Wednesday turned into a fruitful sightseeing day. Seeing the Custodian’s Cottage took a good portion of the morning. Wednesday afternoon was spent sightseeing around the town of Fannin in the Coleto Creek area near a KOA to fill a propane bottle.
El Camino Real de los Tejas Visitors Center
El Camino Real de los Tejas Visitors Center is perhaps better known as the Custodian’s Cottage and is part of the Goliad State Park and Historic Site. As a visitors center, there are decent descriptions of the Texas portion of the Spanish Mission era King’s Highway.
As a Custodian’s Cottage, the site is brilliant. Built in the 1930’s, the cottage represents a test run of the restoration/rebuilding of Mission Espiritu Santo in terms of architecture, building materials and building methods. The architect in charge of the project needed to verify major design choices and assumptions on how to rebuild the mission.
A giant open scrapbook of sorts lies on the table in the right foreground. The scrapbook has pictures and drawings related to the building of this cottage and more importantly, the design and construction of Mission Espiritu Santo. All of the furniture shown was hand crafted by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers.
The clam shell decoration above the window was ultimately replicated in Mission Espiritu Santo’s reconstruction. Click on the above image to see how that design was used in the church.
The Patio area borders a courtyard with native plants and a small fountain attractive to butterflies and humming birds in the spring, summer and fall.
The restrooms are across the courtyard in the building behind the fountain.
The staircase is made from two logs. Each log is of a different kind of wood. The steps are roughly one foot by one foot on the tops. Climbing the steps appears awkward. The Park Ranger told me that she had been up the steps into what used to be a loft where the architect worked. She confirmed the awkwardness of climbing up to what is now the space is used for the AC unit.
The Custodian’s Cottage can be difficult to find as decent signage hasn’t been installed yet. The cottage is just north of the Goliad County Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds are across the street (US-183) from Mission Espiritu Santo.
Coleto Creek Park and Reservoir
Last Saturday, we saw signs to Coleto Creek Lake and the KOA on US-59 when we drove east to Victoria. It was just about three miles further from Goliad than the town of Fannin.
Wednesday afternoon, we headed east on US-59 intending to stop at the Fannin Battleground first and then to Coleto Creek Lake campground second. After missing the battleground turn, we drove on to Coleto Creek Lake past the KOA.
Coleto Creek Park and Reservoir is a Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority managed dam and recreation area reminding us of a nicer version of an Army Corps of Engineers Park.
Pulling into the park office, we stopped, rolled down our windows and asked that we be allowed to self tour the park. It would have cost us $10 according to the posted fee schedule. The attendant allowed us in for free. We drove through the park. It looks to be a nice place to stay. Some roads are paved. Campground roads and RV campsites are generally gravel or bare dirt. Most sites have water and electric but not all. There are a number of sites along the lake with nice views. There were plenty of available campsites. Expect this campground to be busy, especially on weekends and Holiday weeks, from mid spring through mid fall.
Victoria Coleto Creek Lake KOA
After leaving the public campground, we stopped into the Victoria Coleto Creek Lake KOA to get propane.
There was some standing water from the previous night’s rain. All in all, I would stay in this KOA for an overnight stay while travelling. The RV sites are further apart than usual. It is a newer KOA, only five or six years old. The staff is friendly and accommodating.
Fannin Battleground State Historic Site
With our full propane bottle in the back of the Jeep, we headed to US-59 to head west toward Goliad. In three miles, we took the Fannin Texas exit. Following the signs, we headed south and turned into the Fannin Battleground State Historic Site.
Positive changes to the battleground site have occurred in the 15 or so years since we were last here. Displays have been added to better tell the battle story and citizen responses to honoring the memory of the fallen soldiers over the decades.
The area under the bandstand has been remodeled into a top notch mini-museum. The mini-museum paints a clear picture on what happened to Fannin and his men during and after the battle. Decent clean restrooms have been added behind the bandstand.
What a wonderful sightseeing day.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!