worth the drive out to Lockhart and Luling to see these rich, historical sites.
And tell ’em Molly sent you.