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Forgetting the Past

January 2020

By Ranger Amy

“Time slips away like grains of sand never to return again.”
~Robin Sharma

I am surprised at how easy it is to forget the past. One would think that hundreds of years must pass before the meaning of an object is lost. Yet, it doesn’t take that long.

Small concrete columnMystery culverts

Years ago, I came across a couple vertical concrete culverts in the thicket of the woods at the park. There was a long metal pipe inside them, but they were not connected to any known water lines. Why were they there, what were they? I asked fellow employees, but they had no idea. They were a mystery.

Man drinking from historic concrete drinking fountain in the woods

Recently, while working on a park project I found myself looking through old photo albums at the Town Bluff Army Corp. of Engineers office. I was ecstatic when I came across a black and white picture of the culvert. It was a water fountain!

These fountains were built 55 years ago and didn’t need connections to water lines. The water came directly from artesian springs. These fountains replaced a primitive water source, which consisted of a pipe sticking out of the ground that continuously dribbled water.

Army Corps Park

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park started out as an Army Corps of Engineer Jasper County Park in 1963. A year later its’ lease was signed over to Texas Parks and Wildlife. Most of the structures such as offices, shelters, tables, and paved roads were in place, but some projects were not completed and easy to forget about as new managers and ideas were brought forth.


We live in the present. We dream about the future, but only the “important” parts of the past are remembered. The everyday items are easy to forget. What’s left behind become mysterious artifacts recaptured by the wild thicket of trees, vines, and underbrush.