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Sebastopol House State Historic Site

Celebrate Texas independence – and learn about limecrete – at Sebastopol.

By Sheryl Smith-Rodgers

Texas history ranks high at Navarro Intermediate School in Geronimo. "We build a replica of the Alamo, we talk about the Alamo, and we reenact the Battle of the Alamo," says music teacher Marjorie Peters. "Plus, our campus is named for Jose Antonio Navarro, who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence."

It's quite appropriate, then, that the school's fourth-grade choir will sing and sign Texas songs as part of the annual "Toast to Texas" celebration, set for March 2 – the day Texas declared its independence from Mexico in 1836 – at Sebastopol House State Historic Site in Seguin.

Members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, together with state and city officials, host the Lone Star event, which starts at 1:30 p.m. on Sebastopol's lawn – rain or shine. "We sometimes get rained on but never rained out," says Park Superintendent Georgia Davis. "We have 'Toast to Texas' no matter what."

Local dignitaries will read the names of 58 delegates who signed the declaration and also a plea for aid written by Alamo commander William B. Travis. At 2 p.m., the city's church bells will ring, then everyone will raise their bottles of Texas spring water for a "Toast to Texas," penned by the late Joe B. Frantz.

The stately Sebastopol House – completed 20 years after Texas won its independence – remains as one of about 20 surviving limecrete structures in Seguin. In the late 1840s, Dr. John Park, a physician and chemist, moved from Georgia to the Central Texas town. He patented a construction process that used water, gravel and lime to form limecrete bricks, an early form of concrete.

Before Park's death in 1872, nearly 90 limecrete structures stood in Seguin, then called "the Mother of Concrete Cities." Sebastopol – split level and Greek Revival in style – was abandoned in the 1960s and nearly demolished. The Seguin Conservation Society bought and restored the home to its 1880 appearance. In 1989, Sebastopol opened as a state historic site.

Exhibits include family furnishings, archaeological artifacts from the site, and information on limecrete. This month's featured display will include antique woodworking tools similar to what would have been used to build Sebastopol.

Sebastopol is located at 704 Zorn St. off Alternate Route 90 (Court Street) in Seguin. Day-use only. Free. Tour hours: Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, by appointment only. For more information, call (830) 379-4833, or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sebastopol.

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