2018 at the THC: Top 10 Blog Posts

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History Programs

As we take a look back through the past year, here are our most popular blog posts published in 2018.

  1. Triumph and Tragedy on the Early Texas Frontier

Almost forgotten by generations of Texans, the 1813 Battle of Medina was the fierce and bloody climax of the first Texas war for independence. The battle—which took place in modern-day Atascosa County—pitted Tejanos with their American Indian and Anglo-American allies against an overwhelming Royalist Spanish army.

Some historians have noted it was not only one of the largest land battles fought west of the Mississippi River, but that the size of the Spanish army exceeded that of the Mexican army that attacked the Alamo in 1836.

Atascosa County residents and local historians have long recognized the battle as an important part of their history. Since 2000, an annual event has been held to commemorate the battle, and in 2005 an Official Texas Historical Marker was placed to honor the battle’s history.

  1. Shoreline Shipwrecks: Exciting Discoveries!

Shipwrecks on Texas beaches and intertidal areas are rare, and often only emerge as storms scour and remove sand, thus revealing these relics for modern observation and study. Storm events in recent years have exposed several historic shipwrecks along the Texas coast.

Historic accounts report that dynamic weather and currents along the South Texas coast contributed to the loss of vessels. Such events may also lead to their rediscovery. Recent storms have exposed two shipwreck sites on the South Texas coast, resulting in ongoing THC investigations.

  1. Explore Texas' African American History

African American History Month is a meaningful time to explore the real places and real stories of the Texans of African descent who greatly influenced the development of the Lone Star State through numerous political, economic, and cultural contributions.

Many significant African American historic sites are located in or around Texas’ larger cities, providing easy access for a lot of people.

  1. Fulton’s Return: Iconic Coastal Mansion Back on Track After Hurricane Damage

Our Fulton Mansion State Historic Site—one of the Texas Historical Commission’s 22 historic sites and rated first on the list of things to see in Rockport-Fulton—suffered significant damage during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

The hurricane completely destroyed the flat metal roof and chimneys and left major water damage to interior collections, carpets, and plaster walls.

Thanks to several generous donations, restoration of the iconic home progressed, and on March 10 the Fulton Mansion re-opened for self-guided hard hat tours.

  1. Tall Ships Set Sail in Galveston at New Maritime Festival

A fleet of historic and historically inspired “tall ships” raced along the Gulf Coast as part of the first-ever Tall Ships Challenge in Galveston April 5–8. The event showcased the island’s rich maritime history through ship visits and programs.

Participating ships included the Galveston Historical Foundation’s Elissa, an 1877 square-rigged iron barque, restored in 1982 and transformed into a floating museum that actively sails. This National Historic Landmark, docked at the Texas Seaport Museum, is one of only three ships of her kind in the world.

The Tall Ships Challenge, produced by the Galveston Historical Foundation in partnership with Tall Ships America, showcases the rich maritime history of Texas and international countries.

  1. The Story of Houston’s Third Ward and Emancipation Avenue

When Houston was first incorporated in 1837, it was divided into four quadrants or wards. The southeast quadrant was named Third Ward. It was originally nicknamed the Silk Stocking District, as it was not home to any railroads.

At Emancipation Park’s reopening at the 2017 Juneteenth Celebration, Dowling Street was renamed to honor the park, and Emancipation Avenue was born.

Today, the leaders in Third Ward are working with our Texas Main Street Program to find unique solutions to bring new businesses and developments that protect the rich history and heritage of Third Ward while preparing it for the next 100 years.

  1. The Diaz-Saucedas at Casa Navarro

Unknown to many visitors, our Casa Navarro State Historic Site was part of a vibrant San Antonio neighborhood that thrived for nearly 100 years after José Antonio Navarro’s death in 1871. Although Navarro’s historic home has seen many residents over the years, most had no idea that it once belonged to the Tejano statesman.

Learn about the lost Laredito neighborhood in San Antonio and the Diaz-Sauceda family who lived at the legendary Casa Navarro site during the 20th century.

  1. Historic Neon

The advancement of technology in the 20th century and subsequent production of new materials, including pigmented structural glass (commonly called Carrara glass), cast aluminum, stainless steel, and neon changed the face of outdoor signs. Now iconic, neon signs were a new phenomenon 100 years ago.

Learn about the history of neon signs and how they were perceived by preservationists of the 1980s in this 1989 Medallion article that was digitized for our blog this year.

  1. The Texas Tradition of Cattle Ranching Began in Tejas

Cattle drives in Texas originated about 300 years ago with the establishment of Spanish missions in New Spain’s eastern province of Tejas, including our Mission Dolores State Historic Site. Texas is home to 248,800 farms and ranches totaling 130.2 million acres.

Cattle ranching is not only part of the Texas economy, it’s a part of the culture. The University of Texas at Austin is home to an immensely popular college football team, the Longhorns, whose mascot “Bevo” has been adored by fans for a century.

  1. Explore Lesser-Known Texas Revolution Sites Near Houston

Four years before the famous battles at the Alamo and San Jacinto, a little-known skirmish occurred at the mouth of the Trinity River east of Houston. The location has been called the “birthplace of the Texas Revolution” because the events that occurred here in 1832 kindled the drive for independence.

Fort Anahuac, named in honor of the ancient home of the Aztecs—was intended to protect Mexico as it enforced a new law decreasing further Anglo-American colonization. William B. Travis and his law partner Patrick C. Jack antagonized Mexican Col. Juan Bradburn by organizing a civil militia and attempting to recover escaped slaves.

These conflicts resulted in Travis’ and Jack’s imprisonment at Fort Anahuac, leading to armed confrontation. The escalated tensions simmered for years before coming to a head at the legendary battles for independence in 1835–36.

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