This past Saturday, my husband and I took the modern equivalent of a compass and a chart and went to look for San Marcos landmarks. Our compass was my cell phone. Our chart was a listing from the internet of Hays County Points of Interests – historical makers, cemeteries, churches, and historical homes. It worked well enough, but midway through the morning, I have to admit I missed having a paper map. We were never lost, but it would have helped me understand where we were, exactly.
When we found the site of the original settlement of Villa San Marcos de Neve, we were only seven or so miles from the center of town yet it felt like we were a long way out in the country. Of course, the San Marcos River has changed significantly in the more than 200 years since the first settlement failed, but it is still beautiful even in the dead of winter.
While reading about the burial site of Royalist Lieutenant Colonel Horacio Elizondo, we were entranced by the antics of a beautiful pair of Cardinals. They were flying back and forth from a tangle of trees and bushes to a truck parked on the side of the road. They were fascinated by their reflections in the passenger window and the sideview mirror, but this was the best picture we could get.
We ended the morning’s jaunt at Stokes Park. It’s the site of a former mill on one of the four Thompson’s Plantations. The mill was constructed by slaves and some of the architecture of the mill is still visible. It’s become a favorite local swimming hole and is also the site of a current controversy over Cape’s Dam which was built to support the mill. The dam was damaged by recent floods and some members of the community want to preserve their history and others want to return the San Marcos River to a more natural course. I don’t know enough to know the answer to that question, but in its current configuration, it was a beautiful, peaceful spot on Saturday.
Later when we looked at a larger map, we realized we had driven a lot, but hadn’t traveled very far. As my husband said, we had learned a lot in a small area. If you would like to learn a bit more about some of these sites, check out the links on the Resources page. It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and I hope we have another gorgeous day the next time we wander San Marcos looking for history.