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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

THC Historic Sites Represent at State Fair

by Sarah Tober, senior marketing specialist for the Historic Sites

The Historic Sites represented at the Texas State Fair this last week, with Jennifer (our web content guru), Dixie (one of our fabulous site managers, she oversees the Confederate Reunion Grounds) and yours truly. Together we worked the Texas Historical Commission (THC) booth, meeting visitors and providing information about the Historic Sites and other THC-related programs. We made sure visitors left our booth with rack cards, historic sites' mint tins and a better understanding of what we offer in the way of preservation and heritage tourism.

Traveling all over Texas and getting to know other Texans is definitely one of the perks of my job. Having grown up in Texas I have always heard that we Texans are some of the most friendly bunch of people in the U.S., and I can now officially confirm the rumors as truth. Even in the big city of Dallas there were plenty of friendly faces and hearty storytellers.

Some highlights from the two days spent at the fair include: tornado tater twisters, Dr. Pepper floats, talking with Dixie about history and life in Texas, corndogs, the Go Texan store, hearing people recognize our program and appreciate Texas history, and finally seeing the big O, a Brazilian Spectacle Owl that is!

If you make it to the state fair next year, be sure to stop by the THC booth inside the Food and Fiber Pavilion, you never know what new things you could learn there! For more information on the state fair visit

Friday, October 9, 2009

The long road to Acton…

by Sarah Tober, senior marketing specialist for the Historic Sites

After being in my new position for two months, I am finally making it out to see the sites! First stop, Acton State Historic Site in Acton, TX. After a few detours yesterday (due to missed roads and a slightly misleading GPS), to and from Acton, I can say that I have successfully visited Acton and stood in front of the Elizabeth Crockett monument.

First impressions, we have some work to do in restoring the monument, making the area more accessible (to drivers and walkers) and crating some visitor seating near Crockett's resting place. However, ultimately I believe she has a beautiful resting place, surrounded by history and lush landscapes. I tagged along to this site visit with co-workers Brett, Ellen and Donna who are planning for potential improvements. They also met with the Acton cemetery board of directors, where both parties shared visions for enhancements and a few development obstacles.

Who knew a monument and a cemetery could be so interesting though! In addition to the monument, the cemetery features an Official Texas Historical Marker, beautiful old oak trees and is the resting place for a Teas Ranger by the name of Capt. John W. Middleton. It was nice to not only visit our historic site, but to take a moment and reflect on Elizabeth Crockett's life and to consider the idea of what it must have been like to be the wife of such an important historical figure. The monument reminds me of her tragic story as a widow, but also of her strength in life.

Some how these Texas treasures and the historical context in which they fit, becomes more palpable to me once I have experienced them firsthand. I'm looking forward to my future THC related adventures (whether they be GPS misguided or not) and seeing more Historic Sites in the coming weeks.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Spirit Tours at Magoffin Home Begin This Weekend

Throughout the month of October, hear the stories of spirits and other odd occurrences in the Magoffin Home. Built in 1875, Magoffin family members and their descendents lived in the home for more than 100 years, and it is now one of the oldest surviving adobe structures in the El Paso area.

The Casa Magoffin CompaƱeros are offering these special tours on October 3, 10 and 31 at 10 a.m. The cost is $5 and all proceeds go to supporting preservation of the home. Reservations are required; please call 915.533.5147 to reserve your spot. Magoffin Home State Historic Site is located in the heart of downtown El Paso at 1120 Magoffin Ave.