Not to be confused with Mount Vernon, Texas. Population: 11,000 souls. Motto: “Steer Our Way!” Roy Orbison was born here.

I love Texas small towns. There are so many. Each, I’m sure, has a high-school football team. Each has remnants of the past that testify to a noble, upright civic past.

“The bad news is that your office is in the basement. The good news is there’s lots of light.”


“Bad news is you’ll have to get a paint scraper.”

The most generic pre-war government building ever conceived by the mind of man:



Still better than the ones they built in the 70s.

“The old-timer’s been blind for years, but you still suspect he sees things.”

Ojhnny’s Bar and Harmacy:


The windows appear original, and suggest there’s not a lot going on upstairs any more.

I’m starting to think it’s going to be one of those last-picture-show Texas towns.


That was a big store; the facade looks as if it tied together several properties.



Time has revealed the ancient work of some bricklayers who added art in small doses, just because.

“Save with a bank that’s thrifty enough not to spend your deposits on upper floor decoration”


A remnant of the empire of Colonel Cornelius Herring, who died at the age of 81 leaving $10 million. Used to have five ranches. Built a hotel. The whole Texas story in one man.


That’s lovely. Except for what they did to it.



I’m sure the ladies of the town loved it. Brought a bit of Paris to town. And not Paris Tx.



Great sign:



I don’t know what “Water White” means, unless they’re talking about white-wall tires. Which no one has anymore. DA hair, skinny jeans, Camels rolled up in your T-shirt sleeve, whitewalls, summer Saturday twilight, all of life stretching out in front of you. But I digress.

You get the sense it shut down in stages, not all at once.

It’s scenes like this that suggest the economic vitality of the downtown has, shall we say, ebbed in recent years. Love the black tile, though; someone was right proud of that.

The most perfect Texas picture I’ll show you this week:



Type “bowen department store vernon TX” into Google . . .



And the first result is “Wal-Mart.” Explains it all, I suppose.

Time to Re-tire, as the sleepy child entrusted with a lit candle says:



If you're curious:

The Fisk Tire Company was an American tire company. It was a major force in the US tire industry from the 1910s to early 30s.

In 1898, the Spaulding and Pepper Co was sold to Noyes W. Fisk and renamed the Fisk Rubber Co. It employed more than 600 people in 1910 and more than 3,000 during World War I (with a weekly payroll averaging $48,000). By 1917, the company employed 4,500 people with a $70,000 payroll.


Fisk was forced out of the market by "competition and systematic price discrimination", and the company's demise was accelerated by the du Pont family's taking an interest in the United States Rubber Company (which also controlled General Motors), in the OEM tire market. The domination of the replacement tire market (among, for example, bus and taxi companies) by the four leading tire manufacturers was at the expense of Fisk and other medium-sized firms while reducing profit margins for all.

The brand was acquired by a larger company, and faded away in the early 60s.

Go ahead, you tell him he did a lousy job of parking:


That planter indicates that a spiffification effort was undertaken at some point, with the usual results.

The buildings look like almost-dead and quite sincerely dead



SUPERIOR . . . what? I’ve seen the logo somewhere. Automotive? Ball bearings? Can’t recall.

Oh hell yes



Looks like it should have been a small move theater, but nothing’s coming up on Google searchs.


This was, and is.



Underwhelming website that kicks you out if you click on a link.

"Folks 'round these parts still talk about the lava flood."


Wouldn't be a Main Street entry without an OUMB:


Finally, the usual 1920s Hotel:

It is not, at press time, senior housing.

But you know it will be.