Austin - Mount Bonnell
Rising 775 feet above sea level, this limestone hilltop with spectacular views was named for George W. Bonnell, who came to fight for Texas independence in 1836. In 1839, Bonnell moved to Austin, where he published the Texas Sentinel. A member of the Texan-Santa Fe expedition, Bonnell was captured but released in time to join the Mier expedition in 1842. Mount Bonnell was a site of picnics and outings as early as the 1850s. Legend has it that an excursion here in the 1850s inspired the popular song "Wait for the Wagon and We'll All Take a Ride."
Bellville - Bellville Turnverein Pavilion
Members of the Bellville Turnverein, a traditional German athletic club, built an opera house in 1889 which became the center of the town's social activity. One of several polygonal social halls built in Austin County, this 12-sided structure required extra-long lumber, which was shipped directly from the mills. The city of Bellville purchased the property and pavilion in 1937 and sponsored a competition among Texas A&M University students to redesign the park. The winning design, along with a grant from the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA), enabled the city to build new facilities and update the pavilion. Now a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, it continues to serve as a focal point for many community gatherings.
Brenham - Fireman's Park
The Brenham Volunteer Fire Department sponsored the first Maifest in 1881, and purchased the property now known as Fireman’s Park in 1884. The park features ballfields, an outdoor kitchen, volleyball courts, and several picnic areas. In 1935, the WPA constructed the building that houses a working, antique carousel that dates to about 1900. Maifest has a tradition of supporting the community. In 1948, funds were raised to build Brenham’s public swimming pool, and today festival profits help fund a variety of local youth programs. This Recorded Texas Historic Landmark is a popular destination for community gatherings.
Claude - Hamblen Drive Roadside Park Picnic Area
This scenic park is named for Will H. Hamblen, who in the 1890s pioneered a crude road into Palo Duro Canyon along old Native American trails. This cut 120 miles off settlers' trips to the courthouse in Claude but was steep and dangerous. In 1928, a graded road was built. By decision of the commissioners court, the road was dedicated in 1930 as Hamblen Drive. Today, travelers can stop by the roadside park for great views of Palo Duro Canyon.
Coppell - Grapevine Springs Park
The Grapevine Springs, which flow into the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, have attracted visitors for more than 2,000 years. In 1843, Republic of Texas President Sam Houston camped here during treaty negotiations with Native Americans. In 1936, Dallas County accepted the donation of Sam Houston's campsite as parkland, and the federal WPA built rock walls, picnic facilities, footbridges, and other features.
Crosbyton - Silver Falls Park
Four miles east of Crosbyton on US 82, mesas and mesquites form a rugged backdrop for historical markers that tell dramatic stories about nearby Blanco Canyon. Formed by the White River, it was a battleground in the early 1870s pitting Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie against renegade Comanches. Once the Native Americans were forced from the area, Texas Rangers set up Camp Roberts in 1879 to maintain law and order. The Two Buckle Ranch soon built headquarters at Silver Falls on the White River. One of the state’s finest roadside parks now sprawls along US 82 at the falls where stonework remains from Depression projects of the 1930s.
Denison Loy Park
In 1930, Grayson County officials became aware of a growing need for a public recreation facility for the area's approximately 65,500 residents. Three years later, the federal government agreed to create a small lake on land provided by the county. In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed the dam and built a recreational park. By 1934, the CCC men had created a recreation center with a lake, roadway, 13 culvert bridges, baseball diamond, and partially completed tower of native stone. Initially called Grayson County Park, the facility was renamed Judge Jake L. Loy State Park in 1934. Under the supervision of the county commissioners court, the facility created by the CCC continues to be enjoyed by area citizens.
Dickens - Dickens County Spring Park
Situated at the head of a ravine on the eastern edge of the Texas Plains Trail Region, the ancient springs have been a favored habitat since the earliest human occupation in this region. Many nomadic tribes used the site, leaving an abundance of archeological evidence. The city park created here became known as Dickens Springs. Generations of Dickens citizens and tourists, attracted by the rugged and colorful scenery and the unique collection of plants, have visited this site for picnics and social gatherings. In the 21st century, Dickens Springs continues to provide water and beauty to the area for modern visitors as it did for the nomadic peoples of the past.
El Paso - Chamizal National Memorial
A unit of the National Park Service, the Chamizal National Memorial commemorates the 1963 Chamizal treaty that ended a century-old boundary dispute between the U.S. and Mexico caused by a change in the course of the Rio Grande. The memorial includes a museum, theater, and art galleries, and hosts many festivals and special events throughout the year (Source: National Park Service).
Gainesville - Moffett Park
The owner of 90 acres in this vicinity, Missouri native Ned Moffett, Sr. permitted use of his property along Elm Creek for celebrations by local African American citizens. In 1943, the City of Gainesville bought the land from his heirs to form Moffett Park. The first large social event in the new park was the 1944 Juneteenth celebration. Recreational facilities eventually included playground equipment and a pool. Following integration of nearby Leonard Park in the mid-1960s, the site declined in use, but it remains an important reminder of the city's past.
Houston – Hidalgo Park Quiosco
This unique structure was commissioned by the Mexican American community of Magnolia Park under the leadership of local physician A.G. Gonzales. It was dedicated at the opening of Hidalgo Park on September 16, 1934, the anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain. Created in the style of faux bois (false wood) or trabajo rústico (rustic work), the 25 x 25-foot quiosco (kiosk or gazebo) is constructed of an iron frame covered entirely with hand-molded textured concrete, giving it the appearance of having been built from raw and processed tree products. The gazebo-like quiosco continues to serve the Magnolia Park community as a venue for Mexican American community events, entertainment, and celebrations.
Independence – Old Baylor Park at Windmill Hill
Under a charter issued in 1845 by the Republic of Texas, Baylor University was established in Independence and operated there until its relocation to Waco in 1886. The columns in Old Baylor Park in Independence mark the location where Baylor University, the oldest institution of higher learning in Texas and the largest Baptist university in the world, opened its doors in 1846. Today, only the columns of the main building and the ruins of the stone kitchen remain of the Baylor Female College Campus. The site is owned and maintained by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Jacksonville – Love’s Lookout
On this nine-mile-long ridge in Jacksonville, two historic lookout points command a view of 30 to 35 miles. The pass became known as McKee's Gap in 1846, after Thomas McKee led a group of Presbyterians here from Tennessee and began the town of Larissa. Around the turn of the century, John Wesley Love bought this land and developed a 600-acre peach orchard. Known as Love's Lookout, the scenic point was used for outings by area residents. After Love's death, his family gave 22.22 acres, including the lookout site, to the state for a park. The City of Jacksonville bought 25 adjoining acres and developed both tracts as a WPA project.