EL CAMINO REAL HISTORIC TRAIL LEADERS
TOUR FROM LAREDO TO LOUISIANA
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association leaders are touring the
route of El Camino Real de los Tejas from Laredo to Louisiana.
Background of the Trail:
In October, 2004, President George Bush signed into law a new national historic trail,
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail. By creating this Trail,
recognition was given to its importance in connecting Mexico and Louisiana. The Trail
is not one single pathway but a series of Trails beginning in l691 with the upper
trail, commonly called the l691 Trail. The National Park Service was given the
responsibility of developing a management plan for the development of the Trail. As
the result of the work of the National Park Service in Milam County, six sites of high
potential interest were identified. All but one of these sites was visited by NPS
personnel in preparation for the development of the management plan. Sites identified
include Apache Pass, the three San Xavier Missions and Sugarloaf Mountain.
Background of the Association:
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association was formed in 2007. The
National Historic Trail was created by Congress in 2004. The mission of the
Association is to work with the National Park Service to protect the historic integrity
of the trail, recognize its contributions to tourism and economic development along its
path, and educate the public about its resources and recreational opportunities. The
overall goal is to build strong citizen's groups to support the Trail.
“We can have a greater appreciation for the places we live in by understanding the
cultural and natural history of the area.”
Contact: For more information, please call Todd Olsen (512) 731-3213 or Steven
Gonzales (512) 850-9073. And visit www.elcaminotrail.org for membership information
Milam County and El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail
On April 23, 2005, the Milam County Historical Commission sponsored the first symposium
in Texas to tell about the newly created Trail. Approximately 300 persons attended.
Keynote speakers included Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Dr. Frank de la Teja, Dr.
Archie McDonald, Al McGraw, Dr. Haskell Munroe, Honorable Corinne Lindy Boggs,
Louisiana, and National Parks Service representatives Dr. Jere Krakow and John Conoboy.
Dr. Lucile Estell served on the 2007 State Task Force to develop the State Board of
Directors. She continues to serve as Vice President of the Board. Joy Graham was
reelected in October as Secretary to serve through 2013.
State Archeologist began follow up research in 2006 at San Xavier Mission Sites. Their
continued work which has included Dr Kathleen Gilmore, who led the work in 1969 that
resulted in the three missions being listed in the National Register of Historic
places, has resulted in verifying the location of Mission Candelaria. Work is on going
to determine the site of the Presidio on land in the Apache Pass area.
Milam County Historical Commission’s Certified Local Government Committee surveyed
Milam County. The results of the survey are documented and are ongoing under the
County’s Certified Local Government Committee. The 1691 route of the Trail is
documented in the county map.
“Milam County, Cities and Gause Community” is under development and sponsored through
the Certified Local Government Committee. This map will be distributed through the 40
counties on the national trail, placed in the 10 Texas Tourist Stations of Texas, State
Fair of Texas and used to market this area of Texas. Maps will be published and
distributed in January 2010.
The site of the missions and apache pass is located on private property. Land along the
Apache Pass crossing is developed into a park area. An outdoor altar was built on the
San Xavier Mission site with permission of the property owner. The altar has been
used in the month of October by the Catholic Church for memorial services in honor of
the work of the Catholic Missionaries.
Four Regions including a total of 40 counties are included in the Texas National Trail.
Milam County is one of the 12 counties in the Brazos Region of the State Trail.
Talking points developed by: Lucile Estell & Joy Graham
Date: November 16, 2009
Trail meeting puts spotlight on Milam history
Frank Summers, Milam County Judge
Rockdale Reporter, November 26, 2009
Last week I had the privilege of introducing Steven Gonzales, the Executive Director of
the National Trails Association. The occasion was to highlight the tour of the El
Camino de los Tejas trail by Mr. Gonzales. The tour will take him from Louisiana to
In Oct. 2004, President George Bush signed into law a new national historic trail, El
Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail. By creating this Trail, recognition
was given to its importance in connecting Mexico and Louisiana. The Trail is not one
single pathway but a series of Trails beginning in l691 with the upper trail, commonly
called the l691 Trail.
As the result of the work of the National Park Service (NPS) in Milam County, six sites
of high potential interest were identified. All but one of these sites has been visited
by NPS personnel in preparation for the development of the management plan. Sites
identified include Apache Pass, the three San Xavier Missions and Sugarloaf Mountain.
The trail is somewhat special to the local Milam Historical Commission. In 2005, the
Commission sponsored the first symposium in Texas to tell about the newly created
trail. Approximately 300 persons attended.
Keynote speakers included Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Dr. Frank de la Teja, Dr. Archie
McDonald ,Al McGraw, Dr.Haskell Munroe, Honorable Corinne Lindy Boggs, Louisiana, and
National Parks Service representatives Dr. Jere Krakow and John Conoboy.
Members of the Commission are to be commended on their efforts in getting the trail
recognized. They should also be applauded for working with NPS in identifying
significant historical sites along the trail. The identification of these sites could
lead to increased tourism in the county.
Tourism ranks as one of the top industries that bring money into Texas. This is a good
kind of industry in that the money stays and the tourists move on. Identification of
the trail and its historical landmarks could be another resource that Milam County
We are blessed in Milam County with many resources, including water, fertile farm and
ranchlands, coal and other minerals to name a few. History is another resource that
Milam County has in abundance.
Milam was one of the original 23 counties in Texas. Named in honor of Benjamin Rush
Milam, it at one time comprised one sixth of the land area of Texas. The counties of
Bell, Bosque, Burleson, Coryell, Erath, Falls, Hamilton, Hood, Jones, McLennan,
Robertson, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, and Williamson were all originally part of
the original Milam County. In addition, Brazos, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Comanche,
Eastland, Haskell, Hill, Johnson, Lampasas, Lee, Limestone, Mills, Palo Pinto, Parker,
Stonewall, Throckmorton, and Young counties also received land from Milam County.
If you are not familiar with Milam history, you should take time to learn more. One
Commission member, Mary Ann Eanes, has compiled a publication entitled “Milam County
Courthouse and its People.” Preserve Our Past Committee members and members of the
Milam County Historical Commission edited the book.
The book costs $40 and you can purchase them at the Milam County Museum, the County
Judge’s Office. All proceeds from the book go to supporting the Historical Commission.
They will make a great Christmas gift!
El Camino Real Group Introduces Director
Rockdale Reporter, November 19, 2009
A press conference focusing on the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic was
scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, on the west steps of the Milam County
Courthouse to introduce the trial’s newly appointed executive director.
Steven Gonzales has studied missions and presidios of colonial Spain in Texas and has
worked with members of National Scenic and Historic Trails across the country.
Andrew Sansom is head of the El Camino de los Tejas National Historic Trail
Sansom is head of the Texas River Institute in San Marcos and was previously head of
the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
According to local historian Joy Graham, Milam County is located on what is commonly
referred to as the 1691 trail which ran from the Detmold area to Apache Pass then
splits with part moving east through what is now Rockdale and part running northeast
through the current Cameron area.
Graham said sites of high interest have been identified along the trail by the National
Park Service at the site of the San Xavier Missions, Apache Pass and Sugarloaf Mountain