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County
Cherokee
Region
Pineywoods
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Parks
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
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CaddoMounds State Historic Site Information:    
This 93.8 acre park was the most western ceremonial site of the Mound Builders of Caddoan who lived here from approximately 800 A.D. to 1300 A.D. They supported themselves by fishing in the nearby Neches River, and by hunting and farming. Remaining remnants of their culture include two temple mounds (a low temple mound, and a high temple Ceremonial mound), a burial mound, and a large portion of the Mound Builders' village. The mounds are located on the historic El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail. A 0.7 mile self-guided interpretive loop trail meanders through the site; a short branch trail leads to the borrow pit. A 1.5 hour guided tour is available. Group tours are available by appointment. Facilities include a picnic area, and the visitor center and gift shop featuring an interpretive center and restrooms. The Caddoan Mounds Site is wheelchair accessible. Texas Historical Markers are located at the High Temple Ceremonial Mound on SH 21, and on CR 2907 (Weeping Mary Road) at the Zebulon Pike Campsite. This SHS hosts special programs and events, and group tours by appointment. For more information read the Caddoan Mounds SHS BrochureCaddoan Mounds is located 6 miles southwest of Alto, Texas, on SH 21.  Area Map
 
Historic Mound Prairie, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Bulging out of the earth a few yards from this point, three prehistoric Indian mounds interrupt the prevailing flat terrain. Long overgrown with grass, the mounds and adjacent village (covering about 100 acres) constitute one of the major aboriginal sites in North America. From about 500 to 1100 A.D., Caddoan Indians inhabited the village, which lay near the southwest edge of a great mound-building culture. Called "Mississippian," this culture once flourished throughout the present eastern United States. Excavations during 1939-41 and 1968-69 showed two of the mounds to have had ceremonial purposes. One may have been capped with bright yellow clay and both apparently supported temples. The tallest mound (about 20 feet) revealed several major burials. The village, surrounding the mounds but not settled before they were built, contained many round houses that probably resembled giant bee hives. Thousands of pot fragments, some pipes, charred corn cobs and nuts, and flint points were found in the area. Centuries after its abandonment by the Indians, this region was again a center of civilization when, in 1690, the first Spanish mission in East Texas was built nearby to minister to the Neches Indians.” The marker is located 8 miles west of Alto on SH 2, just past Caddo Mounds State Park.
 
Historic Neches Indian Village, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Here at the opening of the 18th century stood a village of the Neches Indians. Their name was given to the river and later to a mission, San Francisco de los Neches, established nearby. With the Cherokees, the Neches Indians were expelled from Texas in 1839.” The marker is located 8 miles west of Alto on SH 21 just past Caddo Mounds State Park.
 
Historic Zebulon Pike, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“In 1807, under commission from Gen. James Wilkinson, Governor of the Louisiana Territory, Lt. Zebulon Pike led an expedition to explore the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers and to report on Spanish settlements in the New Mexico area. Heading south from present Colorado, where the party saw the mountain later named Pike's Peak for the expedition's leader, they were arrested by Spanish authorities. Under escort back to the United States, the party camped near this site on June 24, 1807. The Pike expedition furnished an important account of Spanish Texas and New Mexico.” The marker is located 7 miles west of Alto at Caddo Mounds State Park.
 
Neches River: 
The Neches River rises just east of Colfax in eastern Van Zandt County; it flows southeast for 416 miles to its mouth in Sabine Lake on the northern edge of Port Arthur, Texas. Except for a few miles near its head, the Neches serves as a boundary system for its entire length, forming the county lines between a several Texas counties. Reservoirs on the river include Lake Palestine, Lake B.A. Steinhagen near Town Bluff, and the small Rhine Lake located north of Palestine. Major tributaries include the Angelina River, which drains one-third of the basin area, Bayou La Nana, Ayish Bayou, Pine Island Bayou, Village Creek, Kickapoo Creek, and Flat Creek. Towns located along the river include Tyler, Beaumont, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Groves, Port Neches and Nederland.  Fish Stocking History
 
Birding - TEXAS PRAIRIES AND PINEYWOODS EAST BIRDING TRAIL:
Texas State Railroad Loop: Jacksonville, Rusk, Palestine
Texas Birds Checklist
Bird Checklist for Pineywoods of Eastern Texas
Gus Engeling WMA Bird Checklist, Tennessee Colony & Palestine
 
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site Directions:
From Alto, go six miles southwest on SH 21 to1649 SH 21 West, Alto, Texas 75925.