Stopping in Wells, Texas

Downtown Main St., Wells, TX
I love the hand-made birdhouses on the walls. This is actually a home.
Wells, Texas is a tiny town along US Highway 69 in “deep” East Texas. It is the last town you pass through traveling South down US 69 before you reach Lufkin. I’ve passed through it innumerable times since childhood on my way to and from Lufkin (“Aren’t we there YET?!”) to visit my many relatives that live there, but have never had an occasion to actually stop in Wells. This time, on the way, I noticed some beautiful old abandoned buildings semi-torn down glimmering in the setting sun and almost stopped to take a few pictures. I was kicking myself for the next week wishing that I had. So, on the return trip home I determined to stop and see for myself what was there.
More Bygone Businesses
This shell of a building is what originally got my attention.
The sun was in a completely different part of the sky at noontime, but I still found a lot of good angles to shoot and ended up taking several photos!

Wells is a tiny but charming town from another era with fewer than a thousand people and full of abandoned mom & pop shops along the main highway. I did not have time to really explore the town, to do it justice, so I instead concentrated on the main street and the many charming old buildings there. A single water-tower with the town’s name pokes up above the tall pine trees dead ahead on Hwy 69 as you approach the town from the North like a beacon leading you to a charming rural oasis in a lonely desert of thick, dark pine trees.

Once-thriving business?Then the road suddenly narrows to two lanes briefly like an hourglass as you slowly drive through the downtown feeling like you’ve gone back to a much slower, simpler, and quieter time! Just as you begin to really feel the town’s charm, the speed limit returns to a brisk, blurry 70mph and the road suddenly widens back into a 4 lane boulevard and continues winding on through the seemingly never-ending wilderness of pine trees and often-abandoned white-framed farmhouses. There are no fast-food establishments in Wells, except for the requisite Dairy Queen, which in Texas is traditionally the sure status symbol that a small town has indeed arrived as a town!
Main Street, Wells, Texas
Shot this in my car while leaving (Someone actually out enjoying the beautiful weather!)
The town appeared to be even more abandoned than it actually is because it was around noon on a Sunday and everyone must have either still been in church or at home with their families since I saw almost no one out on the street. Seems nearly everyone in East Texas does go to church on Sundays. I do see more people normally when I come through Wells at other times.

I began to notice an awful lot of abandoned homes and businesses all along my route through East Texas this trip. I’m sad to confess that I have not paid that much attention before, usually being in a hurry to get from one end of this four hour journey to the other.


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