Have You Ever Cruised Texas Avenue?
Sabrina Galloway-Tourism Visitor Outreach Specialist
I’ve often heard my grandparents reminisce about their Saturday nights as teenagers when they would cruise down Texas Avenue, stop in at the concession stand at the Brunson, and enjoy a fun night on the town. My vision of Texas Avenue back then has been pieced together by stories and old photos, until this past weekend when I attended the 2nd Annual Texas Ave. Cruise organized by Russell Hamman and volunteers.
I saw how nostalgia of a key-note part of the past can bring a community together. Long time Baytown natives created this event to not only relive days past, but to show the younger generation what a night on Texas Avenue used to be like. Saturday evening, young and old gathered along the historical street enjoying the classic cars, live music, food trucks, locally created art, and the lighting of the Brunson sign like it’s never been seen before. Vintage cars were parked along Jones and Ashbel Streets with their owners sitting nearby encouraging photographs and itching to talk about their pride and joys. As the sun started to set, my fiancé and I strolled down the rows of classic cars amazed by the unique restorations.
As my fiancé and I ventured down Texas Avenue, we came to a halt in front of the Portrait of a Warrior Memorial Art Gallery. We strolled past the rows of painted fallen soldiers memorialized in art, awed and humbled by the sacrifices they and their families have made. After walking through the art gallery we were able to take a closer look at the canvas’s that were to be auctioned off. Famous Walking Man Bill Callahan was the auctioneer, and I was able to witness my first live auction. I snagged a print of my favorite shrimp boat painting! It was so exciting!
After the auction, we had a time to explore further before the speakers and the lighting of the Brunson began so we moseyed on down to Como en Mexico. I ordered my go-to desert of a mangonada, and Justin went for the delicious homemade cheesecake and strawberry ice cream. Yum!
Then we finished off the night crowded around the 1949 Brunson Theater. Councilman Chris Presley spoke followed by Rufus Honeycutt Jr., artist Ken Pridgeon, and event organizer Russell Hamman. Tunes filled the air and suddenly everyone was witness to the Brunson lighting up like no one had seen before! Cheers were uplifted, a few tears were shed, and memories were made during this iconic event. The next cruise is rumored to be held February 2018. If you’d like to learn more about Baytown’s History, go to our historical blogs here, and check out our Facebook page for historical Throwback Thursdays!
Here are some pictures of the cars cruising down Texas Avenue.
Barb Wooster, Baytonian
Anna Yowell, Tourism Coordinator
Sheree Cardwell, Tourism Marketing Specialist
Grey Scott, City of Baytown Human Resources Manager
John Britt, Historian & College Professor