The stars at night are big and bright at our state historic sites! Recently, our sites received approval for Dark Sky Certification, which allows preservation of the night sky and utilizes methods to protect its visibility and enjoyment for surrounding landowners and visitors. Plan your visit to our state historic sites and experience the beauty of star-filled skies.
Here are some of the places in Texas to check out the stars.
In March 1852, the 8th U.S. Infantry established Fort McKavett to protect West Texas settlers and serve as a rest stop for California-bound immigrants. Fort McKavett was designated a state historic site on May 17, 1968 to help preserve its important role in history for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Holding command over the Southern Plains, Fort Griffin served as one in a line of western defensive forts from 1867 to 1881. Remnants of the fort remain today at Fort Griffin State Historic Site, which is also home to the Official State of Texas Longhorn Herd and offers camping, fishing, hiking, stargazing and living history.
Due to the vast ranches surrounding the property, Fort Griffin has minimal light pollution. The result is an astronomer’s oasis with great skies for viewing constellations, planets and galaxies at Fort Griffin’s monthly stargazing events. Fort Griffin photo taken by Rajesh Jyothiswaran courtesy of Texas Historical Commission.
The Caddo selected this site for a permanent settlement about A.D. 800 and dominated life in the region for approximately 500 years.
The settlement at Caddo Mounds flourished until the 13th century, when the site was abandoned. The Hasinai Caddo groups continued to live through the 1830s in their traditional East Texas homeland in the Neches and Angelina River valleys, but by the early 1840s, all Caddo groups had moved to the Brazos River area. Texas takes its name from the Caddo word “tejas,” which means friend.