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South Texas Living


La Vernia Connections: ‘Texas Pathways’ tour visits museum


La Vernia Connections: ‘Texas Pathways’ tour visits museum
ELAINE STEPHENS/Contributor The tour guests included archeologists, historians, National Parks Service directors, professors, and scholars from California, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas, and Texas cities including Nacogdoches, Austin, Houston, Kerrville, Montgomery, and San Angelo.


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Elaine M. Stephens
Special to the Wilson County News
May 9, 2012
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Participants from throughout the United States attended a two-day “Texas Pathways” symposium last month in Austin sponsored by the Oregon-California Trails Association and El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association. The symposium ended with a tour of the section of the historic Southern Transcontinental Trail as it coursed from La Vernia to San Antonio.

The tour came to La Vernia April 28 to understand its place on the strategic transcontinental trail to Chihuahua and beyond to California during the mid-1800s. Local professional historians Allen and Regina Kosub, who were guest speakers at the Austin symposium, explained that Wilson County has two solidly established routes of the transcontinental trail pass within its boundaries -- the San Antonio Road to La Bahia/Goliad along the San Antonio River and the San Antonio Road to La Vernia to Sutherland Springs to Yorktown. As a part of the Southern Transcontinental Trail, they connected the Texas Gulf with the Pacific Ocean in California.

The Kosubs provided a narrative for the tour, describing landmarks and villages along the trail. The tour guests included archeologists, historians, National Parks Service directors, professors, and scholars from California, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas, and Texas cities including Nacogdoches, Austin, Houston, Kerrville, Montgomery, and San Angelo.

“Viewing the Cibolo Valley above La Vernia and connecting the historical elements -- the Old Gonzales Road, the Cibolo Crossing, the Deaf Smith Oak Tree, Concrete Cemetery, and the Southern Transcontinental Route (Chihuahua Street) illustrated that La Vernia was a historic Texas crossroads on two historic trails,” Kosub said.

The La Vernia Historical Association (LVHA) provided refreshments and a tour of the La Vernia Heritage Museum where the visitors were given gift bags which included the La Vernia News, the Wilson County News, postcards of La Vernia, the “LVHA Newsletter,” maps, and items from local merchants. Many of the visitors purchased copies of Lavernia Legacies, a periodical written by the LVHA. They were especially interested in the exhibits and history of La Vernia’s Chihuahua Street, Suttles Pottery, and the local railroad routes. Greeting the visitors were La Vernia Historical Association President Elaine Stephens, La Vernia Historical Association founders Larry and Mary Bratten, and volunteer Laverne Bongiovi. Following the museum tour, the Kosubs took the group to Brahan Lodge and Applewhite Homestead historic sites in La Vernia.

Kosub added, “Bringing focus to La Vernia’s place on the trails of Texas allows decision makers and stakeholders to understand La Vernia’s place on the National Trail System and to act accordingly when programs and funding are allocated.”

For additional information about the Oregon-California Trails Association, visit http://www.octa-trails.org/.

For more information regarding the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association, visit http://www.elcaminorealtx.com/.

For more information regarding the La Vernia Historical Association, visit www.LaVerniaHistory.com.

Elaine Stephens is the president of the La Vernia Historical Association.
 

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