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, October 29, 2010

Taking Casita Navarro to the Community

By Maureen (Mo) Brown, Casa Navarro site manager

Casa Navarro State Historic Site staff, Friends, and volunteers built a “Parque de Casita Navarro” as part of the two-day “First Annual San Antonio Park(ing) Day” event on Sept 17-18. The event was organized by the San Antonio Architectural Foundation as part of the international “Park(ing) Day” events that occurred in cities worldwide and in more than 140 cities around the U.S. parkingday.org.
San Antonio‘s standard metered parking spaces were temporarily transformed into innovative public open-space green parks for creative socializing. The event was located along the street from Casa Navarro, next to the popular Pearl Farmer’s Market.
We created “Parque de Casita Navarro” to include a specially built little house (“Casita Navarro”) for this occasion and to use in other outreach events. The little casa was made to be lightweight, transportable, and easily assembled by using two sheets of 8x4-foot plywood. One sheet was used for the house front (cut in half and hinged in the middle) and the other was for the roof, front door, window shutters, and porch floor. We also made a front porch railing.
In addition to the “casita,” our temporary park included a lawn of Astroturf loaned to us by the Via Metro staff, as well as flowerpots, benches, and traditional board games (i.e. chess and dominos) for the public to hang out, play, and enjoy our park. We also handed out brochures for Casa Navarro, Friends, and the THC. This was a great event to highlight temporary innovative green spaces and historic house sites as traditionally being green.
We had fun with our local partnering organizations in the process of creating the parks, sharing them with each other and the public, and getting drenched both days while dismantling our parks in a major rainstorm. We’re already looking forward to participating in next September’s Second Annual Parking Day event!
**Casa Navarro is located at the corner of S. Laredo and W. Nueva street in downtown San Antonio in the Texas Independence and Hill Country Trail Regions

Friday, October 22, 2010

Museum Day 2010

By Mary Ann Goodall, Confederate Reunion Grounds office manager

The sixth annual Smithsonian Museum Day was the final event in a very busy September at the Confederate Reunion Grounds (CRG). In addition to the 1990 class reunion held under the 1893 Dance Pavilion for Mexia High School graduates, special events for September 25 included free admission for visitors who presented the Museum Day Admission Card they had downloaded from http://www.smithsonian.com/.

Museum Day visitors walking down the steps to Humphrey’s Spring

The Class of ’90 enjoyed seeing old classmates and catching up. There were many positive comments to site staff aboutimprovements and changes to the site in the past 20 years since graduation.

Mexia High School Class of 1990 football game

As the Class of ‘90 went their separate ways and vacated the pavilion, the Friends of the CRG moved underneath to host their Friends and Future Friends annual membership drive kick-off. They hosted Camp Coffee and Cobbler from a chuckwagon and a bluegrass jam for visitor entertainment, featuring the Rainey Creek Ramblers. A few visitors even brought their own instruments to jam with the Waco-area group for the evening. Most just enjoyed the music from their lawn chairs as they slowly sipped their coffee (it’s very hot when cooked over a camp fire) and savored every bite of cherry or apple cobbler. A few of us even had both!

Refreshments for Museum Day’s evening events included chuckwagon camp coffee and cobbler hosted by the Friends of the Confederate Reunion Grounds.

Rainey Creek Ramblers provide entertainment for Museum Day evening visitors.

The cobbler was great, the music was fantastic, visitor attendance was exceptional, and a good time was had by all! Plans are already being made for Museum Day 2011, scheduled for Saturday, September 24, 2011. Watch for upcoming events on our website.

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

Friday, October 15, 2010

Texas Archeology Month at the Sites

By Brett Cruse, Military and Archeological Sites Supervisor for the Historic Sites

Throughout the month at the Aransas County Public Library in Rockport, visitors can view a special exhibit on the archeology of the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site. The exhibit features objects recovered from the 1978 and 2007 archeological excavations, photographs, and details about the exciting process of discovering the 19th-century lives of the Fulton family. http://www.visitfultonmansion.com/

Throughout the month of October, as part of its Texas Archeology Month celebration, Fort Lancaster State Historic Site near Sheffield in Pecos County will offer a variety of hands-on activities for children. Children can try a mock archeology dig, make replica arrowheads, try to piece together pottery, or make a Native American art rubbing. http://www.visitfortlancaster.com/.
A suspender clip from Fort Lancaster

Archeology Family Days will be at the Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site near Mexia in Limestone County on October 16. With its towering burr oaks and crystal springs, people have gathered at the bend of the Navasota River at the juncture of Jack’s Creek for more than 5,000 years. This year, site staff will celebrate Texas Archeology Month with a program that includes demonstrations of native crafts and technologies, lectures on archeological topics, and hands-on activities, such as mock digs, rock art replication, and spear throwing using an atlatl. http://www.visitcrg.com/
Reenactors at Confederate Reunion Grounds

Also on October 16 at Sealy in Austin County, will be an event entitled “New Insights into Old Texas: Recent Findings from San Felipe de Austin, Washington-on-the-Brazos, and the Bernardo Plantation. This event includes two tours of the Bernardo Plantation and a lecture program. Sponsored by Friends of the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site and THC. http://www.colonialcapitaloftexas.com/

On November 5–6 in San Felipe, Austin County, is the Father of Texas Birthday Celebration. This two-day event celebrating Stephen F. Austin’s birthday features a grand ceremony (Saturday, 2 p.m.), reenactments and living history programs, lectures, hands-on activities that include archeology-themed stations, and walking tours of the ceremonial site. Friday (9 a.m.–2 p.m.) is Austin County school day; Saturday (9 a.m.–4 p.m.) is public day. http://www.visitsanfelipedeaustin.com/

Visit one of these historic sites in October and help celebrate and experience Texas Archeology Month!