Destination :: Fort Parker State Park

  • Fort Parker State Park: A pelican taking off from the lake.

    American Pelican. November 2017. Image 1/6

  • Fort Parker State Park: A pelican in the last moment before takeoff from a log in a lake: wings are raised and feet are bent and pushing off the ground.

    American Pelican. November 2017. Image 2/6

  • Fort Parker State Park: A pelican stands on a rock in a lake, flapping his wings. He appears to be shrugging.

    American Pelican. November 2017. Image 3/6

  • Fort Parker State Park: The reflection of a bench and a tree in Springfield Lake; the reflection is clear enough to see the effects of the evening light on the tree branches.

    Springfield Lake. November 2017. Image 4/6

  • Fort Parker State Park: Reflection of a bench, wooden stairs, and trees in Lake Springfield.

    Springfield Lake. November 2017. Image 5/6

  • Fort Parker State Park:  Pink and purple skies are framed by marsh grass as the last of the sunset fades away.

    Sunset on Lake Parker. November 2017. Image 6/6

Fort Parker State Park is a recreational area established near the historic site of Fort Parker. Visitors to the park can enjoy the lake (swimming, fishing, kayaking/canoeing, etc.) or a few miles of easy trails. The park also includes the historic Springfield cemetery. A replica of Fort Parker (not managed by TPWD) is nearby.

Brief History

1740s
The Comanches likely arrive in the area that will include Fort Parker.1
1833
Fort Parker is established by John Parker and his sons, Silas, James, and Benjamin.2
May 19, 1836
The Comanches, Kiowas, and Kichais raid the Fort, killing five settlers and capturing five others. Cynthia Ann Parker one of the captured settlers; her half Indian son, Quanah Parker, will become the last great Comanche chief.3
1838
The town of Springfield is established. The state park will eventually include the town's lands.4
1847
Springfield becomes the first Limestone County seat.
1870s
Springfield slowly fades away, in large part due to the railroad bypassing the town. Eventually all that remains is the cemetery, which is currently located in the state park.
1935
The City of Mexia and three landowners donate land to the State of Texas.
1935
The Civilian Civilian Conservation Corps Camp 3807 (C) begins building the recreational facilities for the park. CCC 3807 was one of the first segregated conservation camps and employed approximately 200 young men, most the sons of regional sharecroppers who sent the majority of their earnings home to support their families.5
1936
The CCC constructs a replica of Fort Parker.
1939
The CCC creates Fort Parker Lake by constructing a dam across the Navasota River.
1941
Fort Parker State Park opens to the public.
1962
A historical marker commemorating the life of Joseph Penn Lynch, a private and captain in the Army of the Republic of Texas, who was buried in Springfield, is erected in Old Springfield Cemetery.6
1962
A historical marker commemorating the life of Sanders Walker, a veteran of the Texas War for Independence, 1835-1836, is erected in Old Springfield Cemetery.7
1965
A historical marker commemorating the history of Fort Parker is erected at the site of the Fort Parker replica.8
1966
A historical marker commemorating the history of the town of Springfield is erected.9
1967
The replica of Fort Parker is rebuilt.10
1969
A historical marker commemorating the history of the Old Springfield cemetery is erected.11
1992
The City of Grosbeck forms the Fort Parker Historical Society and takes over management of the Fort Parker Replica.12
1997
A historical marker commemorating the contribution of the CCC to the development of the park is erected.13
Early 2000s
Old Fort Parker is jointly operated by the cities of Groesbeck and Mexia and Limestone County.14

Location

194 Park Road 28
Mexia, Texas, 76667
United States

Website

Evaluation

Once or Twice is Enough

A nicely managed park that is great for a weekend getaway, especially if you plan to spend time on the lake. The nearby replica of Fort Parker, which is not run by TPWD, is worth the side trip and cheap admission to gain a sense of scale and additional historical information from the exhibits.

Visits: 1 Visited: November 2017

Quick Statistics

Land Area
758.8 acres
Lake Area
700 acres
Land Trails
Nearly 7 miles15
Padding Trails
5.35 miles

Notes

  1. Neither the TPWD site nor Wikipedia trace the history of the area around Fort Parker before 1833. Multiple sources indicate the Comanches were established in Texas by the 1740s.
  2. "The History," Old Fort Parker.
  3. Interpretive Guide to Fort Parker State Park, TPWD.
  4. Unless otherwise noted, information about the park and park history is "History," TPWD.
  5. Interpretive Guide to Fort Parker State Park, TPWD.
  6. "Details for Joseph Penn Lynch (Atlas Number 5293002864)," Texas Historical Commission.
  7. "Details for Sanders Walker (Atlas Number 5293004563)," Texas Historical Commission.
  8. "Details for Fort Parker (Atlas Number 5293002001)," Texas Historical Commission.
  9. "Details for Old Springfield (Atlas Number 5293003816)," Texas Historical Commission.
  10. "Fort Parker," Leatherwood.
  11. "Details for Old Springfield Cemetery (Atlas Number 5293003817)," Texas Historical Commission.
  12. Leatherwood, "Fort Parker."
  13. "Details for Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Parker State Park (Atlas Number 5293012029)," Texas Historical Commission.
  14. Leatherwood, "Fort Parker."
  15. Fort Parker State Park: Trails Map, TPWD.

References

  • "Details for Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Parker State Park (Atlas Number 5293012029)." Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Texas Historical Commission. Accessed December 8, 2017. Link.
  • "Details for Fort Parker (Atlas Number 5293002001)." Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Texas Historical Commission. Accessed December 8, 2017. Link.
  • "Details for Joseph Penn Lynch (Atlas Number 5293002864)." Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Texas Historical Commission. Accessed December 8, 2017. Link.
  • "Details for Old Springfield (Atlas Number 5293003816)." Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Texas Historical Commission. Accessed December 8, 2017. Link.
  • "Details for Old Springfield Cemetery (Atlas Number 5293003817)." Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Texas Historical Commission. Accessed December 8, 2017. Link.
  • "Details for Sanders Walker (Atlas Number 5293004563)." Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Texas Historical Commission. Accessed December 8, 2017. Link.
  • Fort Parker State Park: Trails Map. Map. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 2007. Accessed November 12, 2017. Link.
  • "History." Fort Parker State Park. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Accessed November 12, 2017. Link.
  • "The History." Old Fort Parker. Accessed November 12, 2017. Link.
  • Interpretive Guide to Fort Parker State Park. Brochure. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 2004. Accessed November 12, 2017. Link.
  • Leatherwood, Art. "Fort Parker." Handbook of Texas Online. June 12, 2010. Accessed December 8, 2017. Link.