A CITY IN PHOTOGRAPHS
When Kentuckian Garrett Burgess Griffin Royse first platted the town site of Royse City in 1886 he undoubtedly had no idea this Texas Main Street City would still retain its 19th century rural charm almost one hundred and fifty years later. Members of the Royse City community like to consider their town just a “friendly touch of Texas”, a motto expressed by both locals and visitors alike. Royse City heritage, the historical as well as the friendly kind, is in full evidence along the community’s streets. In fact, if you examine a photograph of downtown Royse City taken in the 1920’s and compare it to the same view today you’ll discover that most of the buildings in the photograph are still standing and in use.
Photographs of historic Royse City cover the walls of the Zaner Robinson Historical Museum, the community’s archive of city heritage. The museum exhibits are housed in the first floor of a Texas Historic Landmark building, constructed in 1925 for use as a Masonic Lodge. Designed by architect A. M. Kimzey, the commercial/institutional building blends Mission-style details with Classical Revival elements. The local Masons continue to utilize the second floor today. Nearby, the community’s second Texas Historic Landmark building was erected in 1904. The First United Methodist Church, designed with three entry towers by Dallas architect J. E. Flanders, served the growing Royse City congregation of Reverend D. H. Aston.
Royse City residents and visitors enjoy the outdoors with two official city walking trails – the City Lake Park Trail and the Walker-Hawk Trail. The community is also host to a different kind of trail altogether – the Tiny Texas Jail trail. The trail features locations throughout the state that harbor the historic remains of a single-cell jail building known as a “calaboose”. The Royse City calaboose, located between the water tower and the railroad tracks in the Old Jail Park, was constructed sometime between 1911 and 1921. The all-concrete structure replaced an earlier, wooden version and served primarily to house Royse City citizens who may have exceeded a “friendly touch” of Saturday night beverages and were in need of a quiet place to sober up.