Visit the Oldest County in Texas May 30 – June 12 and Join the Celebration!
For Immediate Release
What: Houston County's 175th Birthday Celebration
Where: Houston County, TX (halfway between Houston and Dallas)
When: May 30 – June 12
Houston County, the oldest county in Texas, invites everyone to join in the greatest birthday celebration the state has ever seen.
Situated at the Gateway to Texas Forest Country, Houston County was named for General Sam Houston and created by act of the Republic of Texas June 12, 1837.
From May 30 – June 12 the county will have special events for visitors from across the great State of Texas and beyond to enjoy, leading up to a big 175th Birthday Bash on Tuesday, June 12.
The American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) will be bringing an 80% scaled replica (largest replica) of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. to Crockett, TX, the county seat of Houston County, on May 30.
The Traveling Vietnam Wall stretches over 360 feet long from end to end and contains all 58,253 names. The “wall” is current through 2009 and is constantly being updated by the AVTT to accurately pay tribute to those who died during the Vietnam War.
The Traveling Vietnam Wall will be open to the public from 12 noon May 31 to 3 p.m. June 3. At 1:30 p.m. on May 31, some of the county's most senior veterans will light the eternal flame at the wall.
The Cost of Freedom Tribute that will accompany the Traveling Vietnam Wall features displays representing statistics from every war/conflict in which the USA has been involved.
Along with a series of World War II panels portraying the entire timeline of events, the Cost of Freedom Tribute, includes a Korean War tribute representing the timeline of the entire conflict with corresponding battle maps and photos.
Visitors also will see a timeline, series of facts and figures and a display of art from Vietnam veteran artists depicting patriotic and veteran themes.
There also will be a display about the founding of the United States of America and significant historical documents including the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and other historical documents.
The Cost of Freedom Tribute additionally features panels for honoring law enforcement and firefighters with a pictorial display, as well as a panel memorializing the casualties at the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.
Other features of the Cost of Freedom Tribute include:
A 9/11 tribute with the names of all 2,984 casualties, organized by where they were located at the time of death.
Pictures of each of the United States Commanders-in-Chief throughout history.
The AVTT “Gold Dog Tag” display. This one of a kind tribute honors those who have fallen and to which there currently is not a memorial for their honor and remembrance. Each dog tag permanently records the casualty information (full name, branch of service, rank, date and location of casualty) for that American Hero. Currently, the AVTT Gold Dog Tag display is the tribute to those who have fallen 1) In hostile military actions between the end of Vietnam and the 9/11 attack and 2) As a member of the armed forces who have given their life in the Global War on Terror.
Houston County veterans are planning a host of events to honor veterans of all ages each night the Cost of Freedom Tribute is in Crockett. Opening ceremonies will include the lighting of an eternal flame. The flame will be extinguished in a closing ceremony on June 3, accompanied by the playing of Taps.
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, the 1st Cavalry Division, Horse Cavalry Detachment from Fort Hood will perform a thrilling 30-minute mounted drill and weapons demonstration in the Porth Ag Arena in Crockett. The Horse Soldiers use the original 1874 Drill and Tactics Manual as their guide for this performance.
Tour Historic Sites in Houston County
From May 30 – June 12, take a self-guided tour of Houston County's historic sites. The Houston County Historical Commission will have maps available at the Houston County Visitors Center on West Goliad Ave. in Crockett, and at other locations throughout the county.
Some sites you'll want to see are the historic Glenwood Cemetery in Crockett where many of the county's founders are buried, and Brewer Springs where Davy Crockett once slept.
There are nearly 300 historical markers in Houston County, so be sure to pick up the Houston County Historical Commission's new book that tells where 261 of these markers are located. Four markers are located in the Augusta community, nine miles east of Grapeland at the site of the Edens-Madden Massacre. The markers tell the story of a brave family that was attacked by Indians.
The cities of Crockett, Grapeland, Kennard, Latexo and Lovelady will proudly share their unique histories.
Don't miss the Victorian-era Aldrich-Downes House and the Monroe-Crook House, both in Crockett. The City of Crockett, named for David Crockett, was incorporated by the Republic of Texas on Dec. 29, 1837.
You'll be able to catch some good Blues music at the historic Camp Street Cafe, also in Crockett.
The City of Grapeland was settled about 1850, and was founded in 1872 by International and Great Northern Railway investors. Named for rank wild grapevines, the town was incorporated in 1924. Its economy once was based on peanuts, and it is well known for its watermelon crops. The town also is known as the gateway to the 1,500-acre Houston County Lake. On May 26, Grapeland will host a Trade Days event and a spectacular fireworks display.
You also can visit nearby Salmon Lake Park, which features cabins, RV sites and historic exhibits. May 24-27, Floyd and Fannie Salmon will host their 15th Annual Bluegrass Gospel Music Festival.
Houston County was home to 13 Freedom Colonies and 22 Rosenwald Schools, symbols of Black America's pride in education. The county's last Rosenwald School was moved from Ratcliff to Kennard where the current Kennard ISD is situated.
The City of Kennard was founded in 1903 by the Louisiana and Texas Lumber Company and platted on 160 acres. If you visit Kennard, you're likely to find Jerry and Margaret Wright picking some lively tunes on their fiddles and dulcimers.
The City of Latexo once was called Oldham, then Starks' Switch when the International and Great Northern Railroad in 1872 laid sidetrack to serve Starks' sawmill. Around 1915, Latexo became the first Houston County School to teach agriculture and ranches sprang up in the community during the 1960s.
The City of Lovelady was founded by Houston and Great Northern Railroad investors as the line was built through a grant of Cyrus Lovelady, near the communities of Nevil's Prairie, Pennington and Weldon. The Lovelady Old Gym hosts several concerts throughout the year, bringing famed artists such as Johnny Lee and Mo Bandy.
76th Annual Fiddler's Festival
The Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 76th Annual Fiddler's Festival and Steak Cook-Off on Saturday, June 9. The Antique Tractor Show is always a favorite event held in conjunction with the Fiddler's Festival, and this year there also will be a Classic Car Show. A parade around the Courthouse Square in Crockett will feature both the antique tractors and classic cars Saturday morning. Saturday evening, following a fantastic steak dinner, Dennis Ivy's Texas Opry will delight visitors at the Crockett Civic Center.
On June 10, it will be Houston County Day at area churches. Several of the churches have their own rich histories dating back more than 100 years. The First United Methodist Church in Crockett recently was recognized as a National Historic Site for its neo-Gothic architecture, and many other churches also boast historic markers detailing their histories.
On June 11, descendants of the signers of the petition to create Houston County will be treated to a Founder's Dinner which is also open to the public. Also that night, there will be a re-enactment of that historic signing. J. Bryan Lake, executive director of the Pineywoods Fine Arts Association, will be directing the two-hour program.
The Big 175th Birthday BashFinally, on June 12, at 12 noon, a silhouette of the late Eliza Bishop will be unveiled by artist Michael Brenner at Brewer Park in Crockett. Bishop is credited with writing volumes of Houston County history, and identifying Houston County as “Where Texas Began”.
At 6 p.m. an official birthday ceremony will begin with proclamations and politicians addressing the public on the Square in Crockett. The first 2,500 people will get a free birthday cupcake. The cupcakes will be positioned in the shape of Houston County.
So come on over to Houston County, stay awhile and sing Happy 175th Birthday with us!
For more information, visit www.allthingseasttexas.com, Facebook/HoustonCounty175 or call Lynda Jones at (936) 544-2238. For veterans information, contact Houston County Veterans Service Officer, Fred Newtz, at (936) 544-3255, ext. 315.