Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


Photo by Chase Fountain / TPWD

The Caddo Mounds visitor center (above) was torn down after suffering tornado damage.


Friends Help Repair Caddo Mounds Storm Damage

Volunteers needed for upcoming work days; site hopes to reopen this fall.

Following a devastating tornado on April 13, volunteers are lending a hand to repair the damage at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site near Alto. Public volunteer days were held last spring, with 35 volunteers from organizations like the Cushing Independent School District, the East Texas Master Naturalists and Friends of Caddo Mounds participating, as well as individuals from across the state.

The staff welcomes additional volunteers for upcoming work days; the site’s needs range from clearing debris to removing fallen trees from interpretive areas. Last April, the EF-3 tornado that damaged Caddo Mounds had an estimated top wind speed of 160 miles per hour and was on the ground for approximately 44 miles. The storm occurred on the annual Caddo Culture Day, celebrating the heritage of the Hasinai Caddo Indians. Many in attendance were members of the Caddo Nation, with most traveling from Oklahoma.

One fatality and six critical injuries occurred at the site, and 30 to 40 people were injured. The visitor center’s roof and exterior walls were torn away, and the remaining portion of the building was later demolished after being deemed unsafe. The grass house, a traditionally built Caddo house that was the recipient of the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s Paul E. Buchanan Award in 2018, was also destroyed.

The mounds, which date to 800 A.D. and include a burial mound, temple mound and ceremonial mound, suffered no damage. The park, currently closed to the general public, hopes to reopen the grounds for access this fall. Check www.facebook.com/visitcaddomounds for news and future volunteer dates or call the park at (936) 858-3218.

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