texas VOLUME 1 / WINTER 2016/’17 EDITION
T H E
H E R I T A G E
M A G A Z I N E
T E X A S
BIG BEND DINOSAURS
Texas’ second tallest cowboy
T E X A S C O W B OY S ’ CHRISTMAS BALL L A R E D O ’S G E O R G E WA S H I N G TO N B I R T H DAY C E L E B R AT I O N
History of the Texas Heritage Trails
HILLCR E ST TO R T I L L A S
Christine Nix, the Texas Rangers’ first African American female
FROM THE TEXAS HERITAGE TRAILS LLC
WELCOME to the fourth issue of Authentic
Texas, the magazine that explores the wonderful heritage and culture of this great state and serves as your guidebook for heritage tourism. This quarterly publication and its online counterpart are owned and produced by five Texas Heritage Trail Regions to present the real places, people and stories of the state from border to border. If you’re not familiar with the history of the Texas Heritage Trail Regions, we’ve got the story in this issue just for you. It’s a tale that goes back to 1968 and involves Governor John Connally and the HemisFair in San Antonio. This issue also takes us from the anticipation of the holiday season — with a feature on Anson’s Cowboys’ Christmas Ball — to a new year with Laredo’s George Washington’s Birthday Celebration and Valentine’s Day in Valentine, Texas. 2017 is a year with a full slate of historic anniversaries, including the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail and the 100th anniversary of the start of U.S. involvement in World War I. We have stories about those anniversaries in this issue and upcoming issues in 2017. If you enjoy this magazine and/or have comments for us, we hope you’ll let us know by sending a letter or posting a message to us at Facebook.com/AuthenticTexas. You can also drop us an email at Director@AuthenticTexas.com. Subscriptions are now available (see p. 55 for details), and the full magazine and back issues are available online at www.AuthenticTexas.com. Thanks and Happy Trails,
Jeff Salmon, Director, Frontier Texas Texas Heritage Trails LLC
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REVOLUTIONARY DISPLAY: The 120th George Washington’s Birthday Celebration takes place in Laredo Jan. 19 through Feb. 20.
Contents WINTER 2016/’17
Christine Nix knows all about determination and persistence. The first female African American Texas Ranger is also a three-time cancer survivor and the only full-time faculty member in criminal justice at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton.
The second-tallest cowboy icon in Texas was constructed in 1959 and stands at the intersection of US Highway 60 and 15th Street in Canyon. Now, after being named a Historic Heritage asset,Tex Randall has been fully restored thanks to a fundraising campaign.
Described by Temple Houston as the “best state house in the United States,” the Texas Capitol is a massive granite structure crowned by a dome taller than any other state capitol — and a full seven feet taller than the dome above the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. WIN T E R 2 0 1 6 /’1 7
Contents 61 LIVE SHOWS
Cowboys’ Christmas Ball, Anson Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
The Mexican revolutionary triggered a mobilization of the American Army at the TexasMexico border in El Paso.
Commissioned in 1914 during World War I, the USS Texas was intended to be a definitive statement in the arms race.
Dinosaurs in Big Bend
A new display, the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, features the park’s 130 million years of paleontological history.
By 1870, Jefferson was a commercial center and the sixth-largest city in Texas. Many of its historic structures welcome visitors today.
Valentine’s in Valentine
Approaching Feb. 14, the Valentine post office is the busiest place in this West Texas town.
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George Washington’s Birthday in Laredo
The annual event offers the best of American, Mexican, and Native American cultures.
Christmas on the Brazos Waco’s heritage is showcased each year at a Victorian Christmas
Bob Bullock Museum
Texas history comes to life in Austin through three-dimensional artifacts and a laser IMAX projection system.
In the months leading up to HemisFair ‘68, Texas created what were originally known as the Texas Travel Trails.
Missions on the Coast
The Central Gulf Coast is home to two historic missions, Presidio La Bahía and Mission Espíritu Santo.
52 EATS & DRINKS
Hillcrest Tortillas Corsicana Fruitcakes
DEEP IN THE ART
Clifton Art Community
Texas in WWI
Almost 200,000 Texans answered the call to join the Allied Forces.
46 TRAIL DRIVES
Fifty Years of Texas Heritage Trails
The Bosque Arts Center is one of the top rural art centers in the nation.
Menil Art Collection
The crown jewel of a wildly eclectic museum scene in Houston is a 17,000-piece collection.
74 TEXAS ORIGINALS
The historian has spent the last 25 years educating Texans about the history of the Buffalo Soldiers.
Brownwood’s chief restoration figure saves the city’s historic buildings from demolition. FIFTY YEARS OF TEXAS HERITAGE TRAILS P. 46
COURTESY DAVE WILSON; BARBARA BRANNON
HISTORY OF THE TEXAS STATE CAPITOL P. 36
TRAILS MAP THE TEXAS HERITAGE TRAILS program is based on 10 scenic driving trails created in 1968
by Gov. John Connally and the Texas Highway Department (now the Texas Department of Transportation) as a tool for visitors to explore the Lone Star State. The trails were established in conjunction with HemisFair, an international expo that commemorated the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio. In 1997, the State Legislature charged the Texas Historical Commission with creating a statewide heritage tourism program. The THC responded with a program based on local, regional, and state partnerships, centered on the 10 scenic driving trails. Today, each trail region is a nonprofit organization governed by a regional board of directors that supports educational and preservation efforts and facilitates community development through heritage tourism.
Stewart Ramser EDITOR
Tom Buckley COPY EDITORS
Julie Seaford, Anne Herman, Michael Marchio
Martha Gazella-Taylor, Gazella Design ADVERTISING DESIGN & PRODUCTION
Lisa Reiley PLAINS TRAIL REGION
Tim Chandler, Dan Carpenter, Tim Delaney, Trey Gutierrez, Matt Lankes, Bill Oâ€™Neal, Steve Siwinski, William Michael Smith, Bart Wales, Vernon L. Williams LAKES TRAIL REGION FORTS TRAIL REGION
MOUNTAIN TRAIL REGION
PECOS TRAIL REGION
BRAZOS TRAIL REGION
FOREST TRAIL REGION
Jeff Salmon, Texas Forts Trail Region Patty Bushart, Texas Lakes Trail Region Ron Sanders, Texas Mountain Trail Region Kay Ellington, Texas Plains Trail Region Rick Stryker, Texas Tropical Trail Region
EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS OF PARTICIPATING TEXAS HERITAGE TRAIL REGIONS
HILL COUNTRY TRAIL REGION
INDEPENDENCE TRAIL REGION
Margaret Hoogstra, Texas Forts Trail Region Jill Campbell Jordan, Texas Lakes Trail Region Wendy Little, Texas Mountain Trail Region Barbara Brannon, Texas Plains Trail Region Nancy Deviney, Texas Tropical Trail Region
TROPICAL TRAIL REGION
BRAZOS TRAIL TexasBrazosTrail.com
INDEPENDENCE TRAIL TexasIndependenceTrail.com
FORTS TRAIL TexasFortsTrail.com
MOUNTAIN TRAIL TexasMountainTrail.com
FOREST TRAIL TexasForestTrail.com
PECOS TRAIL TexasPecosTrail.com
HILL COUNTRY TRAIL TxHillCountryTrail.com
PLAINS TRAIL TexasPlainsTrail.com
LAKES TRAIL TexasLakesTrail.com
TROPICAL TRAIL TexasTropicalTrail.com
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Texas Heritage Trails LLC 3702 Loop 322 Abilene, TX 79602 AuthenticTexas.com 325.660-6774 Texas Heritage Trails LLC is owned and operated by five nonprofit heritage trails organizations. Texas Heritage Trails LLC member organizations are participants of the nationally award-winning Texas Heritage Trails Program of the Texas Historical Commission. Texas Heritage Trails, LLC dba Authentic Texas is a member of the Texas Travel Industry Association and is a Go Texan partner.
TEXAS ICON p. 12 H YONDER p. 16 H CITY LIGHTS p. 22 H FEATURES p. 28
TEX RANDALL SCOTT BAUER
A restored Panhandle icon
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The Battleship Texas State Historic Site The Battleship Texas State Historic Site is part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The USS Texas is moored adjacent to the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, also administered by TPWD. Not to be missed is the San Jacinto Battle Monument and, at its base, the San Jacinto Museum of History. The 1836 Battle of San Jacinto is considered one of the most decisive in American history, and the defeat of the Mexican Army and General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna by the Texas Army under General Sam Houston led to the treaty that recognized Texasâ€™ independence. San Jacinto Museum exhibits provide an overview of 400 years of Texas history.
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STAND BY ONEâ€™S GUNS: Simulation firing of a 14-inch gun on the Texas.
LOCAL TEXAS ICON
WORLD WAR WARRIOR: Battleship Texas took part in some of the most significant battles of the 20th century.
COURTESY BATTLESHIP TEXAS STATE HISTORIC SITE
ALL HANDS ON DECK: Now docked along the Houston Ship Channel, Battleship Texas is available for individual exploration or guided tours.
ONE HUNDRED years ago the world was at war. Although the United States didn’t enter the Great War, as it was then known, until 1917, world militaries, including the U.S., had for some time been developing a whole menu of new weapons and tactics in preparation for war. One of the most important American accomplishments in the lead-up to war was the launch of a new and rapidly evolving type of battleship, including the USS Texas (BB-35), which was commissioned in 1914. The USS Texas was one of many new Navy battleships intended to be definitive statements in the arms race with the great navies of the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Russia, all of which were building and launching such ships as fast as they could, with each one bigger and better than the last. The key characteristics of this new type of battleship included heavy armament, multiple main batteries with long-range guns of uniformly large caliber, and steam engines capable of propelling the ship for long distances at optimum speed. • LA PORTE The USS Texas is 573 feet long, capable of displacing 34,000 tons when fully loaded. The heaviest armor plating protects its turrets, magazines and engine. It has ten 14-inch guns mounted on the deck capable of firing 1,500-pound projectiles every 45 seconds and hitting targets 13 miles away. And its triple reciprocating steam engines, which were originally fueled by coal, could propel the ship at 20.4 knots (24 mph). Initial fire control measures include two tower structures rising above the deck, giving spotters a vantage point to see the splash of projectiles in the water and enabling adjustments in aim. Some modifications came early in the ship’s life. Eight three-inch antiaircraft guns were added in 1916. Also, advanced fire control devices were added to aid in the accuracy of the guns.
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EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY: Fireworks to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the commissioning of the Texas in 2014.
COURTESY BATTLESHIP TEXAS STATE HISTORIC SITE
The USS Texas was in service until 1948, when it was transferred to the State of Texas. Even though itâ€™s being restored to the spring 1945 era, visitors can board and experience the armor plating, engines and 14-inch guns that made this ship such a powerful entry into the World War I maritime arms race. It was modified and updated, in part, because its foundational battle-ready characteristics continued to keep it relevant as naval architecture and design improved over the years. USS Texas is the last remaining of the World War I-era battleships. The Texas legislature in 2015 approved $25 million for repairs that focus on improving the internal structure of the ship, while the state and other stakeholders explore a full range of options to care for the ship in a sustainable manner. The goal is to develop a plan that not only preserves the ship for another 100 years but also enhances the visitor experience at one of Texasâ€™ most popular tourist destinations.
MOSASAURS, PTEROSAURS AND CROCODILES, OH MY! The stateof-the-art exhibit opens Jan. 14 and is designed for all ages.
Everything Old Is New Again
Fossil Discovery Exhibit Opens in Big Bend WENDY LITTLE
BIG BEND National Park has one of the richest collections of fossils in the nation — more than 1,200 fossils, including 35 Cretaceous-era species. But as recently as May 2013 a new fossil, Bravoceratops, was discovered. Big Bend fossils are displayed at museums throughout the world, but never yet in the park where they were found. The park has so much to intrigue the public, yet until now there’s been no specialized display that visitors can see when they arrive. A new exhibit will change that. The Fossil Discovery Exhibit, featuring the park’s 130 million years of paleontological history, opens on Jan. 14. This impressive geological story will be displayed in a state-of-the-art, $1.3 million exhibit designed for all ages and abilities. One of the most
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exciting and interactive features of the exhibit will be touchable casts of ancient creatures designed for kids to climb on and discover up close. Big Bend fossils include dinosaurs, mosasaurs, pterosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, lizards, fish, mammals, insects, wood, vines, leaves and invertebrates such as bivalves, snails, sea urchins and ammonites, along with scientifically important fossils — species found nowhere else. The park is one of the only public places on Earth where visitors can see the K-T boundary, the geologic time frame that saw the mass extinction of many life forms, most notably the dinosaurs. An almost complete geological record spanning 130 million years documents a series of changing environments at Big Bend. As the
Big Bend National Park (432) 477-2251 nps.gov/bibe/index.htm
• BIG BEND NP
MOUNTAIN TRAIL REGION
PHOTOS COURTESY BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
NEW Fossil Discovery Exhibit OPEN JAN. 14
• Provides proper interpretation of a highly significant park resource. • Replaces obsolete exhibit. • Fully accessible exhibit — ADA/ABBAS and programmatic accessibility. • Touchable specimens benefit visually-impaired and learning-impaired visitors. • Uses existing infrastructure (paved road, parking lot, toilet, picnic shelter, trail). • Provides a direct connection between fossil resources and the exhibit. Mammal fossils were found at the site; other fossil-bearing strata are visible in the distance.
Western Interior Seaway shrank and closed up in the Late Cretaceous, the ancient environments at Big Bend’s location changed. These four ancient environments will make up the four “chapters” of the story told in the new exhibit. Each of the four main exhibits — Marine Environment, Coastal Floodplain, Inland Floodplain, and Age of Mammals — will display a large “centerpiece” fossil replica, additional fossil replicas, a large mural depicting the ancient scene and interpretive messages, including photographs of similar modern environments. A shady, airy pavilion will link the structures that house the main exhibits. Life-size touchable bronze skull replicas will
sit beneath the park’s most famous fossil, a pterosaur named Quetzalcoatlus with a 35-foot wingspan — the world’s largest known flying creature. After viewing the Inland Floodplain dinosaurs and the Volcanic Highlands mammals, visitors leaving the exhibit can explore a short trail that leads to the original mammal fossil quarry site and a scenic viewpoint. All fossil replicas will be museumquality replicas, molded from the original fossils with every detail preserved. In addition to educating and entertaining current visitors, the Fossil Discovery Exhibit will attract new visitors, families in particular, to come see what the Park has to offer.
• Provides a point of interest along Park Route 11 (Highway 385). • Desert-tough, durable construction will be low maintenance. • Sustainable design. No utility costs — not connected to the electric grid. • Structure raised off of desert floor to reduce impacts. • Rain water catchment. • Terrain helps hide facility from view. Materials, color, and architecture have been designed to make facility blend into terrain and be less visible. • Fully funded by private donations and grants (fundraising led by Friends of Big Bend National Park).
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VICTORIAN VIEWS: (clockwise from left) House of the Seasons; Jefferson Carnegie Library; historical photo of House of the Seasons.
Jefferson, Texas Riverport to the Southwest RICK STRYKER
EUROPEANS arriving in Texas exploited the
river-based trade networks used for millennia by Native American inhabitants. By the 19th century, the major transshipment hub to and from Texas was New Orleans and, for a time, Jefferson rivaled Galveston as the major port in Texas. By 1870, Jefferson, located on Big Cypress Bayou, had become a commercial center and the sixthlargest city in Texas, with more than 75,000 bales of cotton shipped annually. That commercial bubble burst in 1873 when the “Red River Raft,” a natural logjam on the Red River, was demolished. This opened the Red River for trade, providing better river access to the Texas interior. It also lowered the water table of Caddo Lake and Big Cypress Bayou, making riverboat shipping to Jefferson impossible. Also in 1873 the Texas and Pacific Railway was completed from Texarkana to Marshall, initially bypassing Jefferson. Transportation and trade by railway opened up access to communities located far from navigable rivers. Railroads
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quickly surpassed rivers in importance as trade networks. The days of Jefferson as a commercial center were over. The population dropped quickly and precipitously. But Jefferson endured as an icon of a oncethriving 19th-century community. The homes, churches, and governmental and commercial buildings retain their period appearance and cachet. In 1971, a 47-block area consisting of 56 historic structures was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Additional structures were accorded national register status. Now Jefferson is a thriving tourist destination and has the designation by the Legislature as the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Texas. There is no shortage of interesting and unique places to stay. A favorite stop is the Jefferson Historical Museum in the 1888 former Old Federal Court and Post Office Building. The prominent and obscure stories of Jefferson and Marion County are told in a tour of the museum’s extensive exhibits. Next door is the Excelsior House
Hotel, which has been in continuous operation since the 1850s. It was built by William Perry, a riverboat captain. The Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club, which restored and furnished it in 1961, continues to own and operate it.
FOREST TRAIL REGION
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: COURTESY MICHAEL WHITTINGTON; COURTESY RICK STRYKER;
A walking tour brochure from the Chamber of Commerce is essential to navigating the confusing network of streets. It seems that Jefferson’s co-founders, Allen Urquhart and Daniel Alley, each followed his own concept of how a town should be laid out on the adjacent plots of land. There are many wonderful shops and a surprisingly diverse assortment of restaurants, so be sure to pick up handy listings. Guided tour options include horse-drawn carriage rides and riverboat tours. Highlights of a recent visit included the newly restored Carnegie Library, which continues to serve its intended purpose. The Jefferson General Store is an immersive shopping experience. Each home has unique architecture and stories to tell, and those stories sometimes include former residents hanging around as ghostly presences. A tour of The Grove, built in 1861, combines the fascinating story of successive owners who, in some cases, return for spooky visits with the current residents.
Experience the warmth of an old-fashioned Christmas during the 34th annual Candlelight Tour of Homes the first two weekends in December. jeffersoncandlelight.com The Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club presents an Annual Jefferson Pilgrimage and Historic Homes Tour each spring with the 70th tour in 2017. jeffersonpilgrimage.com
Jefferson Historical Museum 223 W. Austin St. Jefferson, TX 75657 (903) 665-2775 jeffersonmuseum.net
Jefferson Carnegie Library 301 W. Lafayette Jefferson, TX 75657 (903) 665-8911 JeffersonCarnegieLibrary.com
Jefferson/Marion County Chamber of Commerce 115 N. Polk Jefferson, TX 75657 (903) 665-2672 jefferson-texas.com
Excelsior House Hotel 211 West Austin St. Jefferson, TX 75657 (903) 665-2513 theexcelsiorhouse.com
The Grove 405 Mosely St. Jefferson, TX 75657 (903) 665-8018 thegrove-jefferson.com
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FOR A SONG: (from top) Texas music is front and center at the annual event, this year featuring David Beebe and Primo Carrasco, and Little Joe y Familia; the Valentine Post Office in simpler times.
Valentine’s in Valentine Enjoy the flavor of the season
Valentine became a significant shipping on U.S. Highway 90 and the Southern Pacific point for the railroad because of its location Railroad, 36 miles west of Fort Davis. On most between El Paso and Sanderson. This spot days, there’s not much happening in this sleepy, allowed railroad crews to stay over and rest for a dusty little town of 187 residents. But on Feb. 14, few days. In 1900 Valentine had two that all changes. saloons, a butcher shop and a gen Some say Valentine was VISIT VALENTINE eral store. Ranchers shipped cattle named for Valentine’s Day, when fortdavis.com/valentine out of Valentine, but by the 1950s, a railroad crew of the Southern bigbendbrewing.com/ with the increased use of trucks Pacific Railroad laying tracks headvalentine to haul cattle, Valentine’s railroad ing east from Van Horn stopped depot was closed down. At that there on Feb. 14, 1882. Others believe Valentine was founded in December point Valentine was no longer a thriving railroad 1881 and named for John Valentine, president of community, and the majority of the businesses Wells Fargo and a major stockholder in Southern closed, too. No store. No gas station. No restaurant. Pacific.
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MOUNTAIN TRAIL REGION
COURTESY BIG BEND BREWING CO.
VALENTINE, TEXAS, in Jeff Davis County, is
Porter, dark and malty; Tejas Lager, the original; and a seasonal brew or two. Food trucks are available to satisfy the hunger of partygoers. Big Bend Brewery also provides shuttles from all of the neighboring towns, since there’s no lodging in Valentine. And while the shuttles
keep drivers with a few delicious brews in their bellies off the road, it doesn’t necessarily keep employees calling in with the brown bottle flu the next day. Valentine’s in Valentine is always on the 14th — no matter what day of the week.
DANCE WITH THE ONE THAT BRUNG YA: Couples can celebrate a special Valentine’s Day — West Texas style — by two-stepping the night away.
COURTESY BIG BEND BREWING CO.
But there is a post office, which is the busiest place in town for at least a month leading up to the big day. Thousands of letters and cards routed through the post office receive the coveted Valentine postmark, a tradition that began in 1983 and is still going strong. The Big Bend Brewery — “The Beer From Out Here” — changed things for this annual celebration of courtly love in Far West Texas. Located in Alpine, the brewery, founded with a passion for small batch craft beer and Valentine’s Day a love for the rugged, in Valentine mountainous region of West Texas, bought Feb.14, 2017 The Old Mercantile in and began restorValentine, Texas ing the 100+-year-old mercantile building in HOURS 4–10 pm Valentine and started planning a party of epic proportions: Valentine’s in Valentine. Live music is provided by some of Texas’ favorite performers, like Jerry Jeff Walker, Joe Ely, Gary P. Nunn, El Tule, and Mike and the Moonpies. At some point in the evening, expect one of the show’s headliners to serenade all the lovers in the crowd. Naturally, Big Bend Brewing beers are offered — Terlingua Gold, a beautiful blonde ale; La Montera premium IPA; Big Bend Hefeweizen, fruity, spicy and light; Number 22
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LOCAL CITY LIGHTS
EXTRAVAGANZA: The Washington’s Birthday Celebration Museum, located next to La Posada Hotel, provides a close-up view of the lavish and beautiful gowns and other costumes used by the Society of Martha Washington (left) or the Native American traditional dress of Princess Pocahontas Council (below).
George Washington’s Birthday Celebration
LAREDO was among 20 towns
and 18 missions established in New Spain between 1749 and 1755. This remarkable foundation of Spanish culture remains prominent in the city today. But the major annual community celebration draws its inspiration from the American Revolution. In the late 19th century, a committee including prominent Laredo residents of both Mexican and American ancestry from the Improved Order of the Red Men set out to find a tradition-
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The festival is deeply rooted ally “American” holiday to celebrate that might offer the best of all in its namesake, but the Native cultures. They learned that dur- American Princess Pocahontas ing the American Revolution, the made her first appearance during the inaugural Washington’s Birthday Sons of Liberty would disCelebration in 1898, when guise themselves as Indians the Improved Order of the to meet and discuss Red Men laid siege to strategy using the forthe old Laredo City Hall est as cover. George as part of a mock battle. Washington served as • Princess Pocahontas served as “Sachem,” and so within the hisa peacemaker between the tribe tory of their own society, they found the “American” holiday they sought and the city. In gratitude, the mayor and an annual Washington’s presented her with a key to the City of Laredo. Birthday Celebration was born.
120th George Washington’s Birthday Celebration Jan. 19–Feb. 20 wbcalaredo.org
Washington’s Birthday Celebration Museum La Posada Hotel 1000 Zaragoza St., Suite 100 Laredo, TX 78040 (956) 825-0796
Tuesday – Saturday 12–6 pm Admission: Free
PHOTOS COURTESY WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION ASSOCIATION
Laredo hosts the largest event of its kind in the U.S.
COURTESY WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION ASSOCIATION
A BRIDGE BETWEEN NATIONS: The 2015–2016 Abrazo Children, representing the United States in last February’s International Bridge Ceremony, were Anna Victoria Herbig and Michael Casso (at right in photo). The children representing Mexico were Claudina Patricia Gonzalez Vazquez and Juanmario Barragán Garza.
Over the years the celebration grew in size and popularity. In 1923, Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association of Laredo received its state charter and has been shepherding continued growth and development ever since. In 1939, the celebration featured its first Colonial Pageant, which presented 13 young girls from Laredo, representing the 13 original colonies. Now, Princess Pocahontas presides over a spectacular pageant that’s as much a part of the Washington’s Birthday Celebration as it is a homage to the Native American culture. The Princess Pocahontas Pageant presents Native Americans in a setting that is both mystical and natural. The event adheres faithfully to the Native Americans’ deep communion with the earth and its elements while showcasing Princess Pocahontas and her court in the splendor of the indigenous tribes they represent. The International Bridge Ceremony is one of the major events serving as the “welcoming ceremony” between officials and dignitaries from Mexico and the United States by exchanging abrazos, embraces, symbolizing the amity and understanding between two neighboring nations. Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association and more than a dozen affiliate organizations now have a calendar of more than 28 events, which attract some 400,000 attendees throughout a full month.
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Belles, Bows and Balls Laredo’s formal extravaganza honors Martha Washington — in period attire. of Feb. 17, at Laredo’s premier social event, a baker’s dozen (or so) of young women — high school seniors who’ve prepared and polished for a full year leading up to this date — will portray the storied contemporaries of Martha Dandridge Washington, first First Lady of the United States. And chances are the elaborate dresses (as well as period attire for many of the escorts) were the creation of a year’s effort as well, springing from the imagination of dressmaker Linda Leyendecker Gutierrez. A Laredo native and former “Martha” deb herself, Gutierrez considers her design talent a providential gift. Upon meeting each client — whose families may well have penciled in fittings years in advance — she advises on the style and color that best complements the wearer. Each design is unique. Gutierrez then gets down to work on measurements, sketches and patterns, selecting luxury fabrics and embellishments with the utmost care. The resulting gowns may weigh 50 to 100 pounds, supported by stays and hoops that require assistance to don and practice to curtsey in. The pageant, and the debutante ball that follows it, are traditions that date back to 1939, when a grand evening celebrating the original 13 U.S. colonies was introduced to Laredo’s already popular George Washington’s Birthday Celebration as a venue for presenting daughters of leading families to society. While such a costly and formal extravaganza might seem an anachronism in the 21st century, the event continues to knit together customs of “los dos Laredos” and provides a vehicle for development and recognition of leadership.
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U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar, for instance, was honored with the role of George Washington in 2014, the same year that Dr. Minita Ramirez, vice president of student success at Texas A&M International University, served as president of the Martha Washington Society. Today’s young Las Marthas and their escorts carry on a legacy that reaches back to the 19th-century origins of the Washington’s Birthday Celebration and the 18th-century roots of American loyalty on the border. The elaborate dresses, frock coats and knee breeches conceived in the mind of Gutierrez recall that distant birth of a nation with a unique recognition that’s become a tradition in its own right. On the final weekend of Laredo’s month-long array of George Washington’s Birthday Celebration events, find a good spot downtown and watch the spectacle at these events:
PAGEANT MATERIAL: Dazzlingly embellished gowns begin in the Laredo studio of Linda Leyendecker Gutierrez and eventually adorn pageant and parade participants.
International Bridge Ceremony Saturday
Feb. 18, 7:30 am–9 am
Washington’s Birthday Parade Saturday
Feb. 18, 9 am–12 pm wbcalaredo.org
PHOTOS BARBARA BRANNON
N THE EVENING
HOLIDAY BEST: Activities for this year’s celebration will center around Fort House, one of the four historic house museums in Waco.
Victorian Christmas in Waco A holiday trip back in time
’TIS THE SEASON to be in Waco. travelers how it all started, our hisThe Historic Waco Foundation tory. All four of our historic homes (HWF) will again ring in the holiday were built in the Victorian era.” HWF has quite a history of season with its traditional Christmas on the Brazos event, A Victorian its own. The foundation, which was established in 1967 to preserve Christmas. From Dec. 3 to Dec. 11, visitors and interpret the area’s local history, owns, curates, preserves can take a step back and exhibits more than to get into the holiday VISIT WACO AND THE HEART OF TEXAS 6,000 pieces of decoraspirit and gain insights wacoheartoftexas.com tive art, artifacts, archiinto Waco’s heritage. val material and texAll four historic Waco house museums will be decorated for tiles. The organization has hosted the holidays: Earle-Napier-Kinnard Christmas on the Brazos annually House, Fort House, McCulloch for several decades. This year’s festivities will House and East Terrace House. “A lot of good things are hap- focus around Fort House, the pening in Waco these days, with the 2016 Historic Waco Foundation Magnolia Market and the revital- Showcase. Visitors are invited to ization of the city,” says Julie Olivere, experience a vintage Victorian holidirector of marketing and programs day as HWF decks the halls and with the Historic Waco Foundation. hosts activities for audiences of all “But we wanted to show visitors and ages.
Located in the heart of the newly developed Silo District and within walking distance of downtown Waco, Fort House will be dressed in its holiday best, offering guided tours to the public Tuesday through Saturday. Along with tours, Fort House will also be the venue for other holiday-inspired festivities. Breakfast with Santa will take place Sat., Dec. 10, from 9 a.m. to noon; families can participate in holiday crafts and take a picture with the man in red himself. Tours for this event will also be provided by guides dressed in authentic Victorian attire. Cost for Breakfast with Santa is $10 per family and includes photos and meals. Celebrations will conclude with a catered Candlelight Dinner (tickets $80 to $100) that same evening to capture the magic of the season.
Christmas on the Brazos Dec. 3–11, 2016 (254) 753-5166 historicwaco.org
Tuesday through Friday 11 am–3 pm Saturday 1–4 pm
HISTORIC HOME LOCATIONS 1. Earle-Napier-Kinnard House 814 South 4th St. 2. Fort House, 503 South 4th St. 3. McCulloch House 407 Columbus Ave. 4. East Terrace House MLK Blvd. at Mill St.
Historic Waco Foundation 810 S 4th St. Waco, TX 76706 (254) 753-5166
Monday–Friday 8:30 am–5 pm
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STAR OF DESTINY: The lone star greets visitors to the museum (left). Artist Henry McArdle wrote to veterans and their descendants of the Battle of San Jacinto for descriptions of their roles — what they wore, how they looked — to accurately depict the scene in The Battle of San Jacinto. The 1901 painting, along with McArdle’s notebook (below), were put on view for the first time in late October at the Bullock.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum FOR MOST of its history, those wishing for a three-dimensional Texas history experience could only access it in bits and pieces. Now, however, one of the newest museums in the state finally paints the Texas experience with a broad, if not comprehensive, brush: the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, which opened in 2001. The creation of such a place required some extraordinary cooperation and collaboration. The Texas Legislature authorized and funded the construction of the museum and provided that it be dedicated to Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock. The lieutenant
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governor was a student of Texas history and a strong advocate for the creation of the museum, and he was co-vice chair of the State Preservation Board that coordinated the planning. Operating funds for the museum became the responsibility of the Texas State History Foundation, created in 1999. The mission of the museum didn’t include duplicating the collecting missions of Texas’ great history museums. The artifacts upon which the exhibits are based draw from the deep collections of Texas artifacts in museums across the state, as well as private collections. Two
special exhibition galleries and everchanging artifacts in the permanent galleries allow for further exhibition of cultural resources. Now, a visit to the Texas State Capitol in Austin can include the experience of Texas history coming to life through three-dimensional artifacts at the Bullock Museum, located just three blocks north. Enhancements to the more traditional museum experience include an IMAX theater, featuring the first laser IMAX projection system in Texas and a variety of movies shown on the biggest screen in Texas. The museum’s Texas Spirit Theater hosts
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum 1800 Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78701 (512) 936-8746 thestoryoftexas.com
Monday–Saturday 9 am–5 pm
Sunday 12–5 pm
PHOTOS COURTESY BOB BULLOCK TEXAS STATE HISTORY MUSEUM
Telling the story of Texas
SHIP OF STATE: In 1995, archaeologists located the 17th-century ship La Belle — originally part of an expedition of the French explorer La Salle — in Matagorda Bay and began a decades-long and often unprecedented process of excavating, recovering and conserving the ship’s hull.
daily presentations of multisensory films, concerts and lectures. The museum also includes a cafe, gift shop and on-site parking garage. Perhaps the most significant artifact in the museum is the hull of La Belle, the remains of La Salle’s ship that sank in Matagorda Bay in 1686. This French incursion into Texas is the seminal event that drew Spain into Texas. And the La Salle exhibit was completed in 2016 with the installation of the Belle’s hull, which will serve as the centerpiece of a completely renovated first floor. The story of how things changed and evolved after this event can be traced from there through the museum’s exhibits. The Bullock Museum conducts original research and searches for the most unique and rare artifacts, photos and documents from collections worldwide to continually expand understanding
A visit to the Texas State Capitol can be much more than the tour of one iconic building. Any visit to Austin should start in the comfort of your own home at the Austin Museum partnership website. austinmuseums.org You’ll be overwhelmed with the rich cultural experience readily available. Since the focus of this article is the State Capitol area, the next stop should be the Texas State Preservation Board website. tspb.state.tx.us
of the past. New changes to the Texas Revolution experience on the second floor of the museum’s galleries feature contemporary interpretation and unique artifacts that highlight the excitement and struggles on the road to Texas’ independence from Mexico. Rare artifacts on view include tableware pieces made from the silver of one of Santa Anna’s confiscated saddles, a mule pack saddle from the Phil Collins Collection maintained by the General Land Office, a handsome pecan wood traveling
desk used by Texas’ ad interim president David Burnet, and the two earliest printed accounts of the fall of the Alamo, dated March 16, 1836. A 1901 painting by Irish immigrant and Texas artist Henry McArdle, The Battle of San Jacinto, will be on view, and, for the first time, with a notebook containing dozens of letters, images and firstperson accounts that McArdle collected over many years that paints the scene as accurately as possible.
That opens the door to tours of the Capitol, Governor’s Mansion and other properties under their purview. Any visit to the Texas Capitol that starts at the Capitol Visitors Center is enhanced. From there, the door opens to a day or two of exploring the most historic neighborhood in Texas.
The Texas Capitol Visitors Center 112 East 11th Street Austin, TX 78701
The Texas Governor’s Mansion COURTESY BOB BULLOCK TEXAS STATE HISTORY MUSEUM
1010 Colorado Street Austin, TX 78701
Blanton Museum of Art
200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Austin, TX 78712 (512) 471-5482 email@example.com
Harry Ransom Center
The University of Texas at Austin 300 West 21st Street Austin, TX 78712 (512) 471-8944 hrc.utexas.edu
Austin Visitor Center
Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau 602 East 4th Street Austin, TX 78701 866-GO-AUSTIN (512) 478-0098 austintexas.org
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The first female African American Texas Ranger, Christine Abel Nix, now teaches college students to serve without expectation of reward.
by DAN CARPENTER photography by MATT LANKES
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Christine Abel Nix didn’t grow up thinking she’d be the first female African American Texas Ranger. interviewing and interrogation training, she also received training in hypnoin life,” says Nix, who earned her bachelor’s degree in recreational physical sis, crisis intervention and forensic composite art. “Most Rangers possess a specialized skill; mine was hypnosis, and I education from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene in 1977. “My plan was always to go into nursing homes and other facilities … help people get traveled quite a bit with that,” Nix says. “In fact, it was one of the first schools I attended as a Ranger. We were taught techniques to assist in memory recall up and move around as an activity director.” The eldest of five children, the South Carolina native, whose father for victims of — and witnesses to — a crime.” served in the Air Force, spent her childhood in various parts of the world, It was during one of the hypnosis sessions that Nix recalls one light moment in the serious business of Ranger service. including Spain and Texas. “We were in the middle of a session. The female wit “My father was a career Air Force mechanic, and my Texas Ranger ness — who was being hypnotized — opened one eye and mother spent most of her time raising us kids, as well as Hall of Fame and asked me, ‘Am I doing this right?’” Nix says, smiling. “Then she working in the Abilene school district food service,” she says. Museum 100 Texas Ranger Trail told me I had the prettiest, big brown eyes. The senior Ranger “Being born in the 1950s in the Deep South, I lived through Waco, TX 76706 who requested the hypnosis cracked up, and it became a runsome pretty turbulent times in our nation’s history. My parents ning joke at the office for a while after.” always taught me to see people for who they are, not based on HOURS Monday-Sunday One of her most poignant memories as a Texas Ranger their color.” 9 am–5 pm came on the heels of a murder case. Nix graduated from Abilene High School in 1973 and “We’d spent a lot of time working on this case, and went on to HSU, where she was exposed to the Army Reserve Closed Thanksgiving, Officer Training Corps. It’s an experience she called the starting Christmas, New Year’s Day ended up not getting a conviction,” she says. “About six months and during heavy snow later, the mother of the defendant called me and asked for help. point of her journey into law enforcement. and ice I reminded her that I was the one who’d been trying to put her “I enrolled into ROTC and loved that,” she explains. “My son in prison, and that by all rights she shouldn’t have reached intent then was to go active Army, but I ended up going into Texas Ranger out to me for help. That didn’t seem to matter to her.” the Reserves, and sort of fell into policing.” After a couple of Heritage Center tours with the Reserves, Nix applied to enter the Temple Police 103 Industrial Loop Ste 700 Nix said that call was a reminder to her to always do her personFredericksburg, TX 78624 al best, and that God was ultimately in control of her destiny. Academy. “There were things I saw and was part of in law She spent two years with the Temple Police Department HOURS Thursday – Monday enforcement that only my faith could have gotten me through,” before logging a year at Fort Rucker, Ala., as a member of a 9 am–5 pm she says. “Truthfully, it was the only way I could do what I did reserve unit. She then went to the Defense Language Institute without having a lot of problems.” in Monterrey, Calif., where she learned German. In 1984, Nix As the first African-American female in the Texas officially joined the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Buckhorn Museum 318 E Houston St, Rangers, Nix said she felt like she had to prove herself. trooper. San Antonio, TX 78205 (210) 247-4000 “If you’re female and you’re doing your job, you always “I wanted to be promoted to a driver’s license sergeant. feel like you need to prove yourself,” she adds. “On the other But, unfortunately, at the time I made the promotion list, the HOURS hand, every Ranger has to prove themselves.” openings weren’t where I wanted to raise my young children,” Open 365 days a year 10 am every day “The women and minorities who entered DPS and the Nix says. “I started in Pasadena, transferred to Temple, and Closing times vary Rangers after 1980 were pioneers during a transitional period,” transferred to the driver’s license division in Waco when I startsays Byron Johnson, director of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame ed the promotion process for Sergeant in Driver’s License.” and Museum in Waco. “In addition to the substantial duties Not long after arriving in Waco, Nix was promoted to recruiting, gaining responsibility for the 46 counties in Region 6. Then, in of Texas Ranger, they also carried the responsibility of proving that women and minorities meet and exceed the requirements of an elite branch of law 1993, she started the process to become a Texas Ranger. “You must have a combined six years of service to be able to apply for enforcement. This set an example for those of similar background who’ve the Rangers,” she says. “In my case, I had both my time with the Temple followed them. It was not easy, and acceptance wasn’t automatic, but sucPD and my time as a trooper. The process leading to selection isn’t easy for ceed they did, and their accomplishments are a landmark that will stand for generations to come.” anyone.” In 2004, Nix decided it was time for a career change and retired from Nix was required to complete a written application and exam. She had to master the Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and the DPS the Rangers. Today, her picture hangs proudly in the Texas Ranger Hall of General Manual, as well as undergo the scrutiny of an interview board. After Fame and Museum in Waco. “My office was co-located there,” she says. “They’ve done a good job successfully making the cut through all those steps, she had to navigate rigor- going back and capturing the essence of the Rangers and their history. The ous background interviews. “The background interviews make a determination about character and exhibits appeal to young and old alike.” “I’ve been with the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum for 20 your political bent [troopers and Texas Rangers, specifically, are nonpartisan in their professional roles], among other things,” she explains. “Ultimately, years, in the same complex where Christine served,” Johnson says. “Then, once you’re selected, you have no say where they send you; you’re assigned as today, we frequently received visitors who wanted to meet ‘a real Texas Ranger.’ Christine was always gracious in taking time to meet visitors and where they think you’ll do the most good for the community.” After being selected as a Texas Ranger, Nix was assigned to her primary children. duty stations in McLennan, Bosque and Falls counties. In addition to basic “Many visitors arrived with the stereotype that Texas Rangers were all “I DIDN’T START considering law enforcement as a profession until later
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6’2” and Anglo,” Johnson continues. “It was interesting to see their reaction when they met Sgt. Nix, who’s African-American and relatively short in stature. After talking with her for a few minutes, the majority left with a new appreciation for the Texas Rangers, their professionalism and the diversity of the service. Such interactions inspire not only adults but the young men and women in school groups who leave inspired by Rangers who are ‘just like them.’” “I always get a kick out of people — mostly my college students — who visit the Texas Hall of Fame, see my picture, and didn’t know that I was a Ranger,” Nix says. “A lot of people use the museum as a scholarly reference when they’re writing books. It’s very up-to-date.” When Nix retired from the Rangers in 2004, she had begun her first semester of doctoral studies at Sam Houston State University. In 2014, Nix graduated with a doctorate in criminal justice. The endeavor took 10 years because she also accepted a teaching position in the Criminal Justice Program at the University of Mary HardinBaylor in Belton in 2005. She’s the only full-time faculty and program coordinator and serves as the advisor to the Criminal Justice Student Association and Xi Omicron, the UMHB chapter of the National Criminal Justice honor society. “We started out teaching upper-level [junior and senior] classes,” she says. “Over time, with the help of two teaching partners, Dr. Lesley Olson [Temple College] and Sgt. William Hitch [Woodway Public Safety], we were able to add the lower-level classes, so students are closer to having all criminal justice courses offered at UMHB rather than having to seek out the 18 lower-level hours at different institutions.” In addition to courses such as Fundamentals of Law, Juvenile Delinquency, and Criminology, Nix’s course load includes Victimology and one of her favorites, Advanced Criminal Investigations. “In the criminal investigations class, about a month before the end of the course, we set up a mock major crime scene,” she says. “The class has been so successful that we’re running out of places on campus to stage crime scenes and ‘bury’ bodies. We’ve evidently done it so well that many — who aren’t part of the class — think there’s been a crime committed.”
The mother of two says she enjoys her work with students, especially the opportunities she gets to instill ethics and faith in them. “I see my work with the students as very important,” she explains. “They need someone who’s been there. My expectation is that they’ll go out and do the same thing for others. “Our motto for the UMHB Criminal Justice Student Association is ‘Serving without expectation of reward,’” Nix adds. “They’re out there to serve the public, and no matter where they go to, I want them ready to go for any agency they work for.” As a three-time cancer survivor, Nix said her children, her students and staying true to her faith are the things she’s most proud of. REACH FOR THE STAR: Becoming a Texas Ranger requires numerous steps, including a combined six years of law enforcement service. “The process leading to selection,” Nix says, “isn’t easy for anyone.”
“I’m really enjoying my time with these students,” she says. “I see them come in nervous, and then watch them — over four years — grow and mature; they aren’t the same young people who walked in uncertain and unsure of their next life adventure.” Nix said an encounter with her kids — after learning she’d been selected for the Texas Rangers — reminded her of who she really is as a person and as a mom. “I was in the car with my daughter and son, and when I told them I was going to be a Texas Ranger, my son asked me what kind of ‘special powers’ I was going to have,” Nix says, smiling. “My daughter, who was probably five or six at the time, piped up and said, ‘Mom isn’t going to be a Power Ranger — she’s not going to have special powers.’ That totally took the ego out of the picture for me; that’s kept me on the humble path. I don’t have special powers — I’m just Mom.” “I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve done. I am proud that my parents encouraged me in all of my endeavors, including three college degrees,” she says. “I served with a great Army Reserve unit in Abilene and have worked with some interesting people in criminal justice. Recently, I was able to attend an annual reunion with retirees of the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion and had the opportunity to thank them for being a part of my journey. It doesn’t get any better than that.” WIN T E R 2 0 1 6 /’1 7
x e l l T nda a R TH
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n N nyo BRANNO a to C RA
T 47 FEET IN HEIGHT AND weighing seven tons, Tex Randall is the second-tallest cowboy icon in the Lone Star State (those of you who’ve visited the State Fair of Texas probably know who stands taller). Tex has stood at the intersection of US Highway 60 and 15th Street in Canyon, Texas, since 1959, when local merchant William “Harry” Wheeler constructed him to attract canyon-bound tourists to his Corral Curio Shop.
es otog ra m lco s and ph e n W w ord a x ll Te a T g, Lon
PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRIE DRILLING COMPANY
rs BARBA o t i Vis phs by
Today, after decades of deterioration in the West Texas wind and weather, Tex has a new lease on life as welcome ambassador to Canyon and Randall County. Named a local Historic Heritage asset by the Texas Historical Commission in 2002, Tex has been the focus of an enthusiastic fundraising campaign to repair his structure, restore his clothing to its original design and spotlight him with a splendidly landscaped plaza that any steel-and-concrete cowpoke would be proud to call home. Today Tex is honored by a state historical marker that describes his original creation: “For 10 months, Wheeler worked with six-inch wire mesh, rebar and concrete. A Tex Randall friend helped weld the pipe and facebook.com/ The-Tex-Randall-Project rebar to the frame. The concrete cowboy was covered with burlap Open to the public 24/7/365 to protect it from the elements. no charge for admission Levi Strauss made the pants VISIT CANYON and Amarillo awning made the VisitCanyonTX.com shirt, a surface total of 1,440 square feet. Dressing the statue was completed by hand-stitching the clothes in back with sailboat thread, and the shirt was decorated with sheet aluminum buttons covered with vinyl. In true Texas style, the cowboy was adorned with a Stetson-style hat.” New Home–based artist Rhonda Timmons worked for several weeks in 2016 to recreate, in paint, Tex’s original duds. The restored Tex Randall was “unveiled” at a fall 2016 ceremony, and now, surrounded by new lighting and benefiting from a brand-new parking lot and walking path, the roadside icon is once again a popular tourist attraction. One striking detail is different: Tex’s boots are styled with the spirit logo of West Texas A&M University, a nod to alumni and students and a clever fundraising ploy. Buffs fans can purchase boots styled like Tex’s at West Texas Western Stores at westernhats.com. In an appropriately smaller size, of course. W INT E R 2 0 1 6 /’1 7
LONG TALL TEXAN: Tex Randall gets a stepby-step facelift after half a century of weathering, thanks to efforts of Canyon’s Save Tex Randall project, headed by Evelyn Ecker (shown at left) of Canyon Main Street/EDC.
DON’T MISS Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum 2503 4th Ave. Canyon, TX 79015 (806) 651-2244 PanhandlePlains.org HOURS September–May Tuesday–Saturday 9 am–5 pm June–August Monday–Saturday 9 am–6 pm Closed Sundays, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day Admission fee ranges from $5/children to $10/adults
Palo Duro Canyon State Park 11450 Park Road 5 Canyon, TX 79015 (806) 488-2227 PaloDuroCanyon.com and tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/ palo-duro-canyon HOURS 7 am–10 pm Unless camping overnight
Texas Musical Drama Tues.–Sun. nightly, JuneAug. Texas-Show.com
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PHOTOS BARBARA BRANNON/TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL
Admission fee $5 per person/ adults (free with State Parks Pass), children 12 and under free
Best State House in the U.S.
GIVE ME LIBERTY: Statue of the Goddess of Liberty on the Capitol grounds prior to installation on top of the rotunda, 1888.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF STUART SEEGER
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State Historian of Texas
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“Never in the history of the city, never in the history of the state was there such a day.”
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The 1888 encampment was held in Austin during Dedication Week. As was customary, prizes were offered for the best company performances, various companies sponsored dances, and a sham battle was scheduled. Companies participated from across Texas, along with a few militia troops from out of state. There were three companies from Austin, including the Austin Greys, a crack outfit that acquired new uniforms for the occasion.
In addition to militia activities, the drill field was used for other groups. Texas cowboys staged contests that soon would captivate rodeo fans. The Farmers Alliance of the South, a national farm organization founded in Lampasas County, provided demonstrations, and so did bands and orchestras. America’s first team sport was sweeping the nation, and “base ball” games were played on the drill field. The greatest attraction that week, though, was the massive State Capitol Building. The building commissioners happily boasted that the Texas State Capitol is “larger and finer than the German Reichstag or English Parliament buildings,” in addition to being bigger than any other state capitol in the United States. The enormous
OUT OF THE ASHES: Texas has had four statehouses in Austin, including temporary log buildings and an 1853 Greek Revival building (top) shown after a devastating 1881 fire. On the site of the destroyed 1881 capitol (above), the framing of the current dome rises above red granite walls.
edifice stretched 566.5 feet east to west and 288 feet north to south. The copper roof covered 88,000 square feet. Tourists could visit nearly 400 rooms in the 360,000-square foot structure. There were more than 400 doors and 924 windows. Perhaps most impressive were the big chambers of the House and Senate, the immense rotunda beneath the dome, and the handsome Governor’s Reception Room, popularly known as the “Living Room of Texas.” On the morning of Dedication Day, Gov.
ALL HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF TEXAS STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES
THIS PROUD PROCLAMATION was made by the Austin Daily Statesman on Thursday, May 17, 1888. The newspaper enthusiastically reported on the spectacular activities of the previous day — Dedication Day for the magnificent new State Capitol building. The massive red granite structure was crowned by an impressive dome which, with a 14-foot statue of the Goddess of Liberty perched above, soared 311 feet into the air. Not only was the dome the tallest of any state capitol in the United States, it was seven feet taller even than the dome above the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Although the new statehouse still lacked finishing touches, the eager public was permitted to tour the edifice on April 21 — San Jacinto Day — 1888. An entire week, Monday through Saturday, May 14–19, was designated “Dedication Week,” and gala activities were planned for each day. Railroads offered excursion rates to Austin. Although Austin now boasted a population of 14,000, existing rooms in hotels and boarding houses were inadequate for the expected crowds. An “encampment” was laid out on the northwestern outskirts of town (at present-day Camp Mabry), and streetcar and railway lines were extended to the campsite. All preparations proved necessary, because throngs of eager tourists, estimated at 20,000 total, came. Fireworks lit the sky, the “State Capitol Waltz” was played incessantly and souvenir programs were made available. A primary center of activity was the “Resolute Grounds,” a military drill field north of the new capitol. Grandstands were built, and proceeds from the beer concession exceeded $5,000. Militia companies were popular throughout Texas at this time. For decades, Texas volunteers had formed local troops to battle Comanche war parties and to march off to the Civil War. The Texas Militia Act of 1879 organized local companies across the state into a brigade with three regiments, along with a separate battalion, all of which comprised the First Division of the Texas Volunteer Guard (T.V.G.). In 1885, the resort town of Lampasas, 65 miles northwest of Austin, staged a statewide encampment of the T.V.G. The event drew huge crowds, including Gov. John Ireland, and the sham battle was especially popular. The T.V.G. encampment became a popular annual event, staged by various cities around the state.
L.S. “Sul” Ross, State Senator Temple Houston, Attorney General James Stephen Hogg, members of the Capitol Board and of the Capitol Building Commission, and other dignitaries mounted a special platform built in front of the great arched entrance on the north side of the Capitol. A military parade marched up Congress Avenue toward the superb structure, and a crowd of 20,000 closed in on the speaker’s platform. The principal address came from Temple Houston, the last of eight children born to Sam
among the mighty, and her brow is crowned with bewildering magnificence!” he exclaimed. “This building fires the heart and excites the mind of all.” As Temple Houston closed his address, thunder rumbled amid black clouds approaching from the southwest. Governor Ross offered closing remarks, but he was cut off by a bolt of lightning and a stunning clap of thunder. A sudden — but brief — thunderstorm ended the proceedings with dramatic emphasis. There was
Bastrop, the structure was 100 feet long, north to south, and about 60 feet wide. There was a “dog-trot” hallway, with the House chamber on the south and the Senate north of the passageway. On the west side of both chambers were committee rooms. A few nearby log buildings housed different government departments. Comanches still raided in the area, and there were two brief invasions of the Republic of Texas by Mexican troops, so an eight-foot stockade fence was erected to protect the capitol complex.
SENTINEL OF ETERNITY: The four-story domed edifice that state senator Temple Houston helped to dedicate on May 18, 1888.
and Margaret Lea Houston. In 1860, Temple had been the first baby born in the new Governor’s Mansion, which was in view from the speaker’s platform. Temple Houston exhibited his father’s flamboyance and his gift for oratory — along with his love for Texas. “She has a history all her own,” he emphasized, “wild, romantic, heroic.” He briefly but emphatically recounted the history of Texas, frequently triggering applause and cheers from the audience. Indeed, thousands of copies of this electrifying speech were printed and widely distributed. “Texas stands peerless
a banquet that evening, followed by a Grand Dedication Ball held in the House and Senate chambers and the library in the new capitol. As the Daily Statesman reported, “Never was there another such day.” The 1888 edifice was Austin’s fourth statehouse. In 1839, when the log cabin village of Austin was platted, a hill at the north end of Congress Avenue was designated for the capitol building. But the first statehouse was built just west of Congress between 8th and 9th Streets. Erected of pine planks from the forest near
Earlier in the century, during the 1850s, the new state of Texas began to receive annual payments from the federal government as part of a $10,000,000 settlement from the Compromise of 1850, along with $7,750,000 in damage claims due to the war with Mexico. Throughout the decade public buildings — including courthouses, a penitentiary in Huntsville and a Greek Revival executive mansion in Austin — were erected in the Lone Star State. One of the first of these public buildings was the “Colonial Capitol.” Built in 1852-53 at a cost of $150,000, the WIN T E R 2 0 1 6 /’1 7
ECHO CHAMBER: The Texas star in the center of the dome is eight feet in diameter and looms 266 feet above the rotunda’s floor.
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limestone structure was 140 feet east to west, and 90 feet deep. The basement floor had 12 offices, including the governor’s suite. On the main floor were the House and Senate chambers, as well as the Supreme Court. The third floor had a library, a museum and galleries for the House and Senate chambers. The galleries constantly posed structural problems, while the small
dome presented a laughable appearance. Texas exploded with growth during the 1850s, and expansion continued after the Civil War. With the end of Reconstruction, 90 Texans met in Austin in 1875 to create a new state constitution. One point of agreement was that the 1853 Capitol was too small and unimpressive and should be replaced by a large and majestic building. Although the state didn’t have ample cash, Texas controlled vast public lands. The delegates discussed using from 1 million to 5 million acres for financing, with 3 million acres as the final consensus. The lands were surveyed in 1879, and the next year the Building Commission launched an architectural design competition. The design of Elijah Myers of Detroit was approved in May 1881, whereupon the Building Commission advertised for a contractor. Meanwhile, on Nov. 9, 1881, the 1853 Capitol was gutted by an accidental fire, which was fed by heavily varnished wood furniture. The site for new construction thus could be cleared, while a temporary statehouse was built across the street from the capitol grounds. Dedicated on Jan. 1, 1883, the stone structure housed executive offices on the ground floor, legislative chambers on the second floor and judicial quarters on the third floor. Later used for Austin High School, this building burned in 1899. The contracting firm Taylor, Babcock and Company of Chicago, was headed by Abner Taylor, A. C. Babcock, and John V. and Charles B. Farwell. These men formed the Capitol Syndicate, which constructed a magnificent statehouse from 1885 to 1888. During construction the assigned lands were handed over, and with 3 million acres under barbed wire, 150,000 head of cattle, and a western boundary that extended 200 miles down the Texas-New Mexico border, the XIT became the largest ranch of the Old West. It was fitting that the financing of the largest state capitol building of the 19th century produced the West’s biggest cattle ranch. A construction community was put together on the grounds around the building site. Railroad tracks were extended to the construction site, as red granite from present-day Marble Falls was delivered to Austin. As many as 1,000 laborers worked on the project, including convict contract workers — a cause of public controversy. On Dedication Day in 1888, the sudden thunderstorm that ended the speechmaking also revealed a leaky roof. Other defects were found, and the Capitol Board wouldn’t agree to receive the building until Dec. 6, 1888. Nearly a century later, in 1983, the east wing was severely damaged by fire. A major restoration project was launched, followed by a four-story underground expansion to the north that more than doubled the size of the Capitol. On Dedication Day in 1888, Temple Houston praised and described “the best state house in the United States” — a description that still rings true.
ARCHIVE p. 42 H TRAIL DRIVE p. 46 H EATS & DRINKS p. 52 H DEEP IN THE ART p. 56 H LIVE SHOWS p. 61 H HAPPENINGS p.63
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TEXAS takes to the
TRENCHES Photos, Documents and Dispatches from the Front Lines
DURING WORLD WAR I, more than 198,000 Commission’s upcoming exhibit marks the 100th Texans answered the call to join the Allied anniversary of the Great War by assembling a forces in an effort to defeat the Central Powers collection of photographs, documents, dispatches of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman and oral histories in a salute to the ranks of Texans Empire and Bulgaria. Although many Americans who bravely responded to Uncle Sam’s famed finger wag and “I Want You” favored neutrality, the details rallying cry. While the battle found in a top-secret, coded Texas State Library and was raged on land, sea and air, communiqué between Mexico Archives Commission the war effort was more than and Germany — called the just mortar shells and mustard Zimmerman Telegram — 1201 Brazos St. Austin, TX 78701 gas. Texans on the home front hinted at a possible pact to felt the ravages of war through regain lost territories in Texas, FOR MORE INFORMATION rationing and the pain of missArizona and New Mexico. The tsl.texas.gov ing their dearly beloved. threat of German soldiers on Answer the call yourself and southwestern soil was enough enlist in our shared heritage to provoke President Woodrow Wilson to declare war on April 6, 1917. Before by visiting the Texas State Library and Archives long, doughboys were shipping off by the dozen Commission (1201 Brazos St. in Austin) from April 3 to Sept. 15, 2017. For more information to dig trenches and do their part “Over There.” The Texas State Library and Archives visit www.tsl.texas.gov. ALL PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF TEXAS STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES COMMISSION
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RAVAGES: Doughboys carried more than 70 pounds of gear strapped to their backs in a M1910 Haversack.
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BATTLE LINES: (clockwise from top) World War I was the first major conflict involving the large use of aircraft; the identity card belonging to Brigadier General J.A. Harlen of the 72nd Infantry; trenches provided soldiers little protection from the onslaught of mortar fire and enemy attack; the Great War marked the first time in the history of the U.S. that regular Army and Navy military nurses served overseas.
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LIFE TRAIL DRIVE
VISIT THE PLAINS TRAIL REGION texasplainstrail.com VISIT THE FORTS TRAIL REGION texasfortstrail.com VISIT THE PECOS TRAIL REGION texaspecostrail.com VISIT THE MOUNTAIN TRAIL REGION texasmountaintrail.com VISIT THE LAKES TRAIL REGION texaslakestrail.com VISIT THE BRAZOS TRAIL REGION texasbrazostrail.com VISIT THE HILL COUNTRY TRAIL REGION txhillcountrytrail.com VISIT THE TROPICAL TRAIL REGION texastropicaltrail.com VISIT THE INDEPENDENCE TRAIL REGION texasindependencetrail.com VISIT THE FOREST TRAIL REGION texasforesttrail.com
HISTORY JUST DOWN THE ROAD Fifty years of the Texas Heritage Trails Program
THE TEXAS HERITAGE TRAILS PROGRAM
today draws visitors to all 254 of the state’s counties to experience captivating sites from Texarkana to Terlingua and everywhere in between. Fifty years ago, the Lone Star State made a bold move to create what were originally known as the Texas Travel Trails. Those 10 trails were born in the months leading up to the Southwest’s first-ever world’s fair, HemisFair ’68 in San Antonio. But the path was actually charted much earlier than that.
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FORTS TRAIL REGION
A new era of leisure travel for Americans In the years following the end of World War II, travelers weary of gas rationing and automobile shortages yearned for the freedom of the open road and the enjoyment of leisure time. Cars grew bigger and more stylish; new highway motel chains like Holiday Inn beckoned. But Texas, despite its true-West cachet and vast land area, didn’t always rank at the top tier of desirable destinations. Florida and California,
PECOS TRAIL REGION MOUNTAIN TRAIL REGION
LAKES TRAIL REGION
BRAZOS TRAIL REGION HILL COUNTRY TRAIL REGION
FOREST TRAIL REGION
INDEPENDENCE TRAIL REGION
TROPICAL TRAIL REGION
TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION thc.state.tx.us
BARBARA BRANNON/TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL
PLAINS TRAIL REGION
among other states, regularly outpaced it in the race for tourist dollars. John B. Connally, elected to the governor’s office in 1962, pledged to give Texas its due. He established the state’s first dedicated tourism agency in 1963, hiring an enterprising reporter for the Baytown Sun named Frank Hildebrand to head it up. He also instituted a thorough evaluation of the state’s park system, using Texas Tech’s well-regarded parks program, and undertook the state’s first tourism marketing research. The results of the survey weren’t encouraging. Travelers perceived Texas as a waterless desert pierced with oil and cactus, not as a vacation wonderland. On the recommendations of the State Parks Study, Connally revamped the parks system and began construction of numerous recreational lakes. And he commissioned a second study from Texas Tech under parks and rec professor Elo J. Urbanovsky to show how a scenic Texas route like the Natchez Trace or Blue Ridge Parkway might bring tourists in droves. ON THE TRAIL: Gov. John Connally (right) undertook an extensive assessment of Texas’ park system and established the state’s first tourism bureau.
as they prepared for the governor’s big event slated for May 3, 1967, at Austin’s Municipal Auditorium. Drafts show references to “Parkway” struck in favor of “Byway,” “Tourway”
“What I see for the future, is a series of what might be called ‘Travel Trails of Texas.’” — GOV. JOHN CONNALLY, 1967
or “Trail” as they considered the concept — and the final program was titled “Recreation, Scenic, and Historical Roadways for Texas.” On the platform that day were Gov. Connally, Lt. Gov. Preston Smith and Speaker of the House
Parkway, byway or roadway? A scenic route for the Lone Star State One of the original team members on the “Texas State Park Study in Texas History,” Jerry Rogers, now retired from the National Park Service, paints a colorful picture of Urbanovsky. “Genial, friendly, outgoing,” Rogers recalls, “he was a man of many ideas and much energy” who’d secured a lucrative state contract to “identify and designate roads in Texas that would get cities, towns and counties to recognize that money could be made by getting tourists to slow down and explore special places; and to understand that each community had some special identity that deserved to be recognized, preserved and cultivated.” Faculty colleagues in several disciplines advised, but the spade work was left largely to a team of assistants: Donald Stence, H. Alden Sievers, Harold Dollins and Rogers. At the Texas State Historical Association in March 1967 the Tech team presented a “Preview of the Texas Parkway” complete with colorful slides and stirring narrative, revealing recommendations they planned to present to the governor. The idea of one scenic parkway for a state as big as Texas looked impractical, however, and funding for that much new road construction wasn’t likely.
From one route to many The team’s vision evolved over the coming weeks,
Ben Barnes. Texas Tech brought a busload: not only the heads of three academic departments, several colleagues and their four graduate assistants, but college president Grover E. Murray and the entire college choir. Following a rousing choral prelude, the governor introduced their dramatic slide show by calling the project “a completely new idea and innovation in the treatment of recreational travel . . . designed to provide visitors to our State, as well as Texans, with a means of getting off the beaten paths and onto the byways for a leisurely look at the abundant scenic, historical, and recreational attractions that Texas has to offer.” He trumpeted the state’s first-ever billion-dollar tourism year, playing up the personal value of recreation and the financial value of travelers coming to the state. “What I see for the future,” the Austin American-Statesman quoted Connally as stating in its morning edition, “is a series of what might be called ‘Travel Trails of Texas’.”
Ten months to rollout The governor enthusiastically adopted the Urbanovsky team’s study, along with modifications he worked out with them. They came to see the trails as a designated system of existing highways, passing through long stretches of rural land and small towns. They saw the program as an opportunity for historical interpretation whose aesthetic and economic benefit to the state would exceed initial costs. And their implementation plan made it clear that the governor envisioned a public-private partnership, with individual counties making the case for “sufficient scenic, historical and recreational interest to warrant inclusion on a trail,” as his press memo of May 7 directed. Communities along the eventual trail routes stood to reap the benefit even while the state’s tax revenues were expected to increase. Governor Connally appointed a five-member permanent committee composed of Austin agency heads: Tom H. Taylor of the Texas Highway Department’s Travel and Information Division; Truett Latimer of the Texas State Historical Survey Committee; William M. Gosdin of the Parks and Wildlife Department (a Texas Tech protégé of Urbanovsky); and Dorman H. Winfrey of the Texas State Library, with Frank Hildebrand of the Texas Tourism Development Agency as chair. Connally laid out their charge, with a spring 1968 deadline. Further, Connally, never one to ignore the prospect of dollars flowing into the state, had a huge stake in the success of the upcoming HemisFair ’68. He envisioned that the series of trails would draw visitors from all over the world into every corner of Texas during the sixmonth exposition. That very month the committee wrote to every county judge and began to solicit input from community stakeholders. The April 1968 launch of HemisFair was less than a year away. Committee members drove the state and plotted attractions on a large map, considering perhaps six to 15 loop trails. Trails were to avoid freeways and unimproved roads alike, no side or alternate routes were allowed, and no trail was to backtrack. As Fort Worth businessman and Texas Historical Survey member A. M. Pate, Jr., explained to his fellow citizens that June, the Travel Trails would “be the basis for a ‘recreational environment’ where the stresses and strains of existence in the nuclear age may be replaced by a more pleasant and rewarding way of life.” By November the committee had settled on 10 trails. The driving routes had been mapped out with the assistance of highway engineers and would be marked with distinctive brown signage to distinguish them from the Interstate system WIN T E R 2 0 1 6 /’1 7
of green. They estimated some 1,500 signs and an equal number of directional arrows would be needed. By the time the committee actually ordered the signs a few weeks later, however, the choice had been modified to a medium blue and white — a distinctive scheme still recognizable half a century later.
January 1968: The trails unveiled On Jan. 17, 1968, Connally launched the Texas Travel Trails to great fanfare at his Third Annual Governor’s Tourist Development Conference in Austin, citing a hundredfold return for every dollar invested in tourism. He unveiled the names, routes, signage, maps and major sites in the 157 designated counties. County judges were billed that very day for their trail signs — directional
signs $22 each, arrows $13. The 10 trails, which ranged in individual length from 523 to 859 miles, totaled nearly 7,000 miles of state highways and farm-tomarket roads. The trail logos, which also remain unchanged today, were produced and implemented by the Highway Department. The brochures created for distribution at the state’s Travel Information Centers proved popular; the agency would print half a million annually. The Travel Trails garnered significant media coverage as Governor and Mrs. Connally inaugurated several of the routes during 1968, traveling to major cities with an entourage of supporters. A caravan traveled portions of the Texas Mountain Trail, for instance, on March 27 and 28, beginning in Alpine, traveling down to Lajitas, back up
to Van Horn and over to El Paso, winding up the next afternoon at Fort Davis for the dedication of Texas’s first million-dollar state park. The Travel Trails flourished. Requiring little maintenance other than reprinting brochures and replacing signs, the program cost-effectively fulfilled its mission. Over time, however, as the wheels of the program ran smoothly and required little grease, new administrations paid the Trails scant attention. As the original committee’s responsibilities were fulfilled and it disbanded, counties’ original commitments to fund the program were forgotten. During the oil embargos of the 1970s, leisure travel declined nationwide, and state funding for brochures dried up. The blue-and-white signs remained, a curiosity and holdover for any traveler who might attempt driving the routes without benefit of a printed map or guide.
A new era in highway funding But the 1990s, brought another game-changer, with the first major national highway legislation since the Eisenhower era. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) provided significant funding for enhancement of the travel experience, now that road-building was largely complete. Efforts could be focused on preserving and promoting highways — planting wildflowers, creating new rest areas, producing maps, providing historical interpretation. In 1997, the Texas Legislature designated the Texas Historical Commission, one of the original players on Connally’s five-agency committee 30 years earlier, to devise a heritage tourism program for the state and to tap into these federal funds. The agency’s 1996–97 annual report noted “New Directions in Heritage Tourism” as a strategic priority. “This biennium, for the first time, the agency was appropriated funds to develop a heritage tourism program,” the report read. “It has been shown time and time again that visitors enjoy historic sites and are willing to spend their dollars touring and visiting these symbols of Texas history.” THC, as custodians of the state’s past, found itself in the position of figuring out how best to promote its heritage for the future. In a September 1997 task force meeting, members recalled the old Texas Travel Trails. As this group described it: “A Texas heritage trail combines natural, cultural and historic resources to form a cohe sive, distinctive marketable unit that pro vides outstanding opportunities for conserva tion, heritage tourism, education, interpreta tion and recreation. “A Texas heritage trail may be defined by a common history or geography that links the resources to be preserved and marketed . . . Building on the trail’s unique identity, the program will stimulate the region’s economy, while fostering preservation efforts.”
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Revived and expanded to heritage trail regions, the program would encompass all 254 counties and focus less on the driving tour than on the regional experience. Jim Kimmel and Andy Skadberg of Southwest Texas State University’s Center for Nature and Heritage Tourism were contracted to devise a working plan.
Texas Heritage Trail Regions Once again, counties, communities, and chambers were invited to submit proposals. Regions would operate under the THC’s umbrella as independent nonprofit organizations, each headed by a paid coordinator and run by a volunteer board. They would be financed initially by a three-year grant stemming from transportation enhancement funding, with the expectation that each would supplement the grant with partner or county contributions or other fundraising efforts. Following the announcement of the Texas Forts Trail Region as the pilot program, many groups vigorously lobbied the THC for inclusion. The Forts Trail Region debuted in 1998 with headquarters in Abilene. As in 1968, caravans hit the road, and favorable publicity ensued. The pilot region was soon followed by the Independence, Forest, Lakes, and Brazos Trail Regions. In West and South Texas, the process took a little longer, with the Texas Plains Trail Region coming on board in 2003 and Tropical, Pecos, Mountain, and Hill Country joining by 2006 to complete statewide coverage.
The Heritage Trail Regions in THC’s second half-century Today the Texas Heritage Trails popularize the state’s rich history, helping preserve and promote structures, sites and stories that might otherwise have faded into obscurity. In 2005, the overall program was recognized with the Preserve America Presidential Award, presented by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. The Trail Regions continue to bring visitors to Texas sites and communities, increasing tourist dollars and hotel stays, getting folks excited about historic preservation and contributing to an industry that has grown from a $1 billion annual impact to more than $70 billion — with heritage tourism generating more than 10 percent of that figure. Travelers today can make use of mobile apps, download the region brochures or pick up a Texas Heritage Travel Guide at a visitor center, or visit a website for more information. But those original blue-and-white highway signs still cover the Texas landscape, pointing the way to the next chapter of history just down the road. Sources include the John B. Connally Papers at the LBJ Library; Department of Parks Administration Papers, Texas Tech University Archives; records of the Texas Heritage Trails Program, Texas Historical Commission; Dorman H. Winfrey Papers and THC records at the Texas State Library and Archives. An expanded and annotated version can be downloaded at www.TexasPlainsTrail.com/history. WIN T E R 2 0 1 6 /’1 7
COLONIAL REMNANT: Mission Nuestra Señora Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga, located in Goliad State Park.
Spanish Missions of the Central Gulf Coast
Goliad and Refugio now home to the historic sites
THE GULF COAST of Texas has a robust history, from the bold stories of the natives to European development of this “New World,” Texas. In 1721, Presidio La Bahía and Mission Nuestra Señora Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga were located on Garcitas Creek, at the site of the ill-fated Fort St. Louis, built by La Salle in 1685. Mission Espíritu Santo’s second site was located on Tonkawa Bank at Victoria’s Riverside Park. In the 1990s, an archeological dig validated the site. Site two for Presidio La Bahia and the third for Mission Espíritu Santo was on the Guadalupe River, northwest of Victoria near Mission Valley. Stone buildings were built in 1726. These remains are visible, and the owners
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have a bed and breakfast. So make a reservation at Spirit Inn of Mission Valley and experience early Spanish Texas. The last site for the Presidio and Mission is on the San Antonio River near Goliad. They moved here in 1749 to deter encroachment of the English and French. Mission Espíritu Santo flourished here. At the mission’s peak, it had more than 40,000 head of cattle, but by the 1780s, only 8,000 head remained. In the 1930s, the ruins of the Mission Espíritu Santo were surveyed and restoration began, and it is now part of the Texas State Park System. The Presidio La Bahía remained in ruin until the mid-1960s when rancher/philanthropist
VISIT VICTORIA explorevictoriatexas.com VISIT GOLIAD goliadcc.org VISIT REFUGIO refugio.texas.com
COURTESY STACEY NEW
by BART WALES with TIM DELANEY
Victoria Chamber of Commerce 7403 Lone Tree Rd., Suite 211 Victoria, TX 77905 (361) 573-5277 victoriachamber.org
Spirit Inn of Mission Valley 3377 Lower Mission Valley Rd. Victoria, TX 77905 (361) 649-5333 spiritinnmv.com
Goliad Chamber of Commerce 231 S. Market St. Goliad, TX 77963 (361) 645-3563 goliadcc.org
Presidio La Bahía 1 mile south of Goliad on U.S. 77 (361) 645-3752 presidiolabahia.org
9 am–4:45 pm
FROM TOP: COURTESY BART WALES; RENDERING BY DON MCDONALD
CROSS PURPOSES: (from top) Rendering of Nuestra Señora Del Refugio — to be reconstructed adjacent to its original site currently located under Highway US 77 in Refugio; west side of Presidio La Bahía looking toward Loreto Chapel with the museum entrance in the foreground.
Kathryn O’Connor’s Foundation funded the restoration. In 1967, the presidio was designated a National Historic Landmark. Today one can tour the presidio and its grounds. On Sundays at 5 p.m., mass is said in Our Lady of Loreto Chapel, serving the community since 1779. In Refugio, Karankawa Chief Fresada Pinta requested a new mission. In 1791, Father Manuel Silva, the Superior of Missions in Texas, and Chief Pinta chose a high bank on Goff Bayou near the Cayo of Refugio, just northwest of Long Mott, as the first site of Mission Nuestra Señora Del Refugio. This site proved to be unhealthy. In 1793, the second site, at the mouth of the Guadalupe River, was called Rancho de los Mosquitos. Its name provides a clue as to why it was moved for a final time in 1795 to Rancho de Santa Gertrudis on the Mission River, now
the town of Refugio. Little remains of this last mission. Archeological studies were done — one in 1936 by Monsignor Oberste and another by TxDOT while making improvements to U.S. Highway 77, uncovering the foundations of the cruciform chapel. So if you drive through the south end of town on U.S. Highway 77 and pass a stately Catholic church, you’ll be driving over what was once considered, by a traveler in the 1820s, “one of the most beautiful missions in Texas” — even in ruin. Currently, the third attempt to build a replica of Mission Nuestra Señora del Refugio is under way. The goal is a museum that tells the stories of the native Texans and of Spanish Colonial Texas. The third time may be the charm.
Goliad State Park and Mission Espíritu Santo State Historic Site 108 Park Road 6 Goliad TX 77963 (361) 645-3405 tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/goliad
8 am–5 pm
Refugio County Chamber of Commerce 301 N. Alamo St. Refugio, TX 78377 (361) 526-2835 refugiocountytx.org
Refugio County Museum Located in Heritage Park U.S. 77 and West Street firstname.lastname@example.org
Tues.–Fri. 9 am–5 pm Saturday 1–5 pm
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EATS & DRINKS
IN THE RED: Frank X. Tolbert TEX-MEX: What began as a side (top right) founded the Terlingua business has evolved into a major International Championship Chili investment for Hillcrest Tortillas, Cook-Off. to the tune of 10,000 tortillas and 4,000 tamales per day.
Hillcrest Tortillas Keeping Hispanic culture alive
DEEP IN THE brush coun-
try of South Texas, 58 miles southeast of Laredo, is Hebbronville, home of vaqueros (cowboys), ranches and Hillcrest Tortillas. This familyowned business began in 2001 as a backroom venture in a momand-pop grocery store. Hillcrest now produces 10,000 flour tortillas and 4,000 tamales per day, sold out of their retail location and distributed within a 150-mile radius to almost 100 customers, including school
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districts, restaurants, convenience stores, taquerias (taco stands) and grocery stores. Patricia and Bryan Gonzalez Jr. had managed Hillcrest Grocery in Hebbronville for several years when, faced with having to pay for their children’s college educations, they decided to prepare breakfast for grocery store customers as well. They made homestyle flour tortillas from scratch and used a back room at the grocery store to produce them. After serving their
breakfast customers, the Gonzalezes found themselves with extra tortillas. They put these extra tortillas in poly bags to sell. The tortillas flew off the shelves, and they realized they had more customers than extra packages. Soon they began producing more tortillas for retail than for breakfast tacos. By 2003, Hillcrest Tortillas had outgrown the back room of the grocery store and relocated the production center to a small retail space in the center of town. Here they also began making tamales to further their quest to
offer products reflecting a “dying art in the Hispanic culture.” Tamales originated in Mexico and Central America as early as 8000–5000 BC. The Aztec and Mayan civilizations used tamales as a “portable” food for armies, hunters and travelers. The fillings included turkey, flamingo, frog and gopher. Tamales were introduced in the United States at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 — with more traditional fillings! Today Hillcrest Tortillas is in a new 7,200-squarefoot facility on Highway
Hillcrest Tortillas, Inc. Since 2001 1104 S. Smith Hebbronville, TX 78361 (361) 527-4505 hillcresttortillas.com
Mon.–Fri. 6 am–5 pm Saturday 7 am–2 pm
VISIT LAREDO visitlaredo.com
COURTESY OF VALERIE D. BATES
16, just south of Hebbronville, that serves as both a production center and retail store. They have 18 employees and three delivery trucks and have expanded, once again, to offer fresh-baked goods. The production center has machines to create and cook the tortillas, a tamale room to prepare and combine the masa (corn-based dough) and fillings (meats, cheeses, beans, etc.) for wrapping in corn husks, and employs pastry chefs, including a panadero (a baker who specializes in Mexican pastries) to supply their baked goods each morning. With the holiday season approaching, tamales will be in high demand with Christmas Eve orders totaling 30,000 tamales. Christmas orders are shipped all over the world at a cost of $8-$9.50 per dozen plus shipping costs. Varieties include pork, chicken, pork/beef combo, cream cheese w/ jalapenos, bean, bean/cheese and bean/cheese/
jalapenos. During the holiday season and, upon special request, raisins are included in the meat varieties to add a touch of sweetness. Phone orders are accepted. Patricia Gonzales, an educator and administrator in Hebbronville for 28 years, retired in 2012 and now manages Hillcrest Tortillas. Bryan, meanwhile is also involved in the day-to-day operation of the company along with two other businesses, Hillcrest Grocery and Bryanâ€™s Stop & Shop convenience store. They both serve on the Jim Hogg County Historical Commission and with the Hebbronville Museum Foundation.
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EATS & DRINKS
FRUIT-FILLED GOODNESS: Collin Street Bakery set up shop in 1896 with Gus Weidmann’s fruitcake as a staple.
Collin Street Bakery
Tradition comes to fruition in downtown Corsicana
IN 1994, a burgeoning
East Texas cotton town and railroad stop began drilling for water for its growing populace and discovered oil instead. Overnight, Corsicana became Texas’ first boomtown. During that time a German newcomer moved into town. August Weidmann, a master baker in Wiesbaden, had crossed the Atlantic with a recipe for fruitcake in his pocket. His dream
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was to introduce America to the flavorful cakes he’d loved in Europe. Not long after he arrived in Corsicana, he met Tom McElwee, a flamboyant cotton buyer and promoter who developed ideas for marketing Weidmann’s fra• grant, fruit-filled cakes. Together they opened the Collin Street Bakery in 1896. Ten years later, their venture had already outgrown its space.
Weidmann and McElwee relocated the bakery to the first floor of a larger building. Above the bakery on the second floor, McElwee opened the Elite Hotel, eight rooms of “luxury” accommodations for visiting celebrities. In time, the hotel’s roster read like a who’s who of early 20th-century Americana. Will Rogers stayed there, as did Diamond Jim Brady, Gentleman Jim Corbett and Terrible Tempered John McGraw. The opera singer Enrico Caruso also
was a guest at the Elite. In their rooms above the bakery, hotel guests woke each morning to the aroma of Weidmann’s cakes and breads baking below and inevitably wandered downstairs and into the shop. One day, John Ringling and the entire troupe of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ordered Weidmann’s Deluxe Fruitcakes to be shipped to circus friends around the world. Collin Street Bakery’s
Collin Street Bakery 401 W. 7th Ave. Corsicana, TX 75110 (903) 874-7477
Mon.-Thurs. 7 am–5:30 pm Fri. and Sat. 7 am–6 pm Sunday 12–6 pm
Collin Street Bakery 2035 I-45, Corsicana, TX 75110 (903) 872-2157
Open until 8 pm collinstreet.com
VISIT DOWNTOWN CORSICANA
tional noteworthy customers. He seems to recall that the Queen of England was a sometime customer depending upon what was being baked at the palace, but that Princess Stephanie of Monaco was a regular recipient of a tin from Texas. Innovations at the company in recent years include new varieties of cakes, such as apricot pecan and pineapple pecan, and some new cities have joined Corsicana in selling the cakes through Collin Street Bakery stores, including Greenville, Waco and Lindale. But one tradition continues: you can still tour the bakery in historic Corsicana.
FROM TOP: COLLIN HARVEY; COURTESY STATE FAIR OF TEXAS
mail-order business was born. The iconic tins of Deluxe Fruitcakes were soon being sent across the globe to fans — except for a few years. “During World War II, when tin was rationed, we had to put our fruitcakes in cardboard boxes,” explains Hayden Crawford, the company’s director of public relations. While the Elite Hotel closed long ago, the current bakery stands only four blocks away from its earlier home and still attracts a long list of blue-chip fans. “As for Texans on our mail order list,” Crawford says, “we have the governor, we had the Bushes when they were in the White House, Nolan Ryan, Lyle Lovett and a whole lot more.” Crawford notes that he’s been with the company for “only” a decade, but his dad was with the bakery for 52 years and could probably name addi-
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LIFE DEEP IN THE ART DON’T MISS STATE OF THE ART: The Center, opened in what was once the former Lutheran College, is alive with all genres of artistic expression.
Clifton Classic Chassis Auto Museum 406 W. 5th Street Clifton, TX 76634 (254) 253-0262 cliftonclassicchassis.org The Ringness House Museum 7010 CR 309 Cranfills Gap, TX 76637 (254) 597-2478 ringnesshouse.org LODGING The Screen Door Inn Bed and Breakfast in historical downtown Clifton 110 N. Avenue D Clifton, TX 76634 (254) 675-7829 screendoorinn.com DINING
LITERARY LINEUP: Fans of fiction, memoir, children’s books and more find something to entertain and inspire at the 2015 Texas Book Festival
Mitchell’s Grille 215 W. 3rd St. Clifton, TX 76634 (254) 675-8888 Open Thursday – Saturday 5:30–9:30 pm mitchellsgrille.com
Art on the Bosque Home to many Texas artists, Clifton embraces its center JILL CAMPBELL JORDAN
OT EVERY SMALL TOWN has an arts center the caliber of the Bosque Arts Center (BAC) in Clifton, recognized as one of the top 100 rural art centers in the nation. It’s here today because of Clifton artist and photographer Joan Spieler and many dedicated art lovers and volunteers in the area. Spieler discovered back in the 1970s that art wasn’t being taught in any of the Bosque County schools, so she headed a campaign to bring art to all children in the county. In 1981 the BAC, originally known as the Bosque County Conservatory of Fine Arts, opened at the location of the old Lutheran College that was established in 1896. Clifton College merged with Texas Lutheran
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215 S. College Hill Dr. Clifton, TX 76634 (254) 675-3724 www.bosqueartscenter.org
College in Seguin in 1954. The Clifton College property was sold and used by a manufacturing company for many years. This administration building, built in 1923, is designated as a Texas Historic Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission, and the three-story building is the heart of the BAC. It comes as no surprise that the community would embrace an arts center since so many Texas artists have called Bosque County home. The BAC isn’t afraid to do a little name dropping when it comes to mentioning past and present residents, such as cowboy artists James Boren, Melvin Warren, Martin Grelle and Bruce Greene, along with nationally recognized Tony Eubanks, George Hallmark, George Boutwell and more than 20 other
Hours Daily 9 am–5 pm Saturdays 10 am–5 pm
Bosque Museum 301 S. Avenue Q Clifton, TX 76634 (254) 675-3845 www.bosquemuseum.org
VISIT CLIFTON visitclifton.org cliftontexas.org
BARBARA BRANNON / TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL
Bosque Arts Center
COURTESY BARBARA BRANNON/TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL
REVITALIZATION: Clifton, with a population of approximately 3,400, has restored and repurposed many of its historic structures to make space for the arts.
working artists and sculptors. Today the Bosque Arts Center is alive with the visual arts, live theater, permanent and rotating photography exhibits, a culinary club, an art club, an artisan/pottery guild, a quilt guild, a civic music association and a myriad of classes, workshops, concerts and seasonal offerings. The Jones Gallery houses a collection of representational art with an emphasis on Western art. Each year the BAC Art Council conducts a nationally recognized juried art show over two weekends in September. This event kicks off with a preview, awards dinner and show. During the exhibit viewers are able to purchase paintings and sculptures entered in the show. Throughout the year a variety of events, featuring different areas of the BAC, occur. Tin Building Theatre productions are offered several times during the year, providing dinner, matinee and evening performances. The Big Event on the second weekend in April, the major fundraiser for the BAC, features a Friday night concert and a Saturday evening dinner and auction. The Annual Quilt Show occurs in June and features a weekend of prize-winning quilts and vendor booths. The Texas Troubadour Songwriter Classic in October is a competition for songwriters featuring a celebrity judge, songwriter performances and awards. Painting and pottery workshops are held at various times during the year featuring opportunities for hands-on work with well-known artists and potters.
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DEEP IN THE ART
The Menil Collection The crown jewel of Houston’s museum scene have long invested in the arts, both for the city and for themselves. The crown jewel of a wildly eclectic museum scene is the Menil Collection, the 17,000-piece collection of Schlumberger USA president John de Menil and his wife, Dominique, who ran the museum and
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the Menil Foundation until her death in 1997. The museum’s major 2017 winter exhibition is The Fabiola Project, consisting of 450-plusreproductions of a lost 4th-century painting of Roman Saint Fabiola by French artist
WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
Jean-Jacques Henner. The images were collected by Belgian artist Francis Alÿs in the flea markets of Mexico City, where he began living in the early 1990s, • and augmented by art-minded friends who picked up other pieces for his
collection as they traveled the world. Alÿs will be on hand to discuss the collection on May 21. But the intriguing Fabiola Project is hardly the only attraction at this family-friendly museum this winter. The Menil regularly exhibits works from its collection by important Surrealists such as Rene
The Menil Collection 1533 Sul Ross St Houston, TX 77006 menil.org
Wednesday - Sunday 11 am–7 pm Free Admission
COURTESY MENIL COLLECTION
HOUSTON’S OIL barons
Magritte, André Breton, and Max Ernst as well as works by Picasso and Warhol, while a separate exhibition features ancient art and antiquities that inspired the Surrealists. Several of the museum’s immaculate spaces are given over to primitive art and sculpture, and the museum also shows a significant number of Neo-Dadaist works by Jasper Johns and Port Arthur native Robert Rauschenberg. Adjacent to the museum is the world-renowned Rothko Chapel, a non-denominational meditative space filled with
artist Mark Rothko’s works. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, the building has been described by chapel historian Susan Barnes as “the world’s first ecumenical center, a holy place open to all religions and belonging to none.” The Cy Twombly Pavilion lies directly across from the Menil and features 30 of Twombly’s works.
ART FOR ALL: Making art accessible is vital to the Menil’s mission, so no admission is charged and all public programs are free. All of the Menil campus buildings are entered at ground level, symbolic of its democratic ideals.
Showing in the Menil’s Byzantine Fresco Chapel, the Fabiola exhibition runs through May, 2018.
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Live Show W I N T E R 20 1 6/ ’ 1 7
The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball DEC. 15-17 ANSON
ansoncowboyschristmasball.com Texas Cowboys’ Christmas Ball was held in 1885 in Anson to honor area cowboys, their ladies and families. • This 132-year-old winter holiday celebration includes traditional Western music, poetry, dancing, refreshments and fellowship. The 82nd consecutive annual reenactment, a family event always open to the public, will be held Dec. 15–17. Historic Pioneer Hall (and museum) has been the Ball’s home since completion of its construction in 1940. The Ball is designated an official state historical event by the Texas Historical Commission to promote its historic preservation and celebrate its Texas history. Ball rules from 1885 remain in effect. Ladies are required to wear dresses on the dance floor. Gentlemen must check hats, spurs and guns. And no drinking, smoking, spitting, fighting, cussing or riding horses are allowed. The Ball was memorialized by rancher/ poet Larry Chittenden with his famous poem
COURTESY GARY N. BLUM, D.D.F., M.S.
“The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball” (Ranch Verses, Knickerbocker Press, 1893). The poem with music 2300 Avenue G was later published in the John Lomax classic comAnson, TX 79501 pilation Cowboy Songs & Other Frontier Ballads (Macmillan Company, 1910). It was first performed at HOURS the 1946 Ball by cowboy folklorist Gordon Graham. 8 pm-midnight The Ball is portrayed in the large 1930s mural at the Anson Post Office and the 1930 waterThursday, Dec. 15 Michael Martin Murphey & his Rio color painting by Maxine Walker Perini on permaGrande Band ($20 per person). nent display at Abilene’s Grace Museum. Pulitzer For advance tickets, Prize–winning novelist Edna Ferber recognized the call (325)669-2063 or email “Cowboy Christmas Ball at Anson in Jones County” TCCBofAnsonTX@yahoo.com in her memorable novel Giant. There’s also a perFriday, Dec. 16 manent historical exhibit of the Ball and Hall in the Muddy Creek Band & old-time Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University in square dance exhibition Lubbock. ($10 adults, $5 seniors & ages 13-18, Paul Carlson, Texas Tech professor emeritus children 12 & under and active duty of history, has published the most complete and military free) thoroughly documented account of the Ball’s oriSaturday, Dec. 17 gin, preservation and continuation, in Dancin’ in Muddy Creek Band & Texas Cowboy Anson: A History of the Texas Cowboy’s Christmas Santa with candy for kids Ball (Texas Tech University Press, 2014). ($10 adults, $5 seniors & ages 13-18, The Ball is also the acknowledged genesis children 12 & under and active duty for the Cowboy Christmas concerts throughout military free) the country performed by cowboy singer Michael The Ball is always held the Martin Murphey and his Rio Grande Band. They’ve Thursday, Friday and Saturday headlined the Ball one night for the past 21 years. before Dec. 25. Muddy Creek is the faithful house band that’s played the other two nights.
Historic Pioneer Hall
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Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo JAN. 13–FEB. 4 FORT WORTH, TEXAS fwssr.com fortworth.com THE FORT WORTH STOCK SHOW has been
around since 1896. Back then it was held in the banks of Marine Creek and wasn’t a spectacle of Western performance. The legendary Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Jan. 13 through Feb. 4, offers visitors a chance to experience the unique Western lifestyle along with a one-of-a-kind combination of history, tradition and Western heritage. The festivities kick off with the All-Western Parade on Jan. 14. This 100 percent non-motorized parade relies on more than 2,000 animals to move people and floats along the parade route through downtown Fort Worth. Throughout the run of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, entertainment can be found Tuesday through Saturday night at the carnival midway, petting zoo, shopping areas, livestock shows and live music areas. There are plenty of tasty delights to savor as you take in all of the sights, from a Reata ribeye steak, flavorful hamburger, traditional corn dog and, of course, funnel cakes. Numerous restaurants and food vendors carry a variety of delicious foods. Reaching kids is a big part of the Stock Show, and youngsters can dig into agriculture at the Planet Agriculture hands-on exhibit. This is a great experience for children to see how producing LEGENDARY: As forerunfood and clothing contributes to job and econers of the 4-H Clubs, Baby nomic growth. Beef Clubs helped engage Another attraction for the kiddos and youth in educational prothose young at heart is the You and a Ewe, grams designed to further the livestock industry. These Eye to Eye at the Petting Zoo. (Good shepyoung boys (top) brought herds know that a female sheep is a ewe, their cattle to the 1913 Stock pronounced “you.”) The Bank of Texas Petting Show. Through the years, Zoo is a place where your kids can meet other crowds have lined the streets of Fort Worth to enjoy kids (the baby goat kind) and create a moment that can last a lifetime. The petting zoo includes the Show’s kickoff parade (second from top). Bullrider a variety of animals like llamas, chickens, walJ.W. Harris attempts to stay labies and rabbits. aboard the bucking bull (at right). Children get up close Of course there’s something for the to a variety of animals at the adults, too. The Fort Worth Stock Show & petting zoo (bottom). Rodeo offers a unique shopping experience that includes everything from tractors to turquoise spread out over four acres of exhibit space. You’re sure to find something you can’t live without. But don’t forget the main focus of the show: the livestock. Over 28,000 head of world-class livestock will be on display during this 23-day event. Stroll through any of the barns and see cattle, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, poultry pigeons and rabbits being exhibited. Please check the website for a detailed daily schedule for what species of livestock is on exhibit on specific days. As part of the Moo-seum Experience, Stock Show grounds admission grants attendees full access to two world-class museums, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Plus, the “cultural exchange” works both ways: members of either of these museums can get into the Stock Show grounds at no cost for the show’s entire 23-day run. Set a date to come out to this historic event that’s thrilled generations of Stock Show visitors.
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COURTESY FORT WORtH STOCK SHOW & RODEO
Happenings W I N T E R 20 1 6/ ’ 1 7
DO-NOT-MISS STUFF TO DO AROUND TEXAS
HILL COUNTRY INDEPENDENCE TRAIL TRAIL
PLAINS TRAIL REGION
LAKES TRAIL REGION FORTS TRAIL REGION MOUNTAIN TRAIL REGION
PECOS TRAIL REGION
BRAZOS TRAIL REGION
HILL COUNTRY TRAIL REGION
FOREST TRAIL REGION
INDEPENDENCE TRAIL REGION
TROPICAL TRAIL REGION
Texas Christkindl Market
A holiday tradition for more than a decade. With Santa Claus, Saturday choirs and decorations filling the galleries, the Turner Mansion becomes an enchanting place for families.
Nov. 25–Dec. 23 Next to Globe Life Park 100 Ballpark Way (817) 265-7721 txchristkindlmarket.com
COURTESY DALLAS HERITAGE VILLAGE
Inspired by a cherished German tradition, the Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas, is one of the largest open-air holiday markets in the Southwest.
Christmas at the Mansion MIDLAND
Dec. 1–30 Museum of the Southwest 1705 W. Missouri Ave. (432) 683-2882 museumsw.org
BYO–Salado Glassworks SALADO
Dec. 2–4, 9–11, 16–18, 27–28 Salado Glassworks 2 Peddler’s Alley (254) 947-0339 saladoglassworks.com With the guidance of the artist team, you can make a one-of-a-kind blown glass ornament. Note: you must reserve a timeslot online.
Candlelight: 45 Years of Memories! Dallas Heritage Village DALLAS
Dec. 10-11 dallasheritagevillage.org (214) 421-5141 Dallas Heritage Village celebrates its 45th year of Candlelight. Take a trip down memory lane at a photo exhibit of 45 years of Candlelight. Then create some new memories as you sing along with strolling carolers, tell St. Nicholas your holiday wishes, and make holiday crafts. Local groups perform on three stages all evening. Festive foods are available for purchase from food trucks as well as a bake sale, traditional kettle korn, nuts and more. Take a tour of the temporary exhibit, “Millermore Exposed,” ending Dec. 31, in the Village’s iconic antebellum home, showcasing the unique job of a curator upon receiving an empty home and artifacts to display. The exhibit will showcase six different types of furnishings segregated into six rooms, educational activities, and a glimpse into a curator’s thought process. This year’s Candlelight is the capstone to a year-long celebration of Dallas Heritage Village’s Golden Anniversary. Dallas Heritage Village, celebrating 50 years in 2016, is an immersive history landscape that features a wide variety of authentic 19th-century pioneer and Victorian homes and commercial buildings in Texas. The Village is set on 20 acres with over 25 historic structures depicting life in Dallas from 1840 to 1910. Dallas Heritage Village is one of only five nationally accredited museums in the Dallas area. The Village showcases a Victorian Main Street, a railroad complex, a log cabin, a preCivil war home, an 1860s farmstead with livestock, a 19th-century church, schoolhouse and more. Dallas Heritage Village has been recognized for multiple awards. It is located at 1515 South Harwood, in the Cedars area with urban living and restaurants, near downtown Dallas and the popular Farmer’s Market complex. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. The Village is closed the months of January and August. General Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors 65+ and $5 for children ages 4 through 12 years. Children under 4 and members of Dallas Heritage Village are admitted free of charge.
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Concho Christmas Celebration Tour of Lights SAN ANGELO
Dec. 2–31 (325) 944-4444 conchochristmascelebration. com Pack everyone into the car, tune the radio to KCSA 97.1 FM and drive the 2.5 miles along the banks of the Concho River through the “Tour of Lights.” Enjoy the beauty of over 3 million lights and 50 Christmas Greeting Cards. A donation of $5 per vehicle is suggested.
explore the customs and decorations from the 1830s to the 1930s. Stop by the 1860s Ryon Prairie Home for wassail and Christmas treat samples, or catch treehouse story time with Santa Claus.
Christmas Village at Bayou Bend HOUSTON
Dec. 10–Jan. 1 Museum of Fine Arts Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens 6003 Memorial Dr. (713) 639-7300 mfah.org/a/christmas-villageat-bayou-bend
historic park, including the famed lighted poinsettias. Christmas with the Nelsons MOUNT PLEASANT
Dec. 12, 7:30 pm Whately Center for the Performing Arts 2886 FM 1735 (903) 434-8181 pittsburgchamber.com/ events.aspx Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, twin sons of legendary musical artist Ricky Nelson, will perform Christmas favorites just in time to get you into the holiday spirit.
Ghosts of Christmas Past JACKSBORO
Dec. 17, 5–7 pm Fort Richardson State Park 228 Park Rd. 61 (940) 567-3506 tpwd.texas.gov/calendar/ fort-richardson/ghosts-ofchristmas-past-1 Observe “ghosts” of cavalry soldiers and their families as they celebrate Christmas in an 1870s U.S. military post.
Christmas in the Park RICHMOND
Dec. 3, 10, 17, 20-23 George Ranch Historical Park 10215 FM 762 Rd. (281) 343-0218 georgeranch.org Travel through Christmas pasts on a festive hayride (weather permitting) and
Santa and his reindeer return for 20 magical nights. The historic 14-acre estate will again become a winter wonderland with a sparkling trail of lights. It will feature animated projections, an elaborate stained-glass Spiegeltent, and festive programs and activities.
Comanche Trail Festival of Lights
47th Annual LBJ Tree Lighting
Dec. 15–31 Comanche Trail Park 100 Whiskey Dr (432) 263-7641 bigspringchamber.com Over 1 million lights are on display throughout the
Dec. 18 Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site (830) 644-2252 twpd.texas.gov/calendar/ lyndon-b-johnson/47th-annual-lbj-tree-lighting
(830) 644-2252 Join the Texas Hill Country Community in this special tradition begun 46 years ago by President and Mrs. Johnson. Enjoy carolers, a live nativity, Santa Claus, refreshments and, of course, the spectacular tree lighting. Then revisit the past at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm.
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker EL PASO
Dec. 23 and 24 Plaza Theater One Civic Center Plaza (915) 534-0600 elpasolive.com The Christmas experience of the year! The original — direct from Russia — Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Enchant the entire family with larger-thanlife magical props, a 60-foot growing Christmas tree and spectacular Russian-made costumes and sets.
COURTESY MOSCOW BALLET
El Paso: Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker
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February 22nd Annual Eagle Fest EMORY
Jan. 28 – 29 Rains High School Campus 1759 W US Highway 69 (903) 473-3913 visitrainscounty.com
Palo Duro Canyon
Features guided bus and barge tours to spot eagles, live bird demonstrations, and programs with distinguished speakers.
First Day Hikes TEXAS STATE PARKS
Jan. 1 tpwd.texas.gov/calendar/first-day-hikes Start the year off on the right foot, the left foot, or any foot — find a First Day Hike in a state park near you on New Year’s Day! These are but a few of many around the Lone Star State. Lake Arrowhead State Park
FROM TOP: COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS; COURTESY RAINS COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site: Four hikes with varying difficulties for all ages. Pedernales Falls State Park: Fido Hike — Grab your best canine friend (and maybe a human or two) and come out for our 2nd annual Fido Hike!
New Braunfels Antique Show NEW BRAUNFELS
Palo Duro Canyon State Park: Sunset Hike — Close out the first day of the new year in a most healthy and beautiful way: with a sunset hike in Palo Duro Canyon! Hike out onto Triassic Mesa, one of the most scenic spots in the park. We will enjoy a panoramic view of the canyon and sunset. This hike will be just over a mile in length over a mix of easy and moderate difficulty trail. Fort Richardson State Park & Historic Site / Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway Martin Dies, Jr. State Park: 1st Day Walking Meditation; start the new year off with meditation instructor Cleo and find your zen! Lockhart State Park
Texas Antique Tractor Show & Pull
Fossil Bone Exhibit Grand Opening
Jan. 13–15 New Braunfels Civic & Convention Center 375 S. Castell Ave. (918) 619-2875 heritageeventcompany.com/ event/new-braunfels-antiqueshow
Jan. 15–16 Lavaca County Exposition Center Wilbur Baber Memorial Complex FM 957 and County Road 200 (361) 798-1553 txtractorpull.com
Antiques, vintage, primitives, jewelry, art, furniture, Western, pottery, glassware, architectural/garden and more.
Watch the “power of the past” come alive through these antique tractors. Events include a tractor parade, tractor pulling and kiddie pull, along with arts and crafts, and food vendors.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
Jan. 14 (432) 477-1195 visitbigbend.com Big Bend National Park is a geologist’s paradise and a treasure trove of ancient fossils. Join the Park Rangers to celebrate the grand opening of the new exhibit.
Winter Outdoor Wildlife Expo SOUTH PADRE ISLAND Jan. 24–28 Birding & Nature Center 6801 Padre Blvd. (956) 761-6801 spibirding.com This five-day event features the unique resources of South Padre Island with a different focus each day. Learn about the special environment, the Laguna Madre, the Gulf and fishing, the plants, butterflies and birds. Special raptor programs by Jonathan Wood. Friday focuses on familyfriendly activities.
Kwahadi Indian Dancers Winter Night Ceremonials AMARILLO
February 2017 Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian 9151 I-40 E. (806) 335-3175 kwahadi.com A spectacular pageant of song and dance performed by local youth in the intimate setting of the museum’s Kiva, surrounded by Indian art and artifacts. Optional dinner available.
San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo SAN ANGELO
Feb. 3–19 200 W. 43rd St. (325) 653-7785 sanangelorodeo.com The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Association was founded in 1932 with its first rodeo being held in 1934. Today, the San Angelo Rodeo is a PRCA and WPRA sanctioned event open to cowboys and cowgirls across the world. It features rough stock events such as bull riding, saddle bronc riding, and bareback riding, as well as timed events like team roping, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, and women’s barrel racing. The Stock Show provides an opportunity for youth across the state to participate in one of Texas’ largest livestock shows. Additionally, this annual event includes a carnival, exhibit hall and Kid’s Korral.
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Wine Lovers Trail FREDERICKSBURG
Feb. 3–9 (512) 914-5561 texaswinetrail.com Come indulge in a little wine and sweets! Spend a romantic getaway in the Texas Hill Country, sipping and sampling wine and chocolates at the 48 Texas Hill Country wineries on this self-guided tour. Tickets can be purchased online.
The Day the Music Died LUBBOCK
Big Bend Bike Fest
San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo SAN ANTONIO
Feb. 9–26 AT&T Center / Freeman Coliseum Grounds 3201 E. Houston St. (201) 255-5851 sarodeo.com Established in 1949, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has grown to be one of the largest and most prestigious events in the city.
Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed DALLAS
Feb. 11 through Sept. 4 Perot Museum of Nature and Science 2201 N. Field St. (214) 428-5555 perotmuseum.org This exhibition brings together more than 200 authentic artifacts and immersive envi-
ronments to explore the astonishing accomplishments of one of the most powerful indigenous Mesoamerican civilizations, that still has millions of living descendants today.
Boots, beads and classic cars highlight the unusual twist the town of Nocona contributes to the annual Mardi Gras celebration. Lots of fun activities and events, including a huge Mardi Gras parade.
Mardi Gras Nocona Style
BIG BEND AREA
Feb. 16–18 Downtown Nocona (940) 825-3526 nocona.org
Feb. 16-18 Big Bend Area / Lajitas (888) 989-6900 bikefest.desertsportstx.com
COURTESY BIG BEND TRAILS ALLIANCE
Feb. 3 Buddy Holly Center 1801 Crickets Ave. (806) 775-3560 BuddyHollyCenter.org Feb. 3 marks the annual anniversary of the plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson (the
Big Bopper) and pilot Roger Peterson. This date has affectionately been given the name “The Day the Music Died,” after a lyric in Don McLean’s song “American Pie” that references the tragic event. Patrons are invited to the Center to celebrate the life and legacy of Buddy Holly.
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The 7th Annual Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest is on the horizon. Last year’s Bike Fest had more than 500 riders, which led to more than a dozen guided rides. The event raised almost $5,000 with raffle tickets and registration donations alone. Don’t miss the chance to experience Big Bend in a way few ever do, and help out the Big Bend Trails Alliance keep this event going strong.
Mardi Gras Galveston GALVESTON
Mardi Gras! Galveston Feb. 17–28 mardigrasgalveston.com The extravagance found in Texas’ largest Mardi Gras celebration starts with the beads: more than 3 million will be thrown at this event, and that’s just the beginning of the elaborate parades, headliner performances, family events, feasting and other festivities that come with hosting Mardi Gras, island style.
Charro Days Fiesta BROWNSVILLE
Feb. 18–25 (956) 542-4245 charrodaysfiesta.com
Mardi Gras Upriver
Originally founded in 1937 to lift community spirits toward the close of the Great Depression, Charro Days Fiesta will celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2017 with the same dedication to bi-national friendship and respect for traditions that first captivated Brownsville long ago. Join us for festivals, parades, dances and the Charro Days Carnival.
Feb. 24–26 (817) 291-1969 mardigrasupriver.com The Krewe of Hebe will celebrate Mardi Gras with an event that includes live entertainment, parades, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, a carnival area and tons of fun. This is a family-friendly event nestled in one of Texas’ oldest towns.
Southeast Texas Mardi Gras
31st Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Feb. 23–26 500 Procter St. (409) 721-8717 mardigras.portarthur.com Carnival Weekend has many attractions and activities for the whole family, including daily parades and concerts, arts and crafts vendors in the Aurora Cafe, and the Mardi Gras Store, a full line retail outlet of Mardi Gras goods and products. The Majestic Krewe
Texas Independence Day Celebration at Washington-onthe-Brazos State Historic Site
COURTESY WASHINGTON-ON-THE-BRAZOS SHS; COURTESY FULTON OYSTER FEST
of Aurora was the founding Krewe of Southeast Texas.
March Texas Birthday Bash NAVASOTA
March 2–5 Fulton Navigation Park (361) 463-9955 fultonoysterfest.orgfultonoysterfest.org The 38th Annual Fulton Oysterfest is a salute to the tasty bivalve found in our
March 3–4 200 E. Alpine (936) 825-6475 texasbirthdaybash.com The biggest birthday party in Texas includes concerts, kids activities, a chili cookoff, a made-in-Texas vendor show, a Wild West shootout and a Texas craft beer tent.
Feb. 24–25 Sul Ross University texascowboypoetry.com This two-day event celebrating the oral tradition of the working cowboy in poetry, stories and music. Enjoy more than 50 performers in the classrooms and on the stages of Sul Ross State University.
local waters. Sponsored by the Fulton Volunteer Fire Department and the town of Fulton, the festival is a familyfriendly event with carnival rides, games, food, an oyster eating contest, live music, unique vendor booths and, most of all, fun!
Texas Independence Day Celebration WASHINGTON
March 4–5 Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site (936) 878-2214 wheretexasbecametexas.org All Texans — natural born, and those who got here as soon as they could — are invited to a Texas-sized 181th anniversary celebration on the very spot “Where Texas Became Texas”: Washington-on-theBrazos State Historic Site. Three historical sites in the park will be alive with activity. The celebration includes live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, historical encampments and commemorative programs.
March 4–6 (956) 843.2286 hidalgoborderfest.com
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dance hall, and peruse vendors of fine western wares, arts and crafts, vintage furniture and custom clothing.
Nederland Heritage Festival March 14–19 Tex Ritter Park (409) 724-2269 nederlandhf.org
March 7–26 NRG Park (832) 667-1000 rodeohouston.com The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world’s largest livestock show and rodeo.
Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo MERCEDES
March 8–19 (956) 565-2456 rgvls.com The first incarnation of this annual event was held in 1939 on the grounds of a local livestock sales yard with makeshift pens and leanto sheds. Over the past 78 years, it’s grown to be one of the top 10 shows in the state, featuring live performances, festival foods, parades, horse shows, cooking contests, competitive events, petting zoos and more.
The Best Little Cowboy Gathering In Texas LA GRANGE
March 9–12 Fayette County Fairgrounds (979) 702-0086 bestlittlecowboygathering.org Celebrate cowboy culture at the Fayette County Fairgrounds with a long weekend of music, dancing, barbeque cook-offs and more. Enjoy cold beer and burgers, two-step to countrywestern swing and old cowboy classics in the historic
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World War I Exhibitions CANYON
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Nederland Heritage Festival
Dutch heritage, the city’s Windmill Museum and Acadian House in Tex Ritter Park form the basis and background for this community event featuring a carnival, costumed characters, music and the famed Cuisine Walk.
Imprisoned on the Frontier: The POW Camp at Fort McKavett 1961–62 FORT MCKAVETT
March 16–18 (325) 396-2358 thc.texas.gov/ historic-sites/ fort-mckavett-statehistoric-site Commemorating the 155th anniversary of the imprisonment of federal soldiers at Fort McKavett during the first winter of the Civil War (1861–62), this living history event will feature reenactors in character performing the tasks of both federal prisoners and their Texan captors.
Border Bass Battle LAKE AMISTAD
March 18 Del Rio (830) 775-3551 drchamber.com An hourly big bass tourney.
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum 2503 4th Ave. (806) 651-2244 panhandleplains.org The largest history museum in Texas will honor the centennial of America’s entry into World War I with three exhibitions during 2017. “Doughboys & Home Folks” will be on exhibit in the Textile Gallery from Jan. 7 through Sept. 2; “The Great War and the PanhandlePlains Region” will be in the Harrington Changing Gallery from Jan. 28 until Sept. 16; and “World War I: The Great War in Images” will be on exhibit in the Alexander Gallery from Jan. 28–Sept. 16. Numerous lectures and events will take place in conjunction with these exhibitions.
COURTESY COURTESY NEDERLAND HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Celebrating the spirit of Brazil, BorderFest is a multiday extravaganza staged by the city of Hidalgo and over 1,000 enthusiastic volunteers. Enlightened leadership, business supporters and a proud citizenry have now brought BorderFest to its 40th year.
LEGACY PANCHO VILLA p. 70 H KENNETH POLLARD p. 74 H DEBBIE MORELOCK p. 78
COURTESY TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
In 1916, the First Aero Squadron launched military action in flight
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The border and the military in Texas before WWI by VERNON L. WILLIAMS
AU THENTIC TEX AS
Border service PATTON JOINED Troop D, Eighth Cavalry
TRAINING A GENERAL: Many American military leaders gained their early training on the Texas frontier. In 1916, a young Lieutenant George S. Patton, Jr., arrived in El Paso to serve in the Eighth Cavalry, guarding the border and pursuing hostiles. In WWII, Adolf Hitler would refer to Patton as “that crazy cowboy general.”
warfare in Europe. For Patton and his comrades, the road from Texas to Mexico would lead far into the future, to France and the Great War, and still later to World War II, where Patton would rise to become one of the U.S. Army’s greatest combat commanders. But that was all in the future.
and soon shipped out to Sierra Blanca, 90 miles to the east. Sierra Blanca served as a base of operations for a series of smaller outposts along the border. The trip from El Paso was made on horseback, and although it could be traveled by truck or automobile in about four hours, the trip took almost four days. Patton believed Sierra Blanca deserved its reputation as an old west town. Its citizens included cowboys who “wear boots and spurs and carry guns,” and these gunfighters fascinated Patton. At noon on Oct. 29, Patton received a telegram from Fort Bliss ordering Troop D to guard 30 miles of track while Mexican Federal troops moved over it. Patton took 10 men and rode to Hot Wells. Three trains came through, one that day and two the next. Patton described the procession as a circus. The ragtag army rode a combination of old carriages dating back to the mid-19th century. What little artillery they had was mounted on cars, wagons and anything that would roll. The large group of women and children accompanying the army astonished Patton who quotes one of his men in describing the Mexican army of Carranza: “About half the Mexican troops are, in the words of McCauley, ‘Ancient men on crutches and women great with child.’” A month later, Pershing at Fort Bliss telegraphed Patton a series of warnings that the Mexican bandit Chico Cano was en route to Sierra
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY VERNON L. WILLIAMS
IN THE HOT, dusty days of September 1915, events in El Paso and along the Texas border with Mexico reached critical mass as years of unrest and violence brought by Mexican revolutionaries spread across the Rio Grande River and into American communities and onto isolated ranches in far West Texas. President Woodrow Wilson responded to the developing crisis with increased troop deployments to a growing network of patrol districts and outposts across the long border with Mexico. In 1915, the War Department ordered additional units to Texas for border patrol duties. Soon more soldiers would come as Pancho Villa triggered a new crisis that saw National Guard divisions federalized for service on the Texas border and beyond. Villa’s impending attack on Columbus, N.M., March 9, 1916, would have far-reaching implications for Texas and for the nation at large. On Sept. 15, 1916, Lt. George S. Patton stepped off the train in downtown El Paso with orders to join the Eighth Cavalry. Patton couldn’t know that in a few short months, President Wilson would order the army into Mexico to pursue Pancho Villa, and Patton would ride alongside Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing deep into the hostile, desert country of northern Mexico in pursuit of their quarry. The mobilization of the American Army along the Mexican border and combat operations on the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916 helped to forge the frontier army into a new mobile fighting machine that would soon face the trials of modern
GENERAL AND FOLK HERO: As commander of the División del Norte (Division of the North) in the Constitutionalist Army, General Francisco “Pancho” Villa became one of the most prominent figures of the Mexican Revolution. His raids into Texas and New Mexico helped set the stage for America’s entrance into World War I.
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Blanca to raid the town and cautioned that Pancho Villa had driven a Carranza force of about 80 men across the river. Pershing ordered Patton to intercept Chico Cano and any Carranzistas found on the northern side of the river, either capturing or driving them back across into Mexican territory. Patton immediately sent out four patrols to look for the Mexican forces and waited for reports. Garbed in “everything but my spurs and pistol,” Patton spent a sleepless night. By the next day, the patrols had returned without engaging any Mexican forces, although they did find evidence of their presence. He wrote his wife that “if this is the eve of battle, it is not at all interesting nor so exciting as a polo game.” Both Carranza’s forces and Villa’s dorados troubled the Americans, for both Mexican fac-
tions violated American territory and property. Depredations along the border were so severe by this time that “Americans can’t live there and if they do they don’t live long.” From November 1915 until Villa attacked Columbus in March 1916, Patton performed routine duty at Sierra Blanca before returning to Fort Bliss, without the slightest possibility of a fight with Mexican bandits.
Pancho Villa’s raid triggers moves in Texas BY OCTOBER 1915, events inside Mexico had
turned sour for Pancho Villa. Having suffered repeated defeats during 1915, his once large army had been reduced to little more than a small band of loyal followers. Carranza’s military superiority in Mexico had prompted Wilson, on Oct. 19, 1915, to grant diplomatic recognition of the Carranza
government. This proved to be a severe blow to Villa. He had been convinced that he’d receive American support, and Villa followed a course of moderation with regard to U.S. interests in Mexico. Villa considered the Carranza recognition a personal betrayal. His moderation turned to bitterness, and American life and property felt his fury. Villa launched a series of attacks on Americans in Mexico and along the Texas border, leading to his infamous raid at Columbus on March 9, 1916. In the early morning hours of March 9, Pancho Villa and his force of 500 dorados made their way toward Palomas and the border. Ahead lay the town of Columbus, just 80 miles west of El Paso, where the American families and the nearby soldiers at Camp Furlong lay sleeping, unaware of the approaching danger. When it came, the attack was sudden and swift. Under cover of darkness, Villa’s men swept through the Army camp and town, firing and burning at will, eager to loot and exact a costly price on the Americans they found there. A few Army officers organized a hasty defense with machine guns and soldiers who rallied together to deliver a withering crossfire on the attacking Villistas in the downtown area. It was enough to break Villa’s attack, but not before 18 soldiers and civilians were killed and many more wounded. As Villa ordered the retreat, they left the town burning and in disarray.
Aftermath REACTION FROM the rest of the world was slow
in coming. As first word came over the telegraph, Washington queried regional headquarters at San Antonio for details. Gen. Frederick Funston, commanding the Department of Texas at Fort Sam Houston, had little information. Funston received a report on the raid late that night and forwarded the news to Washington. Meanwhile at Columbus, the bodies were prepared for burial or transport to El Paso. The smoking ruins smoldered throughout the day as the townspeople and soldiers at Camp Furlong recovered from the pre-dawn attack. At Fort Sam Houston the next day, Funston sent the War Department a recommendation for an immediate large-scale pursuit into Mexico to chase down Villa and his men. Washington agreed and ordered Pershing at Fort Bliss to take command of an expeditionary force at Columbus and, when ready, to move into Mexico with all deliberate speed. The stage was set. Across Texas and the United States, regiments were ordered to El Paso and Columbus.
First aero Squadron goes to war SOON AFTER Villa’s attack, the First Aero Squadron at San Antonio received orders to prepare for field duty. Their mission would be communications and observation. It would be the first deployment in the history of what would later become the U.S. Air Force. The First Aero Squadron needed 36 aircraft
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for field operations. In March 1916, the squadron had only eight aircraft with engines that were desperately underpowered, short on spare parts and equipment, fuel, pilots and all the things an air force needs. Immediately squadron commander Benjamin Foulois ordered all aircraft disassembled and crated for shipment to Columbus. The Squadron’s eight aircraft, machine shops, parts and supplies, equipment, trucks and the entire command were placed on board a train and headed west to El Paso, where Foulois picked up rations and two leased trucks, and arrived at Columbus on March 15, just six days after Villa’s attack. There they found that the expedition was already in Mexico. The stage was set for air operations in Mexico. The First Aero Squadron
from San Antonio would be the first air unit in American history to fly in combat. What began as depredations along the Texas border escalated into something larger as Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution grew more desperate. In 1915-1916, the mobilization of the United States Army along the Texas border and beyond led to combat operations on the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916. Along the way, the experience helped to forge the frontier army into a new mobile fighting machine that would soon face the trials of modern warfare in Europe. Among the subalterns who participated in that experience was George S. Patton, who’d develop into one of the U.S. Army’s great combat commanders.
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LEGACY TEXAS ORIGINAL
CAMPOUT: Kenneth Pollard (left) and fellow Buffalo Soldier reenactor Eric Young at Fort Duncan in Eagle Pass.
History Ken Pollard teaches schoolchildren about the Buffalo Soldiers
FOR MORE THAN 25 years, Kenneth Pollard has dedicated himself to educating Texans about the history of the Buffalo Soldiers — the first all-black, peacetime regiment recognized by the U.S. army. Pollard first learned of the Buffalo Soldiers while employed with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD); he went on to supervise the development and execution of the department’s Buffalo Soldiers Heritage and Outreach Program. Pollard’s program uses living history — interactive historical reenactments featuring authentic tools and dress — to immerse Texas schoolchildren in
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the Soldiers’ history. The 2005 Huff Wagon Train project — Pollard’s most ambitious living history program — saw Pollard guide 200 middleschool students across Texas by way of horse and wagon. By bringing black history to life in inventive and engaging ways, Pollard has himself become a noteworthy figure. During the 76th state legislative session, Pollard and his Buffalo Soldier cohorts were honored on the Senate floor for their testimony supporting Senate Bill 1457, which declared July “Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month.” In 2010, Pollard retired from TPWD after 30 years of service.
COURTESY KEN POLLARD
by TREY GUTIERREZ
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SOLDIERING ON: (from left) Pollard demonstrating for a young history buff how the Buffalo Soldiers wrote using quill pens and ink. ; Ken Pollard is introduced on the south steps of the Texas Capitol to speak about his Huff Wagon Train project, passing through Austin on its
What drove you to start the Outreach Program? Like most kids, I didn’t know about the Buffalo Soldiers growing up. When I started working for TPWD at Fort Griffin, I came across old portraits of black folks in uniform — the first Buffalo Soldiers. This spurred my interest; I wanted people to know their stories. At the time,
TPWD was struggling with teaching African American history — it was all “slave this” and “slave that.” This program was my way of letting people — especially African-Americans — know we have a deeper history.
The passage of Bill 1457 was a great victory for the Buffalo Soldiers. What that meant for us was permanency — it’s now a state law. What many folks aren’t aware of was that bill allowed us to get our foot in the door in support of other legislation — American Indian Scout Month, Frontier Cowboy Month, Frontier Women Month. Our program was never a “black” thing — it was a “we” thing. Frontier women, for example … those women are teaching the role of the woman in nontraditional ways. You have a lot of strong, educated ranch-owning women who deserve to be recognized.
What was the most rewarding moment during your time overseeing the program? We were invited to march in George Bush’s 1999 inaugural parade, so we pulled our group together. We had American Indians with us, Vaqueros, Buffalo Soldiers, Junior Buffalo Soldiers, cowboys — our lines went on for blocks. I was driving the buggy at the head of the parade, but when I looked back I caught a glimpse of the pride on the marchers’ faces. Seeing all these groups in the
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PHOTOS COURTESY KEN POLLARD
So the Buffalo Soldier program is a platform to teach the history of other Texan cultures. That’s the basis of the program, yes. I have a unique background: on my father’s side I’m black Seminole Indian. Once I learned I had Buffalo Soldier ancestors, I looked deeper into African American history. I learned that black Seminoles and other enslaved blacks sought freedom in Mexico. I read these stories of Mexican people building rafts to help blacks to freedom. All of a sudden, African, Native and Mexican American history hit me in the heart. I knew the Buffalo Soldier story should be told in a holistic manner because — from an ancestry standpoint — we’re all connected.
spotlight like that — it reminds me we’re making good memories for people, without the ethnic edge to it … just memories we can all enjoy. Your message of racial pride rubbed some folks the wrong way. It’s real, brother. We dealt with the Klan and others several times. We were serving as the color guard for an MLK Day parade. Law enforcement told us, “We’ve received death threats for today’s parade; do you want to go through with this?” They were asking us. Now I’m just an ol’ park ranger from Lampasas, but they’re asking us like we’re the final word. I told them, “We’re here now, so we might as well follow through.” We did our job, but there were armed officers every half block.
the way trying to get their camera angle. Parks and Wildlife actually had to train me to be more “camera friendly.” Soon I was learning the correct way to hold props, give good camera angles and — I kid you not — how to breathe! Did you know there’s a certain way you have to breathe when you’re projecting your voice to an audience? Have you been enjoying retirement? I tell you what, if I could have figured out how to retire 50 years ago, I’d have done it. Retirement is a chance for me to discover my old interests, like hunting and fishing. It’s also a time for me to reflect, to be thankful for the opportunities I’ve had in life. I realize now there were moments in my life where I had to make tough decisions — maybe if I chose differently, I wouldn’t be where
I am now. Most of all, I find myself hoping I’ve made a difference. Are you still involved with the Buffalo Soldier outreach program? There are things I still do for the program — but I’m not riding across Texas on no horse. My main goal now is to establish an alliance dedicated to teaching the Buffalo Soldiers’ history at a national level — not just in Texas. Buffalo Soldiers have history in many states. There are stories that still need to be told. An alliance like this only works if folks are taught this history so they can one day teach others. I want to carry the torch to a point where young folks can pick it up and move forward with the program.
You’ve listed the Huff Wagon Train Project as the most memorable event you’ve put on. Riding from El Paso to Houston has always been on my bucket list, but it took about a year of heavy planning before the bells went to ringing and the birds were singing. That trip was one of my greatest challenges. When you’re covering that much land, you eventually come across known drug-trafficking trails. The safety of the kids was always heavy on me. As a Parks and Wildlife employee, I knew how to deal with those dangerous situations, but that still doesn’t remove the stress. Luckily — knock on wood— we never had a serious incident. What’s your favorite element of performing in a living history program? The food. Buffalo Soldier cooking was done over a campfire, which is a passion of mine. It don’t matter if it’s deer, hog, bird or even them tennis shoes you’ve got on [laughs]. I got a Dutch oven — I can add enough salt, pepper and bacon to make them shoes taste real good. Of course, then you get moochers from other campsites tryin’ to get a sample when there’s not enough to go around. I’m an ol’ farm boy from Lampasas; I don’t like seeing folks go hungry. How’d you deal with the moochers? I’d put a rattlesnake hide on the woodpile to scare people away. They’d come up asking, “Whatcha cookin’?” I’d say “Whatever hide is on the woodpile is what’s in the pot.” Now that don’t work in West Texas, because they eat snakes out there, so I switched to skunk hide. That usually does the trick, but I still run into a few folks who — god bless ’em — have tried skunk before. Your programs receive national recognition, being featured on television networks like Discovery and TNT. I’ll tell you what, them TV people with their cameras, they used to irritate me — even though we asked them to be there. I’d be trying to give my program — they’d be bumping kids out of
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LEGACY TEXAS ORIGINAL
Champion For Brownwood’s Debbie Morelock, nothing, it seems, is beyond repair
After graduating from HPU, Morelock IF A BUILDING has been restored in Brownwood, Texas, it’s a safe bet Debbie Morelock can tell took a job at Stephen F. Austin University you the details. It’s also a safe bet there are no doing white-tailed deer telemetry, which involves glass ceilings in any building where she’s ever studying the movements and habits of deer. worked. Morelock’s life is a testimony to the During this time she met her future husband, power of getting the job done because it was Don, fresh out of the Navy. Eventually they both there and it needed to get done. Along the way wound up in Brenham, where Don was starting she has broken new ground — literally and figu- a blacksmith shop and Debbie was working two jobs: one at the state school and ratively. the other at a veterinary clinic. Her experience with VISIT BROWNWOOD After marriage, the couple breaking through barriers brownwoodchamber.org moved to Brownwood in 1980 began on the family farm and built their own house with in Odem, Texas, where she a blacksmith shop constructed, picked cotton by hand and raised chickens and show animals. In fact, she as Debbie puts it, “one room at a time, as the was the first girl to join the FFA at Odem High money allowed.” Their son was born in 1986, and the couple School, which had to change the rules to let her in. As a twirler and drum major for the school opened their bed and breakfast, Star of Texas, in band, she was invited to an event in nearby 1998. It was then Morelock noticed some old Sinton where she met some band students from Howard Payne University and set the course of buildings in Brownwood slated for demolition and, after asking around, was invited to join the her life.
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local restoration society, the Brownwood Civic Improvement Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that not only finds investment partners but also actively works with them to get the work done, right and on time. From there Morelock’s work in Brownwood has never slowed down, and each of the buildings restored in the city has its own unique story, including the renovated apartment building at the corner of Lee and Fisk once used as a dry cleaner in the ’20s specializing in cleaning and storing fur coats. A large vault in the building has been incorporated into the kitchen area of the apartment, while outside is a large advertising mural for the Walker-Smith Coffee Company. While serving on the board of the BCIF and the Chamber of Commerce, Morelock became friends with Martin and Frances Lehnis, the benefactors of what became the Lehnis Railroad Museum that houses the couple’s collection of railroad equipment, memorabilia and china used in railroad dining cars. Morelock worked with
by TIM CHANDLER
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them to transcribe the stories for the collection and found a common connection with Martin, who’d worked as a welder for the railroad. Morelock herself learned the art of welding in order to assist Don in the blacksmith shop and helped transfer the Lehnis collection into its new facility across the street from the restored Santa Fe railroad depot. The depot, another of Morelock’s projects, houses the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce and the Visitor Center with Texas-themed merchandise. The depot once had a Harvey House and now features a restored Harvey Girl dorm room plus the three-room Gordon Wood Museum. Harvey Houses were built along railroad depots in the western United States beginning in 1875 and offered rooms and meals to early rail travelers in the days before
Martin & Frances Lehnis Railroad Museum 700 East Adams Brownwood, TX 76801 (325) 643-6376 brownwoodtexas.gov/228/ Lehnis-Railroad-Museum
west of the Mississippi and the newest member of the Texas Paddling Trail sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife. The bayou trail offers two loops for paddlers — one a three-mile trip upriver, the other a four-mile trip downstream — and is known for the variety of bird species along the route as well as the pecan trees, some more than 100 years old. Furthermore, notes Modawell, without Morelock, there would not be a lot of other things available for Brownwood tourism, including the Cork and Cap Festival in October, the Christmas Under the Stars in December, and the restoration of four landmark buildings in Brownwood. When asked if there was anything Debbie Morelock did not do for Brownwood tourism, Modawell didn’t hesitate, “No, in fact, she is Ms. Brownwood.”
to try out the Pecan Bayou Paddling Trail (see photo below) they’ve been enjoying for the past 15 years. “And,” Debbie adds, “we’re also a true bed and breakfast, which means we deliver a full breakfast to your door at 9 a.m.”
REPURPOSED: One of Morelock’s projects, the depot (below), now houses the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce and the Visitor Center with its Texas-themed store.
(Except Holidays) Tuesday - Saturday 10 am–4 pm
Star of Texas Bed & Breakfast 650 Morelock Lane Brownwood, TX 76801 (325) 646-4128 star-of-texas.com
Pecan Bayou Paddling Trail tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/ paddlingtrails/inland/pecan_ bayou/ This three- to four-mile loop is a peaceful stretch of the Pecan Bayou, a slow-moving body of water that can be paddled in either direction.
railroads had dining cars on their trains. The Harvey Girls were employees of the Harvey Company and lived in dorm rooms at the houses where they worked. Gordon Wood is the legendary high school football coach who took the Brownwood High Lions to seven state championships during his 26 years as head coach. Sunni Modawell, tourism director for the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce, says without Morelock, there would be no official paddle trail through Pecan Bayou, the longest bayou
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The latest item on the restoration agenda for Morelock is the old Browntowner Hotel, last used as a dormitory for Howard Payne in the 1980s and, before that, lodging for contractors building Camp Bowie during World War II. Until that job finds an investor, visitors can always book a room at the Star of Texas and possibly stay in the Wild Rose cabin, which, though once condemned and scheduled for demolition, was, naturally, restored and moved out to the Morelocks’ property. “It’s just who we are,” Morelock says, “a couple who care about saving our heritage and sharing it with everyone who’s interested.” That heritage often includes encouraging their guests
FORTS TRAIL REGION
COURTESY BROWNWOOD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Fabis Primitive Park Directions: From Hwy 279 in Brownwood, turn north onto FM 2125. Go 1.9 miles and turn right into Fabis Primitive Park. Follow the park road to the Paddling trail sign and boat ramp.
AUTHENTIC TEXAS CHRI ST I N E N I X H TEX RANDALL H HISTORY OF THE TE XAS HE RITAG E T RA I LS
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The Winter 2016 / '17 Edition of Authentic Texas, the Heritage Magazine of Texas