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"Remember San Jacinto!"

Help Save the San Jacinto Battleground

 

San Jacinto Battleground - Friends of San Jacinto

 

Update on the original article below:

The call to arms was answered.  The Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground were successful in obtaining the funds to purchase the portion of the San Jacinto Battlefield that they were trying to preserve!  Congratulations to the Friends of the of the San Jacinto Battlefield for all the great work you do to preserve the history of Texas!

 

Original Article:

 

Jan DeVault, the President of the Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground, has asked the Texas Heritage Society to inform our members and readers of their efforts to save a portion of the San Jacinto Battleground, which is currently privately owned, from being lost to industrial development. If this land is lost to industrial development, much of the aesthetic beauty of the battleground will be lost forever. President Jan DeVault writes: 

 

As the president of the San Jacinto Battleground Association, d/b/a the Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and as a fellow lover of Texas history and our shared heritage, I am asking for your help in saving a critical portion of the San Jacinto Battleground.  

  

As you know, the battle of San Jacinto was the decisive military event of the Texas Revolution. Over the course of two days, culminating in the Texas Army’s assault on the Mexican Army during the afternoon of April 21, 1836, the independence of Texas was secured. Today, the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) stands as a tangible link to the battle. It is one of the state’s most significant cultural landscapes and a National Historical Landmark. 

 

The San Jacinto Battleground has recently been named by Preservation Texas, the state partner for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to their 2010 Most Endangered Places list. The area around the battleground has changed dramatically since 1836. Development of the Houston Ship Channel and the aggressive expansion of the petrochemical industry have eroded the rural and pastoral setting that would have been familiar to a 19th century Texan.   

 

Our group was founded in 2002 as the result of a discussion with TPWD and a desire to help establish a “Desirable Facility Boundary” for the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. Areas outside of the state park boundary are known to be part of the battlefield landscape, but are not owned or protected by the state. Developing guidelines and goals for the historic, aesthetic, cultural and biological conservation of San Jacinto became an objective of the Friends and one to which they are committed.   

 

Since 2002, the Friends has acquired land within the “desirable boundary”---currently holding about 8.5 acres ---and facilitated conservation agreements with surrounding industry on behalf of TPWD. 

  

A key target for acquisition has been property owned by JMO (late Houston attorney, John M. O’Quinn) Land Holding, Inc.  The land consists of 19.054 acres (11 acres upland and the remainder submersed) and has been marketed since 2000 as a prime “maritime/industrial use” site since it is accessible by water and road. TPWD and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) recognize the historic significance of the JMO tract and TPWD has been attempting to acquire it by donation since 1984.  

 

In November 2009, the Friends learned that the Port of Houston, the Economic Alliance Port Region, and others had formed a consortium for the development of the JMO property, and a purchase price of $625,000 had been established. The Friends were able to convince the representatives of JMO to give us an opportunity to raise the money to acquire the property for inclusion in the San Jacinto landscape based upon the historical significance of the property and its potential as a nature and wildlife habitat. We have executed a “Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement” with a closing date of June 1, 2010. It is our view that any development of the JMO property---other than the re-establishment of its native and natural setting---will make it more difficult to visualize the story of the battle and would separate the battlefield from the ferry site. The surrounding area is in need of more “green space” not less.    

  

Once we own the property, we plan to enter into an agreement with TPWD for the management of the property, and work with them to develop an appropriate plan to preserve its natural resources. Several companies with facilities in the area have also indicated that they will help reestablish certain native elements, such as grasslands and marsh.    

  

The Friends is applying for grants from foundations, asking for donations from individuals and corporations, implementing a grass roots effort through personal appeals and the Internet, and hosting several events to provide the funds to purchase this property and protect it from industrial and incompatible development.   

  

We need your help.  Our organization is volunteer based with no paid staff and very limited resources.  We need to convey the plight of San Jacinto to others and we need donations to purchase the property.   We have opened an account at Sterling Bank, 919 Milam, Ste 115, Houston, Texas 77002 to take donations by check and can also take them, on-line, on our website, www.friendsofsanjacinto.org . Please help by giving---no amount is too small---and helping us to spread the word. 

 

I have attached additional information on the property, Preservation Texas’ press release, and would be happy to answer any questions that you might have regarding this project or our organization.  

  

Sincerely, 

  

SAN JACINTO BATTLEGROUND ASSOCIATION 

d/b/a  The Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground 

  

Jan DeVault 

President 

713-237-8997 

www.friendsofsanjacinto.org 

 

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