A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 11, 2008
Luckenbach on the Llano (Castell nickname)

Castell is a tiny town in Llano County, on the Llano river. Tourists come to Castell to go kayaking and fly fishing. Randy Leifeste, owner of the Castell General Store, has called his town “Luckenbach on the Llano.”

Luckenbach is a legendary tiny Texas town (once said to have a population of 3) that also pokes fun at its size to attract tourists and sell gift items.


Wikipedia: Castell, Texas
Castell is a small unincorporated riverside town in Llano County, Texas, United States. Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, its northern border is formed by the Llano River.
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Castell had a population of 72 people in 1972 and again in 2000. In 2007, a Castell promotional site claims a population of only 23.
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Modern attractions
Castell has several small businesses, mainly centering around camping and hospitality as a result of the flyfishing and kayaking opportunities there.

Randy Leifeste operates the general store of Castell, which offers barbecue and Bloody Marys on weekend mornings.

Wikipedia: Llano River
The Llano River (LAN-no) is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately 105 mi (169 km) long, in central Texas in the United States. It drains part of the Edwards Plateau in Texas Hill Country northwest of Austin.

It is formed in central Kimble County, approximately 4 mi (6 km) northwest of Junction, by the confluence of the North Llano and South Llano rivers, both of which rise on the Edwards Plateau north of the Rio Grande. It flows generally ENE across the Llano Uplift, a basin on the west edge of the Hill Country, through rural Mason and Llano counties, passing north of Enchanted Rock and through the town of Llano. Northeast of Llano it turns sharply to the southeast, joining the Colorado from the northwest as an arm of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, approximately 15 mi (24 km) southeast of Llano and 50 mi (80 km) northwest of Austin.

Wikipedia: Luckenbach, Texas
Luckenbach is an unincorporated community thirteen miles from Fredericksburg in southeastern Gillespie County, Texas, United States, part of the Texas Hill Country. It consists of ten acres (40,000 m²) between South Grape Creek (a tributary of the Pedernales River) and Snail Creek, just south of U.S. Route 290 on both sides of Farm Road 1376. This location is about 50 miles north of San Antonio and about the same distance west of Austin.
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Modern Luckenbach
Today the town still maintains a ghost town feel with its small population and strong western roots. Two main buildings are the top sites, one of which houses the post office, saloon, and general store, and the other is the dance hall.

Country music
Luckenbach’s association with country music began in the summer of 1973, when Jerry Jeff Walker, backed by the Lost Gonzo Band, recorded a live album there called Viva Terlingua at Luckenbach Dancehall. That album became an outlaw country classic.
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Visiting
Luckenbach hosts a wide range of visitors each weekend, including bikers, bankers and everyone in between, with a separate area for motorcycle parking and car parking, usually in the grass. On Sundays, it is common for people to bring instruments and those in the crowd entertain each other, taking turns performing on a hill. There is a wide variety of Luckenbach-related shirts, bumper stickers and other novelties. No hard liquor is allowed, and no law enforcement is necessary as the crowd tends to self-police.

Austin (TX) American-Statesman
TRAVEL
Slow down is the pace in tiny Castell
Kayaking, fly-fishing, barbecue are all on the menu in Castell

By Pamela LeBlanc
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Sunday, May 11, 2008
CASTELL — I slam on the brakes as I round the bend coming into this tiny Hill Country town. And I’m not just talking about my car.

It’s time to slow down.

To my right, the Castell General Store. A couple of wooden picnic tables. Four folks, looking like they couldn’t — or wouldn’t — move from where they are sitting even if one of those famous Texas flash floods came crashing down on them.

I park my car on the side of the road. Within 5 minutes, I’m installed at that table, sipping a cold drink, listening to tall tales and just basking in the comfy nonchalance of it all. If Austin is the capital of Texas, then Castell is the capital of, I don’t know, small-town Texas, where friends and good times rank way higher than making it to your next appointment on time.

Randy Leifeste, who took over this wooden country store five years ago, calls Castell “Luckenbach on the Llano.” That’s not a bad description for the hamlet, where you’re as likely to run into the guy who once rode his horse to the schoolhouse across the street as the owner of a chain of McDonald’s restaurants who, don’t tell, sneaks in for a burger now and then. 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Sunday, May 11, 2008 • Permalink