Palmetto State Park, named for the tropical dwarf palmetto plant found there, is 270.3 acres located in Gonzales County, northwest of Gonzales and southeast of Luling. The park abuts the San Marcos River and also has a four-acre oxbow lake. The land was acquired by deeds from private owners and the city of Gonzales in 1934 to 1936, and was opened in 1936. The beautiful stone buildings in the park were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s.
- More information on CCC construction at Palmetto State Park from The Look of Nature: Designing Texas State Parks During the Great Depression
Local Area History: Gonzales was established in 1825. It was the capital of Impresario Green DeWitt's colony and was the farthest west Anglo settlement until the close of the Texas Revolution. In 1831, the Mexican government sent a six-pound cannon to Gonzales as protection against the Indians. This cannon was used in the "Come and Take It" Battle on Oct. 2, 1835, when the first shot of the Texas Revolution was fired. While in Gonzales, Gen. Sam Houston learned of the defeat of the Alamo from Mrs. Almeron (Susannah) Dickinson. Mrs. Dickinson, her baby, and two servants were the only survivors of the siege. After learning of this event, Gen. Houston gathered troops and ordered Gonzales to be burned. He then began the famous "runaway scrape," gaining time and mustering troops to eventually take a stand at San Jacinto. There, Santa Anna was defeated and Texas gained its freedom from Mexico. Today, Gonzales has a population of 7,500. It offers an unusually large selection of antique shopping, dining, lodging (bed and breakfasts and motels), recreation (city park with nine-hole golf course, boating, fishing, swimming pool, picnicking, camping, bird-watching and nature study), historic home tours (restored homes dating from the 1880s to the 1920s), and the Gonzales Memorial Museum.
Luling was established in 1874 and served as a gathering point and supply center for cattle drivers along the Chisholm Trail. Cotton ruled the economy until oil was discovered in 1922. By 1924, the oil field was producing 16 million barrels of oil per year. Today, Luling has a population of 5,500. It offers a year-round farmer's market, antique and collectible shopping, dining (including world-famous barbecue), lodging (motels), recreation (city park with a nine-hole golf course, a swimming pool, and picnicking), the Central Texas Oil Patch Museum, and nearly 200 colorfully decorated pump jacks within the city limits.