New things in my old town
I lived in Granite Shoals for a while back in 1981. At that time, this quarry was an active operation and, along with Granite Mountain in Marble Falls, was a significant source of Texas Pink Granite – a super popular material for buildings and countertops. The extraction of the granite is also why we have the golden opportunity to walk, run or ride through this recovering industrial hellscape – a glimpse of the earth trying to right itself after being brutally wronged.
Granite Quarrying - And A New City Hall
Ask for what Granite Company used to own this park / Recreation Complex and the tiny little town of Granite Shoals Texas? I couldn’t tell you and honestly I’m not interested enough to look it up. If I did I’d probably just get pissed. Cuz if memory serves the company was located in Canada they bought it out along with Granite Mountain in Marble Falls chopped out all the granite they could and shipped it off somewhere else. Because giant corporate raw materials does that s***.
Leaving behind a wrecked landscape that some enterprising and wonderful people in Granite Shoals Texas turned into a RecPlex with a couple of miles of well manicured walk/bike/run trails. with the corporate headquarters of the Granite Company. Which indeed cracks me all the way up. As this means the 5,142 residents of Granite Shoals Texas have a much bigger and much nicer City Hall than does the 121,054 residents of Hartford Connecticut. That is so … Texas. I have a feeling many of the rooms in that big building are empty. And I plan to go in and check it out soon as can.
The Path Around
It was a path through what used to be the tailings yard and the general property around the quarry, so evidence of that abounds. I’m not going to say that this trail was scenically beautiful. It wasn’t. It did have beautiful and interesting bits. But all in all, it was a grand example of nature recovering after being used to dig resources out. Which is interesting enough in and of itself.
As a proviso to the above about it not being scenic, this was January 28, 2023, so there weren’t any wildflowers yet. Wildflowers would have completely changed the landscape, no matter how shattered it is.
Good use of facilities
All I can say is kudos to the town of Granite Shoals for having this facility available. Granite Shoals cause itself the city of parks. And this is a rare attitude in Texas where things like walking infrastructure and accessible facilities are just not a thing especially in smaller communities the size of Granite Shoals.
The granite operations that had previously gone on there left a lot in the way of warehouses and processing sheds. The city turned these huge buildings to best Advantage by turning them into covered ball courts and etc.
Quarry operations never leave behind a wonderful scenic zone for people to enjoy. They dig out whatever they want and leave a hellscape behind. And that’s just the way it is. In 1890 there was a beautiful granite dome outside the city of Marble Falls comparable to Enchanted Rock outside of Fredericksburg. Now there is an ugly jagged hole in the ground. But we have a beautiful state capital building, I must say. All sorts of folks all over the world got wonderful countertops. Personally, I’d rather have the mountain back, but hey, that’s just me.
As we walked the mile and a half or so that we did on this overcast and gloomy Sunday afternoon, the evidence all around was shattered earth. Cut and partially cut slabs of granite, blocks of granite, and jagged chunks from what was all cut off of the blocks before they were cut into slabs and processed, as well as broken bits of slabs, etc. A rock junkyard.
However, the earth does recover, and it recovers magnificently. I would really like to see this place during wildflower season. I imagine the walk is wonderful. Perhaps next year, we will have a follow-up post on that since we plan to be here during that time.
Room for improvement
My website is about positive happy stuff. So I don’t write negative reviews. If a place sucks, it will just never make it here. I don’t have life energy for unhappy stuff or complaining.
And I am grateful to the city of Granite Shoals for maintaining this facility. Walking infrastructure in this part of Texas is pretty much non-existent and given that this small community has put this much effort into making something for the community to use to enhance their Fitness and get outside. Then I got nothing but three cheers yay team rah rah rah. And where Granite Shoals lacks whatever what other Texas towns have in the form of a, well … town, it makes up for by being the city of parks.
So what could improve? There was a lot of trash. Granted much of it blows in from the highway and the convenience store that’s on the corner. But it still ends up on the trail. I’ve been to something like 35 of the US states. I’m sad to say Texas highways are among the trashiest I’ve seen. There used to be this Don’t Mess with Texas campaign. Somebody needs to bring that back.
Pet leavings on the path. Not really all that unusual but worse than I’ve seen in other places. Come on Granite Shoals residents. You have this nice facility, pick your dog’s crap up. They make these banging little decorative plastic bags that are just for that. Don’t be a that guy.
Interpretation. This is kind of billed as an interpretive park. But we didn’t really see a lot of that outside of that first little kiosk in the beginning. A number of plaques identifying the flora and discussing the history of the town, the process for mining granite, the history of the specific operations there. As well as the story of Granite Shoals acquisition of the property and turning it into the park.
Another fine day in a park
It was another fine afternoon in a fine Park in an area that really doesn’t have a lot to offer in that department. I understand that I’m spoiled, having spent the last 30 odd years in Connecticut where you can’t throw a rock in any direction without hitting a state park, municipal park, wildlife area, open space, nature preserve, or land trust. All of which have miles of trails. And that’s not counting the rail trail system that would pretty much let you go anywhere in the state on a trail without having to walk on a road very much at all. The hard thing there is not finding a place to go walk is deciding which place I want to. So I recognize a shining oasis in a walking infrastructure desert. And Quarry Park in Granite Shoals is that.
Of course even the gloomiest days and places are lit up like the Bright Days of Summer when my walking companion is the marvelously majestic and magnificent M.
Will I be giving this place a revisit? Indeed I will. indeed I will. And if you’re there you should too. Walk the trail, spend some money in a local restaurant, and enjoy everything that the Texas Hill Country has to offer.
No real complaints. This city can blame the loss of a star-and-a-half on residents and visitors who don’t pick up the trash or their dog’s droppings. This place has awesome potential, I expect the town to make it better as they can.