On our way into San Angelo I made a list of 3 things to see–the international water-lily garden, Fort Concho, and Hattie’s Bordello Museum. The water-lily garden was closed for dredging, and we ate at the recommended Miss Hattie’s Cathouse Bar and Restaurant, which was not very good. The bordello itself was opened for decades, closed by the Texas Rangers in 1952, and seemed like a less-than-great-idea-to- tour once we were in town. As a result, Ruth and I only saw one of the 3 attractions we planned to explore. Our 1st stop was at the excellent San Angelo Convention & Visitors Bureau where I asked Wanda and Doris to tell us what to do that was offbeat. They recommended the Cactus Hotel, the Chicken Farm Art Center, and Eggemeyer’s. We made it to 2 of these and liked both.
We were in San Angelo because it’s on my list of stand-alone U.S. cities containing more than 100,000 people that we haven’t visited. San Angelo is not on an Interstate highway and is fairly remote. You have to want to go there. Ruth & I both found it an undiscovered gem of a destination that is not on anyone’s travel radar on purpose. For a long time the people in power here did not want to turn their town into another go go Austin. Austin is the closest city to San Angelo.
Eggemeyer’s is said to be a traditional general store. To my way of thinking, it’s more of an Amazon without a website. People can get lost in this store as we did. Most report that they spend an hour or two here, and that seems about right. It’s stuffed with merchandise of interest. I noted cosmetics, kid stuff, jewelry, knives, and greeting cards before getting hung up in the men’s department on an antique Model A Ford and some old-fashioned shaving equipment. If I had to pick Eggemeyer’s strength, it would be its diverse kitchen equipment, but I heard a lot of talk about the quality of their hams too. Some call Eggemeyer’s an old-school general store in a historic part of town containing lots of cool, novelty stuff, but I call it kind of overwhelming and an inventory nightmare.
I really enjoyed talking to co-owner Karen Eggemeyer and her daughter. Karen’s husband Bobby was not there, but Karen told me that he was responsible for the salsa I was interested in. The Eggemeyers opened their downtown emporium in 1988. Karen told me that the historic building it’s in was once a car dealership, and she entertained me with the tale of buying and installing the Model A.
Ruth and I came home with salsa, blackberry jalapeno jam, and 2 dip mixes; but most of the other customers were purchasing Eggemeyer’s delectable looking candy. I recommended that they invite Joanna Gaines to San Angelo when I saw copies of her book Home Body for sale. Waco is not all that far from San Angelo, and I think that Joanna would really enjoy a meet and greet in Eggemeyer’s general store.