Texas Longhorns in State Parks

TPWD photo by Pat Bales
Texas Longhorn calf at San Angelo St. Park

State Parks with Texas Longhorns:

History of the Official State Longhorn Herd

In 1936 Sid Richardson, a Fort Worth businessman, believed we were about to lose the Texas Longhorn. In fact, he thought the Texas Longhorns were closer to extinction than the buffalo. He discussed the possibility of assembling a State Longhorn herd with long time Texas Historian J. Frank Dobie. Mr. Richardson would provide the funding and Dobie would find and select the longhorns. Dobie enlisted the help of long time cattle detective, rancher and longhorn raiser, Graves Peeler. They traveled through out South Texas and by 1941 had selected twenty head. Now they needed a place to put them.

Longhorns at Fort Griffin

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department eagerly sought the responsibility of protecting and preserving this State historic treasure. The longhorns were placed at Lake Corpus Christi State Park. Richardson then asked Dobie and Peeler to locate another herd. It was difficult to find more; they had to drive hundreds of miles and both sides of the Rio Grande. By the end of 1942, they had located a few more and these were placed at Lake Brownwood State Park. In 1948, all the longhorns were rounded up. Twenty-one were shipped to Fort Griffin State Park and the remaining ones were sold. Since that time, the longhorns have been one of the greatest assets at Fort Griffin, drawing visitors from all over the world. Since its inception, this has been the Official State Longhorn herd and Fort Griffin the home of the herd, since 1948. The Texas Legislature recognized the herd with Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 79 adopted May 17, 1969. Fort Griffin places Longhorns in other state parks for exhibition, range management, and breeding purposes.

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