TEXARKANA - On Independence Day eve Saturday, a cluster of students took their marks at the Texarkana Regional Museum, prepared to spend a few hours taking a walk into history, touching on aspects of Texarkana's military and civic past. Led by actors portraying local historical figures, the visitors were regaled with tales from the colorful tapestry of the town.
"When I expressed my interest in attending West Point, my father did not like that idea at all," said (the man portraying) Charles Beatty Moore, of the Moore family, whose local distinctions among local high society included ownership for a time of what is now known as the Ace of Clubs House.
"My father did not like the idea of his son attending a Yankee college, even though the American Civil War had been over at the time for over 35 years," he said. "He told me to wait a year. So I did. But after that year, he reluctantly gave his blessing and off I went."
Moore's military career was not one where he as an officer ever saw battle. Most of his time was meeting various figures in the world's high society, though his leadership was demonstrated in training the forces of various nation's armies.
Moore then led his charges to various locations and monuments marking pieces of the city's history
Moore also led them to Sheppard Park, the small park marked by a column topped by an eagle, dedicated in 1963, when World War 1 vets began dying in increasing numbers. This monument is intended to salute the veterans in the area of that conflict. The benches in that monument are named for the major battles of the conflict in which U.S. forces served.
Andrea Williams McCoy portrayed Jane Couch, a Texarkana woman who served in a mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) as a Red Cross nurse in Pusan, Korea, where one of the major battles of the war occurred. She awaited the visitors at the downtown Korean War monument.
"150,000 American women served in the war," she said.
The monument salutes area veterans who served in Korea and later, in the Vietnam conflict.
"Also, there is a nearby obelisk erected in 1994 intended to honor those who have served our area in law enforcement," she said.
Another major spot she took her group to was the downtown courthouse and post office.
"The current building was finished in 1933 and was established as the area federal courthouse," she said. "Though for a time, the Texas federal court jurisdiction had its own courthouse."
The history at the courthouse is extremely rich and the building, as it stands, is well known outside Texarkana.
"We've had two presidents give speeches here," she said. "Both Lyndon Baines Johnson and Jimmy Carter did that. Bill Clinton was present here during Carter's speech."
Also, the building is the second most photographed courthouse in the United States, second to the Supreme Court of the United States building.
The tour did not end there, advancing to the Miller County Courthouse, the PJ Ahern House and more.