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

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