Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


March 2009 cover image of Pedernales Falls State Park

Park Pick: Texana Tales

Hear the history of a town that was once called Santa Anna.

By Sheryl Smith-Rogers

Nothing remains of Texana, once an inland port near present-day Edna. But if events had taken a different turn for the town’s early settlers, Texans might have celebrated their Independence Day in July, not March.

“They drafted their own declaration of independence from Mexico in July 1935,” explains Cindy Baker, an interpretive ranger at Lake Texana State Park. “Major McNutt from Texana was to carry the document to San Felipe, but Mexican soldiers intercepted him so he destroyed it.”

Want to hear more fascinating history about Texana? Join Baker when she gives a Texas Independence Day program, set for Saturday, March 7, at 10 a.m. at the park’s amphitheater. A coloring craft for kids follows at 2 p.m.

During her presentation, Baker will share old photographs and vintage maps as she tells the story of Texana, established in 1832 and originally called Santa Anna. “The founders were part of Stephen F. Austin’s original 300 colonists, and they named the town after Mexico’s popular politician,” she says. “But when Santa Anna became a dictator, residents changed their town’s name to Texana.”

Several more unfortunate events (like being bypassed by the railroad) turned Texana into a ghost town by 1884. Today, Lake Texana — an 11,000-acre reservoir completed in 1979 — bears the town’s name as does the 575-acre state park.

After the history program’s done, check out wildlife exhibits at the nearby nature center. Enclosed habitats house such native critters as an ornate box turtle, a rough green snake and a young American alligator. Baker also gives weekly nature programs. Check out the park’s online calendar for dates and details.

If you enjoy fishing, then pack some fishing gear and head for the lake. Most anglers find crappie as well as channel and flathead catfish. Visitors also swim, sail, jet ski, water ski and paddle in Lake Texana. Watch out for resident American alligators that inhabit the park’s coves.

Park facilities include picnic sites, campgrounds, lighted fishing piers, a boat ramp, playgrounds and a group picnic pavilion. Along the 1.5-mile Texana Nature Trail, hikers may spot white-tailed deer, rabbits and armadillos. More than 220 bird species have been spotted in the park.

Lake Texana State Park is located 6.5 miles east of Edna on Texas 111. For more information, call 361-782-5718 or visit <www.tpwd.state.tx.us/laketexana>.

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