The siege and fall of the Alamo in 1836 are touchstone events in the history of Texas. “Remember the Alamo!” Was a battle cry heard everywhere in Texas after the defenders were put to the sword. It is still heard today. Reenactments of the battle take place in late February and early March drawing thousands of visitors to Alamo Plaza in San Antonio. They tend to be elaborate affairs with dozens of participants in period dress and equipped with authentic weapons. The battle scenes can be quite noisy with cannon and rifle fire.
Northwest of Llano on state highway 71 is the small crossroads village of Pontotoc. It has a few inhabitants, a winery which is the sole major business and a group of spectacular ruins from the nineteenth century. Besides the ruins there are many other interesting artifacts in the area to see and photograph. Fortunately the current residents are tolerant of strangers poking around.
The major ruins in the village are of the San Fernando Academy founded in 1882. It was short lived as a private academy but continued as a public school until around 1927. The area prospered for a few years at the beginning of the twentieth century. Then in the late 1940s a fire which started in the local movie theatre destroyed most of the commercial buildings in the town. Pontotoc never recovered.
There are ruins of residential buildings constructed of beautiful native stone just a hundred yards from the academy. They may have been occupied by school staff members. Within a couple of miles there are also historic cemeteries that are worth exploring. On good years the spring wildflower bloom is spectacular for fifty miles or more around the village. In winter the rolling hills reveal the richness that enticed many settlers to this country.
Pontotoc is well off the tourist track so you have to make an effort to get there. Seeing the well preserved ruins is an interesting day trip.
The experts say it is weather not climate change. The extreme year to year changes are just normal fluctuation. When a butterfly flaps its wings in China the wind blows in Texas. Maybe so but lately people have been swimming for their lives on one part of the globe and desperate for moisture in other places. Where I live the average temperature is up, up and away. A scary trend if it is one.
Just last year one reservoir in the Hill Country was seventy feet below normal water level. Last week it was full and overflowing. It’s just the weather not climate change. I’m not sure where all those Pacific islanders are going to live a few years. Closer to home I’m not sure where people in Miami and New Orleans will live either. Get ready to meet your new neighbors. They may be a little damp or perhaps very thirsty.