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GOLIAD, TEXAS:  Grab your camera if you're headed to Goliad and don't forget to take a few extra rolls of film. 
                             As usual I had Nigel the Land Rover pose for yet another road trip pic.

Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

Leaving Victoria we passed through the tiny communities of Aloe, Raisin and Cologne on our way to the Fannin Battleground State Historical Park and then to Goliad.

You might remember Goliad, but it seems the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has forgotten Colonel Fannin altogether.  But more on that later.

Y.jpg (7410 bytes)ou're probably as curious as I was concerning Aloe, Raisin and Cologne and how they came by their names. Well, Aloe is named after the yucca plant, and Raisin was named after a ranchers ill-fated attempt to raise grapes back in 1892. Needless to say, the name was prophetic and the business dried up.  The story behind Cologne is a little more complicated.
       The community was founded in 1870 by George Washington and Jim Smith, two former slaves and the place was simply known as the Colony. Then it was named the Perdido Community, then Centerville, then Ira Station (nice name), and finally Cologne because it was "such a sweet-smelling place."  Anyway that's their story and they're stickin to it.
FanninMonument250.jpg (34314 bytes)       Fact is all these little communities are, like rasins, busy drying up. The boll weevils and school consolidation wiped out many of them. And now urban migration is finishing the job.  It's all about convenience nowdays and most of these burgs don't have a convenience store.
       We arrived at the Fannin Battle Ground State Historical Park, stopped at the serve-yourself pay booth ($1 per person) and drove around to the far side of the road surrounding the monument.
       The place looked abandoned with only one other couple in the park.  I took a few pics of the monument then went over to their interpretive center.  The windows were all open to the weather, paint peeling off their frames, and the brochure rack inside was empty and busy gathering dust.  And one of fannincenter250.jpg (30123 bytes)the windows apparently met the business end of a boulder.
       Here, back in 1836, during the Texas Revolution Colonel J. W. Fannin surrendered his command to the Mexican army. From there Fannin and 284 of his men were taken to Goliad where then were imprisoned with a few other revolutionaries.  Despite assurances that they would be treated as prisoners of war, 342 Texicans including Fannin were summarily executed.  Only twenty-eight men escaped.
       Seems Fannin still can't get any respect. This park is endangered. The dollar a head the TP&WD collects probably goes into the general fund and, in any event, the price is too much for what you get and too little to remedy the problem.
       Goliad, on the other hand, is to be commended for its historical restoration.  The place is beautiful as is the Goliad State Park and the Mission Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga.  I dang near wore out my digital camera on this place and came away with a wallpaper pic of the Mission Esperitu Santo.
anim.gif (88359 bytes)       The mission's interior is expecially attractive and I really admire how some unknown artist managed to make suffering look so pretty.  I was expecially taken by the sculpture of Mary Magdalene with a knife sticking out of her heart. This was a new one on me and I reckon the sculptor mighta had his poetic licence revoked after this.  For some wierd reason I really liked the piece.  
       The intrepretive center at the Mission actually had a warm body sitting by the entrance saying howdy to folks -- kinda like those Walmart Greeters.  Inside there were plenty of exhibits.  I particularly liked the diaoramas.  Unfortunately the light was too low for a good photo.
       We were running out of daylight so we headed for Kenedy and then on to Seguin which was to be the final destination on our journey.
       ( Talk about not getting any respect: Cologne dumped the name Ira Station and there aren't enough Ns in Kenedy.  Oh well...)
       I had been to Seguin back in the 70s and thought I knew my way around.  I was lost.  The courthouse downtown was underwhelming and I couldn't locate the classy train station I remembered visiting years back.  Tired and wore-out we put the last 18 miles of our journey behind us and were back home.
       Now, I know I'll hear from the good folks in Seguin telling me what we missed which is fine by me.  Maybe we'll figure out another way to include the town in on a future trip.

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Texas Hill Country Wine: Torrie de Pietra Vineyards and Winery near Fredericksburg Texas