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, June 27, 2012

Ike Returns to Denison

By Robin Gilliam, Eisenhower Birthplace Site Manager

The Eisenhower Birthplace recently hosted researcher/actor Bruce Hoff as Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower in a character portrayal of the World War II hero. Like the real general's first visit back to his birthplace in 1946, local residents were invited to come for lunch (free hot dogs) and to hear the famous man talk about the war in Europe.

Our program was held the weekend closest to the June 6th D-Day anniversary, which coincided with a reunion of the Army's 297 Combat Engineers. Only a handful of the now-elderly men were able to attend the gathering this year, but they were all interviewed by local media before Hoff's presentation as Eisenhower.

Bruce Hoff as "Ike," posing before the bronze sculpture by artist Robert Dean at Eisenhower Birthplace. Photo by Gary Sewell, Herald Democrat.

Wearing the short uniform jacket the general designed for the U.S. Army, the actor addressed a crowd of nearly 200 people on the lawn of the historic site. As he does at the Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas, Hoff stayed in character, speaking from the vantage point of 1947, just two years after the war ended.

After his speech, "Ike" answered questions from the audience that also included a rare female veteran of World War II. The former WAC was a delight to chat with, and still very active for her age. Her daughter emailed the Eisenhower Birthplace later that evening, expressing what many of the visitors had told our staff that afternoon:

“Thank you so much for a lovely day. You were all wonderful. The speaker "Ike" was so personable and knowledgeable. I could have listened to him for hours. My mother was with me. She is a WWII veteran. She wanted me to tell you that she enjoyed today as much as she enjoyed her 90th birthday party. Thank you so much for doing this. You are the best!”

Eisenhower Birthplace is located in Denison, approximately 75 miles north of Dallas. The site is part of the Texas Lakes Trail Region.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Foss Collection on Display at Fulton Mansion

By Lara Garner, Fulton Mansion Educator

Summer is always an exciting time at the Fulton Mansion. We look forward to meeting those who are in town on their vacations, or who have just decided to pop in to the mansion to escape the heat on a balmy South Texas afternoon.

In addition to our regular house tour, summer visitors may also enjoy our newly opened 2012 summer exhibit, “Fanciful Fultons: Fascinating Objects from the Foss Collection.” This exhibit showcases newly donated items from the Foss family, descendants of the original Fulton family. The items featured in the exhibit are distinctive not only because they have never before been put on display for the public, but because they highlight an extremely endearing and personal side to the Fulton family, particularly of George Fulton’s son, George William, his wife Lee, and their three daughters.

This special collection of items ranges from family jewelry to medals won at state cattle expositions. The items display the rich familial connection between George Fulton and his children, while also showcasing the distinctive personality traits of Fulton family members through letters, diary entries, and objects of sentimentality such as an autograph album, calling card case, and souvenirs.

Of all the items featured, one of the staff favorites is a letter from May Fulton to her grandma, Harriet Fulton, which exemplifies May’s fiery personality and distaste for the Victorian female pastime of sewing. Her letter reads, “Oh! Grandma we have so much sewing to do, it make me ‘most sick to think about it… I suppose that explosion you heard was me letting off steam...”

We are very grateful to the Foss family for donating these objects and giving us this unique opportunity to provide the public with a glimpse into the personal lives of the Fultons. Fulton Mansion is located in the resort area of Rockport-Fulton, 30 miles north of Corpus Christi. The site is part of the Texas Tropical Trail Region.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Longhorn Calves at Fort Griffin!

By Will Cradduck, Fort Griffin Herd Manager

In the past few months, the Texas longhorn cows at Fort Griffin State Historic Site have started having their babies. The calves come in all colors and patterns, and each one is unique. These calves are the continuation of the long-term breeding and preservation of Texas Longhorn cattle at Fort Griffin, the home of the Official State of Texas Longhorn Herd.

In the photos below, the little bull and heifer are the first babies for their young mothers, and they are doing well. They are about a week old, and many more calves will be born in the next couple of months. Come out to Fort Griffin to see part of the herd, and enjoy a living part of Texas history in the great outdoors!

Quiet Dove and her new bull calf
Bull calf
Molly and her new heifer calf
Heifer calf

Fort Griffin State Historic Site is located 15 miles north of Albany on U.S. Hwy 283, in the Texas Forts Trail Region.