Caddo Mounds is located just outside of Houston County on 6 miles east of Mission Tejas State Park at 1649 State Hwy. 21 West. Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is a prehistoric village and ceremonial center located on the original El Camino Real de los Tejas trail, dating before European exploration. The museum exhibits approximately 200 artifacts dating from A.D. 750–A.D. 1400, including pottery, tools, and weapons. Visitors can walk the 0.7 mile self-guided interpretive trail to see the Caddo’s burial, low temple, and ceremonial mounds. An additional trail along the El Camino Real is also available. For more information call 936-858.3218 or visit www.visitcaddomounds.com.
The Davy Crockett National Forest, named for the legendary pioneer, contains more than 160,000 acres, of which 93,320 acres are located in Houston County, of East Texas woodlands, streams, recreation areas, and wildlife habitat. Located in Houston and Trinity Counties, the forest is centrally located within the Neches and Trinity River basins. The Davy Crockett National Forest was proclaimed a National Forest by President Franklin Roosevelt on October 15, 1936.
The US Forest Service maintains a self-guided driving trail in the Davy Crockett National Forest which includes theThe Alabama Creek Wildlife Management Area, and maps can be obtained from the Forest Service. The spring dogwood blooming season is popular during March.
The ranger district office is located at 18551 State Hwy 7 East, Kennard, Texas. Contact the U.S. Forest Service – Davy Crockett District at 936-655-2299 or visit www.fs.usda.gov for more information.
Davy Crockett Spring & Mural at Brewer Park is Located at West Goliad Street at underpass (intersection of Texas 7 and 21) part of El Camino Real de los Tejas in Crockett. Davy Crockett and a small detachment of men camped here on their way to defend the Alamo. A historical plaque marks the site where the spring still flows. The six flags of Texas fly over the park, and the 1850s Strode-Pritchett log cabin is in the park.
206 North Seventh Street, Crockett
The Downes-Aldrich House is an outstanding example of Eastlake-Victorian architecture, started about 1891, completed in 1893, by J.E. Downes, a prominent local businessman. Much of the material in the structure was imported from other states. Downes lived in the house until 1910, and sold it the next year to Armistead Albert Aldrich (1858-1945), distinguished civic leader and historian, who resided here until his death. Downes-Aldrich House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Houston County, Texas.
701 East Goliad, Crockett
City of Crockett’s first congregation and one of the oldest in Texas, forming in 1839. The present sanctuary, built in 1901-1902 of brick fired at site, is oldest extant house of worship in city. First United Methodist Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Houston County, Texas.
One of many Houston County, Texas attractions, the El Camino Real de Los Tejas was designated as a National Historic Trail in 2004. El Camino Real de los Tejas (Highway 6 in Louisiana and Highway 21 in Texas) has existed for more than 300 years. El Camino Real has its easternmost beginning in Natchitoches, Louisiana and runs from Piney Woods through rolling hills to the arid lands of Old Mexico. There are many things to do along this beautiful roadway.
The Four C National Recreation Trail is located on the Davy Crockett National Forest. The 20-mile trail begins at Ratcliff Lake and ends at the Neches Overlook. The trail leads the hiker through pines, bottomland hardwoods, boggy sloughs, and upland forests. It also passes through the Big Slough Wilderness Area, providing visitors an opportunity to see a variety of wildlife. Neches Bluff Overlook, located at the north end of the trail offers a panoramic view of pine and hardwood forests in the Neches River bottomlands with picnic and primitive camping facilities. Visit http://www.duprephotography.com/4CTrail/index.htm for more information.
Crockett’s Oldest Burial Ground, Glenwood Cemetery, opened soon after Houston County was created and the county seat founded in 1837. Burials include early Texas heroes and statesmen; a friend visited by David Crockett on way to the Alamo; a grandnephew of U.S. President Monroe; and city’s first elected major. Glenwood Cemetery is located on E. Pease Street in Crockett.
The Grapeland Drive-Thru Safari features zebras, buffalo, llamas, Axis Deer, Fallow deer, Sika deer, and camels to name a few. The drive-thru safari is located at 13440 US Hwy 287 N in Grapeland. At this time they are open seven days a week. Admission is $8 per person plus the cost of feed. Call 936-687-5292 or visit www.grapelandsafari.com for more information.
Houston County has had five courthouses; 1838, 1851, 1869,1883 and the current courthouse, which was built in 1939. The courthouse is located on the square in Crockett and it is surrounded by quaint buildings, antique stores, restaurants and gift shops.
The Houston County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Houston County, Texas.
Houston County Lake is located just 10 miles Northwest of Crockett, Texas. It is a great middle point between Austin, Dallas, and Houston (about 3 hours from each). The surface area of the lake covers 1,330 acres of water, with a maximum depth of 40 feet. It is fed from the Little Elkhart Creek and surrounded by a landscape of towering pine trees offering camping cabins, swimming, and a marina. Whether you are fishing for your trophy bass or quick bites from sunfish and crappie, Houston County Lake’s plentiful aquatic life will have you ‘hooked. Visit www.houstoncountylake.com and www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/fish/recreational/lakes/houston_county for more information.
303 South First Street, Crockett
The 1909 International – Great Northern Railroad Depot is the home of the Houston County Museum. Call for open hours.
803 North Forth Street, Crockett
The Mary Allen Seminary for African American girls was established in 1886. The Seminary stood poignantly on the crest of a hill one mile north of the town square of Crockett, Texas. In 1933, the Seminary became coeducational and changed its name to Mary Allen Junior College; the school later became a four-year institution. Through the years, the building suffered deterioration, fire, neglect and natural disasters dating from 1912 to early seventies.
Mary Allen College closed its doors in 1972. The Administration Building is the only remaining structure, and represents an uncommon survival awaiting an impending restoration. Mary Allen Seminary is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Houston County, Texas.
120 State Park Rd. 44, Grapeland
Mission Tejas State Park provides a variety of programs for all ages most Saturday, and the Friends Group of Mission Tejas hosts a Folk Festival at the park in April. The park is located in Houston County, 21 miles northeast of Crockett and 12 miles southwest of Alto on Texas 21.
The site of Texas’ first Spanish mission, Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, which was established in 1690 as a response to the La Salle Expedition. A replica of the mission stands in the park. Also in the park is the restored Rice Family Log Home, built in 1828 and restored in 1974. The home, which Joseph Redmund Rice, Sr. constructed between 1828 and 1838, is one of the oldest structures in the area. The home served as a stopover for immigrants, adventurers and local residents traveling the Old San Antonio Road across pioneer Texas.
Activities include camping, picnicking, hiking and fishing. A pond located near the picnic area offers an excellent opportunity to explore aquatic life and fish. Hiking and nature trails provide access to the natural beauty of the East Texas Pineywoods. The park offers a range of campsites, including full hook-ups for recreational vehicles. The park also has group facilities and you can rent the Mission San Francisco de los Tejas representation for weddings and other activities. Guided park tours are available upon request. Visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/mission-tejas or call 936-687-2394 for special tours and scheduled events. School tours of the two historic structures can be arranged by calling the park headquarters in advance.
707 East Houston Avenue, Crockett
The Monroe-Crook House was built in 1854 by Armistead Thompson Monroe, a local merchant and great nephew of President
James Monroe. The Greek revival residence reflected the style of home in Virginia. Bricks between the inner and outer walls add insulation and strength. Heart oak lumber was brought from Shreveport for construction, and it is furnished with furniture from New York. Monroe-Crook House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Houston County, Texas. Call for open hours.
The Piney Creek Horse Trail is a system of trails that meanders through the East Texas piney woods in the Davy Crockett National Forest. Trails are marked with different colored triangles. The trails are primitive and offers forest visitors more than 50 miles of developed horse trails located several miles southwest of Kennard. There are two trailheads: Piney Creek Trailhead has pit toilets, designated campsites, a self-service pay station and municipal water; White Rock Trailhead has pit toilets.There is a $10 per day per vehicle charge for use of the trail and/or camping.
Contact the park office several days prior to your ride to obtain a permit and information on parking and trail access: District Office in Ratcliff, located on FM 227, off Highway 7, between Crockett and Lufkin. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except holidays. If you have a question or comment concerning the horse trails, please call the U.S. Forest Service – Davy Crockett District at 936-655-2299.
Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area is located at 18551 State Highway 7 East. From Crockett, take State Highway 7 east for 15 miles. The recreation area is on the left between the towns of Ratcliff and Kennard. The Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, surrounds a 45- acre lake. The area offers recreation visitors camping, picnicking, a swimming beach and bathhouse, concession stand, an amphitheater, an interpretive forest trail, showers, boating and fishing in a beautiful forest setting. For more information contact the U.S. Forest Service – Davy Crockett District at 936-655-2299.
Grapeland is home to Salmon Lake Park, a rustic old West village, RV park and host to music festivals throughout the year. The park features more than 300 full hookup RV spaces, 20 family cabins and many other buildings and pavilions that host special events and family reunions. The biggest event of the year is the annual Salmon Lake Bluegrass Festival, held from Thursday through Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. Visit www.salmonlakepark.com for more information.