Near Menard in Menard County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Presidio de San Sabá
(Fort of San Sabá)
Lining the inside of the presidio were some fifty rooms. These included soldiers’ quarters, storerooms, blacksmith shops, kitchens and armories. A corral for cattle was built along the west wall; another corral to the south was used for horses.
Few Original Stones Remain
After the presidio was abandoned, it quickly fell into ruin. By 1905 much of the stone used by the Spaniards over a hundred years earlier had been hauled off to build houses, fences, and various structures around Menard, including the stone wall around the town’s cemetery and the original town courthouse. In 1937 the Texas Centennial Commission rebuilt part of the northwest portion of the presidio, but it too deteriorated. In 2011, the ruins of the Presidio de San Sabá were
The large carved stones to either side of the arch entry are believed to still be in their original location. Over the last two hundred plus years, many visitors left their names scratched in the gate. Notice the letters “BOUIE”. It is known the Jim Bowie and his men were in the area in 1831 searching for treasure, and he or one of his men may have scratched his name in this stone. Spanish documents have changed the spelling to correspond with their alphabet. Jim Bowie was killed at the Alamo in San Antonio in 1836.
“I rode south-west five miles to river San Saba...Here are the crumbling ruins of a mighty edifice of carved stone; and the remains of a net-work of irrigation ditches, extending miles along the river, tell of a former population, enlightened, prosperous, and multitudinous. This was a colony of farmers, miners and evangelists, established by the devoted Franciscan Fathers…”
From The Coming Empire by Colonel Nathaniel Alston Taylor, 1877
(Upper Left Graphic Caption)
(Middle Left Graphic Caption)
Artists’ conception of the presidio as it looked circa 1767. Drawing by James Ivey from La Tierra, 1981 8(4). Courtesy of the Southern Texas Archaeological Association.
(Lower Left Graphic Caption)
Map of the presidio drawn by Joseph de Urrutia in 1767. Redrawn and translated from Moorhead 1975.
(Lower Right Image Caption)
Original Presidio Stone. An archaeology student traces the name “Bouie,” carved in one of the original presidio stones. Photograph by Grant D. Hall.
Location. 30° 55.352′ N, 99° 48.138′ W. Marker is near Menard, Texas, in Menard County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 190 1.1 miles west of Frisco Avenue (U.S. 83). Touch for map. Marker is located at the Presidio de San Saba Historic Site near the presido gate; the above directions are to the driveway entrance to the historic site. Marker is in this post office area: Menard TX 76859, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. VIP Quarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Real Presidio de San Saba Restoration and Reconstruction (within shouting distance of this marker); Bastions of Defense (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Arroyo de Juan Lorenzo (approx. 0.4 miles away); "The Ditch" (approx. one mile away); Presidio de San Luis de las Amarillas (approx. one mile away); The Lafora Map / An Apache Encampment (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Menard.
Also see . . .
1. San Luis de Las Amarillas Presidio. From the Texas State Historical Association’s “Handbook of Texas Online”. (Submitted on April 4, 2018.)
2. Presidio de San Saba Historic Site. Official website. Includes before and after restoration videos. (Submitted on April 4, 2018.)
Categories. • Colonial Era • Forts, Castles •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 4, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 4, 2018, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 49 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 4, 2018, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.