Grape Arbors

If you’re from the South–or at least Texas–you may have heard about grape arbors.  Here in Texas, as early as the 1850s records indicate that Anglo settlers were constructing grape arbors under which they would hold meetings and revivals.  These were densely shaded, protected environments were people could gather in the days before air conditioning or a great many permanent structures.

I’ve read about many a grape arbor but really have had limited experience with what they looked like in “real” life.  I certainly had never expected anything as large as the one I saw recently outside the city of Graham, Texas, on the grounds of what was Fort Belknap.

The photos don’t do justice to just how large this structure is–likely at least 50 yards by 50 yards and the grape vines have formed such a dense ceiling that light is virtually impenetrable.  Some of these vines coming out of the ground are bigger around than a tree.  Who knew!  I think those old Texas settlers really knew what they were doing.  This arbor had a sign on it saying that the metal structure holding it up had been constructed in the early 1940s.  I’d have guessed these vines were older than that.

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