Archive for May 8th, 2012

First State Park in Texas: Mother Neff

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Governor Pat Neff may have named Mother Neff park for his mother, but Isabella Neff got the ball rolling by willing several acres of the family homestead to “the people.”

11—She put it in her will in 1916 that she wanted part of the homestead to be a park to the pubic for religious, educational, fraternal and political purposes.

Leah Huth is Mother Neff State Park Superintendent. Even before Neff’s passing, Huth says people living near Waco and Temple used the land.

23—The people in the area were used to going there and meeting up with all of their neighbors. And she wanted that tradition to continue after she passed away. So, she instructed her son Pat to erect a fence around the plot and to construct a substantial building in the nature of a pavilion, and wanted it to be called something like the Neff Park; and of course, they ended up calling it Mother Neff.

The Civilian Conservation Corps, which in the 1930s built several structures at the park still in use today, started a tradition of celebrating Mother’s Day there.

13—People from all over came. And we have pictures of all of the CCC boys lined up in a star around the flagpole. It was just a very special time. It was often that Mother’s Day was celebrated here at the park.

We extol the virtues of our mother on tomorrow’s show.

We record our series at the Block House in Austin.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.