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Plaza of Honor dedication Dec. 11 at Fort Croghan, followed by Christmas event

Fort Croghan Plaza of Honor

The newly installed Plaza of Honor at Fort Croghan Grounds and Museum, 703 Buchanan Drive (Texas 29), will be officially dedicated at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, followed by Christmas at Old Fort Croghan. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley

A newly completed project at Fort Croghan Grounds and Museum connects the past, the present, and the future and will be dedicated at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, on fort grounds at 703 Buchanan Drive (Texas 29). 

The Plaza of Honor is a patio of bricks engraved with the names of 40 early settlers with room to add 300 more names of those who have helped shape Burnet County’s past and future.

“This is the physical manifestation of our vision,” said Cheryl Henderson, a member of the Burnet County Historical Commission and the Burnet County Heritage Society, the two entities that take care of the museum and grounds. The commission is appointed by Burnet County commissioners and serves as the museum’s governing body. The society acts as its fundraising arm.

“The Plaza of Honor came out of a long-range planning committee,” Henderson continued. “It is one of our action steps for educating people about the history of the county and for raising funds to support the museum.” 

The plaza raises money by selling bricks for $100 each. The bricks can honor relatives, businesses, churches, and other organizations that have a lasting impact on the community, no matter the time frame. The 40 central bricks, which were chosen by the 40 Brick Committee, are for influential people in the county from 1849-53. 

“It’s a wonderful cross-section of people,” Henderson said as she flipped through a notebook that contains the history of each of the people named on the bricks. “Here’s a guy who was a commissioner. There are some dragoons stationed at the fort who stayed here. There are pioneers, the very first sheriff, some Texas Rangers, a stone mason, General A.R. Johnson, who founded Marble Falls.”

During ceremonies Dec. 11, the 40 names will be read by two people yet to be determined. 

The idea for the plaza was first discussed in 2019. Work got underway but was waylaid by the COVID-19 pandemic. The original task was to find a way to honor Carolyn Ann Goble, who died Jan. 8, 2019. Goble was a fierce advocate of preserving Burnet County history. She served on the Burnet County Heritage Society starting in 1986 and was appointed to the historical commission in 1987. 

“The committee came up with three ideas,” Henderson said. “One was for a bench, one for a tree, and another for a plaza. We said, ‘Let’s do all three!” 

In the center of the plaza is a stone relief representing the dragoons, or soldiers, who first served at Fort Croghan. The drawing is done by one of Goble’s sons. That image is surrounded by 40 pale gray bricks with the names selected by the 40 Brick Committee. 

Between the gray bricks and a limestone border are 300 terra cotta bricks, which over time will have more recent names etched on them. Each name will have a page of facts about the person or organization in a history notebook that will be kept available for the public in the Fort Croghan Museum. 

Along with the plaza, the heritage society is dedicating the Carole Goble granite bench upon which visitors can sit and enjoy the plaza and a white oak tree. 

Following the dedication, the society will host a dinner of soup, cornbread, and cookies for $5 per person. The Hill Country Dulcimers will provide music at the Christmas tree while food is served at the pavilion. 

At dark, Christmas at Old Fort Croghan officially gets underway. Luminarias along the pathways will light the way for a tour of the cabins on the grounds. Docents dressed in period costumes will provide information about the cabins, the fort, and how people lived in the mid-1800s. 

The event lasts until 8 p.m. and is part of Burnet’s official kick-off to the holiday season with Christmas on the Square. From noon to  4 p.m., the courthouse square will be filled with vendors, decorations, and snow. Santa makes an appearance for photos from 6-8 p.m., while Main Street Bethlehem opens its gates at 5:30 p.m. The Burnet Christmas on the Square parade begins at 5 p.m., circling the Burnet County Courthouse.

suzanne@thepicayune.com