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San Jacinto Battleground Among State's Most Endangered Historic Places, Group Says

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Is it a good or bad thing to be named one of the state's Most Endangered Historic Places?

The Sam Jacinto Battlefield is going to find out, having earned that dubious honor this morning.

"The landscape is all that remains of this important historic site, and without a comprehensive preservation plan that respects the historic integrity of the entire site, its future is at risk," Susan Lassell, president of Preservation Texas, announced on the steps of the capitol today.

Preservation Texas is a partner with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The bad news, of course, is that the site -- surrounded by refineries and chemical plants -- is endangered, and faces "encroachment issues" like those being experienced by Gettysburg and Manassas. The good news is that maybe today's designation will heighten interest in preserving it.

The official release on the designation included plans for yet another effort to save the place where Sam Houston beat Santa Anna's napping army:

During the ceremony, Friends President Jan DeVault announced the launch of a $1 million statewide campaign to purchase and rehabilitate a 19-acre tract located outside the state-owned area, but within the battlefield. The Friends' immediate goal is to raise $625,000 by June 1, 2010, to acquire this property, now owned by the estate of late Houston attorney John O'Quinn, to protect it from recently proposed development and industrial encroachment.

DeVault introduced the campaign under the name of "SAVE THE SAN JACINTO BATTLEGROUND FUND," in recognition of the fact that this 19-acre tract is one of several scattered tracts of land outside the state-owned property that shape the landscape of the battlefield and should be protected as part of the battlefield rather than paved over.

"Recent archeological surveys and archival research have confirmed that the battlefield extends into several areas outside the state-owned historic site. Our goal is to acquire as much of the original battlefield as possible," she said, "so that San Jacinto will rank among the finest preserved battlefield landscapes in America."

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