Brady, The Heart of Texas

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The Ricks family is another with a long tradition as forward-thinking merchants in Brady. A.J. and Eva Virginia Ricks opened a small service shop for radios, refrigerators and electrical appliances in the pre-television days of 1935. Their business prospered, and soon they were selling appliances and furniture on the square. They even ventured into the automobile business, selling Chevrolets for a few years in the 1950s before deciding to focus on furniture and appliances. They built a new store ten blocks south of the square in 1967, but outgrew that within three years and built an innovative multi-level warehouse in 1970 which won Mr. Ricks recognition from national furniture publications. He was elected president of the Southwest Home Furnishings International Association in the early 1970s, and traveled the world extensively as an industry representative. His grandson, Jim, carries on the Ricks tradition today.

For a city of only 6,000 people, Brady offers an amazingly wide array of goods and services (including excellent lodgings and plenty of good restaurants). But there’s a lot more to the city than just shopping. Two of the most intriguing places to visit are museums: the fine historical museum in the old jail just west of the square, and a unique museum dedicated to memorabilia of country and western music. The Heart of Texas Country Music Hall of Fame is the brainchild of local DJ and country music promoter Tracy Pitcox (see “Country Classics live on in Brady,” Summer 2005), who has collected many items with historical significance to country music fans. The most striking is a 1950s-era tour bus that belonged to Jim Reeves! Other items include autographed instruments, posters, hats and costumes from the golden age of country, most donated by the stars themselves.

There’s Brady Lake, where more than 100 racing boats compete in the Heart of Texas Thunder Drag Boat Races each summer.

The Heart of Texas
Photo: Facebook/Texas Hill Country