Leaving the museum, we will head west again, this time venturing about 2 miles beyond Strawn’s city limits to an area designated as the newest state park in Texas. Since the planning and development process has only recently begun, an opening date for the park has not been set as of yet, but anyone who travels to the location will quickly see why the area was selected; the rugged terrain abounds in picturesque views of surrounding hills and valleys. Containing creek beds, valleys, hillsides, mesas and deep ravines, the park also boasts a variety of mammals and numerous birds. While Palo Pinto Creek flows along the northern edge of the property, the main water feature is Tucker Lake, a beautiful reservoir built in 1937 and containing an abundant population of largemouth bass, catfish and crappie.
After hearing Park Ranger John Ferguson’s overview of the developmental timeline of the new state park, we will return to Strawn and drop by the Stuart Estate for a visit. James N. Stuart and his wife, Sallie Saphira Allen Stuart, came to Texas from Missouri in 1859 in an ox-drawn wagon. Along with other Missourians including the Allen and Martin families, the couple were accompanied on their journey west by Sallie’s sister Emmaline Jane Allen and a young man named Stephen Bethel Strawn. Bethel Strawn and Jane Allen were married and settled with the Stuarts in the North Fork area that would later bear Strawn’s name. The Stuart and Strawn families ran cattle together for several years and both James and Bethel were instrumental in bringing the railroad through the area.
The Stuarts’ eldest son, Thomas Burton and his wife, Ella, built the current Stuart home in 1917. With double-bricked outside walls and a 6-foot-deep, double-brick foundation, the home was built to last, and that it has done.