Memories – Carolyn Green Hoeflein
By: Carolyn Green Hoeflein
I grew up in Cedar Park, remember the Buzz-In Liquor Store, remember most of the people in the old photos and might even have some old photos if I dig hard enough. We moved to Cedar Park in 1965 and my family lived there until my dad’s death in 1991.
I remember the incorporation of the city and Buzz (Henry’s) run for Mayor of Cedar Park. My dad, Fred Green, used to manage the Henry’s Drive In store across from the old post office. The house pics were of the house I lived in on the other side of the tracks behind Henry’s. Buzz and his wife Linda and kids lived in the trailer right next to the store for years until they moved off of Brushy Creek road.
We lived in a house behind the store on the other side of the railroad tracks. I understand a couple of years after we moved, the house (it used to be a railroad station as I was told) burned but I spent many happy years in that house. Logistically, we were so close to the highway but in that house and in that yard, we felt isolated from the world. Hwy 183 was a two lane road when we moved to Cedar Park and the closest large grocery store required a trip to Austin to Burnet Rd. I think it was a Gulf-Mart we used to travel to on Saturdays. I recall buying my first Partridge Family album for the expensive price of $2.97. Technology consisted of a turntable stereo, a 45 record player and a small transistor radio.
Now living that close to the railroad tracks (maybe 50 ft) was not without its excitement. When the weather turned bad and storms rolled in, we absolutely hated having a train come through. We all held our breaths until we heard the whistle blow then we knew it wasn’t a tornado. The trains were a routine part of our lives. One summer I recall the men on the train thew out a bag full of paperback books. Old western novels by Louis L’Amour became part of one of my summers thanks to that gift. I spent alot of time out under the large tree in the front yard reading book after book. I recall that summer as being one of the best summers.
On the other side of the tracks between Henry’s and the intersection there was once a Bar. I remember the Bar may have been owned but for sure managed by Johnny Loehr. My family never went there naturally but I remember the morning we got news that Johnny had been killed in the Bar during some kind of argument. Years after that, I think that building became a restaurant.
I really enjoyed seeing the old photos on the history site. There was a blue house that sat on the corner of Brushy Creek and the railroad tracks. The driveway behind it was the long driveway to the old house we lived in. All the land behind it was undeveloped on back to the three streets Buffalo, Cougar and I cant remember the name of the third street (Mustang). Odd how we forget the little things we thought we would never forget. Past the third street, it was virtually nothing except for the Vanlandingham house (Jodie, Janie and Angie) and the Hermit shack all the way to Round Rock.
There was the old spooky legend of the Hermit on Brushy Creek Road, aka Hairy Man. It was even referred to as Hairy Man road by many people. There were wild stories about people driving down Hairy Man road and ending up in Round Rock with long fingernail scratch down the side of their car. None of it was true but as a kid, it surely made the night drive from Cedar Park to Round Rock a bit quicker. That road was really spooky at night especially where the tree tops covered the roadway creating a tunnel like affect. The Hermit had nothing to do with the Hairy Man but his isolation did lend itself to an atmosphere of mystery.
I remember the Hermit and his very modest home. He lived there with his brother until his brother passed away. Then lived alone. My dad had an opportunity to get to know him over time from his visits to the store he ran. I recall a Thanksgiving when my dad said we would have a guest for dinner. He didn’t tell us who it was. When the guest arrived, I recognized the man to be the Hermit. I had seen him from time to time going in and out of Henry’s. Apparently, he was a very well educated man, quiet and grateful for a meal with a family. He was nothing of which to be fearful, he simply chose to live in isolation amongst all the cedar trees. I wish I could remember his name, but then when I think of it, I never really knew his real name.
I remember the library and even a laundry mat on Commercial all those years ago. And the Opera House, the big metal building that was behind the old cemetery on 183. Does anyone else remember that? Don and Shirley Vickers used to perform there. Shirley had the gift of song and was the first person I had ever heard yodel. I learned to play pinball and ping pong in that building. Lots of dancing and hamburgers. Just the best of times.
My mom saved everything but over the years and with lots of moves, I need to see what remains of those times. After we left the old house behind the tracks, we moved over off of Cougar Drive. I watched the town grow and now barely recognize it. But it was a great little town back then. Life was much slower in the 60s and 70s. The world was bigger too and we spent alot of time outside as kids. In those days, we could ride our bikes, walk all over the blocks of my neighborhood and never think twice about being safe. We had pick up baseball and football games with kids from all over the subdivision which spanned three full blocks. In those days, we were out of the house and busy only coming home for meals.
I remember having my first boyfriend there. He would come to visit his dad on the street behind me. Many many times, I came out of my house to the street only to find a large letter written in chalk from him. His name was Keith Hightower. I think my dad told him if he wanted to keep seeing me, he would have to start bringing a brick a day so he could eventually build a house for me. I guess he ran out of bricks.
I recall the summer my cousins from Houston came to visit. We told our parents we were walking down to the creek. They naturally assumed we were referring to the ditch at the end of the street. Little did they know we had picked up the railroad tracks at the end of Cougar and Hairy Man and headed for Brushy Creek. We walked and walked and walked with me encouraging them and assuring them “we are almost there”.. Many many hours later, we made it to Brushy Creek and our parents were there waiting for us. Not all that happy to see us but having just walked almost 7 miles down a railroad track, they let us take our shoes off and soak our tired feet in the creek. Thinking back now, it was just another example of how different times were then.
I included the monkey because there is a story that went with it.
There were some real practical jokers that lived in the Cedar Park community, my dad being one of them. One morning, I headed across the tracks to the store and found the monkey sitting there in a cage just on the other side of the tracks.
Not sure how long I stared at it while I tried to comprehend what I was seeing but I’m sure whoever was watching got a laugh. The monkey lived with us a year. The new addition added all manners of chaos from time to time especially when it got loose in the house. The last time Monkey got loose, it was like a three ring circus with him jumping for place to place even catching a ride on the back of the dog before leaping to the top of the old fashioned protruding closet. After that, Mom said she had had enough and Monkey was donated to the pet store there in town in the Cedar Park Plaza.
The parade pics were part of the annual Cedar Choppers Festival. My dad was in the outhouse on the winning float. Leave it to my dad, he probably volunteered for the outhouse detail. These photos showed a modest parade that included people on horseback, vintage cars, the Blue Belles from Leander High School as well as other groups. I think there was always a street dance after the festival.
I found old newspapers from that time, specifically 1976, the year I graduated from Leander High School. Not sure if some of the businesses still exist but I remembered them and thought it would help reference the time and economy of the era.
I was so fortunate to find that picture of Artie Henry and mom skinning a rattlesnake. What a sight to see that was! I remember Artie told my mom to take the snakes after they were skinned and rinse them off. I clearly remember watching my mom with this big bowl of water with snakes still moving and her trying to wrestle with them to clean them. Who knew snakes kept moving and wiggling around long after they were dead. She talked about it for many years. As I recalled they fried those snakes and fed many people that had gathered. I tasted one piece, it wasn’t horrid and tasted like chicken …sorta.
I remember that big Bank of the Hills building. We were all sure the big city wasn’t far away. It finally came but not for decades. In that time, the community enjoyed a new restaurant called Pass The Biscuits. We ate there alot as their food was wonderful.
I was looking through the old pics on your website and the old Faubian store, was that converted into the old post office at some point. The structure looks the same to me. I walked to that old post office every day and spun the old dial that was on our mailbox. I think we were mailbox number 25 as I recall. It was a really great place to grow up. A simple time and slow days.
I currently live in Bastrop (for eleven years now) and work full time but CP/Leander has always been home. I was in Cedar Park last year and didn’t even recognize it so that home feeling has faded into just memories. It’s been interesting thinking back on the years gone by.