Sunday, May 22, 2011

While spending a month in Lubbock, TX...

Several years ago we watched an episode of Texas Country Reporter featuring the Silent Wings Museum and always wanted to see it. The museum, in the old airport terminal, tells the story of the U.S. Military Glider Program and its role in World War II. The majority of American glider pilots received their wings at South Plains Army Airfield (SPAAF).

This plaque was presented to the city in 1997 in memory of the WW II glider pilots. I hope you can read it okay...

After watching a short film with actual WW II footage, we toured the museum which includes three extensive exhibit galleries, a research library and the theater. This is one of only a few restored CG-4A Gliders still in existence. Can you imagine piloting a glider, made of little more than plywood and painted canvas, into enemy territory? Many of those glider flights ended in a crash landing earning them the nickname "One way tickets". The pilots and the soldiers they transported truly were brave individuals.

The interior of the glider, which delivered ground troops, equipment, (including jeeps and artillery), even pack mules behind enemy lines. The nose of the plane lifted up to load the equipment, etc.

This flight jacket on display was worn by a pilot from Meridian, TX.

One of several posters displayed in the museum.

The Douglas C-47, known as the Skytrain, was primarily used as tow plane for the U.S. glider.

We also visited the Buddy Holly Center which is housed in the old Lubbock train depot building. The center includes the Buddy Holly Gallery, Texas Musicians Hall of Fame and an Art Gallery. The BH Gallery, shaped like a guitar, features a permanent exhibit on his life and music, including his Fender Stratocaster.
The photo above is of The West Texas Walk of Fame across the street from the Center, which honors musicians, singers, songwriters, actors and artists from the Panhandle Plains and West Texas. Some of the honorees in addition to Buddy Holly are Roy Orbison, Mac Davis, Waylon Jennings, Bob Wills and Tanya Tucker.

A week or so ago we drove over to Slaton, a dozen miles southeast of Lubbock. This downtown mural showing the history of Slaton was recently restored.

The 1912 Harvey House near the RR tracks in Slaton is now a Bed and Breakfast, Museum, Events Center & Texas Historic Landmark. Scottish immigrant Fred Harvey created the Harvey House chain in 1876, partnering with the Santa Fe railway, which built the restaurants and delivered food and supplies. Harvey provided the equipment, management and hospitality staff, including hostesses known as Harvey Girls.
Locals saved the building from the wrecking ball in 1989, buying the Harvey House and beginning the twenty year process of restoration.

Slaton Fire House built in 1928, is still in use today. My Dad was a Denton fireman for over three decades, so I thought I'd post this photo. At least there are no pics of old gas stations this time!

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