Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Monument Hill/ Kreische Brewery

I am currently writing this to the sound of heavy raindrops on our home.  What a novel and refreshing experience after spending a dry winter in the Rio Grande Valley!   Yesterday we headed northeast out of McAllen, hoping to see fields of bluebonnets around the town of Brenham.  Last night we parked at Coleto Creek Park, outside of Victoria, Texas.  Unexpectedly there we saw our first patch of that flower.
Coleto Park has a reservoir which was created from damming up the Guadalupe River. From our home it was a short walk to the lake where we could watch a variety of shore birds and ducks ( the species of ducks seemed to be mainly the blue-winged teal and coot).  Today I found a birding trail in the park where about 4 deer crossed my path.  Our goal today was to travel only as far a Brenham, Texas where we wanted to see the spring wildflowers.  It was a beautiful drive as we were on the edge of the hill country of Texas, located east of San Antonio.  We started seeing lush green vegetation on the hillsides, and many colorful wildflowers along the sides of the road.  We certainly have left the scrub brush and sandy flat landscape of the Valley!  We had no idea as what Monument Hill /Kreische Brewery State Park was all about, however ,we had time this afternoon to check it out as it was right on our way to Brenham. 
On a beautiful sandstone bluff overlooking the Colorado River is the tombstone of Texas Militia who died at the Dawson Creek Massacre and in the border town of Ciudad Mier in the winter of 1842/43.  Three hundred soldiers, to avenge the deaths at Dawson Creek (located outside of San Antonio), marched down to Ciudad Mier.  Two hundred and fifty were captured by the Mexicans and marched to Mexico City.  Of those men 181 escaped and 176 were forced to surrender.  Santa Anna wanted to kill all of those men, but urgent pleas from the United States and Great Britain brought about a compromise of the black bean lottery.  One hundred and fifty-nine white beans and seventeen black beans were placed in a pot- men who drew the back beans were executed.  In 1848 the Texas militia volunteers who died at Dawsons Creek and in Mexico were placed in a common tomb on Monument Hill.  In 1849 Heinrich Kreische purchased 172 acres on the bluff surrounding the monument, and maintained that monument until his death.  His home and ruins of his brewery are also located in the park- information on them will be in my next posting.

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