HISTORY OF THOUSAND TRAILS
In 1836 General Santa Ana's fight against Sam Houston and the Texicans fought the bloody battle of San Jacinto winning their sovereignty as a Republic. However, the town of Columbus was burned to the ground with Santa Ana's retreat. In 1844 Congress finally agreed to annex the territory of Texas, and on December 29, 1845 Texas joined the United States as a slave state. However, Columbus was rebuilt and in the next 50 years Columbus grew into a center of justice, commerce and culture. The first courts were held under a towering live oak tree, which still stands next to the present day courthouse. The economy grew steadily since Columbus was the fording point of the big cattle drives and the turn-around for the paddle-wheelers. Then the railroad came to and through Columbus making things that much better. John Stafford was the boss cattle baron of this area, who established the Stafford Bank and Opera House, which brought the glitter of stage productions to the frontier, hosting famous opera star Lillian Russell and Harry Houdini on numerous occasions. A pioneer by the name of Shaw, motivated by the abundance of game and rich virgin soil along the Colorado River moved out of the town of Columbus and established himself along the river. Soon many other settlers poured into the area and followed Shaw's lead also settling along the curving stretch of the river, which later became known as "SHAW'S BEND."
Following a few principal family skirmishes the principals started dying off and for a time Columbus would be passed by history. As the years passed, Columbus was spared the curse of concrete and steel, crime and pollution which moved on to growing cities like Houston and San Antonio, its river still ran clear and her forests were still filled with an abundance of whitetails, Houston became synonymous with dynamism, money and power; but Columbus became a sanctuary for the human spirit
In 1890 a man named Ernst Tietscherts bought acreage on Shaw's Bend. The land had overgrown and as a consequence game had moved away. Ernst Tietscherts implemented a plan of land development which was years ahead of its time, and for three generations of Tietscherts land ownership, prior to the formal concept of Ecology; they sought to effect the maximum productivity of the land, and protect the wild life by preserving areas of natural habitats. Domestic pecan and fruit orchards were established, and vegetables and grain crops were farmed, ponds excavated, wells dug and all manner of cows were brought in. Buildings were constructed to last, fence posts, water troughs, water towers and even an entire paved road system were constructed with concrete. Finally, around 1952 the deer returned; then by 1970 wild turkey, coyotes and wolves followed.
Finally by 1982, a different type of pioneer came to Texas, men of a new vision with a special project in mind. They represented and organization from the far West, called THOUSAND TRAILS and they were dedicated to finding, improving and preserving areas of outstanding natural beauty for the enjoyment of their member families. Free access to open lands had become scarce. Across the United States, national and state parks were being visited and camped beyond capacity. There was an urgent demand for preserves prepared for the needs of family recreation protected by 24-hour security. Thousand Trails rose to that challenge, establishing membership campgrounds from Southern California to British Columbia in Canada. Then the Thousand Trails organization turned to TEXAS, a new territory in growth potential. Seeking the most beautiful locations possible, here in the Columbus area they found such a location. Though hardly a stereotype of Texas, Columbus is not an expanse of desert, sand and cactus, but rather a convergence of the coastal grasslands, stands of pine and forests of oak timber. Throughout the Colorado County they could find no prettier land than the area of "Shaw's Bend", and its shining star, the Tietscherts' land that sprawled upon it, which became TT Colorado River RV Campground, with sites for RVs, tents and cabins.
Camping is not the only benefit to this campground. For the hunter or bird watcher there is plenty to keep you busy. It has the largest deer population in the state, dove and quail are abundant, Pheasant have recently been introduced into the area. The migratory bird hunting is outstanding with Eagle Lake, the self proclaimed "Goose Hunting Capital of the World" only 18 miles away; and another 6 miles out (also in Eagle Lake Tx) will take you to the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge.
NEXT BLOG POST: 2018 - MARCH, TT LAKE MEDINA (San Antonio, TX)