Fort Parker State Park includes 1,458.8 acres (758.8 land acres and a 700-acre lake) between Mexia and Groesbeck, in Limestone County. It was opened to the public in 1941.
Fort Parker State Park was created in 1935 on land donated by the city of Mexia and three local landowners. The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed all the recreational facilities in the late 1930s and built a dam across the Navasota River in 1939, creating Fort Parker Lake.
The park was named for Fort Parker, a nearby historic settlement established in 1833 and the site of the well-known Comanche Indian raid in May 1836 during which Cynthia Ann Parker was captured. During captivity, Cynthia Ann became the mother of the last great Comanche chief, Quanah Parker. The old fort was reconstructed by the CCC as a 1936 centennial project.
The parklands encompass the historic town of Springfield. Springfield was established in 1838, and when Limestone County was created in 1847, the community became the first county seat. Springfield began to fade away in the early 1870s after the railroad bypassed the town and the courthouse burned. The county seat was moved to Groesbeck in 1873, the post office closed in 1878, and Springfield soon became a ghost town. Only the cemetery remains, the last resting place of many East Texas pioneers, including an American Revolutionary War veteran and two veterans of the Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution.
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