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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Menard in Menard County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Presidio de San Sabá

(Fort of San Sabá)

 
 
Presidio de San Sabá Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, March 23, 2018
1. Presidio de San Sabá Marker
Inscription. In 1732 the governor of Spanish Texas named the nearby river “San Sabá,” perhaps after St. Sabbás, a sixth-century monk. In 1757, soldiers built the Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas out of wood. By 1764, stone replaced wood and the site was unofficially called Presidio de San Sabá by the new commander. It measured approximately 348 feet by 324 feet, with towers on northwest and southeast corners. Our knowledge about the presidio comes from archaeological excavations, historical documents, and maps prepared by Spanish military officials in 1767.

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
Presidio de San Sabá image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, March 23, 2018
2. Presidio de San Sabá
Marker is located underneath the right tree outside the presidio gate
partially reconstructed with stone found on the site. This reconstruction effort was built on historic footings and wall sections located through many years of archaeological investigations and historical research. The reconstructed ruins of the entire perimeter walls of the 1764 presidio are what you see today.

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)
Detail
Carved Stones at Original Location at Gate image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, March 23, 2018
3. Carved Stones at Original Location at Gate
of San Sabá river area map showing the presidio. Drawing by Joseph de Urrutia. Image courtesy of Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas, Austin.

(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
Livestock Corral Area image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, March 23, 2018
4. Livestock Corral Area
(within shouting distance of this marker); 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 EraForts, Castles
 
Interpretive Sign for Livestock Corral image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, March 23, 2018
5. Interpretive Sign for Livestock Corral
 
 
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 42 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 4, 2018, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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