Journeys in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles-September 2014

Published in the La Vernia News on September 18, 2014

 Journeys in Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

B-25 Billy Mitchell "Yellow Rose"

This B-25 Billy Mitchell, nicknamed the "Yellow Rose" is among the vintage aircraft you can get  up close and personal with at the Commemorative Air Force Central Texas Wing Museum in San Marcos. SEveral of these aircraft will be on display this weekend at Stinson Airport in San Antonio. History flights will be booked, for a donation.

Landa Park Railroad

David Schoenvogel welcomes riders aboard the miniature train in Landa Park in New Braunfels.


   Though your feet never leave the ground on these short journeys from La Vernia, the planes, trains and automobiles may have your imagination taking flight!

Duesenburg Straight 8

Imagine yourself cruising the highways in this Duesenberg straight-8, one of the many American-made vintage automobiles on display at Dick's classic Garage in San Marcos.


      The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Central Texas Wing Museum is housed in the only remaining 1943 vintage wooden hangar at the San Marcos Municipal Airport, formerly Gary Air Force Base, less than 50 miles from LaVernia. It is a small museum with a big heart.

      The planes are not roped off with “Do not touch signs” everywhere. This is a working hangar where planes are restored and offer visitors the chance to see the love and dedication that go into these wonderful pieces of history. This museum was established in 1974 and is dedicated to restoring and maintaining WWII aircraft in flying condition as a tribute to the men and women who sacrificed so much in that era.

AT-6 Texan

       In visiting the museum, you can get up close and personal to thirteen rare vintage aircraft such as the North American B-25, Bell P-39, and several AT-6 Texans. The Bell P-39 Airacobra is currently under restoration and has not flown in the past four years. Restoration is nearing completion and is expected to fly once again in early September 2014. The museum is open to the public on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is free; a $3 donation would be gratefully accepted.


Before there was Aquatica at Sea World, before there was Schlitterbahn, and even before there was Splashtown, there was Landa Park, with its spectacular spring-fed swimming area. And, it is only 35 miles from LaVernia. Some of my best memories of my childhood were spending weekends there. We would drive the 30 miles or so from San Antonio to New Braunufels on a Saturday afternoon, grill hot dogs, spend the night sleeping in the car or on top of a picnic table, fish, explore the park, swim, and all the things kids love to do – have fun.

This 51-acre city-owned park was developed on land originally owned by Joseph Landa, a New Braunfels merchant. One of the most nostalgic features of this park is the miniature railroad. It has been documented that as far back as the late 1930s, a 16-gage miniature train ran through the park. The 16-gage railroad was replaced by a 24-gage in July 1969 and the original train was sold to Brackenridge Park in San Antonio. The ticket for this 15-minute train ride is only $3.00 per person and provides guests with beautiful views of the park.

Engineer & Owner

David Schoenvogel, who has been the owner and operator of the Landa Park Railroad for over 30 years, is a man who genuinely loves his job. Every day, without fail, he is there greeting riders and collecting tickets from the excited kids and adults. But, by far, the best part of his job is being the engineer and posing for pictures in front of his Iron Horse.

The Landa Park Railroad runs everyday during the summer and on weekends and holidays during the winter.


     Thanks to one of our readers who suggested that we visit Dick’s Classic Garage, we are able to tell you about this truly spectacular facility. It was not at all what we had envisioned. The “Garage” is a magnificent 43,000 square-foot facility housing a collection of some of the best American-made automobiles ever assembled under one roof.

    We were amazed at the displays - from the Great Depression through World War II and up through 1950’s. To accent some of the classic automobiles, memorabilia and videos throughout the museum place you at a specific moment in history. Guests can easily see the progression and the development of the automobile during the first half of the 20th century, and get a better understanding of how these vehicles impacted our society. When you enter, you are guided into the first section and then just follow the walkways and you won’t miss a thing.

     Dick’s Classic Garage opened in San Marcos in 2009 and is a non-profit organization with the goal of providing both education and entertainment to its guests. On display in this huge showroom are American vehicles from 1901 through 1959; to a classics lover, this is when cars were cars. The pride of the museum is a 1948 Tucker Torpedo, which has never been driven, although the odometer shows one-half mile. Most of the cars have been restored, but there are a few called “survivors” that are completely original. 

Find Out More


Commemorative Air Force (CAF)     1841 Airport Dr., Building 2249
          San Marcos, TX 78666


         Landa Park Train                       (830) 625-8285


Check website for admission prices and hours of operations                      Admission ranges between $5.00 - $10.00                                                   Open every day


    Tom Fortney, Museum Curator, explained that there just wasn’t any more room to add more automobiles, but they continue to enhance the museum by creating some very unique displays. The one he is currently working on is a drive-in theatre motif. One of the cars that will be parked in front of the screen will be a 1957 T-Bird. We can’t wait to go back and see it finished. Be sure to save a few minutes to visit the gift shop and a replica of an old-fashioned soda shop; it will bring back some great memories.

1918 Milburn Electic Runabout
David & the Iron Horse
P-39 Airacorba

   © Harry Perez 2012