Did you know there are Caddo Burial Mounds in Texas? I didn't either. It makes sense considering that the Caddo Indians were in Texas over 1000 years before the rest of us got here. 

This story actually started several months ago when my son Tyler and I made a trip to the Houston area for a Big 40th birthday party for my son-in-law Justin. On the way back from that adventure we came up through Huntsville and went cross-country along the OSR (Old San Antonio Road) better known these days as State Highway 21.

This OSR route played significant roles in Texas history and the quickest way you might notice that is there are a ton of the signs below along this highway.

Texas Historical Marker Sigh Hwy 21 - OST - Google Maps
Texas Historical Marker Sigh Hwy 21 - OST - Google Maps
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Seems like every mile or two there was another historical marker sign coming up on the left or right.

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site sign - JimWeaver
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site sign - JimWeaver
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The trip back to Texarkana would reveal to us for the first time these Caddo Indian Mounds. As we approached them, believe it or not, what they were flashed in my head, I even said out loud, "Those look like Indian burial mounds." Amazingly enough, I was right! That doesn't happen that often so forgive me if I dwell on it, just for a moment.

There, I feel better.

Caddo Mounds 2 - JimWeaver
Caddo Mounds 2 - JimWeaver
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We didn't have time to stop that day so I made a mental note to check them out another time. The next opportunity was a few months later when, this time my wife and I, were on our way back from a grandbaby visit. Of course, I got permission from the boss sitting next to me first to stop at the Caddo Mounds, she was all for it.

Caddo Mounds - JimWeaver
Caddo Mounds - JimWeaver
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The thing we didn't know at the time was the Historic site is closed on Monday, anybody like to guess what day it was? Ding, ding, ding, you win the prize!

So, bad timing aside, the gate was open and a landscaping crew was in there hard at work so we whipped in to take a couple of quick photos from the parking lot.

Caddo Grass House - JimWeaver
Caddo Grass House - JimWeaver
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The story goes that around 1200 years ago, the Caddo Indians occupied this land with a village, farms, and grass houses like the one pictured above, and of course burial mounds as well. Later, the Caddo were forced to move off their native lands and onto a Reservation in Oklahoma. I hope some of those wrongs have been corrected over the years, but it's nice to see the Texas Historical Commission preserving real sites like this and telling the stories that go with them along with the Caddo.

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site Visitors Center - JimWeaver
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site Visitors Center - JimWeaver
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It appears that a new visitor center is just about finished and just in time for Cado Culture Day coming up on Saturday, September 2, 2023. There will be artisans, vendors food booths, along with a chance to learn more about the Caddo people. Cross your fingers, they're hoping the Alabama-Coushatta Pow-Wow Club will be on hand to serve up Indian tacos!

Koo Hoot Kiwat-Caddo Grass House construction - YouTube
Koo Hoot Kiwat-Caddo Grass House construction - YouTube screenshot
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Be sure you watch the video below of how they constructed the Koo Hoot Kiwat, the Caddo Grass House on this site. Traditional materials with modern building techniques and tools. Pretty cool!

The Caddo Mounds Historic Site is located off Hwy 21 just outside of Alto, Texas which is about 26 miles west of Nacogdoches.

MAP

I probably wouldn't classify this stop in Texas History as a primary destination unless they have a special event taking place, but it sure is a great place to stop along the way to or from your trip's main focus. I can't wait to try again to get inside the visitors center and learn more about these amazing people that lived in the Great State of Texas long before it was.

Learn more about the Caddo Indian Mounds Historic Site at their official website and Facebook Page.

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