One of 1,100 Texas Centennial Markers set up across the state in 1936 has been discovered on U.S. 281 in Marble Falls. Its bronze wreath and plaque, which disappeared long ago, will be replaced when the stone is moved to its new home on the Burnet County Courthouse lawn in Burnet. The stone used to be a prominent part of a roadside park that no longer exists. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman
A granite marker celebrating the 100th anniversary of Texas Independence Day in 1936 will be moved to the Burnet County Courthouse by the Texas Department of Transportation. It is one of 1,100 such markers placed across the state that year by the Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations, which was formed in 1935 by the Texas Legislature.
The Burnet County Commissioners Court approved the placement of the marker at its regular meeting Tuesday, March 8, one of the final steps in what has been a two-year process, said Tommye Potts of the Burnet County Historical Commission.
“Originally, it was the marker for Granite Mountain,” said Potts, when asked why it was not on the list of markers on the Texas Historical Commission website. That list includes four in Burnet County but none in Marble Falls. “The marker for the founding of Burnet County was actually on U.S. 281 North in Burnet, but no one knows what happened to it.”
The granite monument set up at a roadside park in Marble Falls 86 years ago also seemed to disappear with the park when U.S. 281 was widened for the new bridge.
“TxDOT doesn’t even know what happened to it,” Potts said.
It was rediscovered by a tenacious couple of history buffs, Nichole and Michael Ritchie of Cottonwood Shores, about five years ago after they were given a book listing the markers.
“We decided to track down the ones in our area,” Michael Ritchie said. “I think it said the marker was 2.1 miles south of Marble Falls, so we went to the Blue Bonnet Cafe parking lot and drove 2.1 miles south.”
They stopped at an area around the back of La Quinta Inn, which faces FM 2147, and walked around.
“Sure enough, it’s still there,” Ritchie said. “They (TxDOT) just pushed it down the hill, thinking it was garbage or trash. The markers had already been removed.”
The rediscovered granite monument will be set on a pad on the east side of the courthouse in Burnet to the north of the main entrance on Pierce Street.
“It’s near where the (Sheriff) Wallace Riddell statue was,” Judge James Oakley said in the March 8 meeting, referring to a bronze statue that was moved from the courthouse lawn to the old historic jail on the courthouse square in 2016. “The grass doesn’t grow well there anyway, and we’ll put it close enough to the sidewalk that people can see it without walking on the grass.”
The brass plaque on top of the marker and the bronze Texas wreath that decorated the front are both gone, although each left a mark where they were once attached.
The Burnet County Historical Commission purchased a new wreath and plaque for the stone, which are currently in production at an out-of-state foundry. The total cost was about $2,000, Potts said. The wording on the new plaque will be: Burnet County 1936 Centennial Marker.
TxDOT recently notified the historical commission that it would move the rock once the pad is ready. Before that could happen, however, a series of approvals were needed from the Texas Historical Commission and the Burnet County Commissioners Court, all of which are now in place.
“We don’t know how long the foundry will take or how long it will be before the pad is ready,” Potts said. “This has been quite a process.”