TEXARKANA — Enjoy another Texarkana Museums System Twilight Tour with a monumental trip through Texarkana history.
That's monumental with the TMS's Monuments & Memorials tour at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, an exploration of downtown landmarks that convey some of the history of the city and country.
Starting at the P.J. Ahern Home, the tour visits such unique locations as the downtown First Baptist Church military monument and Deputy Charles E. Barnes Sr. monument.
"The downtown area is full of military monuments, monuments to individuals, memorials. A lot of these things people don't know about, even if they've lived in Texarkana their whole life," said Texarkana Museums System Curator Jamie Simmons. Or people have gone past them and didn't really know what these markers and monuments are.
Simmons said the tour will explain these markers and monuments and put them in context. With the work going on around the Downtown Post Office, the nearby memorial park and monuments are affected there.
"There several military monuments downtown, as well as monuments to individual people or specific events," Simmons said, noting one place they will visit is Sheppard Park, named in honor of U.S. Sen. Morris Sheppard and situated on the west side of the Post Office.
"Historically, most people know him as one of the co-writers of the Prohibition amendment, but he was from Texarkana and served this area politically for many, many decades. That park was named in his honor. At the time it was established, it was much bigger than it is now," Simmons said, noting the work will restore the park comparably to its original size.
In that same area around the Post Office, a monument memorializes President John F. Kennedy. It's one that people pass all the time, Simmons said, but may not notice what it is. U.S. Rep. Wright Patman and President Lyndon Johnson came to Texarkana to dedicate it.
The TMS will also talk about a time capsule downtown, which is due to be opened in the upcoming years. A flat stone marks its location.
"We're getting close to the time when that time capsule is supposed to be opened," Simmons said.
Another landmark in that area is a surveyor's marker originating from the 19th century.
"That's another thing we'll be pointing out that a lot of people seem to miss," Simmons said, adding, "That's just a couple of examples of some of the things that people may pass all the time and just never even stop to notice or read what that marker says . we're hoping to connect them to those stories and help them understand why the community thought this event, this person, was important enough to our community that we should actually mark it."
Check in at the P.J. Ahern Home begins at 6 p.m. "It is designed to be wheelchair friendly or scooter friendly, although we will be going to the Post Office so there's some areas where it's a little bumpy because of construction that's going on," Simmons said of the tour. They'll follow a path that skirts around that construction, though.
Tickets must be purchased in advance. The TMS is planning another historic cemetery tour but has yet to announce the details.
(Tickets: $15, or $10 for Texarkana Museums System members Get tickets at TexarkanaMuseums.org/Events and through the TMS page on Facebook.)