Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Centennial Marker Finds New Home

In 1936 the state created a way for each county to mark the 100th year of Texas Independence by designing a monument made of granite. The state medallion was put on front and they were placed in strategic places in each county. Later the county histories , written in bronze, were added to the top. In Atascosa County the marker was placed in the roadside park on SH 97, between Jourdanton and Pleasanton. It is marker number 223 on the state list.

As the years passed, the interstate highways were built and the distance between the two cities became shorter, the picnic areas were becoming obsolete and abused by people who chose to dump their trash in them. This roadside park, along with two others in the county, had to go. The few folks who still used the roadside parks for the purpose in which they were intended have had to find another place to stop.

The pink granite marker, which is owned by the Texas Historical Commission, needed a new spot. TxDOT considered moving it closer to the highway, creating a short road up to it, but that seemed unsafe and expensive. Between County Judge Dianah Bautista and the Atascosa County Historical Commission the idea of moving the centennial marker to the grounds of the County Court House was born.

Clint Rodriquez, TxDOT's local supervisor made the generous offer to move the marker, which was later estimated to weigh 6,500 pounds. He cleared this with his district office, his supervisor came down to examine the granite and concrete slab which held it. Judge Bautista took the issue to Commissioner's Court, the move was cleared with THC, and a location was chosen.

On tuesday, February 24, Clint Rodriquez and his men carefully put marker number 223 into place next to the brick kiosk, on the south side of the court house. The location was chosen because it is wheel chair accessible, and close to the parking lot. The county wasted no time in removing rocks and soil, leveling the area then landscaping it with decorative stone. It looks like it's always been there. All of this took place in the span of less than two weeks. It was a real team effort.

The text on the marker reads as follows:

As early as 1722 El Camino Real (The King's Highway) from the Rio Grande to San Antonio was well established in this area. The Spanish word "Atascosa," denoting boggy ground that hindered travel, gave region its name. The county was created in 1856 from land formerly in Bexar County. Jose Antonio Navarro, whose 1831 claim was the first grant recorded in area, gave land in 1857 for first county seat, Navatasco. County seat moved to Pleasanton in 1858, to Jourdanton in 1911. Livestock, oil, gas and strawberries are well-known products of the county.

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