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CONTENTS

PREFACE
INTRODUCTION

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.
POSTSCRIPT: Legend 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 hand.

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


 

PREFACE:

Enchanted Rock is Central Texas’s 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 remarkable attraction.

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 elusive.

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 to emerge.

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 Enchanted Rock.

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.


INTRODUCTION:

Sparsely 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 earth’s 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 States—the largest being Stone Mountain in Georgia.

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 life—from lichen (the slowest growing plant on earth) to mosses, to ferns, to herbaceous plants, to shrubs and finally trees.

Within the park’s 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 inselbergs—island mountains—contain 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 earth’s 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 park.

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.

 

 

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1999 Ira Kennedy  All rights reserved.