For the past 40 years, David and Mary Wolff have spent long weekends leaving their home in Houston, Texas, and driving 83 miles northwest, crossing the Brazos River and watching as hay bales replace skyscrapers, until they pulled into the driveway of their ranch home in Independence, Texas.
An unincorporated village in Texas’ Washington County, Independence was founded in 1835 and 10 years later was the chosen site of Baylor University. Sam Houston once called Independence home, as did a number of European immigrants, and during the 1850s, the village was the wealthiest community in the state.
But after the Civil War, Independence’s economy changed. The railroad bypassed the town, and Baylor relocated to Waco. The farmland remained active, though, and the town carried on.
When the Wolffs bought their Independence ranch in 1973, they didn’t know much about the village, beyond its unparalleled natural beauty.... Read More →