On Wednesday, May 18, 2011, close to a hundred people surrounded and packed into the Blanco State Park Club House, now known as the pavilion. The Blanco State Park, in conjunction with the Blanco Historical Preservation Commission, celebrated National Historic Preservation Month with the unveiling of the Blanco State Park Historical Marker honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the original land owners, and the history the park holds of our community.
The ceremony started with a warm welcome and introduction by Mary Alice Partain, Blanco State Park interpreter, followed by American Legion Post 352 with the posting the colors, the invocation led by Stan Lane, and the Pledge of Allegiance by Cade Felps – a descendent of original land donors. Dorothy Dillon beautifully sang "God Bless America" as the crowd joined in with her.
The historic explanation of the historical marker was given by Retta Martin, explaining the importance of the marker and that we will now be able to work toward putting the park on the National Register. Jo Nell Haas read acknowledgments, giving a brief history on the birth of our state park, starting on May 25, 1933, when the community of Blanco, led by the Blanco Chamber of Commerce, pulled together to get the land donated and raised funds to help to secure sites, moving fences and other items. Haas then gave a brief history of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
The CCC company #854 made the initial improvements to the park within an 11-month period, starting June 16, 1933, and ending May 18, 1934, 77 years to the day of the unveiling of the historical marker. One of the honorees was Retta Martin, daughter of a CCC employee, DeWayne Waggoner.
Many descendants from the West, Cage, Koch, Leismann, Richardson, Smith, Lindeman, Harmon, Barker, and Reeve families were there in attendance. The other original land donors were the Dodgen, Byler, Petsch, Knoll and Weber families; many of the descendants from those families could not attend but sent their gratitude.
Stan Lane recapped the part in history that Ira Caswell played in the saving of our state park in the 1960s, along with the commitment of long time park manager Bud Murrah. Mel Ferguson from Senator Troy Fraser’s office offered the senator’s encouraging words of
keeping our ongoing community fighting spirit.
Mary Alice Partain, state park interpreter, ended the program with the unveiling of the historical marker. The many descendants stayed to have their pictures made in front of the marker and then enjoyed refreshments provided by the Friends of the Blanco State Park. It is because of the federal government, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the community of Blanco, private land owners and donors, and the CCC men that Blanco has been blessed to have this beautiful state park in the middle of our community.
This state park is a legacy for all of us and for future generations to come.