To encourage our readers to visit this year’s winners of our Top 10 True Western Towns award announced in Jan/Feb, each issue will showcase the local flavor at one of these towns.
As director of Presidio la Bahia, Newton M. Warzecha is a natural choice for providing a local’s perspective on the town that Texans remembered at battle in San Jacinto. Soldiers cried out “Remember Goliad” in honor of Col. James Fannin and his men, who were massacred here by Gen. Santa Anna in 1836.
Why is Presidio la Bahia considered the world’s finest example of a Spanish frontier fort?: During the 1960s, Presidio la Bahia (shown at bottom) was rebuilt. An accurate sketch of the fort in March 1836 and other research helped ensure that the restoration could be done accurately. Our Lady of Loreto Chapel, part of the fort complex, is an original building. The 1779 chapel still holds weekly services.
What’s the town’s big holiday?: Since Goliad is the birthplace of Ignacio Zaragoza, the hero of Cinco de Mayo, a celebration of the 1862 battle is held here each year.
What historic sites do most of the schoolchildren visit?: Presidio La Bahia and Mission Espiritu Santo (shown at top) in the Goliad State Park. Other worthwhile historic sites are the Fannin National Monument and Zaragoza’s birthplace.
Best Bookstores: The gift shop at Presidio La Bahia (one mile south of Goliad) and SOHO Goliad, the Emporium of Fine Art, Gifts & Antiques (130 N. Courthouse Square).
What’s the best route to historic downtown?: Historic downtown is just one block off of Highway 59, which runs east and west through town, and two blocks off Highway 183, which runs north and south. Signs direct you to the Historic Downtown Courthouse Square.
Is there a favorite local cuisine?: Steaks. This is cattle country and where ranching had its beginning in the United States.
Where do the locals eat?: Lunch at the Blue Quail Deli (224 S. Commercial) or the Empresario (141 S. Courthouse Square), and dinner at La Bahia Restaurant (2 miles south of Highway 183/77), Wanda’s (116 W. Pearl St.) or Jorgies Pizzeria (741 W. Pearl St.).
What’s the best spot to view wildlife?: In the Goliad State Park and along the two-mile hike and bike trail.
Goliad’s Weather Patterns: Hot in the summer (90s and just over 100) and cool in the winter—a few freezes.
What’s a decent house run?: The cost of housing ranges from $35,000 to $250,000.
In San Antonio, you just can’t get away from the Alamo. Is that true of Goliad and its massacre?: The Goliad Massacre-Fort Defiance Living History Program is re-enacted every March at Presidio la Bahia, with attendance usually exceeding 5,000. The two-day event offers battle re-enactments (shown above), candlelight tours through the grounds and even a memorial service that concludes at the Fannin Monument.