Old Fort Parker, a historic treasure
Sarah McReynolds has been working to keep Old Fort Parker open for decades. Built in the early 1830s, Parker’s Fort was lost to time but in 1936 during the construction of Fort Parker State Park and in celebration of the Texas Centennial, the Fort was recreated in its original location and came to be known as "Old Fort Parker,” according to the early Texas Historic Fort’s website.
“The state used to fund this and they had several employees, but they abandoned 17 historic sites the year they abandoned this because they got budget cuts so they cut historic sites. They kept their parks with recreation because they’re money makers. This was in the early 90s,” McReynolds explained. “When they cut it out, the City of Groesbeck tried to run it for 7 years but it was too much of a turmoil so they relinquished it and I wrote some grants and I asked the property be given to two cities and the county because it was hard to get people involved in helping with it that didn’t own it.”
Currently, Old Fort Parker is working with a tight budget and depends on reservations by various groups and visits from tourists to continue operating. Maintaining the property is a challenge in and of itself, so volunteers and donations are needed and welcome.
When Lake Limestone hosted the Texas BASS Nation Team Trail Championship Tournament, Old Fort Parker hosted the families of the anglers competing to give them something to do besides sit at the hotel rooms in waiting.
“They came out here and we had a table set up in the back where it's real pretty where we have all of our weddings, and they went back there and had lunch. Then when they were through they came back in and before they toured the fort they came in the air conditioned part right here and I told them the story of Cynthia Ann. They were fascinated of course,” McReynolds said. “And then they went out and toured the fort for about an hour and came back in and by then I had all the artifacts and things I’ve collected over the years that Cynthia Ann would have had- her clothing, her boots, her bow and quiver, all those things so they were able to see all the stuff that she would have worn.”
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