An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Five

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-Four

Andrew Stevens, July 1914

Whack! Andy slaps his notebook on Mr. K’s desk in a futile effort to smash the pesky mosquito that has been sampling blood from all of them.

The Colonel smirks at his miss. “Colonel Chapa thinks the hundred goldfish he donated for the concrete basin at San Pedro Springs will cure the mosquito problem. The goldfish will just wind up as appetizers for the alligator contributed by Henry Landa.”

“That poor specimen of a reptile has been rendered too helpless to snap them up in his jaws,” says Mr. K. “The cruel schoolboys torture the poor creature. Every time he surfaces to sun on the banks, they harass him with sticks and rocks. Poked one of his eyes out. No. The solution for the mosquito problem is bats. We need bats.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Five”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-One

an ostrich-plumed hat
Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty

Hedda Burgemeister, April 1914

Pealing bells from the first mission awaken Hedda from a deep sleep. The discordant clangs are unlike the melodic chimes from the bell towers downtown.

Dr. Herff claims the bells of St. Mark’s on Travis Park were forged from cannon used in the Battle of the Alamo. If only Kaiser Wilhelm would assign such a peaceful purpose to his arsenal.

Like roosters at the crack of dawn, these mission bells call people to worship early. Every Sunday.

She loves Sundays. Sundays are hers. Unlike the rest of the week, she is not confined at home on the off-chance Otto might find an opportunity to escape his increasingly abundant business, social or family obligations. Lately, she does not hear from him for days. Yet he remains adamant she not work.

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-One”

Zilker Park: Founded on a fortune made in ice

lone star ice works

Above: Lone Star Ice Works, George H. Berner and H.R. Marks, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Portal to Texas History

The loss in this climate is enormous and it is probably within bounds to say that at least one sixth of the gross output melts away. The manufacture of tons of ice and its delivery to customers at a cent a pound is one of the novelties of this age, and had you ever hinted such a thing 30 years ago you would have been looked upon as insane.

Austin Statesman, July 17, 1890

Born in 1858 on the banks of the Ohio River in Indiana, Andrew Jackson Zilker started working riverside as a stevedore and cabin boy while young. He stumbled across a copy of Henderson Yoakum’s extensive History of Texas, published in 1846, and began dreaming of Texas. He worked his way via riverboat to New Orleans; earned his way to Texas by driving oxcarts to San Antonio; and arrived in Austin at age 18.

The 50 cents in his pocket, according to numerous accounts, was quickly depleted – half for a bed on the first night and the other half for food. Hunger motivated him to land employment helping to construct the International-Great Northern freight depot and then the Congress Avenue Bridge over the Colorado.

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