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.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It’s a Wicket, Wicket World of Croquet

By Megan Maxwell, Starr Family Home Site Staff

This month the Starr Family Home in Marshall hosted the 17th annual Wicket, Wicket World of Croquet Tournament. During the first weekend of June, players traditionally don their “whites” to participate in the Croquet Tournament sponsored by the Friends of the Starr Family Home.
Friends Board President Marjorie Perkins started the annual tournament as a fundraiser for the Starr Family Home 17 years ago. Money is raised through sponsorships and donations, with levels set by the Friends. East Texas Baptist University provides athletic fields for the preliminary rounds, and the final round takes place at the Starr Home after lunch.
This year’s winners were Bryant Perkins and Aurelio Ortiz, who have won the tournament three years in a row. Dare and Grant Westmoreland, descendants of Sallie Starr McGee, were the runners-up in the tournament.
** Starr Family Home is located in Marshall on the corner of Travis and S. Grove streets in the Texas Forest Trail Region.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Birthday Party of Bicentennial Proportion!

By Cassie Dieterich, Fulton Mansion State Historic Site educator
June 8, 2010 marked the 200th birthday of George W. Fulton, the builder and first owner of Fulton Mansion in Rockport. In celebration of his life and legacy, Fulton Mansion State Historic Site hosted a 200th Birthday Party with cake, ice cream, games, and crafts.
The main attraction was a bicentennial-worthy wooden birthday cake. Party guests were encouraged to decorate the mammoth confection with signatures, drawings, and messages to George. The party ended with a ceremonial lighting of the cake and a free concert featuring local Celtic band Gravel Walk.
June 8 also marked the opening of a special exhibit at the Mansion titled “A Tale of 83 Years and Incalculable Miles: The Life and Times of George W. Fulton.” The exhibit will run throughout the summer and admission is included in the regular tour fee.
Volunteer Norinne Holman cuts one of the real birthday cakes.

Party guests sign and place candles on the larger-than-life, wooden birthday cake.

Caption: Members of the Springer family dance to the traditional Irish jigs of Gravel Walk.

**Fulton Mansion is located at 317 Fulton Beach in Rockport and is part of the Tropical Trail Region

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Visitors Enjoy Historic Sites Free Day at Sam Rayburn House Museum

By Anne Ruppert, Sam Rayburn House Museum staff

May 16, 2010 was a day to celebrate history across the state of Texas. This day marked the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) annual Historic Sites Free Day. Free admission was offered at 19 historic sites throughout the state, with various programs and special events coinciding with the free admission at these locations.
The Sam Rayburn House Museum offered free admission, Blue Bell ice cream, and activities for students and children. Free admission to the museum included viewing the museum’s newest exhibit, “Threaded Through Time: The Sam Rayburn Family Quilts.” The “Threaded Through Time” exhibit focuses on 12 quilts from Sam Rayburn’s personal collection of materials. Free admission at the THC’s historic sites was held in conjunction with the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Month which takes place each May. The event was also part of the national and Texas Travel and Tourism week, May 8–16.
** The Sam Rayburn House Museum is located two miles west of Bonham on West State Highway 56 in the Texas Lakes Trail Region.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

2nd Annual Western Frontier Days Brings History to Life

By Cheryl Dowell, Fort Lancaster Site Staff

More than 50 volunteers and living historians recently descended into the remote valley where Fort Lancaster State Historic Site is located to share and perform for nearly 600 visitors over the two-day Western Frontier Days event. Even though the amenities are limited in this West Texas fort, historians continue to visit because they love sharing 19th century history with students. Students from six school districts attended the event’s Education Day. There were also many more students attending via satellite thanks to Region 18 Education Service Center.

The students participated in a virtual field trip as they witnessed the canons fire, visited with the Texas Camel Corps, heard music, and watched interviews with the various forts represented at the event. This remote site did not seem nearly as secluded thanks to modern technology.
Saturday was a two-sided joy as we were joined by students from the Texas Challenge Academy. Not only did the students enjoy visiting and learning from our historians, but they were able to show us their stuff as they performed two amazing military marching drills and joined the flag-raising ceremony.
Thanks to all the great people who are willing to give their time to share this important piece of history with our Texas students and visitors from all over the world. We look forward to seeing everyone next year—be sure to join us!

**Fort Lancaster is located near Sheffield in the Texas Pecos Trail Region.