There Is No Place Like Home

In the closing sequence of “The Wizard of Oz,” young Dorothy, who is longing to return to her home in Kansas, speaks one of the most memorable lines in the story — “There’s no place like home!” Dorothy’s words are true. There is no place like home. Just the mention of the word home does something good to our hearts, especially when we’ve been away for any period of time.
Dime Box HouseOne of the best things about backroads adventuring in the Lone Star State is coming across old homes — long abandoned structures weakened and worn by the passage of time. You won’t find these crumbling old places in our manicured HOA-governed subdivisions. You’ve got to hit the backroads and do some exploring.
Catspring Old HouseWhenever possible, I have to stop to explore these fascinating places once held dear by occupants unknown to me but not unlike me. Every decaying structure stirs my imagination and causes me to ask questions only walls could answer. How I’ve often wished walls could talk!
Catspring Old DFoorEach and every abandoned home share one thing in common — at one time they were all new. These old homes represent the dreams, aspirations, and perhaps the answer to the prayers of whoever built and lived in them. Someone was excited to see the walls go up and the roof take shape. Someone was the first to step across the threshold and the last to move away for good.
Old PorchWho looked forward to returning to these places, perhaps to be greeted by the welcoming embrace of a loved one? Who sat on the front porch watching a sunrise or sunset or the falling rain? Who carved the turkey at Thanksgiving or put the gifts under the Christmas tree? Who anxiously looked out a window, awaiting word about the welfare of a loved who was away? Who repaired the leak in the roof or the loose floorboards?
OPttine House 1907These old homes are the context in which people celebrated life’s ordinary days and holidays. And yet, at some point, the life and laughter moved out and silence moved in. Those connected to these old properties are the remaining custodians of their history. And, unless this history is recorded or passed on, it too will go the way of these old homes.
Catspring House GateThere is indeed no place like home. And the fascinating old and abandoned homes on Texas backroads are definitely worth exploring. If you happen to come across one of these old homes, ask permission before stepping onto private property, take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, enjoy the experience, and respect the home and its history.

6 thoughts on “There Is No Place Like Home

  1. Omar,
    I think I have seen the old house with the 1907 date on it. Is it at Ottine (near Palmetto State Park)? My mom was born in Ottine – interestingly, in 1907. She then grew up on a farm west of Belmont just east of Nash Creek on the Gonzales/Guadalupe County line (south side of Hwy 90A). The house is still there (occupied) and I have often been tempted to knock on their door and let the present owners who I am. Have not been inside the house since the early ’50s, when my grandmother sold the farm.


    • Hi Nolan,

      Yes, the house with the 1907 date is at Ottine near the entrance to Palmetto State Park. This must have been one amazing house in its day. It is still pretty impressive. Thanks for sharing your memories.


    • These are abandoned homes that I have come across on my travels through places like Dime Box and Ottine and other locations on my road trips. I love to stop and explore abandoned homes whenever I can.


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