Small Town Identity

Our Town

Thrall, Texas with a population of 906 in 2014 became our home town in August of 2016. This is truly rural Texas located northeast of Austin between Taylor and Thorndale on US Highway 79. The local food market is actually a convenience store with a fast food counter. There is a hispanic restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch, and the Thrall Country Diner located on the highway at the east edge of town.

Thrall is unique in that the whole town with the exception of one street is south of the railroad tracks. If you are from “up north” in the US, you know the assumption that anything south of the tracks is not a nice place to live. Two streets cross the tracks into town, one marked Post Office, the other – High School. 90 percent of the residents live “south of the tracks.”

The Post Office sign directs you down main street where you cross the two t sets of tracks that are on a hump. Your first sight is Thrall City Park, City Hall, and Police Department. The second block on main street takes you past the buildings of the volunteer fire department meeting halls on one side and the fire station on the other. The next block is the new Building of the US Post Office. The city is seven streets wide and seven streets long.

Three churches, the Thrall Independent School District, and three or four small business sites are the remaining properties along the two major streets. My most cherished store,Tim’s Hardware is north of the tracks on the street to the High School. Lonnie is the current owner and so far he has what I need in stock for my little projects around the house.

A Unique Lifestyle

Our house search was to find a home that would be a comfortable distance from my daughter and her family. This was planned to help with boundaries for all involved, but to provide ease of contact with the grandkids and all their school and sports activities and family events.

The kids live five blocks off Highway 79 in Round Rock near the Dell Diamond. In 25 minutes, we can visit either way. School and sports activities are a 45 minute drive. Our health visits are all close to the kids’ school so those also take 45 minutes of travel one way. The church we attend is also in the same area, so each Sunday morning we travel 45 minutes to Redemption City Church.

I will tell you about our incredible church family in another post, soon!

Incredible Neighbors and Friends

Cautious friends and family questioned the safety of areas we looked for housing. Sensitized to those concerns, Terry called the Thrall Police department to find out the crime risk for our location of interest. The police officer who answered immediately connected her to the chief of police to answer her questions. Terry repeated her question and concern to the chief. “And what is the address ma’am?”

Terry gave the address. “Ma’am, surely you don’t want that area. It is really bad!” After a brief pause, the chief burst into laughter. It was then Terry knew she had been teased. Needless to say, that was a defining moment for Terry to fall deeply in love with the house and community. Naturally, we submitted a proposal to buy that house soon after.

As we waited for the closing on the house, the owner put his friends to work to install a new metal roof on the garage. Our neighbor in the house just north of us sits out on her porch, enjoying the Texas summertime heat and fresh air while caring for her grandchildren. She overheard the workmen talking. “I am out of inch and a half screws. I’ve only got half inch left. They should work so we can get this job done.”

“Hey,” our neighbor said loudly. “There is a hardware store two blocks away.” The roofers apparently heard because they  left and came back with enough of the right size screws to finish the job. Wow! Neighbors watching out for you with your best interest at heart!.

“Terry, we live in Mayberry, RFD”

That is the kind of integrity we have heard in words and witnessed in actions since we have lived in this community. Somewhere during these first eight months of living here I said, “Terry, we live in Mayberry!”

Well, the chief has Andy’s joviality, but there is no Barney Fife. There is no Floyd’s barber shop. Haven’t met Aunt Bea, or anyone similar, nor Opie now that I think of it. This town is unique, made up of caring, genuine people. God has blessed Terry and I beyond measure by providing us a home here in Thrall, Texas. We are thankful for His faithfulness and the abundance He provides.

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Thank you

Lowell Routley



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