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Take a Goliad walking tour

By BY CATY HIRST
Aug. 24, 2013 at 3:24 a.m.
Updated Aug. 26, 2013 at 3:26 a.m.

The Goliad County Courthouse.

CHIRST@VICAD.COM

GOLIAD - As one of the oldest Spanish colonial municipalities in the state, visitors can find history on almost every corner of Goliad - from the parks and trees to the old Spanish forts.

Located in the Goliad State Park, the Mission Espiritu Santo was built in the 18th century and was one of the largest ranching operations in Texas. The mission is Spanish colonial in style, and the state park offers sessions on the history and daily life of the missionaries and Indian converts who lived in the mission. It is at 108 Park Road 6 in Goliad.

The Presidio La Bahia was moved to Goliad in 1749 from its previous location in what is now Victoria County. La Bahia is owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Victoria. The fort, famous for the Battle of Coleto and the execution of Col. James W. Fannin Jr. and hundreds of his men, was restored in the 1960s and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967. It is just past Goliad State Park on U.S. Highway 183 in Goliad. Call the La Bahia at 361-645-3752 for more information.

The Fannin Plaza Park is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark for its connection to the Fannin Massacre. The city park includes a memorial shaft and Texas Revolution cannon. The inscription on the cannon says, "Used by Col. Fannin and His Men on Fannin Battlefield in Goliad County in 1836." The memorial was erected in 1885. The park is one block northeast of the town square on Franklin Street.

Goliad County Courthouse is also a Texas Historic Landmark. It is the third courthouse in Goliad and was completed in 1894. The limestone structure was designed by Alfred Giles. The stones used in its construction came from the old courthouse, which was built in 1865. The courthouse was used as a hospital and morgue in 1902 after a tornado destroyed much of the town. It is at 127 N. Courthouse Square in Goliad.

The 'Hanging Tree,' or Cart War Oak, is also a Texas Historic Landmark. This oak tree served as the site of court from 1846-1870, with many of the executions taking place from the tree directly after trial. It was also the site of lynchings during the Cart War. It is at 184 N. Courthouse Square in Goliad.

The Masonic Temple in Goliad is home to Lodge No. 94, the oldest Masonic Lodge with continuous use in Texas. The bottom level is used by the Goliad Advance-Guard, a newspaper in Goliad. It was completed in 1854 and is a Texas Historic Landmark. It is at 202 S. Commercial St. in Goliad.

The Blue Quail Deli is at 224 S. Commercial St. in Goliad.

The Empresario Restaurant is at 141 S. Courthouse Square in Goliad.

Source: The Texas State Historical Association and Goliad Chamber of Com

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