The Grove, Texas, is a very small town. And when the old frontier hub that used to be full of pioneers and cotton gins, gunfights and even saw a bank robbery was abandoned and crumbling, a man by the name of Moody Anderson, bought the town and brought it back to life. Now a recently released documentary film tells the story of The Grove.
The Grove is nestled away off of Highway 36 in between Temple and Gatesville, Texas. Its legacy is rich… songs have been written about it… books have been published.
And now a documentary film released earlier this year called The Grove, Texas, not only tells the story of a place that went from an abandoned ghost town full of history, to a large memorabilia Mecca for movie makers and history buffs alike... But what happens when that entire town gets auctioned off.
Collectibles found at The Grove were used in films like Lonesome Dove, Second Hand Lions, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Coen Brothers’ True Grit.
And the man who spent 37-years putting his heart and soul into preserving and maintaining The Grove taking care of the buildings, filling them full of these 19th century Texas treasures, decided it was time to say goodbye.
“Moody Anderson placed a lot of love and care and refurbished buildings out of this long forgotten little community,” says Lori Najvar, director of The Grove, Texas. She says in 2010 the town's owner Moody Anderson, faced with health problems and persuaded by his family, decided to auction off the town.
“It’s one of those communities that I think would’ve been left behind if Moody hadn’t stepped up to preserve the buildings,” says Najvar.
Najvar says capturing Anderson selling The Grove was a big part of the film which premiered to a sold out crowd at the Stateside Theater in Austin this past February. The Grove, Texas, was also entered into the Texas Hill Country Film Festival, garnering Best Texas Film.
“We’re thrilled to know that audiences out there that don’t even know Moody or aren’t even familiar with The Grove have enjoyed the film. It reminds them of communities they may have been from,” says Najvar.
Najvar also wanted to highlight the auctioneering process. In The Grove, Texas, hundreds of people from near and far come to the auction. Thousands of Moody Anderson’s collectibles are sold. Something Anderson says he wanted.
“I figured it would make people happy to sell it piece by piece," Anderson said in a 2010 KWBU story. "Make a bunch of people happy instead of one person happy."
Najvar says the strong connection to The Grove among locals assured Anderson his town would be in safe hands.
“What I learned in making this film, is that this sleeply little, not even a stoplight, if you blink you’re going to miss it," Najvar says. "There were many people who are proud of The Grove.”
Najvar is hoping to submit the film to other festivals across the state. For now, the film is planning to be shown in Mason, Texas, on July 16th at 6:30p.m. at the Odeon Theater. The Grove, Texas, will also have a special showing at the Gatesville Drive In in early August. To learn more about this film, you can visit the Polkaworks website.
(Intro and outro music titled, "The Grove" by Thomas E. Murphy.)