One of Texas’ greatest sportsmen never played a down at Cowboys Stadium. He never took the field with the Rangers or Astros. He didn’t win a championship with the Stars or Spurs, or electrify crowds in college sports or the Olympics.
In the pantheon of Texas-born writers, Robert E. Howard ranks among the state’s most prolific and imaginative authors. Despite his prodigious body of work, “REH”—as he is known to devoted fans worldwide—remains unknown to many mainstream fiction readers. Perhaps if Howard had written the great Texas novel he intended, his name would tower among the likes of Larry McMurtry, Katherine Anne Porter, and Elmer Kelton.
The expansive Medina Dam impounds the clear waters of Medina Lake, rising like a gray apparition from the cedar-and-oak scrub clinging to the rugged tumble of hills and canyons 20 miles northwest of San Antonio. Built to harness the mercurial Medina River, this grande dame of Texas dams celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Austin boasts several Littlefield-related structures, notably The Driskill Hotel, at 604 Brazos Street; the Littlefield House, at 24th Street and Whitis Avenue (on the University of Texas campus), and the Littlefield Building, at 106 E. 6th Street.
The inscription on a memorial to George Washington Littlefield in the West Texas town that bears his surname describes him as a “pioneer plainsman, soldier and state benefactor.” In fact, he was a great deal more. Cattle baron, banking magnate, builder, and philanthropist, Littlefield (1842-1920) was the consummate Texan. In the 1943 biography George W. Littlefield, Texan, author J. Evetts Haley described him as “an intent, practical man, of driving and determined purpose … but most of all he was an unreconstructed rebel who never forgot that his deepest love was for the South.”
In San Antonio, a few miles northwest of the Alamo, Texas’ oldest public park enchants visitors with a spring-fed pool, broad expanses of tree-shaded land, and an archeological history that predates Spanish colonization of the New World.
When the 34th Texas legislature established the Texas Forest Service in 1915, there were few guidelines in place to direct the management of Texas forests. The legislation mandated that the new agency “assume direction of all forest interests and all matters pertaining to forestry within the jurisdiction of the state.” This was an important step in sustainably managing Texas natural resources, and one of the key proponents was W. Goodrich Jones (1860-1950).
Travelers passing through the thousand-acre Texas Medical Center in Houston sometimes wonder if they’ve entered a strange alternate universe. People on the street—clad in everything from white lab coats to colorful Indian saris to trendy T-shirts—speak in languages ranging from Polish to Portuguese. From more than 100 countries they come, joining some 60,000 Texans a year, on a journey of healing to one of the center’s most famous facilities: The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. But while the institution’s cutting-edge patient care, research, and programs are known in every corner of the globe, its namesake remains something of a mystery.
For lifelong cowgirl and trailblazer Connie Douglas Reeves, living life to the fullest meant you had to “saddle your own horse.” Reeves was born in Eagle Pass in 1901. At age five, she received her first horse from her maternal grandfather and quickly became a devoted rider.
Some Texans love making music so much that no obstacle proves too great to overcome. Roy Thackerson, "The Fingerless Fiddler," of Ranger has overcome far more than the average picker.
Born in San Antonio in 1924, Bette Clair McMurray dreamed of becoming an artist, but World War II changed her plans. She left high school and married her sweetheart; when the war ended, her marriage did, too. Bette Nesmith was on her own, a single mother with a son to support.
Popular as it is—and it has long been our readers’ favorite column—Speaking of Texas is a gate-crasher where this magazine’s quarter-century birthday party is concerned. Because Speaking, as we like to call it, didn’t debut until August 1975, more than a year after Texas Highways became a travel magazine.