Connection banner with photos of St. Paul church and a Nocona movie set
Heritage Tourism Connection
Raising awareness of the importance of historic preservation to the tourism industry
Vol 3, Issue 4October/November/December 2010 
In This Issue
Keep Austin
The Making of a Movie: "Spirit of the True West"
African American Heritage Travel Guide Slated for December Release
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Texas Heritage Trails Program logoIntroduction
With this issue of Connection, we're closing out 2010 and looking ahead. Moving forward, the theme of each issue will go beyond the National Trust for Historic Preservation's five heritage tourism principles to broaden the scope of heritage tourism topics covered. We discussed those heritage tourism principles with Preservation magazine editor, James Schwartz, who had some interesting thoughts on the subject. To read those views, be sure to click the link below for the full interview. In addition to discussing a uniquely Austin avenue and this month's National Preservation Conference, he also talked about the delicate balance of preservation and development in both urban and rural areas. Our second article looks at how a tiny, rural Texas community came together to document its distinct historic resources.

At the THC, we are thrilled and proud to close out the year with the December release of a much-anticipated publication. We hope you will enjoy African Americans in Texas: A Lasting Legacy, a free, educational travel guide that documents a rich heritage and culture found throughout the state. In the spirit of looking ahead, we close with the simple-but-appropriate words of native son and civil rights leader James Farmer, Jr. who is featured in our travel booklet: "Keep going, that's good."

THC Heritage Tourism Staff
Keep Austin 
Interview by Rob Hodges, Brochure Development Coordinator in THC's Marketing Communications Division

Photo of James Schwartz, editor-in-chief of Preservation magazine
James Schwartz, editor-in-chief of Preservation magazine
This summer, we caught up with Preservation magazine editor-in-chief James Schwartz, who was visiting Austin to promote the magazine and the National Trust for Historic Preservation's upcoming National Preservation Conference. The July/August cover story, "It's Just Different Here," examined the revitalization of South Congress Avenue from down-and-out roadway to vibrant, funky district that embodies the Keep Austin Weird ethos. Schwartz had a lot to say about South Congress Avenue as a case study for successful development in both small and large communities, as well as the National Preservation Conference, which convenes in the Capitol City from Oct. 27-30. Excerpts from that interview:

 ● "A lot of cities put in requests for the conference, and Austin was chosen because it's a perfect example of an American city that is facing great challenges to preservation because the city has grown so quickly. That means the pressures for development are great. And the conference staff, which evaluates all the applications, thought this is a perfect example of a place where we can pose the question, 'What is the next American city going to look like?' Like Austin, American cities are growing. What happens when there's development pressure? How do you balance development with preservation? And, frankly, the fact that Austin is a diverse city, and the Hispanic culture that is so important here, was also an important part of the preservation tale."

● "I think South Congress is really interesting because it was developed from the ground up. It was not imposed by a city planner. In fact, the merchants there and the residents, I understand, have resisted city efforts to put light rail down the middle of the street. So it's interesting because it was home grown, it's been wildly successful, it's a place that honors historic architecture by reusing existing buildings for new uses, it's a place that reminds people that coming downtown is a great thing. You can't believe how many American cities have nothing going on downtown because people have abandoned them for malls in the suburbs. And South Congress is in diametric opposition to that. There you have this thriving area with a lot of street traffic and with small, locally owned stores. There is not a huge big box store in the middle of it, partly probably because parking is so tough. So it's a great example of what future American cities actually might look like and how they integrate the towers downtown with a small neighborhood."

● "I think if you look at the places Americans want to go when they're visiting cities, they go to places with historic texture, where the fabric of the city is enhanced by its history. So let's just take a couple of examples. When in New York people go to Greenwich Village, they may only go for a restaurant, and it's not necessarily [to] admire the architecture, but they're drawn to a place that has a vibrant sense of activity and life and a sense of history. It's the same thing in Washington [D.C.]. People go to DuPont Circle to go to restaurants, or they go up to Capitol Hill to enjoy the parks and the areas. And that experience is so different than going to the Time Warner Center in New York City where it's a beautiful building, and you can go to Whole Foods in the basement, but you could be anywhere. It doesn't give you any sense of place.

● "So if you're a small town someplace else in Texas, do you have a main street that is in striking distance of the highway? Is it a place that people can get to? Does it have a beautiful natural landscape, which is going to draw people on the weekend? Are there historic things nearby that would get people to your community? A tremendous number of Americans who are going on vacations say that they go to visit historic sites, or places of historic interest. What you in your community may be used to--the abandoned cotton mill or the industrial site where they used to make steel wire--to you it seems like an eyesore and something you've always been used to. For a visitor it could be a very compelling place to visit, a place they could learn something about."

Read more excerpts from the interview with James Schwartz (.pdf).
The Making of a Movie: "Spirit of the True West" 
By Randy Mallory, writer-photographer-filmmaker
Shooting of agriculture scene
Museum volunteers serve as reenactors and production assistants in an agriculture scene for the Nocona museum video. 
In the age of electronic entertainment and reality TV, how do you really bring history to life? How do you stir the imagination of heritage tourists? The new Tales 'N' Trails Museum in Nocona found an exciting way to light a fire under history--make a movie!  

Months of work culminated in June with the museum's opening and standing-room-only debut of the 19-minute documentary, "Spirit of the True West." While work continues on the museum's exhibit hall, visitors now can experience the "big picture" of Montague County history in high-definition and stereo sound. Temporary and traveling exhibits expand the experience, as does the well-stocked gift store.

Work on the video began in summer 2009 when I interviewed local experts on the museum's five cultural themes-Native Americans, Western heritage, the leather industry, agriculture, and oil and gas. The interviews provided the basis--plus additional research--for the narrative script. After reviewing hundreds of historical photos, I wrote the script, then prepared a storyboard to outline the show's visual elements.

Working with museum and community volunteers, we produced historical reenactments which, when edited with archival photos, added life to each theme. Local Native Americans volunteered time and regalia, while board member Bob Ferguson erected a teepee and built a partial thatched hut on his Red River property. A rancher volunteered longhorns and pastures where cowboys retraced the Chisholm Trail. A local bootmaker personified pioneer bootmaker H.J. Justin using authentic 19th-century equipment. Landowners offered an early 1900s farmstead for agricultural scenes, and oilmen let us recreate the North Field oil boom on working leases.  

Photo of Red Steagall in his studio
Noted cowboy poet and musician Red Steagall voices the narration for the Nocona museum video at his studio near Azle.
By using local resources throughout, we reduced production costs, while instilling local ownership of the project. About 80 citizens, young and old, took part in "our little movie." One man (a former professional musician) composed the musical score and recorded it using local players and technicians. The museum even brought in noted cowboy poet-musician Red Steagall to narrate the script (his family has deep Montague County roots).

The project proved that--with professional guidance--a small-town museum can create a top-notch documentary that convincingly tells its real story.

"Everyone has been very impressed with the video," explains board member Ferguson. "It's a first-class show and one of the best projects we've done so far. People see the quality and realize that's what this museum is all about."

Randy Mallory has captured many aspects of the Lone Star State's mystique through writing and photography, including his work in some of the Texas Heritage Trails Program travel guides such as the upcoming African Americans in Texas: A Lasting Legacy. To see more of his work, visit his website.

African American Heritage Travel Guide Slated for

December Release

Photo of St. Paul United Methodist Church
St. Paul United Methodist Church, Dallas (Photo credit: Manny Rodriguez Photography)

The THC's latest heritage travel guide, African Americans in Texas: A Lasting Legacy, will be released on December 2 at a media event in Dallas at St. Paul United Methodist Church. The 72-page booklet is the largest travel guide ever produced by the THC, and it features cultural and historical sites across the state that are significant to the African American experience in Texas. Throughout the guide, rich history and stunning photos are interwoven with biographical profiles and a timeline to key figures and events.

Also at the December 2 event, the THC will launch its first travel guide companion website, The website features additional sites, photos, and resources not included in the booklet.

One of Dallas' oldest African American churches, St. Paul United Methodist Church was founded in 1873 in Freedmen's Town. Now an anchor of the Arts District, it is prominently featured in the THC's new booklet, along with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, located across the street. The THC is honored to hold its launch in this exalted locale.

After the launch, the free booklet will be available for download, or print copies may be requested by calling 866.276.6219. For more information about the launch, contact Dineen Mansfield at 512.475.1576 or

Got a Story Idea?
Future editions of Connection will focus on thematic issues that relate to heritage tourism, such as food, music, nature, art, and the 175th anniversary of Texas. Do you have a story or idea you think should be included? Please send comments or suggestions to Rob Hodges at, or call 512.936.2399.