From western forts to Victorian mansions and pivotal battlegrounds, the Texas Historical Commission's 20 state historic sites exemplify a breadth of Texas history. Come explore the real stories at the real places.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sabine Pass Battleground Reopens Tomorrow, Sept. 1

When Hurricane Ike hit the shores of Texas last September, Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site sustained serious damage in the aftermath of the storm. Over the past year, the site has undergone restoration work (including the addition of restrooms), and we're now happy to announce that it will reopen to the public tomorrow, September 1.

Located just outside Port Arthur, Sabine Pass Battleground honors a small band of heroic Confederate soldiers led by Lt. Richard “Dick” Dowling, who defeated four Union gunboats and prevented Union forces from penetrating the Texas interior in 1863. The site will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a $2 admission fee.

To kick off the reopening, come on out Sept. 12-13 for the Dick Dowling Days Weekend and see a Civil War reenactment honoring the 146th anniversary of the Confederate battle at Sabine Pass. Admission for this event is free. Click here for more information.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Day in Texas History

On this day 154 years ago, Camp Lancaster was established on Live Oak Creek near its junction with the Pecos River. One year later in 1856, the post was officially named Fort Lancaster. One of the most isolated posts in Texas, soldiers stationed here protected the lower San Antonio–El Paso Road, escorting mail and freight trains, patrolling the road and pursuing Mescalero Apaches and Comanches when necessary.

During this time, some of the more unusual visitors to Fort Lancaster were camels. In 1856 and 1859, two different camel expeditions passed through during a U.S. Army experiment in the use of camels for military transportation in the Southwest. The camels were successful in the arid western regions, able to carry extremely heavy loads, travel long distances without stopping for water and survive on desert vegetation. These camel expeditions are still celebrated today with reenactment events at the fort. For more information on the next event occurring October 10–17, visit the Friends of Fort Lancaster.

Located between Sheffield and Ozona in Crockett County, Fort Lancaster State Historic Site continues to offer a peaceful stop for travelers on Interstate 10. Stop by the next time you're in West Texas, and transport back to the 1850s to learn more about this important story in Texas' history.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Explore the Sites with New Visitors Guides

The Texas Historical Commission has three new visitors guides for Sam Bell Maxey House, Fulton Mansion and Fort McKavett. Designed to enhance your experience at the state historic sites, they include photos, family genealogy charts, walking guides and real stories about these historic places. Download your copies now using the above links, and look for more visitors guides coming soon!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Discover Caddo Mounds

Located west of Nacogdoches, Caddo Mounds State Historic Site preserves the stories of the Early Caddo who built a village and ceremonial center here more than 1,200 years ago. Come explore this fascinating prehistoric culture by walking among the three ancient earthen mounds and taking an up-close look at the pottery, tools and other artifacts recovered on site, now on display in the visitors center.

Visitors walk around one of the earthen mounds

Visitors take a closer look at artifacts on display

Caddo Mounds is located outside Alto, Texas, 26 miles west of Nacogdoches. The site is part of the lush Pineywoods landscape of the Texas Forest Trail Region.