Travel Guide to Mason, Texas
Mason, Texas began as a safe harbor for settlers in the mid 1800s. Fort Mason, which was built by the United States Army to protect pioneers from native Indian tribes, was built in a beautiful area of the hill country, a mere 400 yards from a natural spring.
The fort was occupied and vacated many times during its twenty year existence, which ended in 1869, when the Fort was dismantled and the leftover stone was used to build many of the structures around the town square.
No other military installation produced more Civil War generals than Fort Mason, from which Robert E. Lee, Sidney Johnston and William J. Hardee came to fight for the Confederate Army and Phillip St. George Cooke emerged to fight for the Union.
Hoo Doo War
Mason was the site of much conflict during the late 1800s. Cattle rustling was a rampant problem in the area, often resulting in violence and murder. Several innocent people were murdered, including the deputy sheriff, a rancher and others. The town divided into groups which feuded with one another.
Although the murders and violence slowly tapered off, the conflict’s end was a spectacular display of rebellion – the Mason County Courthouse was burned on January 21, 1877 in order to destroy evidence that could be used against those involved in the violence.
Every spring, Mason county’s countryside bursts into a vibrant display of brilliant blues, reds and white. Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and poppies paint fields, roadsides and yards with colors that make Texas famous. The Mason Chamber of Commerce leads visitors and residents to the most spectacular wildflower areas by providing guides that begin at Mason’s historic square.
For more information, contact the Mason Chamber of Commerce at www.masontxcoc.com
or by calling (915) 347-5758.
The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve is one of the 10 largest populations of Mexican free-tailed bats in the world. From May until October, over six million bats emerge from the cave each evening to find food.
Tour arrangements can be made by calling (915) 347-5970 during the season or (512) 263-8878 during the off season.
Mason county is the home of the topaz, the Official Gem of the Lone Star State. Many visitors to Mason take advantage of the opportunity to search for Topaz, which comes in a variety of colors, including clear, brown, blue and yellow. Both the Wayne Hofmann Ranch and the Garner Seaquist Ranch allow visitors to search their property for topaz for a
daily charge. The ranches are open all year except during November, December and January.
Mason County M. Beven Eckert Memorial Library
Visit Mason’s library, where several notable works of art reside, including a life-sized replica of Old Yeller. The statue is a tribute to local writer Fred Gipson, an area writer who wrote “Old Yeller.” Also in the library are beautiful wood cut panels, a beveled glass panel and needlework art.
For more information, call the library at (915) 347-5446 or e-mail email@example.com
Seaquist House is a 22-room mansion that was built in the 1880s. It is open for tours, where owners explain the house’s history. Visitors can see the 24-inch thick carved walls, 16 fireplaces and a massive ballroom. It also has a stone water tower that was built in the 1920s in order to increase water pressure on the house’s third floor.
A former US Army site, Fort Mason was a cavalry outpost that served to protect settlers from Indian attacks. Although none of the original buildings remain, a reconstructed officers’ quarters building is located on the original officer’s quarters foundation.
Built in 1928, the Odeon Theatre is a historic site where visitors can often see classic and current films and life performances. “Old Yeller,” by local resident Gred Gipson, was premiered at the movie house.
Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Q
Known throughout the hill country as some of the best barbecue in Texas, Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Q has been giving Mason residents and visitors a taste of
down home Texas cooking since 1953. Patrons can select their meat right from the pit and eat it the old-fashioned way – straight from the butcher paper. Side orders include potato salad, beans, cole slaw and potato chips. If you have a sweet tooth, save room for freshly made pies, cobblers and cakes.
For more information about Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Q, visit http://www.masontxcoc.com/member/cooper/
or call 1-800-513-6963.
Mason features plentiful shopping opportunities for anyone looking for antiques, arts and crafts, gifts or other unique products. The square houses many shops, including Comanche Creek Trading Company, Country Collectibles, Hemphill Antiques, Underwood Antique Mall, Benjie’s Books and Gifts, Market Square and many others.
Although Mason does not have many hotels, it has ample lodging in charming bed and breakfasts. The bed and breakfasts have a variety of locations, from near the center of Mason to riverside locations. Some are on working ranches, while others are historic town homes. For a complete listing of bed and breakfasts, motels and RV parks, contact the Mason Chamber of Commerce at (915) 347-5758 or visit
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