History

How Enchanted Rock Almost Became a Texas Version of Mount Rushmore

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Texas is known for having or being the biggest and best of most things… most things. For example: though the Grand Canyon is the largest canyon in the United States, we have the second largest at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. We also have an Eiffel Tower of sorts in Paris, Texas, and our state Capitol building was inspired by the nation’s Capitol. But did you know Enchanted Rock almost became a Texas version of Mount Rushmore, with the faces of Texas legends carved on the stone?

In an article posted by DailyTrib.com, it was noted that an offer to sculpt the famous granite dome came from an interesting source. “Once word spread that Enchanted Rock was for sale, the Moss family received all sorts of offers from quarries and developers. One Dallas developer wanted to build townhomes there,” writer Jennifer Fierro noted. But the most fascinating proposal came from a man named Lincoln Borglum, who was the son of Guzon Borglum, the designer of Mount Rushmore. It seems Lincoln wanted to continue the family business. He proposed to sculpt a monument that would honor the great heroes of Texas on the face of Enchanted Rock.

How Enchanted Rock Almost Became a Texas Version of Mount Rushmore

Photo: Facebook/Gary Paukert

In fact, according to dailytrib.com, this now famed hallmark of the Texas Hill Country at one time was held in private hands. “Sam Maverick was one of its first known owners. A legendary Texas investor, land baron, and cattleman, Samuel Augustus Maverick signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. A man who refused to brand his cattle, his name came to stand for anyone with an independent spirit. He settled in San Antonio with his family in the late 1800s and owned both the property and the mineral rights to Enchanted Rock. After Maverick died in 1870, his widow sold the property to N.P.P. Browne. In 1886, John R. Moss bought it then gave ownership to C.T. Moss, J.D. Slaytor, and A.F. Moss a year later.” Following that, Charles Moss took possession of the property, and opened it to the public for camping and socials. He made an offer to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1978, to sell Enchanted Rock for $1.3 million. At first, they declined. However, former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, who was heavily involved with the Nature Conservancy, coordinated the purchase of the land by that organization which, in turn, sold it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

How Enchanted Rock Almost Became a Texas Version of Mount Rushmore

Photo: Facebook/Heidemarie Zeyfang

Going back further still, the history and legends that surround Enchanted Rock have been covered extensively by writer Robert C. Deming. His passion for the land and natural area that surrounds it is evident in his articles. He’s shared many a local’s similar enthusiasm and knowledge in order that readers could better identify with its past and why it’s already a type of monument in and of itself. Could you imagine what it would have looked like had Lincoln Borglum been approved by the Moss family to sculpt Texas heroes into the face of Enchanted Rock? Who do you think he would’ve chosen to honor? How would this have changed the face (no pun intended) of this peaceful part of the Texas Hill Country we’ve come to know and love as an outdoor recreation space? And finally, do you think that we should’ve had our Texas version of Mount Rushmore on Enchanted Rock?