Last weekend I went to Lampasas Texas. The main purpose of the trip was to swim in the pool at Hancock Springs, but there was enough time left over to explore other attraction in Lampasas.
Hancock Springs has been a popular destination for swimming at least since the 1880’s. Back in the 19th Century people came here seeking the health benefits of the spring water. A sign in front of Hancock Park claims the bathing pools at Hancock Springs are the oldest in the state. The original bath house, built in 1883, has been preserved by the community and is right next to the modern pool, that was built in 1911. This newer pool has been maintained by the city and is still in use today.
The pool at Hancock Springs is what they call a free flowing pool. The water from the spring is channeled to one end of the pool. This spring water then flows across the pool and in turn flows out of the pool and is channeled to Sulphur Creek which is near by. So, this is not like a regular pool that has filters and chlorine to keep the water clear. It’s just the constant flow of water and the origin of the water that keeps the pool clean.
On first site you may think the pool is not clean. That was my own first impression. It has a sort of drab green tint to it that is deceptive. The water comes from underground sources. It’s loaded with minerals that give it a turquoise tint. A dip in this pool was all it took to confirm that it was quite clean and wonderful to swim in. The water coming out of the spring has a constant temperature of 69 degrees. A little cold but refreshing once you get in. On a hundred degree day, it’s simply wonderful to cool off here.
Some pools with spring sources have a sulphur odor, but I encountered none of that at Hancock Springs. The water is very good here. The pool is quite big, and was not at all busy the day I was there. The surroundings are nice: trees, grass, picnic tables, shade, all the important accommodations are present.
Hancock Springs pool is highly recommended for anyone looking for the “old school pool” experience. I’ve already said it was over 100 degrees the day I was there. Someone I spoke to that day told me about the new pool, across town, at the site of Hanna Springs. The city built a new pool there a few years ago. She told me that that new pool was really nice. Then in the same breath she said: “but that water is hot!” I love the history of this place, but setting that aside, the cool clean water of this pool make it a very good pick on a hot day.
I asked about the schedule for the rest of 2011, and I was told that the pool would be open regular hours, see city web site, until August 20. School starts there on August 22 and after that the pool will be open on weekends until it gets too cold. I have checked on pool hours before and can tell you if you call the city’s central phone number, the operator will get you the information you need.
The Hostess House
The Hostess House is a two story building, right next to the Hancock Springs Pool. This building was originally constructed in the 1920’s, and it complimented the pool, providing changing rooms and a place for dances and public gatherings. In the 1940’s a golf course was added to Hancock Park and the Hostess House was improved. Through the years this public building had provided a place for locals to gather, dance, have proms, weddings, and so on. Today the property still is used for pretty much the same purpose. Weddings, a catering company operates out of the building and runs the Green Frog Tea Room. During the week you can stop to eat here and see the inside of the building.
On a cooler day I would have found a place to eat German food, but it was too hot on the day of my visit. The town square hasn’t changed much since my last visit. One thing new that I noticed is The Waters of Lampasas walk path. A display of murals related to the waters of the area, and located in an alley off the Square. Also new, an old sign uncovered on an old store front right next to the walk path. I’ll include photos of both of these new features below.
I stopped at Storms for a burger. Lampasas is the location of the original Storms Drive-in. I will write a separate article about them since I have several pictures to share. I usually look for ethnic food when in Lampasas. Like I said, it was too hot for a heavy meal when I visited in July. I had read about a place called the Sweet Pickle Deli in the same area as Hancock Park. Sure enough, the place is just a couple tenths of a mile south of the park heading towards Burnet. The deli is tiny but charming. It’s not a full menu restaurant, more like a catering business with an open front door and daily specials. I don’t want to go on about this place, but just want to say it was a great experience for me. Check them out on the Web and find a map in Google maps: 512-556-8330.