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.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Evening of Success at Varner-Hogg

By Sue Miller, Varner-Hogg Plantation Site Manager

The first ever Varner-Hogg Volunteers and Friends holiday fundraiser was a great success thanks to our community and visitors. The night of December 4th was a balmy evening; not exactly winter weather, even for Texas, but it set the stage beautifully for our event.

Visitors were greeted by staff as they walked through the gates and saw the entire plantation decorated for the holidays. Among greenery, twinkling white lights, candles, and lanterns, guests listened to live music and munched on wonderful food. Calzones and cookies, shrimp and egg rolls, meatballs, and more were available at five food stations. And let’s not forget the German cookies, carrot cake, chocolate torte, and tarts for dessert.

Visitors leisurely strolled through the plantation house, where docents dressed in period costumes explained the holiday decorations in each room and how they reflected a 1800s Texas Christmas. Others took advantage of the full house tours.

Our silent auction presented a great selection of affordable items such as books, gift baskets, locally made wine, gift certificates to restaurants, and more. The auction alone raised over $300!

Wassail and mock champagne were the hit of the evening at the drink table, and visitors took time to sit at the conversation tables to eat, drink, and be merry.

Many thanks to our Friends members, volunteers, and the many businesses who donated supplies. This event would not have been possible without their support. A special thanks to staff who worked above and beyond to make this event a success. Funds raised will allow us to offer new programming for both children and adults.

Varner-Hogg Plantation is located approximately 60 miles south of Houston and is part of the Texas Independence Trail Region.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nimitz Museum Welcomes Veteran Hiking for Heroes

By Elizabeth Taylor, National Museum of the Pacific War

Last month, the National Museum of the Pacific War received a visit from Troy Yocum, a Gulf War veteran hiking across the country with his dog to raise money for military families. Yocum marched into Fredericksburg beating his drum on Sunday, January 23, and stopped at the National Museum of the Pacific War, where dozens of people awaited his arrival. He spoke to the crowd about why he started this journey, sharing a personal story about his grandfather who was also a veteran but did not seek treatment when he came home.

The goal for his “Hike for our Heroes/ Drum Hike” mission is to walk 7,000 miles across the country to raise $5 million. Along the way, he collects signatures to raise awareness. But his petition is not like any you’ve seen—he collects the signatures on a Louisville Slugger. So far he’s gotten signatures from Jay Leno, Diane Sawyer, and many mayors along the way.

Troy and his “superdog,” Emmie, have been walking for nine months and have raised $125,000. There have been struggles—including a near-death experience for Emmie, who luckily underwent surgery and is now starting to walk again. Yocum has been fortunate to find citizens along the way willing to offer him a bed each night.
For more information on Yocum’s organization and cause, please visit his website at

The National Museum of the Pacific War is a Texas Historical Commission property located in Fredericksburg, Texas and is supported, operated, and managed by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation. The site is part of the Texas Hill Country Trail Region.

Monday, February 7, 2011

From Dusk till Dawn at Caddo Mounds

By Jennifer L. Price, Caddo Mounds site manager

At dusk, the burial mound (right background) at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is enhanced with diminishing rays of shimmering sunlight just before a quiet, calm evening settles across the site.

During the night, wildlife is abundant at Caddo Mounds. These white-tailed bucks are admired by both nature enthusiasts and hunters alike. Deer hunting, however, is not allowed on state property, so when deer are present they are protected by law.

At dawn, the burial mound at Caddo Mounds comes alive in bright color as a new day begins.

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is located outside Alto, Texas, 26 miles west of Nacogdoches. The site is part of the lush Pineywoods landscape of the Texas Forest Trail Region.