1. THE FIRST PEOPLE: The Native Americans & the prehistory of Enchanted Rock.
2. THE IMAGINARY
FRONTIER: Spanish silver mines and the
mission on the San Saba River.
3. GONE TO TEXAS: The Texans discover Enchanted Rock and Spanish legends.
4. WILLIAM KENNEDY'S
TEXAS: The book that brought reports of
silver mines to the world.
5. JACK HAYS: The renound Texas Ranger and his fight at Enchanted Rock.
6. THE NEW PROMISED
LAND: John Meusebach arrives in Texas.
7. THE OPEN FRONTIER: Meusebach's treaty with the Comanche Nation.
8. PIONEER ARTIST: Texas' first landscape artist Herman Lungkwitz and Enchanted Rock.
9. INTO THE MODERN ERA: From 1850 to the present.
Fact & Enchanted Rock.
© 1999 Ira Kennedy
All rights reserved. This material may not be reprinted, in whole or in part, without
written permission from the author. Copyright violations are taken very seriously.
Permission requests are frequently granted.
Ira designed, illustrated, wrote, and printed his manuscript at home
with his Epson 1400 on archival paper with inks that will last a century.
He then saddle stitched and trimmed the 40 page magazine formatted illustrated history by
Knowing that the very nature of his subject, Enchanted Rock, is sacred,
Ira's design, illustrations and writing are a homage to his spiritual home. The
result is, within itself, a work of art.
Read THE AFTERWORD
to understand how this all came about...
To view page samples of The History of
Enchanted Rock in The Texas Hill Country
is Central Texass most intriguing and enigmatic natural landmark. Rising from the
surrounding oak savanna amid a chain of rugged granite hills, the massive granite dome
rises 325 feet from base to summit and covers an area of one square mile. Visitors
approaching Enchanted Rock are offered a sudden and spectacular panorama of this
I first encountered Enchanted Rock almost forty years ago. Gradually, I was
captivated by its incredible beauty and inherent mystery. In the early 1970s I camped
there frequently, often alone, well past the reach of civilization. I became intimately
familiar with its creeks, its caves, and its granite outcrops, from Sandy Creek to Walnut
Spring Creek and beyond. In the winter I cracked ice-covered springs for water, and later
in the season noted which ones survived a summer drought. In the process I learned much
about the land and myself as well, but the full meaning and history of the place remained
Eventually, I turned to a wide variety of books on Texas history to fill in
the gaps of my knowledge. I soon realized there was more to the place than a series of
facts and events presented in chronological order. What was known of Enchanted rock prior
to the seventeenth century is lost to history. To reach into its prehistory I delved into
hundreds of books on Native Americans, anthropology, archaeology, and mythology.
Gradually, like photographic paper in a developing tray, a remarkably detailed image began
When humans find a place new to them, they cast a longing gaze across the
landscape and see, as in a still pond, not the land itself but a reflection of their
innermost desires. Due to its unusual shape, it was seen by the Native Americans as a
place set apart by the Creator as a religious shrine. Later, with the arrival of the
Spanish and subsequently the Texans, its mineral-rich substance, particularly the deposits
of gold and silver, became its primary attraction. Today, over 350,000 people annually
come from towns, cities, states, and foreign countries for rest and recreation at
While the emphasis on the use of Enchanted Rock has changed, its originial
purpose is still intact. To this day Native Americans journey to this landmark for prayer
and ceremony as do many people of other races and religions. Enchanted Rock inspires awe
and reverence. There is a sense of being, of presence inherent to this unique monolith
which is apparent even to us today. That will never change.
scattered across the continent are monuments, natural in origin. Some are beautiful,
others bizarre; a few reach deeper than the eye or the mind to touch the human psyche.
They are named holy. Enchanted Rock, which rises out of the surrounding landscape like a
megalithic monument is such a place.
Composed of some of the oldest rock on earth, this ancient landmark began
taking shape more than a billion years ago. From the earths core, underground rivers
of magma (molten rock) rose like mushrooms that cooled into rock before they surfaced.
Cataclysmic changes occurred. Great mountains and oceans rose and fell. Volcanoes thrust
skyward. Rampaging storms deluged the land. Massive rivers formed and slowly subsided,
creating the deep canyons and valleys of the Texas Hill Country.
Over the millennia, erosion worked its way down to the old rock. Finally,
some 10 million years ago, Enchanted Rock emerged, eventually to stand 1,845 feet above
sea level and 325 feet from base to summit, and one square mile in area. It is the second
largest granite dome in the United Statesthe largest being Stone Mountain in
Enchanted Rock is the geologic center of Texas. From almost any place in the
park you can see examples representing the whole evolution of plant lifefrom lichen
(the slowest growing plant on earth) to mosses, to ferns, to herbaceous plants, to shrubs
and finally trees.
Within the parks 1,643 acres are over five hundred species of plants.
Over one hundred of these inhabit the vernal pools, weathered pits which impound soil and
water on the summit of Enchanted Rock and the surrounding outcrops. The vernal pools are
very delicate ecosystems, supporting a unique invertebrate, the fairy shrimp.
Whether the pools appear as bare rock depressions or filled with plant life,
all the pools are in a process of evolution which has required thousands of years. Avoid
walking through or otherwise disturbing these areas. In their dormant state, the fairy
shrimp appear as dust when the pools are dry.
Almost a dozen of the native plants are unique to the area. The Hammock
fern, Blechnum occidentale L.: the Basin bellflower, Campanula reverchonii;
and Rock quillwort, Isoetes lithophylla, can be found here, all of which are
considered either threatened or endangered by the Smithsonian Institution.
Geologically Enchanted Rock and the adjacent granite domes called inselbergsisland
mountainscontain amethyst, beryl, fluorite, pink feldspar, gold, silver, topaz,
tourmaline, and veins of crystalline quartz.. The exposed surface of Enchanted Rock is but
a small portion of the Enchanted Rock batholith, the upward intrusion of granite,
which occupies over one hundred square miles beneath the earths surface. The
surrounding area is variously called the Llano Uplift, the Granite Highlands, or the
Central Mineral Region.
Along the northwest face of Enchanted Rock, near the summit is Enchanted
Rock Cave. Actually a capped crevice over 600 feet long with some 20 entrances, it is one
of the largest caves formed within an inselberg mass. Although exploration of the cave is
permitted it should not be done without adequate equipment. The absolute darkness and
vertical drops near the lower levels of the cave make it very hazardous for amateurs.
Formerly the nesting place for rock and canyon wrens, and a roosting site for cave myotis
and other bats. Enchanted Rock Cave is one of the most ecologically damaged areas in the
Bedrock metates, one of the few Indian artifacts on view at Enchanted Rock
State Natural Area, can be located between Freshman Mountain and Buzzards Roost near the
creekbed. The metates along with stone monos were used to grind seeds. The metates are
identified by the concave depressions on granite boulders which are, as a result of years
of use, polished smooth.
Here, around twelve thousand years ago, our story begins.