There are numerous projects going on in and around the Victoria area to preserve our history. Down in Fannin, the culmination of much hard work took place last Sunday to preserve a state park dedicated to the preservation of that history.

Sitting beneath the Fannin Battleground state park pavilion Sunday, fanning the breeze with an old-fashioned paddle fan, Georgia Lee Swickheimer and Myra Heard watched as their favorite park was reintroduced to the public.

A year's worth of renovations to the park are complete, at the cost of more than $500,000, and the ladies were front and center as the Texas Historical Commission rededicated the historic site to about 100 attendees - each of them fanning the Texas heat away from their faces. "I remember so many good times here," Heard, 64, told the Victoria Advocate. "The picnics we had every year were always my favorite. They've had them as long as I've been around."

Heard's grandfather E.N. Strong was the park's former groundskeeper, planting flowers and mowing the grass with cutters and a mule before the days of riding lawn mowers. He lived across the street from the park, Heard said, which made it easy for the entire family to frequent the park. "They planted this pine tree here together," she said. "It's at least 85 years old, or older."

The park commemorates the location of where Col. James W. Fannin surrendered to Mexican troops at the Battle of Coleto Creek on March 20, 1836, during the Texas War for Independence. Fannin and his 342 men were later executed in Goliad. The park itself is about 100 years old. Swickheimer's grandfather G.J. Swickheimer was one of the original Fannin residents who helped organize the historical site. "I was very pleased when I heard they were going to restore the park. It was in disrepair because the economy wasn't doing well," said the 75-year-old Fannin native, who is also a member of the Goliad County Historical Commission. "It's important to keep up the park because men fought and died here for this country and they made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. "For both ladies, the Fannin park has always been a place to celebrate and join the community for public celebrations, or simply stroll through the grounds and remember the past.

Upgrades include a new restroom building, upgrades to the bandstand with a historical exhibit on the lower level, and a new flag area and entrance.