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Historic Goliad site ready for massacre re-enactment


March 22, 2010 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated March 22, 2010 at 10:23 p.m.

Newton Warzecha, director of the Presidio La Bahia in Goliad receives a 1750's era canon that will be on display in time for the 25th Massacre Re-enactment scheduled for March 27-28, 2010.

GOLIAD - Organizers at Presidio La Bahia hope to kick off this weekend's yearly reenactment with a bang.

Workers at the national historic landmark near Goliad just finished a three-and-a-half-year, $500,000 renovation, which was highlighted by the firing of an historic cannon.

The landmark's fort, museum and chapel complex all received a facelift aimed at restoring its look and offering space for new teaching tools. The Presidio La Bahia is 261 years old.

"All these rooms have new displays," said Newton Warzecha, director for Presidio-La Bahia.

Names of men killed during the Goliad Massacre adorn the wall in one new exhibit dubbed "The Texas Revolution," which recounts the infamous fight. As for the cannon, Warzecha believes it was used 250 years ago.

"It'll be in storage. When we have somebody qualified to use it, we'll use it," he said.

Families seemed to enjoy the renovations. Many visited the historic site during spring break.

Maggie Gonzales, 30, of Kenedy visited for the first time since she was 10 years old. She said these visits were once a family tradition.

"I'm carrying it on with my kids," Gonzales said, pointing to her family.

Gonzales' daughter, Amber Gonzales, 10, and niece Marissa Garcia, 11, both learned about the Goliad Massacre in school, they said.

"It's different because in the books they leave out a lot of interesting facts," said Garcia, who lives in Schroeder.

Becky Garcia, 34, agrees with her daughter.

"Just getting them to see it in person and when they come out here ... it's totally different," the mother said.

Education is what Warzecha said organizers hope to spread not only through their exhibits, but through their annual Goliad Massacre Living History Program. The program, which includes historical reenactments, begins Saturday.

"This is what we have the living history project for," said Warzecha.

Efrain Valdez of La Joya visited with his wife and two children, including Efrian Valdez Jr., 11.

"I like learning about history between the Texas and the Mexicans," the son said.



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