Texas Historical Commission


Raba Kistner Environmental, Inc. (RKEI), was contracted by DUNAWAY Associates, L.P. (CLIENT), on behalf of San Antonio River Authority (SARA), to perform cultural resources investigations for the proposed Escondido Creek Linear Park Project in Kenedy, Karnes County, Texas. The project is sponsored by SARA, with public funding from the City of Kenedy. The undertaking will consist of the construction of a hike and bike trail, trailhead parking areas, a small amphitheater, parking spaces, picnic units, a playground, pavilion, associated restroom facilities, and two pedestrian bridges/weirs, within a 24.7 acre tract, along the banks of Escondido Creek. The undertaking will impact portions of Escondido Creek, a water of the United States, and lands owned by the City of Karnes. As such, the proposed undertaking is subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 United States Code 470) and its implementing regulations (36 Code of Federal Regulation 800), as well as the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT).

The purpose of the investigations were to identify any surface-exposed or buried cultural deposits within the Area of Potential Effects (APE) and, if feasible, assess their significance and eligibility for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NHRP). Investigations included an intensive pedestrian survey augmented with shovel testing and backhoe trenching, and a Historic Resources Assessment. All work was performed in compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA and the ACT under ACT Permit No. 8435.

The cultural resources investigations were conducted over the course of three days, May 18, 22, and 23, 2018. Antonio E. Padilla served as the Principal Investigator for the project. Staff Archaeologist Chris Matthews and Archaeologist Jason Whitaker conducted the pedestrian survey and shovel testing. Backhoe trenching was conducted by Project Archaeologist Rhiana D. Ward, with the assistance of Staff Archaeologist Chris Matthews. Rhiana D. Ward also conducted the Historic Resources Assessment.

A background review of the direct and indirect APE was conducted prior to investigations. The background review revealed that no previous cultural resource investigations or archaeological sites have been conducted or recorded within the direct or indirect APE. In addition to the background review, a review of the 1950, 1955, 1961, 1981, 1989, 1995, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 historical aerial photographs of the area was conducted. The historical aerial photograph review revealed potential historic resources along the eastern and central portions of the indirect APE. Additionally, the historical aerial photographs revealed that the majority of the direct APE along Escondido Creek has been mechanically altered due to the construction of US Highway 181, the realignment of the creek channel, and during flood prevention activities sometime prior to 1981.

During the pedestrian survey, evidence of disturbance from the mechanical impacts were observed. Impacts consisted of grading and widening of the flood plain along the creek channel. Visual inspection of the surface identified modern trash scattered along areas near the US Highway 181 Bridge and along North 5th Street. Scatters of modern trash were also observed in areas where two-track roads intersected the two surface roads. Modern trash observed consisted of clear and brown glass sherds, paper, and plastic fragments.

As part of the pedestrian survey, RKEI excavated 13 shovel tests (CM01–CM07 and JW01–JW06) along transects no greater than 98 feet (30 m) apart. Shovel tests were excavated at intervals between 328 and 492 feet (100 and 150 m) in areas where surface visibility was below 30 percent. Of the 13 shovel tests excavated, one (JW04) was positive for cultural materials. Cultural materials were encountered at a depth between 7.87 inches and 1.97 feet (20 and 60 cm) below surface and consisted of an two sherds of undecorated white earthenware and a piece of clear glass at a depth of 3.94 to 7.87 inches (10 to 20 cm), a piece of clear glass and an unidentifiable metal fragment at a depth of 11.81 to 15.75 inches (30 to 40 cm) and a bovine tooth at a depth of 1.64 to 1.97 feet (50 to 60 cm). Due to the presence of possible historic material encountered at a depth between 3.94 to 7.87 inches (10 to 20 cm), six additional shovel tests (CM08-CM10 and JW07-JW09) were excavated to further investigate the findings. During the excavation of the six additional shovel tests, one (JW09), was positive for cultural materials. Cultural materials encountered within JW09 consisted of a metal can top with can piercer (church key) punctures, an undecorated white earthenware sherd, and single pieces of clear and brown glass, at a depth between 3.93 and 7.87 inches (10 and 20 cm). An unidentified metal fragment and a piece of clear glass was encountered at a depth of 11.81 inches and 1.31 feet (30 and 40 cm). Due to the historic age cultural materials encountered within the two shovel tests within 30 meters of each other and more than three artifacts being recovered from a shovel test, the findings were designated as site 41KA216.

Site 41KA216 is a 150 feet east/west by 39 feet north/south (46 m east/west by 12 m north/south) ephemeral historic scatter. The historic cultural materials encountered are most likely related to an early twentieth century homestead that is depicted on the 1950, 1955, and 1967 historical aerial photographs of the area. During the investigations, the historic cultural materials were encountered, mixed with modern cultural materials within two shovel tests at a depth of 3.93 to 7.87 inches (10 to 20 cm) below surface. Due to the mixed context and limited historic cultural materials, lack of a structure or other cultural features, and previous impacts within the APE, site 41KA216 lacks potential to provide additional information contributing to the regional history of the area. As such, RKEI assesses site 41KA216 as NOT ELIGIBLE for listing on the NRHP and no further work is recommended.

In addition to the excavation of 20 shovel tests within the direct APE, RKEI excavated eight backhoe trenches (BHTs). BHT were excavated to a depths reaching 6 to 8.43 feet (1.83 to 2.57 m) below surface. Of the eight BHTs excavated, six were located along the channel of Escondido Creek, one was located within the proposed area of the amphitheater, and one was located in the area of the proposed restrooms. Excavation of the BHTs revealed evidence of disturbance along the channel of Escondido Creek. As previously mentioned, the central portion of the channel within the direct APE had been realigned during the construction of the US Highway 181 Bridge, realignment of the creek channel, and flood prevention activities. During the excavation of BHT03–BHT06, evidence of disturbance was observed, with the mixing of modern materials and historic materials reaching depths of 7.87 to 4.5 feet (20 cm to 1.37 m) below surface. No significant cultural materials or cultural features were observed.

In compliance with Section 106, the indirect effects of the proposed project was considered. RKEI conducted a Historic Resource Assessment of a 150-feet (46 m) radius of the direct APE. Right-of-entry was not obtained for any properties beyond the direct APE, therefore the survey was conducted from the public right-of-way. As a result of the assessment, six historic resources (HR 1–6) were identified, including three commercial buildings, two residential dwellings, and one shed. No resources were considered potentially eligible for listing on the NRHP.

In accordance with 33 CFR 800.4, RKEI has made a good faith effort in identifying cultural resources within the direct and indirect APE. Based on the results of the investigations, RKEI recommends that a NO HISTORIC PROPERTIES AFFECTED determination be made for the proposed undertaking and no further cultural resources investigations area warranted within the defined APE of the project. However, should changes be made to the project APE, further work may be required.

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