Heritage, Volume 13, Number 2, Spring 1995 Page: 10
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This impressive, stately home sits in San Marcos' San Antonio Historic District. More than four million
visitors came through San Marcos last year, drawn in part by the city's three historic districts and the
multitude of restored homes and commercial properties located there.
"WHfN IT COMES TO MARKETING HERITAGE TOURISM, IT WORKS WELL IN SAN MAR(OS
BECAUSE OUR TOWN IS A PERfECT EXAMPLE Of LIVING HISTORY, AND WE ARE ABLE TO
OffER VISITORS A CHANCE TO PARTICIPATf IN THAT HISTORY. LOCAL HISTORY HAS
BEEN PRESERVED AND LIVES TODAY fOR BOTH TOURISTS AND LOCALS BECAUSE
ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS THE HERITAGE ASSOCIATION Of SAN MARCOS AND THE HAYS
COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY HAVE NOT ALLOWED IT TO DIE."
of the community. In 1848, General Edward
Burleson saw the bill through the
legislature establishing the county of Hays.
It was named for Colonel John Coffee
Hays, a renowned Indian fighter and leader
of the Texas Rangers. Ever mindful of its
historic past, county officials are overseeing
an extensive renovation of the courthouse,
which includes plans for a historic
museum in the basement.
The cornerstone accomplishment of the
Heritage Association and an important
stop for tourists is the delightful Charles S.
Cock House Museum. This native lime
stone cottage was built in 1867 as the residence
of Charles S. Cock, a Mississippi
planter who came to the area in 1851. Cock
became a community leader, instrumental
in the development of early San Marcos,
serving as county treasurer, the town's second
mayor, and a powerful influence in
helping to bring the railroad through town.
The home is open by private appointment
or may be enjoyed during the lunches that
are served by costumed hostesses on most
Fridays of the year by the Guild of the
The Cock House opens out on to the
Juan Martin de Veramendi Plaza, named
for one of the town's early settlers, which
leads to the San Marcos Riverwalk. This
lovely nature trail riverwalk, constructed
for the celebration of the nation's Bicentennial,
unites three adjacent parks along
the San Marcos River. The river leads deep
into the heart of the origins of the town.
Visitors to the trail learn that according to
legend, a group of Franciscan Monks paddling
up the Guadalupe River in 1709
came upon a clear river with many large
springs at its source. The discovery was
made on St. Mark's Day, so the upper river
was named San Marcos. In 1831, two leagues
of land along the river were granted to Juan
Martin de Veramendi. In 1851, William
Lindsey, Edward Burleson, and Eli T.
Merriman bought the Veramendi land and
laid out the town of San Marcos to serve
the pioneers who had begun settling in
1847. The new county of Hays was created
by an act of the State Legislature on March
1, 1848, and a large tract of land was taken
from Travis and Bastrop counties in order
to form this new county. When the county
was organized in 1848, it had a population
of 387 people. San Marcos was designated
as the county seat. The little town became
a resting point in the three-day stagecoach
trip from Austin to San Antonio.
The visitor who is interested in the ancient
history of San Marcos and the area will
be fascinated by research that is just emerging.
Artifacts dating back nearly 12,000
years, that indicate this location is one of
the earliest areas of habitation by man in
North America, have been excavated from
the San Marcos River in recent years. Future
excavations and archaeological research
should yield information that will be of
interest to both professional and avocational
archaeologists and anthropologists.
So for the small town of San Marcos,
history has played an important role in its
tourism industry. According to Neighbors,
"When it comes to marketing heritage tourism,
it works well in San Marcos because
our town is a perfect example of living
history, and we are able to offer visitors a
chance to participate in that history. Local
history has been preserved and lives today
for both tourists and locals because organizations
such as the Heritage Association of
San Marcos and the Hays County Historical
Society have not allowed it to die."
Jan Hardin is the director of the San Marcos
Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 13, Number 2, Spring 1995, periodical, Spring 1995; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45410/m1/10/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.