On this day 173 years ago, 54 delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in a small village called Washington on the Brazos.
The men came together at the Convention of 1836, amid a civil war with Mexico. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his troops were relentlessly pounding a makeshift regiment of Texian soldiers defending a small mission call the Alamo, just miles away in San Antonio.
The delegates drafted the document, similar in concept to the United States Constitution, in less than a day and signed it on March 2, 1836. The Alamo fell just four days later.
Even if your history is a little rusty, you know the Texians ultimately prevailed in the war for independence. And a group of Bluff Dale students will take time out today to remember a moment in history.
Erath County Historical Commission (ECHC) Chairwoman Cathey Hartmann will lead the students in a Texas Toast at 2 p.m.
“The story goes that the declaration was signed at approximately 2 p.m.,” Hartmann said.
The Bluff Dale students will gather around the flagpole, weather permitting, and they will toast with Dixie cups and water to honor the day.
“Too often when you take Texas History, it makes you feel like everything happened in San Antonio or San Jacinto,” Hartmann said.
To help keep students and residents aware of their own rich history in the area, ECHC is working to have local spots designated as historical markers.
Most recently, the Dublin Dr Pepper plant was named a historical site for being the oldest Dr Pepper plant in Texas.
The Schabel Building, also called the Service Drug Store, located on the northwest corner of the Stephenville square, will also receive a historical marker.
The Erath Arches on Washington Street in Stephenville were also named and will receive a marker.
Hartmann hopes to have historical markers up at all three sites in the fall.
The Texas Preservation Board also put the Bluff Dale Bridge on an “endangered list.”
Hartmann said the bridge has been described as the rarest bridge in Texas because it is possibly the only remaining cable stayed bridge in the state.
Many people have approached Hartmann about preserving the old recreation hall in Stephenville City Park. Hartmann said some residents are concerned the building will eventually be torn down.
Hartmann said the city does not plan to tear down the rec hall, which was built by the Works Progress Administration, or (WPA), as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
“It is a WPA building,” Hartmann said. “Probably this year, I will work to get a marker for it.”
Hartmann is also planning on addressing the Stephenville City Council Tuesday night about replacing a marker for the Stephenville bricks that was stolen several years ago.