(Orange, Texas)

March 2, 2013

Orange not the first to have Confederate Park

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Recalling a war that ripped the country apart can create mixed feelings.

Plans for a Confederate Flag Memorial on Interstate 10 near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive has created concerns for some residents of Orange.

Confederate Park in Belton has been open for approximately 90 years.

A spokesperson for the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce said the park was well received.

“We have never had a problem out there that I am aware of,” the spokesperson said.

Belton has a population of approximately 20,000 and is part of the Killeen – Temple – Fort Hood metropolitan area.

The city of Belton Parks and Recreation Department said they had not heard of any vandalism at the park.

The Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site includes historic buildings such as the 1872 Heritage House, an 1893 dance pavilion, as well as a Civil War, vintage, steel-barreled Val Verde cannon, two scenic footbridges that span Jack's Creek, a hiking trail, fishing, and boating/canoeing.

The site is located in Mexia is approximately 40 miles east of Waco and about 1 1/2 hours south of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex with a population of approximately 7,500.

The 76-acre Confederate Reunion Grounds is a Texas Historical Commission property since September 1983.

A Civil War-era cannon, “Old Val Verde,” is exhibited beneath the flagpoles at the center of the site near the intersection of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson Avenues. From 1889 to 1946, Old Val Verde was fired each day at dawn and dusk during the four-day reunion gatherings that occurred each year during late-July or early-August. The cannon’s history includes action for both Union and Confederate forces, according the Confederate Reunion Grounds website.