In 1936 Texas threw itself a party that inspired a visit from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and kicked off heritage tourism throughout the state. 1936 marked perhaps our most important milestone—the 100-year anniversary of our independence. The Texas-sized celebration allocated millions of our state budget and almost as much in federal contributions - during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Festivals and commemorative events took place across the state in cities large and small, but the grandest occurred in Dallas and included a multi-million dollar exposition occupying 50 buildings (many still survive as Fair Park). Not to be outdone, Fort Worth mounted their own centennial exposition, considered more entertaining for its "Winning of the West" theme.
Centennial resources also created a lasting impression on many other Texas towns. More than 1,000 granite markers were placed throughout Texas' 254 counties commemorating their establishment and history. These markers tell stories of some of the most fascinating moments in Texas history. Yet after 75 years these markers have experienced various degrees of vandalism and deterioration from the elements.
Many of these markers have missing wreaths and stars, damaged granite, are leaning or sinking, have algae stains, graffiti, and cattle damage due to rubbing. Some markers have been barricaded or encased in fencing, knocked down, and even buried by the current landowner. The location of some markers has changed significantly in the past 75 years and many are now in undignified or threatened locations, placed in storage, or moved to a location without historical relevance.
Texas celebrated its history in 1936, with huge crowds of Texans marveling at the accomplishments of the state in the first 100 years since independence from Mexico. Now we must ensure that our 1936 Centennial Markers survive to the Texas Bicentennial and beyond.