Central Texas Trip

Copyright © 1998-2010, Scott D. Murdock
8 May 2010 - Added additional photos, upgraded existing photos.

Friday, 10 Apr 1998

How to spend Good Friday when my client took a holiday.  The road beckons! This trip fills in an area I hadn’t investigated before, although my path crossed some familiar highways from long-ago trips from Abilene to Austin and (even longer ago) Abilene to Belton.

Headed west on I-20 to Cisco, then took 183 south to Brownwood. Attempted to find Dyess TVOR Annex #2 (31-53-33, 98-57-27), now the Brownwood VOR. It is north of 405 (dirt) but there was no public access nor was it visible from the road.

Back on 183 and south toward Brownwood, finding Brownwood AAFld (31-47, 98-57) on the right side of the road North of town. I was surprised to see an F-4 and F-111 proudly pulling "gate guard" duty! The sole hangar and a water storage tank are the only two significant W.W.II structures remaining on this municipal airport. Old foundations are visible.  Aerial photos on display in the airport operations area of the hangar show the east end of the E/W runway and the northeast end of the NE/SW runway were removed flush with the east edge of the N/S runway at some point in time. Also, the main (N/S) runway has been enlarged, and taxiways modified since the W.W.II layout. This airfield’s primary purpose during the war was supporting the Army’s nearby Camp Bowie.

South on 183 into Brownwood, then 377 South to Brady. Paused just north of Brady to photograph the open gate to Curtis Ranch (31-19, 99-13). I didn’t explore since it was posted, and no one was in sight to ask permission. The ranch airfield, still in use under that name, was an auxiliary of Curtis Field in W.W.II.

Back on 377 headed south toward Brady; Curtis Field is on the right, still under that name (31-11, 99-20). Several W.W.II era hangars remain standing, along with a few wooden buildings. Gate posts at the airport entrance may date to the W.W.II flying school.

Continue South on 377 into Brady, turn right on 87 and follow it to Eden. At Eden, take 83 north toward Ballinger.

Before Ballinger, County Road 239 and County Road 240 lead to Bruce Field (31-40, 99-59), still in use under that name. One double-span hangar remains in use from the W.W.II era, and foundations of others are evident. One other probably vintage building remains, apparently used as a residence. Nice photo op from 240 of the hangar with an Aeromotor windmill in the foreground.

Back to 83, then take 83 north into Ballinger. Turn right on 67 and go northeast toward Coleman. Nearing Coleman, go north on 206. Followed airport signs to Coleman Airport (31-51, 99-24), now known as Coleman Municipal Airport. A hangar and a few foundations remain from the W.W.II days. The former flagpole location was visible as a circular loop at an intersection of sidewalks.

Back into Coleman, go north on 283 to I-20. Head east to 281, and take it north into Mineral Wells. Then go east on 180 to Wolters Industrial Park. I had been there, the former Wolters AFB, back in 1994 (see my "Aerosmith Tour" trip report); today’s stop was to specifically look for evidence of former Nike missile facilities (Site DF-70). I found the "Texas Army National Guard Unit Training and Equipment Site #2 (UTES #2)" (32-50-19), which Mark Morgan lists as the control site (DF-70C). From the public road, I could not discern any "Nike-looking" structures. Found a sign for the "National Guard Training Area," home of the launcher area (DF-70L) according to Mark. This sign (32-50-10, 98-03-47) led north into a gated "No Trespassing" area; no structures were visible from the gate. Weatherford College uses quite a few buildings (vintage and new), and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is operating a prison consisting of several former dormitories. And to think that as young airmen we used to grumble that prisoners had it better than we did!

From Wolters, west on 180, then South on 281 to I-20. Head east on I-20 toward home. This trip took 12 hours, 5 minutes, and covered 591 miles.