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Rural / small town Taylor, TX

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We have just begun a photojournalism project: "Cotton Town | Taylor, TX," exploring the town's rise from a small railroad town to the largest inland processor of cotton in the US, only to be followed rapid decline and stagnation, and today, hope for revitalization. The entire downtown is an National Historic District, has beautiful homes, and a strong heritage to draw from for its revitalization. It is our hope that the project will in some way contribute to this revitalization.

I am hoping through this forum to be able to (1) talk with other who have taken on a similar photojournalism/documentary project and (2) find those who might have have something to contribute in terms of information about Taylor.

Thank you,
Frank

PS. We have a facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/cottontowntaylor
 

Dan

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Good 'ol Taylor. Some of the best barbecue in the state. Reminds me that I have to sort through my photos of the town.

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The town isn't all that bad, but it's in a rough spot. Too close to Austin to have a strong identity of its own and be the center of activity for a large rural catchment area, but too far away to take advantage of the region's growth and become a bedroom community. There's some charming residential areas. A great place for photographers to capture some iconic images of small town Texas.
 

Dan

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It sounds/looks like a hundred small towns in Upstate New York.
My understanding is that a lot of the Texas cotton towns never recovered from the Great Depression. They grew in response to the agricultural boom on the 1920s, saw an exodus during the 1930s, and just stagnated or declined after WWII. Ag recovered, but it was less labor intensive. Taylor, Granger, Thorndale, Rockdale, Bartlett, Hearne, and a bunch of other small Blackland Prairie cities and towns all have that same sleepy, dusty "seen better days" vibe.
 

Suburb Repairman

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I believe there is a Cyburbia member on here that lives/works in Taylor that can offer some insight. Dan is spot-on in his assessment of Taylor--it never effectively transitioned from its agricultural economy following the Great Depression, though they are trying today.

One of the most interesting modern things about the town is SST Records. It was established by Greg Ginn, founding member of late 70s hardcore punk band Black Flag. SST is nowhere near the indie king that it was in the 80s when Minutemen, Black Flag, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. were with the label, but I think you should track down the studio and ask "Why Taylor?" I think that could give you some interesting insight.

EDIT: Taylor also has a lot in common with Lockhart, TX historically if you're looking for comparisons.
 
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Luca

Cyburbian
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It looks rather derelict. Any pcis of those fine homes mentioned above?

The bottom two buildings in the photo series above look like they fairly good bones. They could be turned into something useful.
 

DetroitPlanner

Cyburbian Emeritus
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The first pic is where Austin got the idea for the hipster eatery in a trailer that has spread throughout the country.
 
Messages
13
Points
1
Good 'ol Taylor. Some of the best barbecue in the state. Reminds me that I have to sort through my photos of the town.

ET24p.jpg

ZXWtA.jpg

jSzdU.jpg

CvTar.jpg

The town isn't all that bad, but it's in a rough spot. Too close to Austin to have a strong identity of its own and be the center of activity for a large rural catchment area, but too far away to take advantage of the region's growth and become a bedroom community. There's some charming residential areas. A great place for photographers to capture some iconic images of small town Texas.
Life changed and things came along, while others went. Cyburbia being one of them. So, I am just now seeing your photos, Dan, after all of these years. Today -- 2019 -- Taylor is beginning to show signs of revival. The McCory's building is now a brew pub, coffee shop, with lofts above. The Kimcl building is a flourishing antique store. There are new music venues and retail along Second Street. New retail is beginning to crop up on North Main. Sadly, First Street (your photos of the old grocery warehouse and the side of the Taylor Cafe) is still pretty much decaying.
 
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