Caddo Mounds State Historic Site

  1. ^ National Register of Historic Places acreage of which 93 acres are state maintained

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site (41CE19) (also known as the George C. Davis Site) is an archaeological site in Weeping Mary, Texas. This Caddoan Mississippian culture site is composed of a village and ceremonial center that features two earthwork platform mounds and one burial mound. Located on an ancient Native American trail later named by the Spanish as El Camino Real de los Tejas, the settlement developed hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans and Africans to the region. Archaeologists believe the site was founded in approximately 800CE, with most major construction taking place between 1100CE and 1300CE.

The Caddo Mounds site is located in East Texas, 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Alto, Texas on Texas State Highway 21 near its intersection with U.S. Route 69 in the Piney Woods region. Operated by the Texas Historical Commission, the museum at the site was reopened in October 2015. The new museum offers visitors a chance to explore a replica Caddo village, and all exhibits are hands-on. Visitors can walk the 0.7 miles (1.1 km) self-guided interpretive trail to see the Caddo burial, low temple, and ceremonial mounds. An additional trail along the El Camino Real is also available.

On April 13, 2019 while celebrating Caddo Culture Day two tornados struck the Mounds; 30-40 people were injured, 8 in critical condition, and there was 1 fatality. Patients were transported to the hospital on a school bus or were life flighted.[2] The Mounds' visitor center and service buildings were heavily damaged, with a capital loss estimated at $2.5 million. The loss of the visitor center's museum-like display space destroyed many replica items, but actual artifacts had been withdrawn from public view long before by agreement between the Historical Commission and persons with standing in representation of the Caddo Confederacy of Native Americans.[3]

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
Caddo Mound Site TX
Entrance to Caddo Mound State Historic Site (prior to 2019 tornado)
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is located in Texas
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is located in the United States
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site (the United States)
LocationWeeping Mary, Texas
Coordinates31°35′47″N 95°8′55″W / 31.59639°N 95.14861°W
Area353 acres (143 ha)[a]
Founded780 CE
Abandoned1260 CE
CulturesCaddoan Mississippian culture
Site notes
Excavation dates1919, 1933, 1960s–1980s
ArchaeologistsJames Edwin Pearce, E. B. Sayles, H. Perry Newell
ManagementTexas Historical Commission
George C. Davis Site
NRHP reference #70000742[1] (original)
79003449[1] (increase)
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1970
Boundary increaseNovember 15, 1979
Designated TSHS1974
  1. ^ National Register of Historic Places acreage of which 93 acres are state maintained


Caddoan Mississippian culture map HRoe 2010
Map of Caddoan Mississippian sites
Caddo Mound TX
Mound A at the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site

The site began with the founding of a permanent village by the Hasinai,[4] who moved into the region from the Red River area to the northeast, in roughly 850 to 900CE.[5] The region had ideal qualities for a village: good soil, abundant food resources, and a permanent water source that flowed into the Neches River.[6] What eventually became the largest mound, Mound A, was begun at this time. It is at the southern edge of the site and was surrounded by about 40 houses. In 1100 a new mound was begun near the center of the site, Mound B, and would eventually measure roughly 175 feet (55 meters) north-south and 115 feet (35 meters) east-west. Mound C, the northernmost mound of the three, was used as a burial mound, not for elite residences or temples like the other two.[7] The site was the southwestern-most ceremonial mound center of all the great mound building cultures of North America.[7]

The settlement was abandoned in the 13th century when the elite ruling class dissipated after the outlying hamlets became more self-sufficient and grew less dependent on the site for religious and political matters. The Caddo culture that remained was similar to the earlier culture in many ways but lacked much of its hierarchical structure and exotic material wealth.[6] By the time Europeans arrived in the area in the 18th century, the Caddo groups in the area lived in small villages and hamlets, spread across the local landscape. They had long since stopped building mounds, and their former hierarchical social and political organization had become much less centralized.[5]

The Hasinai groups continued to live in the Neches and Angelina River valleys up to the 1830s, but by the early 1840s, all Caddo groups had moved to the Brazos River area in an effort to avoid Anglo-American colonization. In 1855 the U.S. government moved them to the Brazos Indian Reservation. In 1859 it forced them to move again, to the Washita River in Indian Territory (now western Oklahoma).[6] The Caddo still live in western Oklahoma, and Binger is the capital of the federally recognized Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.

Modern excavations

The earliest recorded mention of the mounds was in 1779 by Athanase de Mézières, who traveled from Louisiana to San Antonio in the employ of the Spanish government. In 1919 American James Edwin Pearce was the first professional archeologist to record the site for the Bureau of Ethnology (Smithsonian Institution). In 1933 archeologist E. B. Sayles concluded that the site was a Caddo mound center, after conducting surface collection of artifacts at the location.[5]

The first scientific excavations were conducted from 1939 to 1941 by H. Perry Newell, a University of Texas archeologist with the federal Work Projects Administration in the government of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. When Newell died, archeologist Alex D. Krieger took over investigations at the site and concluded that it had been a major Caddo site. Further excavations in the 1960s and early 1970s by Dee Ann Story pinpointed the timeline of the site to 780 and 1260.[5]

After acquiring seventy acres of the site, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department established a historic park in 1974. It funded a series of excavations in the 1970s and 1980s. As the result of these excavations by the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and private contractor Elton R. Prewitt, another twenty-three acres of land was added to the park in 1981. An interpretive visitors center was constructed at the site.[5] In 2008 the 80th Texas Legislature transferred operational control of the property to the Texas Historical Commission.[8]

The museum and members of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma have collaborated on activities that help the public understand Caddo culture. In July 2016, elder Phil Cross was interviewed about construction of a Caddo grass house at the site, with workers using traditional techniques.[9]

2019 Tornado

On April 13, 2019, an EF3 tornado struck the site during an annual Caddo Culture Day event.[10] One woman was killed at the event and many were injured.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2013-11-02.
  2. ^ McBride, Jessica (13 April 2019). "Caddo Mounds Tornado: Texas Historic Site Struck". Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  3. ^ Frazier, Stephanie (16 April 2019). "Estimated cost to rebuild Caddo Mounds State Historic site $2.5 million". KLTV. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Caddo Mounds-Texas Historical Commission". Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Handbook of Texas Online-Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site". Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  6. ^ a b c "Brief History-Texas Historical Commission". Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  7. ^ a b "Caddo Mounds-Sites-Texas Native Skies". Archived from the original on 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  8. ^ "Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site-Operated by the Texas Historical Commission". Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  9. ^ "Caddo Grass House Build", Longview News-Journal, 03 July 2016; accessed 07 November 2017
  10. ^ "'There was a lot of blood': 1 dead after tornado rips through Caddo Mounds during festival, cleanup underway". KYTX. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  11. ^ Press, The Associated. "1 death reported after tornado strikes Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Alto; At least 8 dead across South". Retrieved 2019-07-10.

External links

Alto, Texas

Alto is a town in Cherokee County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,225 at the 2010 census.

Alto is the closest municipality to the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, an archaeological site dating back to 800 CE, featuring a prehistoric village and ceremonial center.

Cherokee County, Texas

Cherokee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 50,845. The county seat is Rusk. The county was named for the Cherokee, who lived in the area before being expelled in 1839. Rusk, the county seat, is 130 miles southeast of Dallas and 160 miles north of Houston.

Cherokee County comprises the Jacksonville, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Tyler-Jacksonville, TX Combined Statistical Area.

Dee Ann Story

Dee Ann Story (née Suhm; December 12, 1931 – December 26, 2010) was an American archaeologist. Story lived in Wimberley, Texas and was a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Story's best-known excavations were the George C. Davis and Deshazo sites. Story's work with Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, took place in the 1960s and 1970s and pinpointed the timeline of the area. She brought more advanced techniques to the dig, such as radiocarbon dating. Story was also the first woman hired to work as a professional archaeologist for the state of Texas.

East Texas

East Texas is a distinct cultural, geographic, and ecological area in the U.S. state of Texas.

According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area "may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north-central Lamar County southwestward to east-central Limestone County and then southeastward towards eastern Galveston Bay", though most sources separate the Gulf Coast area into a separate region.Another popular, somewhat simpler, definition defines East Texas as the region between the Trinity River, north and east of Houston, (or sometimes Interstate 45, when defining generously) as the western border, the Louisiana border as the eastern border, the Gulf of Mexico as the southern border, the Oklahoma border as the northern border, Arkansas as the northeastern border, and extending as far south as Orange, Texas. The East Texas regions includes Tyler, Longview, Lufkin, Marshall, Palestine, Jacksonville, Mount Pleasant, and Nacogdoches

Most of the region consists of the Piney Woods ecoregion, and East Texas can sometimes be reduced to include only the Piney Woods. At the fringes, towards Central Texas, the forests expand outward toward sparser trees and eventually into open plains.

List of Texas State Historic Sites

Official historic sites of the state of Texas may be under the supervision of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) or the Texas Historical Commission (THC).

KeySites with multiple historic designations are colored according to their highest designation within the following hierarchy.

List of museums in East Texas

This article was split from List of museums in Texas.

The list of museums in Texas encompasses museums defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included. Also included are non-profit art galleries and exhibit spaces.

Mission Tejas State Park

Mission Tejas State Park is a 660-acre (270 ha) state park located along Texas State Highway 21 in Houston County, Texas, originally constructed in 1935 and transferred to Texas Parks and Wildlife in 1957. The closest major town is Crockett, Texas. The park is open year-round.

Tornado outbreak of April 13–15, 2019

The tornado outbreak of April 13–15, 2019, was a significant severe weather event that affected the multiple regions of the Eastern United States. Over the course of 40 hours, 71 tornadoes touched down. The outbreak produced numerous strong tornadoes throughout portions of the Deep South, while additional significant tornadoes occurred as far north as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The most significant tornado of the event was a long-tracked, high-end EF3 tornado that struck Alto, Texas and killed two people. Numerous weak tornadoes were also confirmed, along with numerous reports of hail and damaging straight line winds. Damage surveys are still ongoing.

A total of nine people were killed during this outbreak of severe weather. Three fatalities occurred as a result of the tornadoes that struck Alto, Texas and Hamilton, Mississippi. In addition, six other non-tornadic fatalities were also associated with this storm event. On April 13, two children aged 3 and 8 were killed in Pollok, Texas after a tree fell on and crushed the vehicle they were riding in. In Louisiana, two more people were killed as a result of flash flooding in Monroe and Bawcomville. On April 14, a rescue worker in Alabama was struck by a vehicle while clearing debris off a roadway, killing him. An additional fatality occurred on April 15 when a tree fell on a home in Stafford, Virginia, killing an occupant.

Tornadoes of 2019

This page documents notable tornadoes and tornado outbreaks worldwide in 2019. Strong and destructive tornadoes form most frequently in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Eastern India, but can occur almost anywhere under the right conditions. Tornadoes also develop occasionally in southern Canada during the Northern Hemisphere's summer and somewhat regularly at other times of the year across Europe, Asia, Argentina, and Australia. Tornadic events are often accompanied by other forms of severe weather, including strong thunderstorms, strong winds, and hail.

There have been 1,267 preliminary filtered reports of tornadoes in the United States in 2019, of which at least 918 have been confirmed. Worldwide, 82 tornado-related deaths have been confirmed; 39 in the United States, 28 in Nepal, six each in China and Cuba, two in Turkey, and one in Chile.

Weeping Mary, Texas

Weeping Mary is an unincorporated community in Cherokee County, Texas, United States. It is located on Texas State Highway 21 about 12 miles from the nearby town of Alto. Founded by freedmen shortly after the American Civil War, Weeping Mary is little more than a sparsely populated town in the 21st century but there are some families still living there and an active community church. It is significant as the community closest to the ancient Caddo Mounds State Historic Site.

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