|Heritage Tourism Connection
Raising awareness of the importance of historic preservation to the tourism industry
|Vol 3, Issue 1
||January/February/March 2010 |
|A Perfect Fit
Happy New Year! In the coming months we look forward to keeping the holiday spirit alive by honoring our history with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 18), Confederate
Heroes Day (Jan. 19), President's Day (Feb. 15), Texas Independence Day (March 2), Cesar Chavez Day (March 31) and African American History Month (February), to name
just a few heritage celebrations. This issue of Connection looks at one aspect of how we can continue to honor our shared heritage by finding the balance between preservation and development. One of the heritage tourism principles outlined by The National Trust for Historic Preservation is "find the fit between community and preservation," and our stories in this issue explore this theme. We hope you enjoy reading about how the small towns of Morton, Comanche and Quanah "found the fit" in their own unique ways.
THC Heritage Tourism Staff
|Morton's Wellspring of Heritage
|by David Boevers, Program Historian with Texas Parks and Wildlife's Buffalo Soldiers Heritage and Outreach Program
A prime example of how heritage tourism can positively influence a community can be found in the far northwest Texas town of Morton. For years, Texas Parks and Wildlife's (TPWD) Buffalo Soldiers Heritage and Outreach Program has partnered with the Cochran County Historical Commission (CHC) to research and develop a multi-heritage interpretation of the county that has benefited the community and surrounding region.
The origin of this project centers on a tragic episode in the history of the Buffalo Soldiers, post-Civil War African American regiments of the U.S. Army that were supposedly named by Native American tribes for their courage and bravery. In July 1877, a detachment of 60 Buffalo Soldiers from Company A led by Capt. Nicholas Nolan set out from Fort Concho with 24 bison hunters in pursuit of Comanche raiders. With no idea of the torment they were about to endure, the expedition entered an area they knew little about: La Pista de Vida Agua, or the Trail of Living Water. This relatively narrow corridor bisects the semiarid Llano Estacado, a dry and hot region in northwestern Texas and eastern New Mexico.
The Trail of Living Water received its name because of the springs available within one day's journey at any point in this corridor. There were five such springs at Silver Lake in western Hockley County dating back to the prehistoric age, and the trail was vital for Native Americans, explorers, comancheros (traders), bison hunters, the U.S. military and other travelers through the region.
During the journey that would become known as "Nolan's Lost Expedition," or the "Staked Plains Horror," water was scarce, temperatures were over 100 degrees and men were pushed to the brink. The expedition would involve drought, deception, desertion and death. The famous Comanche Chief Quanah Parker was allegedly involved in a deal with a mixed-race scout to send the soldiers and hunters off course. The situation became so dire that men drank the urine and blood of their horses. By the fifth day, one of the men discovered what appeared to be an old comanchero wagon trail. Within a few hours, the worst part of their ordeal was over as they arrived at Double Lake. They had rediscovered the trails known to many as La Pista de Vida Agua. In the end, four Buffalo Soldiers and one bison hunter died from dehydration and exhaustion.
Today, the Cochran CHC remembers those tragic events during the Texas' Last Frontier Heritage Celebration, held annually in Morton the last weekend of June. Since 2004, the CHC has used this event to bring together participants from throughout Texas, including state agencies, county historical commissions and locals interested in preserving their heritage. The festival often includes living history interpretations presented by TPWD's Buffalo Soldiers Heritage and Outreach Program. Morton's festival unites ethnic and religious identities around a common history.
The Cochran CHC works closely with several partners, including Hockley County, the Texas Historical Commission and TPWD. Morton's identity has been preserved through the hard work of its residents and partners, whose efforts have found the balance between promoting state-level heritage tourism and preserving and celebrating local history.
|101 Reasons to Care about Comanche
by April Garner, THC Program Development Specialist
for the Heritage Tourism Program
How do you get people to know and care about a place? One way is to let local kids research, write, photograph and create a book about the special
people and places. 101 Places You Gotta See In & Around Comanche
is an artistically designed picture guide written by the 2008-09 Comanche ISD Gifted/Talented Program elementary students and edited by the program teachers, Ruby Schuman and Susan Stepp. Through the children's voices, the people, places and events of Comanche are
presented with a thoughtful, humorous naiveté.
Jacci Stewart, development director of Comanche
Main Street, is impressed with the ripple effect of
the book. Tourists, citizens and former residents strolling downtown are attracted by poster-size
versions of pages from the book in her office window. People buy the book to use as a guide to historic sites or for shop and restaurant recommendations. Stewart has used the book during hospitality training, giving front-line hospitality employees a fun, mini-cultural-heritage lesson on Comanche.
The community impact began as soon as interview nomination sheets were sent home with the students. Schuman and Stepp recall many adults commenting, "We can't possibly have 101 places in this small town," but say the response from the community and surrounding areas has been far beyond what they could have imagined. The teachers found it rewarding to take excited students on mini field trips to places they had chosen to write about based on research interviews, especially since many had not yet seen the sites. "Once they visited these places, they could easily relate to them and enjoyed writing about them," says Schuman.
The book unveiling was particularly powerful. Imagine an event involving the mayor, Chamber officers, the county judge, business owners, cultural and historic group members, book contributors and every parent or grandparent in town! Stepp was sitting with the students on stage and could hear the excited exclamations when their pages were presented on screen. She says the book signing that followed "brought the broadest smile to my face, as well as to all the kids."
As a case study, 101 Places You Gotta See In & Around Comanche provides an amazing community enriching model to reacquaint longtime residents and familiarize visitors with the many, in fact, 101, special places in the area. Isn't it possible that through this project, there now exists a new corps of people who know and care about preserving, enhancing and sharing the unique architectural, environmental and social assets of Comanche?
For more information about Comanche, or to purchase the book, call 325.356.2032, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
|What's in a Name?|
by Hanaba Munn Welch, Quanah Main Street Manager
Famous people usually don't live long enough to see places take their names. But Quanah Parker did. The town of Quanah was named after the Comanche chief in 1884, and Parker lived until 1911, developing strong ties to the community.
This heritage is on display with the Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker Trail Exhibit, a collection of
photographs showing through January at the Quanah, Acme & Pacific Depot Museum in downtown Quanah.
A partnership between the Texas Lakes Trail Region, Texas Plains Trail Region, Quanah Historical
Preservation and the Hardeman County Museum and Historical Society, the exhibit is a way for the Main Street city to celebrate its ties to Parker.
On the courthouse square, a monument carries Parker's likeness, a brief biography and the words of his 1890 blessing for the town. At the post office, the chief is the focal point in a 1938 Jerry Bywaters mural.
The museum itself is a place he would have visited. Not only did Parker call Quanah "my town," he also referred to the short-line railroad, in which some accounts say he was a stockholder, as "my railroad."
Many people are intrigued by the story of the chief and his mother, an Anglo captive-turned-Comanche. The site of her recapture is about 20 miles south of Quanah.
Some travelers make a pilgrimage to Quanah because they are Parker descendants; others think they might be, or wish they were. Museum visitors are often seen closely scrutinizing the Parker family genealogy chart. At the November 2009 exhibit opening, Lance Tahmahkera, great-grandson of the famous chief, spoke from the heart about his ancestors and the Comanche way of life, his own presence providing a living link to the past.
The Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker Trail
Exhibit is a traveling display developed by the
Texas Lakes Trail Region. Photos were researched and selected by Doug Harman, Clara Ruddell and Robert Holmes, who are all current or former members of the Texas Lakes Trail Region board and the Tarrant County Historical Commission. The exhibit premiered in Fort Worth in summer 2009 at the UT-Arlington campus. Plans call for it to travel within and outside the region, visiting about six museums a year. For more information, or to apply to host the exhibit, contact Jill Campbell Jordan, executive director of the Texas Lakes Trail Region, at email@example.com or 817.573.1114, ext. 1139.
|Participate in the Statewide Preservation Planning Process|
Every 10 years the Texas Historical Commission, in collaboration with our partners, develops a Statewide Preservation Plan for Texas. This new statewide preservation plan is an opportunity for us all to lay a pathway, or perhaps blaze a trail, for Texans to preserve, protect and leverage our historic and cultural fabric for the betterment of our communities. We see this new plan outlining realistic and achievable goals and becoming an online tool for preservation with local applications, resources, best practices and links to more information.
The first step in our planning process is to talk about what is going on locally. We have developed a fast and simple survey for you to tell us what you think about the important preservation issues in your community. The survey is open until Jan. 15. Your input will help steer the direction of the Statewide Preservation Plan from the very beginning.
Preserving the real stories of the real places in Texas means many things to many people. Please forward this email to your colleagues, friends and family so we can hear from them, too!
|New Web Sites for THC's Historic Sites|
The THC's historic properties are highlighted in 19 new web sites
that tell the unique stories of these real places of Texas. From frontier forts to Civil War battlegrounds to stoic mansions, these new web sites provide educational and interpretational information that heightens the visitor experience and opens a window on these significant moments in our state's history. Each web site has a tailored look enhanced by vivid photographs of the respective property.
Utilize the event calendars to plan your trip and keep up with special celebrations. Visit Share Your Story to tell us about your site visit. Use the FAQs to get your questions answered before you start your trip, and check out the historic sites blog link to stay connected to all of your favorite historic properties. Links to the THC's Texas Heritage Trails Program guide visitors to more regional attractions near the 19 historic properties.
For more information on the THC's historic sites, contact the Historic Sites Division at 512.463.7948.
|Texas Commission on the Arts Accepting |
Cultural District Applications
The Texas Commission on the Arts
(TCA) is accepting applications for official designation of cultural districts within communities throughout the state. Cultural districts reflect the art, culture, environment and history of a community with a high concentration of cultural assets in a well-recognized area. These facilities include performance spaces, museums and galleries, artist studios, libraries, arboretums and gardens, historic buildings, retail shops, restaurants and accommodations.
Arts organizations and local governments are eligible to apply by submitting a letter of intent to TCA by Jan. 30. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact TCA staff to discuss their district prior to applying.
|Got a Story Idea?
Do you have a story or idea you think should be included in Connection
? Please send comments or suggestions to Rob Hodges at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or call 512.936.2399.