DON’T MISS Mitte Cultural District The Southern Pacific Linear Park is the endpoint of the Brownsville Historic Battlefield Trail and is a gateway to the city of Brownsville. The park includes the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, the Gladys Porter Zoo, the Children’s Museum, the Costumes of the Americas Museum, the Historic Brownsville Museum and others. The Ringness House Museum 7010 CR 309 Cranfills Gap, TX 76637 (254) 597-2478 ringnesshouse.org BIKE SHOPS JT Cycling (located on the Brownsville Historic Battlefield trail) 1601 E. Alton Gloor Blvd. Brownsville, TX 78526 (956) 545-0866
COLONIAL REMNANT: Mission Nuestra Señora Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga, located in Goliad State Park.
Bicycling the Palo Alto Battlefield Relive the War with Mexico BETH NOBLES
ON MY BIKE, I zip down the battle’s front line,
pretending I’m a part of U.S. General Zachary Taylor’s cavalry. This is the first day of the War with Mexico, and it’s May 8, 1846. The Mexican Army is just across the prairie and dense chaparral, which is bursting with yellow wildflowers. The soldiers on the other side are close but not quite in clear sight. Cannon fire is all around me. And then I ride down the Mexican front line, for the Palo Alto National Battlefield in Brownsville provides both vantage points. The asphalt walking paths on the historic battle lines are perfect bike lanes. This morning, I hear (if in my imagination only) the sounds of the first battle of the war: cannon fire, soldiers shouting, horses neighing.
AU THENTIC TEX AS
Bicycle World of Brownsville 1275 N. Expressway Brownsville, TX 78520 (956) 541-9712 bicycleworldrgv.com
This site, now under the care of the National Park Service, remains largely untouched since the first battle of the War with Mexico 170 years ago. Flags and cannons mark the open prairie, making it easy to imagine and wonder about the events and the emotions of the day. Inside the Visitor Center, exhibits tell the story of the events leading up to the battle and the consequences of the war, which dramatically increased the size of the nation. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 ceded vast stretches of land to the United States, and established the national border of Mexico at the Rio Grande River. In less than a mile — on bike or by foot — visitors get a sense of the battlefield and the opening moments of the war. A bonus for the visitor: the Palo Alto National Battlefield is the northern
YOU ARE THERE: Interactive panels along the paths at the Palo Alto Battlefield provide historical insights for pedestrians and cyclists alike.
COURTESY MATT WALTER
7th and Park (located one block from the southern terminus of the Brownsville Historic Battlefield Trail) 1554 E. 7th St. Brownsville, TX 78520 (956) 335-5598 seventhandpark.com
Spring 2017 issue of Authentic Texas, The Heritage Magazine of Texas