Downtown

A Ride Downtown

The first building I saw on my ride was Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic church.  Worshipers were coming out of the church, but they were kind enough to wait for me to snap this photo.  I was stopped in the middle of the street blocking traffic!  I believe this is the oldest Catholic church in Victoria.

A couple of blocks away, I saw Trinity Lutheran church.  I liked the reflection in the window.

And the reflection in this window too.

Bell towers are my favorite architectural elements.

The twin spires of St. Mary’s catholic church are a landmark sight in our town.  The church stands opposite the police department at the intersection of Main Street.

In order to get a photograph of the front of the church, I turned the wrong way into the police department parking area (in front of a sheriff’s department patrol car!  I half expected the officer to ticket me, but he didn’t stop.  I suppose, as Elisa suggested, it was change of shift time!

Main Street is a one-way street lined with beautiful historic buildings.  This block houses arts and cultural organizations.

This detail of the building on the corner in the previous photo shows the Texas Historical Site designation plaque on its front.  The architectural elements incorporated into the facade of this building are beautiful.  Here, I notice that some repair must be going on to the roof of the building.

There is a huge parking area between this building and a bank building to your left and across the street.  I have no idea what this building is!  I don’t think I ever knew.  It is interesting, however, so I snapped it.  I have to inquire, I suppose.  🙂

This is another very interesting example of the varied architecture along Main Street.

Although I have lived and worked in Victoria since 1976, I know very little about the historical buildings.  I walked by many of them on this street every day when I was a social worker for the Department of Human Services located in a building downtown.   I suppose my focus was not on historical buildings at the time!

The courthouse in any small Texas town is usually the most elaborate building in town.  When we moved to Victoria and began to drive through small towns, I was struck most by the huge courthouse buildings and how elaborate they were.  Most are constructed of imported marble and stone and tiles and other materials not available in the areas in which the buildings were built.   It appears, at least to an outsider, that the first buildings of any significance to be built in these towns were churches, courthouses and banks.  They survive as the most intriguing examples of period architecture in Texas.  This photograph is of the side of the courthouse adjacent to the jail.   Court is no longer held in this building.  The functioning court is held in the white building beside the old courthouse.

Clock tower detail. 

On my way out of downtown, I took some photos of a few businesses and old houses under renovation, but they seemed too shabby for inclusion here.

NOTE:  If the perspective in these photographs seems strange, it is because they are shot from my car window.  I have a tremor which is prohibitive when I attempt to walk around holding my camera.  I brace my arms on the car door window frame or on the steering wheel to steady the camera.   In the process, I am watching traffic (cars are trying to eliminate me) and trying not to be such a terrible nuisance!  I appreciate your kindness in accepting my strange photographs and accepting me with such kindness and grace in the blogging community.  Bless all of you! 

58 Comments on “Downtown

  1. They are excellent compositions. The camera angle works to their advantage. Very well done. 🙂
    It is late, I am taking cold medication, and the last few days have been demanding. So I am blaming that on my misreading of “the huge courthouse buildings”. For a split second I thought it was cat-house. That’s my excuse anyway. Very impressive building. 😀

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  2. Great pics and love the architecture. When we travel, going into churches is one of our favorite things to do … and these caught my eye. Thanks for the journey. I also invite you to attend my celebratory post party this weekend! Bring your friends. …. PS: Thanks for your kind words at Shimon’s regarding my educational reform post.

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  3. These are stunning George and so calming….beautiful…
    i saw your new Gravatar pic and i just wanted to hug you…loved it
    sending you big big big hugs 🙂

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    • Thanks, Madhu. You are kind to say so. You know that your photographs of the world are superb always.. I often wonder how you absorb it all. I think I said that at least once before! It’s still true. Thanks for coming by to see mine. I always smile when I see that pretty face. I keep wanting you to go back “home” with the camera. Any chance?

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      • Not in the near future George. Perhaps after I return from Cambodia in December. I have to write about my grandfathers house. Haven’t visited it in decades. But now some cousins have bought it and are restoring it, so I have reason to look forward to a visit 🙂

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  4. Wow George I wish I could ‘snap off a few shots’ and get half way as good as the images you made here of Victoria and, I do this for a living! Plus, you made them from a car window. Truly you are extremely talented with the camera but more importantly, you have an eye for composition, color and texture that makes so many of your images fascinating to look at and to savor. As you know there are many small size ‘bean bag’ camera supports made to fit on windows. In case you don’t know about these, some are shaped like an inverted “V” and like a horse saddle, rest on both side of the window. I’m wondering though since you love doing open car window photography so much if a small suction cup tripod which sticks to the inside or outside of your window might not help. If you haven’t seen these before let me know and I’ll send you a list of ones I use. I’lll also be posting information about a few on my blog later on this month. Again my friend, you truly do fabulous work of capturing beauty.

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    • Rick, digital cameras and VR lenses and image stabilization technology and the really fine auto focus features of these cameras allow people like me to play! A big car with a big windshield helps too. Every image on this blog that isn’t of my garden or my house was shot from my car. My professed method of operation is “hit or miss”. Shoot two or three frames and hope all the important stuff got in the frame! That explains the awkward leaning buildings! There is a perspective fixer in PSP, but I can’t use it. 🙂 I have met lots of old people who say they wish they could “work a camera”. They don’t believe me when I try to tell them they CAN.

      Your evaluation of my photos is important to me coming from you. I would appreciate the list of the suction cup tripods and the bean bag that you use. Since the tremor in my hands is progressive, I’m going to reach a point at which no technology is going to compensate for the camera shake. You are extraordinarily kind to help me. I am happy when what I see comes through in a photograph!

      When I look at your photographs, I sense that you understand the words of Black Elk when he talked about how anywhere is the center of the world:

      “Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw…”

      Such is the nature of truth. Yours is a continuing effort to tell that truth through your pictures. And you do it well, my friend!

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  5. Thanks for the tour of Victoria! I love the turrets and gingerbread that grace many of the buildings, you did a nice job capturing the details. Also, I think you’ve come up with a nifty new product for photographers – the “car windowpod.” It’s such a great idea, really. I can’t hold the camera still to save my soul, so I’m going to try this!!

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    • Thanks, Elisa! Yes, having something to brace against helps a lot. “Car windowpod”. Too bad we can’t sell it. I’m no good with a tripod or even a monopod. JC gave me one to try, but I never used it. If I’m thrashing about, the monopod would be too! So my reasoning goes anyway. I hope I can manage awhile longer since I really do enjoy snapping stuff and especially people.

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  6. Hi george, seems i didn’t see the last post but it’s a stunner too… so interesting how, when you get close up that things looks so different. you’ve inspired me to do that around this old place. i apologize if you thought i dropped off the planet. i have in ways as my health is in a tizzy just now but still here….. love the old buildings, so different than here where i live. we have some old victorians, much like SF and the like, called ironfronts or something like that. people come from all over to walk around with a docent in drag, listening to the history of the bordellos! 🙂 xxx

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    • Gotta’ admit having the “docent in drag” holds a kind of charm for that kind of tour! 🙂 I haven’t been visiting in awhile either. Sort of under the weather here too. There are many old Victorian style houses here too. There is a fascinating number of period houses of all kinds throughout the old neighborhoods here. Glad you liked the miniscule tour! Thanks!

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  7. Beautiful, and engaging, photographs! A fine reminder that it’s a good idea to look at your own hometown through the eyes of a tourist.

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    • Thank you, daisyfae. I’m glad you liked them. I guess, even after nearly forty years here, I’m still something of a tourist. Unless you’re born in Texas, you can never quite claim full residency! 🙂

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  8. I smiled to myself imagining you pulling into the police station the wrong way – hehe – George is unstoppable with her camera! The courthouse is beautiful! I live right down the street from a St. Mary’s church and I like when they ring their bell for mass.

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  9. Thank you for taking us to this trip with you George.
    The architecture of this city is fantastic, and the angles came out pretty well.
    I have the same tremor as you, so I understand that shooting from a car is difficult, but I would have never imagine they were shot from there because they came out perfectly.
    Love specially the details on the bricks.

    Have a great week!

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    • Thanks, Pablo. I was surprised that they were even presentable. Seems that with every passing season the tremor worsens. I’ll keep at it until my photos are a total blur. Maybe I can pass them off as abstracts then! 🙂 You’re almost finished with your 365 days of photos. I’m looking forward to your pieces on your Syrian grandparents and your aunt’s parrot! Don’t forget…

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    • Thank YOU, Resa! I’m happy that you enjoyed them. There are so many of them in this town that I could do a whole blog about them, but I know so little of the history that it would be too frustrating. Be around to see you post haste! Thanks for coming to visit me! 🙂

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  10. I love small towns and you did a great job of capturing, and sharing, Victoria. As you probably know George, I also love window shots, any kind of window shot, and that first church window reflection shot of yours is awesome!

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    • You know, I replied to this. I recall what I said even. I suppose I had a lapse and forgot to hit “post”! Never mind, I gave the girl at Midkey D’s a ten-dollar tip and did NOT intend to do it. 🙂 She came running up to the service window and gave it back. Nice girl. I think I need to stick to places where the folks look after me, huh! I love reflections in windows too. I think we like them so much because they surprise us since the images are where we least expect to see them. I always look at windows and other reflective surfaces. I saw the reflection of grass in the chrome band on a car the other day. It was really lovely, but I didn’t have my camera! I keep telling myself not to leave home without it, but… Thanks, Alex!

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  11. Must be nice to know how to work a camera. Those are some nice and crisp photos. That’s the cutest courthouse I’ve ever seen in all my days. Makes me wanna go do something illegal.

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    • It ain’t THAT nice! You don’t have to “work a camera”. Buy a Panasonic Lumix LX5 with an extra battery and start snapping right out of the box. Works just like a smart phone. Great little camera that you can carry in your pocket. It’s the only camera that Lemony Shots owns, and you KNOW how good her photography is. It’s cheap too. The whole camera costs half as much as one of the lens for my Nikon camera. I swear to you that it works effortlessly. I used it for all of the photos of the Anole lizard and the trumpet vine blossoms. Got a display so you don’t have to look through a viewfinder even. Get with it and snap us some stuff! 🙂

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  12. A wonderful tour of Victoria! I have thought many times, as I’m walking around with my head looking DOWN at flowers and roots and bugs that I should also be taking shots of the town I live in (which is a sweet little college town with lots of beautiful architecture much like Victoria). You’ve captured some wonderful details here. Your shots of the Courthouse are especially good. Such a striking building!

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  13. These are GREAT photographs..do not apologize! Thanks for the tour..I love architecture and these are gorgeous buildings..you are lucky to
    have so many.

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    • Thanks, Jo Nell. You’d know the history, but I don’t. I thought about that when I started to post and had no idea what the buildings were! I do love the architecture though. 🙂

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    • Hey, do we still hold court in the old courthouse? LZ thinks we do. I just don’t have any idea!
      Thanks! I was thinking of your wonderful photographs of downtown as I was twisting around in the car window trying to point at the buildings! I can’t see with my glasses on or off! 🙂

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  14. Not strange at all – A different perspective. I love the detail on some of the buildings.
    Funny how there is a church across from the police station. Which came first I wonder…

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  15. I’m glad you did some of the interesting old buildings in the downtown. I’m sure there are many more you could find. I thought they did still hold court in the old courthouse…after they spent a ton of taxpayer dollars on the renovation. Victoria has an interesting history. Maybe you can lure some of your contacts to visit!! I’ll see you in a week too!!!!

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    • The whole of downtown is built around a square and “The Street of Ten Friends”. I have to go back to do some more pics. The old and wealthy families who live here have been very generous in supporting the efforts to maintain the fine old buildings.

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