“I am what time, circumstance,
and history have made of me, certainly;
but I am also much more than that.
So are we all.”
The history of Brazos County’s “twin cities”–Bryan and College Station– dates back to the 1870s and revolves in great part around the institution now called Texas A&M University. For decades, the “college road” served as the only transportation link between the established downtown Bryan area and the fledgling land-grant school to its south.
College Avenue–or “South College” as its known by locals (“North College” long ago disappeared)–symbolizes the historic embrace between Bryan and its now globally-acclaimed academic neighbor.
Today’s South College Avenue stands in a state of well-worn use, but soon will again thrive as the City of Bryan begins a “midtown” redevelopment effort for much of the area south of downtown and north of the A&M campus . While some South College Avenue commercial establishments have been abandoned, and a few residential lots sit vacant, I find the eclectic mix of structures and green spaces as they exist today both charming and inviting.
The image you see above is a sample of the unexpected visual intrigue to be found along South College. It’s a scene just north of Villa Marie Road, across South College east of the Country Club Lake in Travis B. Bryan Park. That’s my silhouette you see in the bottom right corner as I took the original photograph..
For some time, I’ve spoken to others of my desire to capture the essence of South College Avenue in photographic form. Initially, the effort was mostly for my own amusement. Yet, as I framed each shot, my infatuation with the roadway blossomed into a full-blown love affair.
Here, I present a selection of the more than 150 images from the “South College Avenue” collection. I’ve taken the liberty of digitally manipulating the original photographs in an attempt to cast aside, at least in some cases, the visual distractions of the ravages of time, and to present these places in a manner representative of the glory days of years gone by…and yet to come.
To me, the name “South College Avenue” describes more than just a thoroughfare. My intent in this exhibition is to showcase, both visually AND historically, the street and its environs as a means of linking past to future. I find the words above of author and activist James Baldwin a fitting description of the South College slice of our local landscape. Not only is the roadway a product of time and circumstance, but also it represents a vital piece of local history meaningful to those who call this area “home".