Friday, July 8, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Vacations - Cold Springs

The prompt for Week 27 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Vacations.

Where did your family go on vacation? Did you have a favorite place? Is it still there? If not, how has the area changed?

I wish this last week had not been so hectic, because I could probably write a week's worth of posts on this topic alone.  I LOVED family vacations!  Some of the places we went to included:  the Chicago area (once by train) and Rochester, New York (camping on the way there and back), both to visit relatives; New Braunfels, Texas; New Orleans; and San Antonio.

My favorite place, though, and the one I visited the most (eight times) was the Frio River in the Texas Hill Country.  I stayed at Neal's Lodges in Concan in 1978, 1982, and 1983, and visited for a day in 1995.  But the spot dearest to my heart was Cold Springs Ranch Courts near the tiny town (post office) of Rio Frio.

We first stayed there in 1967, when I was ten, and went back the following summer, using it as a base to go to San Antonio (mostly to see HemisFair '68) and Piedras Negras, Mexico, on the border.  I went on my own in early August 1980 (just before Hurricane Allen hit Corpus Christi), and once again with my son Eric in late August 2001 (just before 9/11).

From what I can find on the web, it's still there (now just called Cold Springs), but it's definitely different.  It changed a lot between 1968 and 1980.  In my childhood, it was a collection of vacation cabins one could rent for a week or more, within walking distance of the river.  The photo below left shows my siblings Mary, Mark, and Karen in front of our cabin in 1968, and the photo below right shows me and my siblings (Mary, Brian, Mark, and Karen) inside the cabin.  It had two screened-in sleeping porches that were not air-conditioned, but quite comfortable even in August thanks to the nearby Frio River.
When I went back to Cold Springs in 1980, most if not all of those cabins had been sold off, but there was still a fairly nice motel-like building with kitchens.  That building still existed in 2001, as Eric and I stayed in such a unit with a separate bedroom, but it was quite run down.  It had an RV park in 2001 (and may have in 1980 too; I don't remember), but nowadays it is listed as a campground with full RV hookups.

What hasn't changed is the beautiful Frio River, as seen in the photos of me in 1980 and 1968:
Below is a set of photos comparing the same areas in 1980 (left) and 2001 (right):
and a set comparing similar areas in 1980 (left) and 1968 (right, with Mary and Karen):
And finally, a few more pictures of our family enjoying our Cold Springs Ranch Courts vacations in August 1967 and 1968:

©copyright Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. Great pictures! Sounds like a great time with family. That is a wonderful topic to blog about!

  2. So excited to stumble across this! My family purchased the cabin and land (not camp) you stayed in in 1974. Cabin has undergone several improvements and my mother built a house on the big cliff which was completed in 2006. My father lives there. Wonderful memories made there. 3rd generation of our family now creating more. Sacred place. Such a gift.

  3. vintage1965, I am SO jealous! By the "big cliff," do you mean the one pictured in the background of the 1968 photo of me acting goofy in the river? Take good care of that sacred river, and keep making happy memories! Thank you so much for commenting here!

  4. Thank you for posting this. We traveled to the same spot in the mid 70s and have fond memories. We had been unable to locate the old Cold Springs spot. My father passed away in 2002 and none of us thought to ask him until it was too late. We have the same pictures, just different children. It's wonderful to know someone shares our memories.

  5. tjay2k@peoplepc.comJune 24, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    does anyone remember the harrells that owned cold springs in the 60s? does anyone have info on margo,judy, and bobbie i have great memories of even squirrel hunting down in the pecan grove next to hoovers ranch thanks and pleasant memories to all terry d