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, August 27, 2010

The End of Summer at Fort Lancaster

By Cheryl Dowell, Fort Lancaster Site Staff

At Fort Lancaster State Historic Site, young visitors enjoyed the last week of summer vacation by exploring the site’s ruins and learning about early Texas history. On August 14, it was a day of fun (for the staff, too!) as the kids tried on period uniforms and laundress apparel, and posed for pictures. Perhaps one day they will bring their own kids back to Fort Lancaster to preserve and learn about Texas history as well.

Enderle and Caleb Madden visiting from Dallas

Brandon, John Paul, and Frankie visiting from Andrews
**Fort Lancaster is located near Sheffield in the Texas Pecos Trail Region.

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 at the Confederate Reunion Grounds (part 2)

By Dixie Hoover, site manager at the Confederate Reunion Grounds

The Chisholm Trail Riding Club, a family-oriented riding club, spent Memorial Day weekend camping, evenings under the Pavilion visiting, and riding the back roads of Limestone County.
The first weekend of June was the 27th Mid-America Brass Car Tour for the North Texas Regional Group of the Horseless Carriage Club of America.

A mid-morning scheduled stop gave the group a break under the Pavilion to cool off from the heat and learn about the site’s history through an interpretive talk provided by site staff.

Consistent rains through spring and summer have kept the grounds green and beautiful for native and historic vegetation.
The crepe myrtles produced a “bumper crop” this year.

The branches were so heavy with the first blooms some were touching the ground after an early summer shower and creating tunnels to the entrance of the historic native stone fountain.

Baltimore Oriole
Tiger Swallow Tail Butterfly

Large numbers of migratory birds and butterflies have visited the site to join our resident blue heron that lives in the bend of the Navasota River year round to enjoy the site’s abundance for flowers, vegetation, food, and water.

Privet bush and butterflies

Fishing and paddling has attracted many individuals and groups for 2010. Even in the deep heat of summer, the grounds remain green and beautiful, the river still trickles over the historic low water dam, and “just enough” water remains above the historic low water crossing to launch a canoe or kayak for entrance into the deep of the Navasota River to navigate the Limestone Bluffs Paddling Trail.

Recently, the full moon of July/August provided lighting for the Key’s Battery to hold their annual muster meeting and to time their gathering to commemorate the Joseph E. Johnston Camp 94 United Confederate
Veterans which was historically held annually during the full moon of these summer months. The 2011 annual muster will be held next year under the same full moon and the battery invites the public to participate with them to commemorate Civil War veteran.
The cool of the morning is the best time of day during the “dog days” of summer to walk the historic ruins and trails. For the afternoon heat, sitting under the 1893 Dance Pavilion provides shade and creates a natural “draw” that lowers the temperature a good 10 degrees to enjoy the panoramic view of the site.

Upcoming fall events include Archeology Family Days 2010.

**The Confederate Reunion Grounds is located southwest of Mexia on FM 2705 on the Texas Brazos Trail.

Friday, August 6, 2010

2010 at the Confederate Reunion Grounds (part 1)

By Dixie Hoover, site manager at Confederate Reunion Grounds

After a cold, wet winter, spring arrived at the Confederate Reunion Grounds, along with public visitors for events, programs, group use and camping, family reunions, weddings, Scout projects, volunteer projects, and work days. These activities kept site staff busy through the end of July, when a little cold and wet weather would be more welcome now than the first of the year.

Chautauqua & Coffee learning series , March 7, 2010
Discussion for southern quilts by historian Lynn Deal, site manager at Sam Bell Maxey House, and preservationist Robin Gilliam, site manager at Eisenhower Birthplace.

The Mexia chapter of Ducks Unlimited gathered in March for a meeting with the hope of catching a glimpse of wood ducks nesting in the trees on the grounds. When not searching for wood ducks, they enjoyed relaxing under the historic 1893 Dance Pavilion. The site is #23 on the Big Woods Loop of the Prairies and Pineywoods-West Great Texas Wildlife Trails.

Too Cool Racing used the site as part of an area bicycle race the end of March. Participants were required to leave their bicycles at the front gate and run through the site on foot to gather clues as part of the day’s activities. The shade trees around Miss Mamie Kennedy’s ruins provided a cool respite to look for clues.

The first of April found the Mother Earth Music Festival enjoying the cool shade of the bur oaks for camping, and evenings under the 1893 Dance Pavilion for jam sessions.

School Day 2010, Friday, April 16

The third weekend in April provided beautiful weather for the 16th annual Civil War Living History and Reenactment, hosted by the Friends of the Confederate Reunion Grounds. Next year’s event is scheduled to take place April 15-17.

Public Days Battle Reenactment, Saturday and Sunday, April 17-18

Texas Historical Commission’s Historic Sites Free Day, Sunday, April 16th featured Brian Burns in a live performance for “Once Upon a Time in Texas”

**The Confederate Reunion Grounds is located southwest of Mexia on FM 2705 in the Texas Brazos Trail Region.