November 19, 2011: My 65th Birthday Party
November 5-9, 2011: "Mark Twain Tonight!" in San Antonio
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November 11, 2011
A Trip to Tyler, Texas and
the Tyler Rose Garden


For a while, we've been kicking around the idea with Steve that on one of his days off we ought to drive out to Tyler, Texas, and go to the Tyler Rose Park; both Fred and Steve like roses and plants, so it seemed like a good idea. I, of course, would just be along for the ride. On a Thursday when Mario had to work, that is what the three of us did.


At the Tyler Rose Park

We drove over to Steve and Mario's house about nine-thirty in the morning and picked Steve up, then went around I-635 to pick up US 80 to Terrell- the same road we use to go to Florida.

We took that east, through the merge with I-20, and all the way to the Tyler area. Our GPS took us off the Interstate onto Texas 110 that angled down to Tyler, and we eventually picked up US 69 south to Tyler.

US 69 goes down into Tyler from the west, and there is a bypass that goes down the west side of town. According to the GPS, that is the way we needed to go, and we did, eventually turning left onto West Front Street

Once on West Front, we just followed the signs to the Rose Park, finding it a mile or so down on our right. There didn't seem to be a lot of people here, and we had no trouble parking and going inside the Rose Garden Center and then on into the gardens. Before you enter the building, though, you might want to learn a bit about the Tyler rose "industry" by reading the marker outside the building. Once inside, I went through the building to the observation patio, from which point I could look out over the entire Rose Park.

On the aerial view at left, I have marked some of the points of interest that you will see in the pictures we took here today at the Rose Park. It does little to try to mark a route or anything like that; between the three of us, I am sure we walked down every pathway and looked at just about every rose. But you can return to this aerial view if you want to locate something specific you may see in a picture.

When I got out onto the patio, I went to the rail to make a movie panning across the entire Rose Park, and I also caught Steve and Fred coming out of the Garden Center building. You can watch that movie with the player at right. And while we were together here on the patio, we took some pictures of each other. You can have a look at them by clicking here (Fred and I) and here (Steve and Fred).

Then the three of us walked down into the gardens. I knew that I would be less interested in the roses than Steve and Fred, so fairly quickly I went off on my own to see what I could see, leaving them to wander more slowly through the gardens.

Of course, I had little idea just what I was looking at or photographing when I took pictures and movies of the roses. I just knew they were colorful and pretty. You can click on the thumbnails below to see some of the pictures I took of the beautiful roses here in the Tyler Rose Garden:

Let me inject here among the pictures I took a couple of the movies that I took in the first part of my walk around the garden. Just use the players below to watch the movies:

A Pan Around the Upper Gardens
Walking Down One of the Rows of Roses

Let's leave my on my walk through the rose gardens for a while, and go over and see what Fred and Steve are doing. For his part, Fred is photographing as many of the roses as he can, but particularly the ones that he thinks he might one day want to try growing in his own garden. He took pictures of roses and of their labels, but the labels are only important to him, so if you'll click on the thumbnails below, you can have a look at some of his pictures:

One of the garden features that the three of us arrived at together was the arched gate in the center of the northern portion of the gardens. That gate is just a few feet north of the very pretty fountain that provides a resting place in this part of the gardens. That's the fountain that you can see in the picture at left.

On either side of the walk-through arch are bronze plaques that dedicate the arch; you can read them here and here.

Click on the thumbnails below to see some additional pictures I took north of the arched gate:

Dividing the gardens into north and south portions is a wide open lawn, and at the east end of this lawn is the main fountain here in the gardens. I stopped by this fountain at the southeast corner of the lawn and made a movie of it, and you can watch that movie with the player at right.

It was a nice warm day, and I'd already seen as many roses as I needed to, so I thought I'd just sit down on the close-cropped, thick grass and enjoy the sunshine while Steve and Fred wandered off into the southern portion of the gardens. My sitting soon turned into lying down, and I actually had a short nap. Unbeknownst to me, Fred at some point took a picture of me napping.

Click on the thumbnails below to see some more of the pictures that Fred took, this time in the southern portion of the gardens:

Eventually, Steve and Fred came back to where I was napping and woke me up. We were pretty much finished with our walk through the gardens, but on the way back to the stairs up to the patio we took a few additional pictures. You can click on the thumbnails below to have a look at them:

That brought to an end our visit to the Tyler Rose Park, and it was time for some lunch. We decided to head down to the town square (like many small texas towns and almost all county seats, there is a square with a courthouse or city hall) to see what we could find.


Walking Around the Tyler Town Square

To get to the center of Tyler, we went back up to Front Street, east to Broadway and then north to the square, which was bounded by Ferguson, Erwin, Spring and College- with Broadway bisecting it.

We found a parking spot on the west side of the square, and when we got out of the car, the first thing we ran across was a Texas State Historical Survey Committee marker for Tyler, and you might want to read it here. There was also what appeared to be a memorial fountain at this end of the square, but we will return to it after lunch.

In looking around for a place to eat lunch, I noticed a place on the south side of the square that seemed to be a restaurant; the sign out front was "Rick's On the Square." When we walked over to it across the street, we could see that it was indeed a restaurant, although what kind we weren't sure. There were some colorful wall murals out front (see the picture at right) and these seemed to have a musical theme.

When we got inside, we found it to be a pretty nice place with a varied menu; there were four or five tables full of businesspeople even now at about three in the afternoon. So we stayed for lunch, which was quite good. As it turned out, Rick's is also a performance venue; they have bands and local performers at night. I got up from the table at one point to use the washroom, and found that there was an outside space with a stage on the west side of the building, just behind the wall with the murals.

After lunch, we continued east on Erwin, and just after we crossed Broadway we came to the Liberty Theatre, which apparently has an eclectic mix of live performances (Ray Wylie Hubbard is a 65-year-old Texas singer/songwriter) and films on the schedule but, sadly, no one, apparently, who can spell the name of the jewelry store in the Audrey Hepburn film correctly.

Further down, at the corner of Erwin and Spring, we turned north, walking in front of a store that didn't look anything like it belonged in New York.

As I walked up Spring street to the north, I passed some businesses that were open, but then came to a building that looked as if it were only a facade, followed by some small buildings that did not look as if they were currently occupied, but which were, perhaps part of some preservation. You can see what these buildings looked like in the picture at left.

When I went inside the open facade, I found a plaque that explained what I was seeing, and you can read that plaque here. There was also a dedication plaque for the buildings that you can read here. Inside the open facade, I found four unusual works of art that are, apparently, part of this dedicated plaza. If you would like to have a look at these modern art pieces, just click on the thumbnails below:

Immediately across Spring Street from the art installation was the entrance to the Smith County Courthouse. I rejoined the guys on the west side of Spring Street, and we walked west along Ferguson to the north of the courthouse and then across Broadway to the part of the Tyler town square that contained a series of memorials and monuments. Behind us, across Broadway, was the other side of the Courthouse.

In the area to the west of Broadway, there were a number of memorials and monuments. I wasn't quite sure about the purpose of some of them, but they presumably have great meaning locally. If you would like to see some of these monuments and memorials, just click on the thumbnails below:

As I said earlier when we got out of the car at the square, there was a fountain at the end of the square near where we parked. It was, as we found out, part of the "Wall of Memories." You can have a closer look at that fountain and pool here.

It was an enjoyable late-afternoon walk around the center of Tyler, but it was time to head on home.

We had one more stop to make on our way home. One of the purposes of coming over here to the rose capital of Texas was to allow Fred to stop at one of the large rose nurseries that he has dealt with before on the Internet, to see if he can find some of the roses he has been looking for.

So we took a different road northwest out of Tyler- US 69 that leads up to I-20. About five miles north of Tyler we came to the large complex that was Chamblee Roses, Inc. The three of us wandered around in the public greenhouses and Fred found five roses to take home. Click on the two thumbnails below for a couple of scenes inside these greenhouses:

When we were done at Chamblee Roses, we headed back to Dallas after an enjoyable day in Tyler.

You can use the links below to continue to another page in this photo album.

November 19, 2011: My 65th Birthday Party
November 5-9, 2011: "Mark Twain Tonight!" in San Antonio
Return to the Index for 2011