It is rare to find an entire town on the market. But such an opportunity is coming up because The Grove is on the auction block: Its general store, blacksmith shop, and saloon—and all their contents—will be offered to the highest bidder during an event set for the weekend of April 23-24.

The Grove, about 15 miles northwest of Temple, first came to life in 1917, when the general store and Lutheran church were built to serve the community. After the highway was moved because residents didn’t want to pave over their well, The Grove grew ever quieter.

Then, beginning in 1972, the village regained some energy through the indulgence of Moody Anderson, a retired National Guard colonel and inveterate antiques collector. Ever since then, Anderson has restored, renovated, tinkered, and shaped a sort of living museum.

“This has been Moody’s playground and his passion,” explains Lori Najvar, who documents history on The Grove (and other Texas culture) through her nonprofit PolkaWorks.org. “He really brought vitality to the community, and his collections are so visually rich that students and young filmmakers are drawn to it. The general store is organized in such a way that it helps you take a step back into the past,” she adds.

Indeed, there are household and veterinary products from “the old days” on the general store’s shelves. The smithey’s tongs and hammers rest near the bellows in the blacksmith shop, scary period instruments await a patient in the dentist’s office, and a fabled bar-back sets a western vibe for the Cockleburr Saloon. Some of these pieces are famous in their own right because Anderson often rents props to film and television productions, including Lonesome Dove.

For more information about the history of The Grove, contact Lori Najvar by e-mail: [email protected]. For auction details, call the Burley Auction Group at 830/237-3440, or e-mail [email protected].

From the April 2010 issue
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