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, November 19, 2010

Fall Harvest at Varner-Hogg

by Sue Miller, Varner-Hogg Plantation site manager

This year’s Third Annual Harvest Festival at Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site included scarecrows, hayrides, cane tasting, and even a marriage proposal! One guest brought his daughters, along with his girlfriend’s daughters, all dressed in pink and black for a photo session that included a marriage proposal. He had his girls holding signs that spelled out “Will you marry our daddy?” A photographer was there to commemorate the moment, as he planned to get down on one knee and propose. Staff even got to see the engagement ring. We hope she said yes!
The evening also featured a visit from donkeys Pablo and Duke, who educated families about the different roles of plantation animals in early Texas.
Additionally, kids experienced what it was like to pick cotton (and fill and weigh a cotton sack), designed two different crafts, and enjoyed storytelling with the local librarian.
The night was fun for all, and both staff and visitors alike are looking forward to celebrating the spirit of the harvest in 2011.
**Varner-Hogg Plantation is located two miles north of West Columbia on FM 2852 in the Texas Independence Trail Region.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Archeology Month Program and Star Party at Fort McKavett

By Cody Mobley, Fort McKavett staff
October 9, 2010 was a busy day for site staff at Fort McKavett State Historic Site. I presented an archeology program at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. about the archeological surveys done on site during the years of 1969-1982. On display were examples of original artifacts which were uncovered during these excavations, as well as donated artifacts with provenance to the site.
Throughout the day, visitors observed experimental archeology in action as flint knappers created reproduction stone tools, arrowheads, and spear points using original methods and techniques. I spoke to the visitors about period woodworking techniques and demonstrated how these methods would have been used by the soldiers stationed at Fort McKavett during the mid-19th century in the construction and upkeep of the buildings onsite. A mock archeology dig kept the junior archeologists, assisted by site staff, busy for most of the day.
Later in the day, the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society held their biennial Star Party. These events occur in the spring and fall on the weekend closest to the emergence of a new moon. After the sun went down, visitors began lining up for their turn to peer through the high powered telescopes and witness the enormity of the galaxy firsthand.
**Fort McKavett is located west of Menard on FM 864 in the Texas Forts Trail Region.