Historic Burnet Park opens in Lynchburg

COMMISSIONER SYLVIA GARCIA and descendent Hazen Burnet share the honor of cutting the ribbon to open the new David G. Burnet Historical Park. Joining in the ceremony is Jim Strouhal of the Highlands Heritage project

LYNCHBURG– Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia has a dream for her district, and last Saturday she inaugurated one of the first in a series of landmarks that will occur throughout the precinct. Project Stars, as she calls the San Jacinto Texas Historical District, was conceived to have 26 locations that will highlight the history, the strengths, and the future of the land and its people.
Fittingly, the first major enhancement was the site of the homestead of Texas’ first president, David G. Burnet. Garcia said “We are at the North end of a great trail for Texas Independence. You can follow the road south, to the site of Old Lynchburg, and of course the Lynchburg Ferry. Battleground Road will become Independence Parkway, with markers all the way to Highway 146. She said that the plan for the park also included future construction of a building that will be an open pavilion resembling the original house.
Garcia was joined in the ceremonial ribbon cutting by local residents and organizations. These included sponsor groups Midtown Engineers, Highlands Rotary Club, Henderson Cooking Team, Highlands/Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce, and the entertainers, the Coastliners. Also on hand were politicians, veterans, and county officials.
These included veterans J. R. Castillo and Frank Rangel, and Minister Rev. Tommy Meekins, who lives next to the site.
A special guest was a living relative, Hazen Burnet of Florida, who spoke about the history of the family, starting with their involvement in the Revolutionary War and their help to General George Washington in his battles in New Jersey. Hazen was a great nephew of David Burnet many generations removed.

This small but important park is the historic site of the plantation and home of David G. Burnet, the first president of the Republic of Texas. This park gives an opportunity to demonstrate the proud history of David Burnet and his role in Texas and U. S. history.
For over 30 years Burnet and his wife Hannah lived in their 4 room brick home on Burnet Bay, where they could watch the Lynchburg Ferry cross the San Jacinto river to the land that was to become a battleground of Texas independence.
Commissioner Garcia said that Burnet Park is part of the master plan for the parks of Precinct 2. It is one of the 32 parks within the Harris County Pct. 2 park system.
In addition to offering recreation, the park has been designed to provide the community, neighborhood and school groups with an interactive outdoor learning environment.
To this end, a series of plaques on the history of the Republic and the State of Texas, and Burnet’s part in their development, have been placed throughout a walking path around the park. Visitors can learn about the whole history of the Republic and Burnet simply by following the path and reading the inscriptions.
In her dedication remarks, Commissioner Garcia mentioned that it was 172 years ago, March 16, 1836 that the Republic of Texas named Burnet as its first president.
She said that over the course of developing the park in the last two years, an archaeological dig was conducted, and exhaustive studies on the history of the homestead were made.
“But, there is more to be done here,” she said. “We want to erect a statue of Burnet here in our park.”
The statue will be paid for by donations, which included monies from a chicken dinner that was served during the day.
Other events included pony rides, a rock climbing wall, a permanent playground, and historical costumed reenactors. Also entertaining the hundreds of people that attended was the music group The Coastliners.
The park was designed by Sheila Condon of Clark Condon landscape architects, and built by Jerdon Enterprises.