George Ranch Historical Park is in Fort Bend County, about 9 miles southeast of Richmond and 25 miles southwest of Houston. To reach the park from US 59, exit on FM 2759 (Crabb River Rd.), drive south about 1.5 miles to FM 762, and go south about 4.5 miles to the park entrance. The Fort Bend Museum Assn. operates the park in partnership with The George Foundation. Hours: Daily 9-5 (closed Thanksgiving Day, Dec. 24-25, and Dec. 31-Jan. 1). Admission: $7.50, $6.50 age 55 and older, $4 ages 3-12, free age 2 and younger. Group tours by reservation only; call for special rates. School tours available by reservation Feb–mid-Dec. All facilities in the Visitor Center are wheelchair accessible; the rest of the park is partially wheelchair accessible (call for details). Write to Box 1248, Richmond 77406-1248; 281/545-9212 or 343-0218. Web site: www.georgeranch.org. The Visitor Center features artifacts, photographs, and documents related to ranch history, including its African-American-cowboy legacy. A 7-minute video orients visitors to the park. Maps and daily activity schedules are available at the desk. The free, tractor-pulled tram boards here every 30 minutes. (Restrooms here and near the blacksmith shop, all wheelchair accessible.) The Dry Creek General Store, in the Visitor Center, sells postcards, T-shirts, regional history books, and other merchandise. The Dinner Belle Cafe, also in the Visitor Center, offers a varied lunch menu. Cafe hours: Mon-Fri 10:30-2, Sat-Sun 10-4:30. Other amenities include picnic tables and facilities for group rentals (from small family to large convention groups). Daily activities include an impressive lineup of first-person portrayals, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. Costumed interpreters conduct tours of the Davis House and the George Ranch House (allow 40 minutes for each tour).
During Campfire Christmas (Dec. 8-10 and 15-17, 2000), re-enactors present 19th-Century holiday vignettes. This 3-hour evening event begins with a buffet holiday dinner and musical entertainment, followed by a mule-drawn-hay-wagon tour of the lantern-lit park. Reservations required; call the park at either number listed previously. Admission: $30, $27.50 age 60 and older, $25 age 12 and younger. Most of the event takes place outdoors; dress warmly. The annual Juneteenth Celebration (June 16, 2001) commemorates the emancipation of Texas’ slaves in 1865. Activities include a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, gospel music and dance, storytelling, children’s games, and a traditional African-American “jumping the broom” wedding ceremony. Texian Market Days (Oct. 20-21, 2001), a living-history festival, features a Civil War encampment and reenactments, cowboy demonstrations, hands-on activities at the 1830s Jones Stock Farm, an arts and crafts fair, Native American dances and craft market, antique vendors, food, and entertainment (fiddle-playing, square dancing, and clogging). Hours: Sat 10-6, Sun 10-5. Admission: $8, $4 ages 3-15, free age 2 and younger; advance-purchase tickets $1 off. Other annual events include the Lone Star Stomp (Apr. 21, 2001), Runaway Scrape Reenactment (held in Apr.), a Memorial Day event (May 28, 2001), and a July 4th event. Call for details.
For a self-guided tour of Richmond, pick up the flyer Historical Tour of Richmond at the Fort Bend Museum (see below). For details, call the Rosenberg/Richmond Chamber of Commerce at 281/ 342-5464. The Fort Bend Museum complex (includes the Fort Bend Museum and 2 historic homes), at 500 Houston St. in Richmond, sits in the city’s Historic District. Hours: Tue-Fri 9-5, Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5 (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s days). Admission (includes all sites): $3, $2.50 age 55 and older, $2 ages 3-12, free age 2 and younger. Wheelchair accessible. Write to Drawer 460, Richmond 77406-0406; 281/342-6478. Web site: www.fortbendmuseum.org. Holiday activities at the museum complex include the Candlelight Tour (Dec. 1-2, 2000), which features historic homes with period decorations. Hours: Fri 6-8 p.m., Sat 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Admission: $5, $3 ages 3-12, free age 2 and younger. The Family Holiday Event (Dec. 3, 2000) includes historic-homes tours, carriage rides, Christmas sing-alongs, and ornament-making. Hours: Noon-5 p.m. Admission: Call the museum for details.