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Archaeological Survey Of The American Legion Park For The City Of Rosebud, Falls County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
In June and July 2016, American Archaeology Group LLC conducted an archaeological survey of 23.21 acres of the existing American Legion Park in Rosebud, Texas. The investigation consisted of a pedestrian survey supported with mechanical trenching and shovel tests. The entire project right-of-way has been severely impacted by road construction, utilities installation, and previously used as a trash dump. The City of Rosebud plans to construct a hike and bike trail and place surface recreational facilities with minimal impacts.
One historic archaeological site was identified and recorded as 41FA90. The site was recorded as 136.2 meters long and 58.8 meters in width, totaling 7,329 square meters in size. This site contains four historic features, of which two were relocated to the park area from other localities. The first historic feature was the old American Legion building that is actually a pier and beam wooden building known as “Old Hilltop School” that was originally constructed in 1921 and then moved into the American Legion Park in the 1950s. The building measured 75.5 feet by 38 feet and appears to AAG to be of Minimal Traditional style. In the March 8, 1963 Rosebud News, there is a small reference to a bandstand located behind the Legion Hall but no remains were located during the course of the current project. The American Legion Building has been referred to locally for many years as “The Caywood Center” in honor and memory of Mr. Brodie Lee Caywood. Mr. Caywood was born on March 7, 1894 in a small community named Minerva, which is located in Milam County. During World War I, Mr. Caywood enlisted as a Private in the U.S. Army, serving in Company M, 9th Infantry, 2nd Division. He was later killed on April 14, 1918 in France after fighting in Chateau-Thierry, Soissons, St. Mihiel, Champagne, and Argone. He was buried initially in France but later interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in 1921 (Rosebud, Texas). Mr. Caywood never married and had no children. The American Legion honored Mr. Caywood in naming their new Brodie Lee Caywood Post 329 in Rosebud, within the American Legion Park (The Hilltop School Building), on April 28, 1922. The American Legion Post is no longer active. The City of Rosebud is contemplating what to do with this building, therefore, AAG believes that the building is not eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) nor worthy of designation as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL). AAG recommends that the City of Rosebud consult with the Texas Historical Commission, Architecture Division, and the History Division prior to any restoration or other impacts to this building
The second historic feature located on this site was a Bowstring pony truss bridge made by King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio from Carnegie steel which was placed across Salt Creek and used as a pedestrian bridge within the park, and also known as the Hope Memorial Bridge. During the project, very little was known as to when the bridge was built or when it was placed within the park. Archival research into these issues resulted in locating news articles in the Rosebud News indicating that the bridge was removed from its original location and moved to the park in 1963. The bridge apparently was taken from the FM 1671 at Wilson West to Bell County line and was 80 feet long and 12 feet wide in size (Rosebud News, March 29, 1963). The Rosebud News (July 5, 1963) reported that the “Legion Park has new attraction, a 90 foot [actually 80 foot] steel antique bridge built by
King Iron Works in 1867. The span was taken from across Pond Creek last year and replaced with a new bridge, Falls Precinct No.3 Commissioner Felix Neimast gained the authority from either County Court members to place the bridge in the Legion Park, and the bridge was moved in Monday morning [July 1, 1963] from Lott where it had been repaired and painted. The same article also appeals to the public for donations to cover the costs of the wood flooring for the bridge. According to the July 12, 1963 edition of the Rosebud News, Sterling McClanhan, Falls County Engineer was mentioned using a winch truck to position the bridge over the creek in the park, using the County Road & Bridge Department. The historic Hope Memorial Iron Bridge appears to be eligible for inclusion on the NRHP and worthy of SAL designation to protect and preserve this very unique bridge. The City of Rosebud has plans to engage in restoration of this historic bridge and AAG recommends that prior to any restoration efforts that the Texas Historical Commission, Architecture Division and the History Division be consulted.
The third historic feature located on the site was the historic swimming pool. The swimming pool was filled in with gravel and soil, and was more discernible while reviewing aerial photography on Google Earth. Archival research identified that a flurry of interest began in Rosebud in the Fall of 1962 when community leaders formed the Rosebud Recreation Club and launched plans to build a modern pool that would be 30 feet wide and 70 feet long, fully equipped and lighted swimming pool with filtration equipment (Rosebud News, September 14, 1962). The article further indicated that fourteen citizens wrote checks totaling $2,600 to build the swimming pool. The pool was named the “Parkview Pool” after seventh grader Jerry Mayer suggested the name during a naming contest (Rosebud News, May 17, 1963). The news articles suggest that the swimming pool was constructed sometime between September 1962 and May 1963. The pool has been filled in and is currently protected. The fourth historic feature was a cement foundation remnant that represents the remains of the swimming pool dressing room. Due to its fragmentary condition, and partial coverage by sod and grass, the estimated size was recorded as 10 x 25 feet in dimensions. AAG recommends that this area not be impacted and be preserved, perhaps with a historical marker at the location detailing the early Rosebud Recreation Club. The pool and concrete slab are not considered eligible for inclusion on the NRHP nor worthy of SAL designation.
American Archaeology Group LLC recommends that construction be allowed to proceed as planned. It is always possible that buried cultural materials can be missed during any Phase I survey. Therefore, should any sites be found during the construction of this proposed water line, all work within the site area should cease until the situation can be evaluated by the Texas Historical Commission, in consultation with American Archaeology Group LLC, and the City of Rosebud
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