Bringing the Grass House Back to Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
By Dana Goolsby
Alto, Texas- The Caddo Mounds State Historic Site has always held a certain degree of mystery and magic, but for me the site is also nostalgic. Just driving by the site on Highway 21 reminds me of the days from my childhood when my family would visit the Mounds. There’s just one thing missing. The iconic grass house that once stood tall and proud on the site only exists in my memory… for now.
Recently I joined the Friends of the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site Group. Much to my delight I found that others in the group also missed the sight of the grass beehive house and there was a desire to see a new one erected. Since my heart strings are deeply connected to the site, and the grass house I agreed to head up a fundraising project to have a new grass house constructed.
Site Interpreter Rachel Galan informed me that all of the materials necessary to construct the house will be donated! That was great news, but there is still work to do. According to Galan, approximately $15,000 will need to be raised in order to have Phil Cross come to the site and construct a new grass house.
Phil Cross, a member of the Caddo Indian Nation and the Caddo Culture Club of Binger, Oklahoma is a very knowledgable man of many talents. For the past two decades, Cross has specialized in the history of American Indian tribes in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. He conducts Indian archery workshops, he creates Caddo flutes from river cane, studies early Caddo foods, tans hides using traditional methods, and he creates buffalo rawhide par fleche items and rawhide shields. Cross is also well versed in constructing traditional grass-thatched Caddo houses, along with their interior furnishings, cooking, and heating campfire setup.
The Friends of the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site are excited about all of the great things happening at the site, and eager to proceed with more positive changes. You’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village?” It will take the efforts of all surrounding villages to make the grass house a reality.
The Friends of the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is in the process of working out donor levels and details, as well as the first official fundraising event, but every little bit helps. You can make a donation to this project right here and right now.