Big Spring State Park (Texas)

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For the Pennsylvania State Park, see Big Spring State Forest Picnic Area.
Big Spring State Park
A photo of the pavilion at Big Spring State Park
Pavilion built by the Civilian Conservation Corps
Map showing the location of Big Spring State Park
Map showing the location of Big Spring State Park
Big Spring
Location Howard County, Texas, USA
Nearest city Big Spring
Coordinates 32°13′56″N 101°29′26″W / 32.23222°N 101.49056°W / 32.23222; -101.49056Coordinates: 32°13′56″N 101°29′26″W / 32.23222°N 101.49056°W / 32.23222; -101.49056
Established 1936
Visitors 35,663 (in 2012)[1]
Governing body Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Big Spring State Park is a Texas state park in Big Spring, Howard County, Texas in the United States. It was opened in 1936 after the 381.99 acres (154.59 ha) upon which it is situated was deeded to the state by the city of Big Spring in 1934 and 1935. It is named for the natural spring once located on the site that was later replaced by an artificial one.[2][3]

History[edit]

The first written record of the spring was made on October 3, 1849, in the journal of Captain R.B. Marcy of the U.S. Cavalry while on his return trip to Fort Smith, Arkansas, from Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Spanish are thought to have visited the area as early as 1768, while Comanches and other Native American groups likely frequented the region much earlier, probably attracted by the permanent water source. Carvings dated c. 1917 indicate that other visitors to the park area included cattle drivers and those travelling to new territories.

Shortly after the state of Texas acquired the land in 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps began construction on the park. Limestone quarried on-site was used in the building of the headquarters, pavilion, lodging, pump house and restroom. The limestone was also used in the building of retaining walls for a three-mile (5 km) drive that loops around Scenic Mountain. The walls were built using mortarless masonry techniques with large blocks of limestone, some weighing as much as two tons.

Facilities[edit]

Facilities at the park include a lighted group pavilion, which can accommodate up to 50 people; restrooms with no showers and a Texas State Park store. Native American artifacts and fossils from the area are on display at a seasonal interpretive center, which is also located in the park.

Activities[edit]

Some of the recreational opportunities offered on the site include hiking, mountain biking, nature study, jogging and star gazing. The Big Spring Film Society began screening movies on top of the mountain in 2008, and continues to do so every summer. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET The Extra Terrestrial, Star Trek, and The Dark Crystal are just a few of the films they have screened over the years.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Texas State Parks: Natural Economic Assets". Window on State Government. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Big Spring State Park". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Big Spring State Park (Texas)". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved January 7, 2013.