Texas History

Feature |
May 31, 2011

Falling Comet

In 1955 Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” transformed the sound of popular music and made him an international star. Twenty-five years later he was forgotten, desperate, and dying in Harlingen. How did one of the fathers of rock and roll land so far outside the spotlight?…

Texas History |
March 1, 2011

Past Present

Big moments call for big efforts. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the victory of Sam Houston’s ragtag band of volunteers over the Mexican army, which led to the creation of the sovereign Republic of Texas. In the almost two centuries since then, much has changed. Texas is now…

Texas History |
April 30, 2010

Last Days of the Comanches

In an exclusive excerpt from his new book, Empire of the Summer Moon, special correspondent S. C. Gwynne re-creates in thrilling detail the bloody 1871 battle that marked the beginning of the end for the most fearsome tribe to ever ride the plains and its mysterious, magnificent chief, Quanah Parker.

Texas History |
July 20, 2009

Walking on the Moon

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history as the first humans to set foot on the surface of the moon. Forty years later, the researchers, astronauts, engineers, scientists, and NASA officials who made the voyage possible remember the day the Eagle landed.

Buddy Holly |
February 1, 2009

The Night the Music Died

Fifty years ago, a plane carrying Buddy Holly crashed in a remote Iowa cornfield. This month, hundreds of fans will gather at the ballroom where he played his final show to sing, dance, and mourn the greatest rock star ever to come out of Texas.

Texas History |
March 31, 2008

The Fire That Time

On April 19, 1993, the world watched as the Branch Davidian compound, outside Waco, burned to the ground after a 51-day standoff. Fifteen years later, witnesses and participants—from federal agents to loyal followers of David Koresh—remember what they saw during the deadliest law enforcement operation in U.S. history.

Texas History |
August 31, 2007

A Lady First

Today, many younger Texans may be inclined to think of Lady Bird Johnson as belonging entirely to the past. But if her demeanor and style seemed faintly anachronistic, the virtues instilled by her parents back in East Texas—practicality, thriftiness, good manners, and an open mind—made her remarkably effective as a…

Texas History |
March 31, 2007

Law of the Land

Nearly two centuries after their forebears protected colonists from Indian raids, the Texas Rangers are alive and well and wrestling with the realities of the twenty-first century. In their own words, the iconic crime fighters explain how their world has changed—and what it takes to battle the latest generation of…

Art |
December 1, 2006

Pasó por Aquí

José Cisneros, the legendary illustrator of the Spanish Southwest, is 96, almost blind, and nearly deaf. And, of course, he has no plans to put down his pen.

Chainsaw |
November 1, 2004

They Came. They Sawed.

And they most definitely conquered. The inside story of how a ragtag bunch of hippies made the wildest Texas movie ever (and spilled no more fake blood than was absolutely necessary).

Texas History |
August 31, 2004

Sarita’s Secret

Could Ray Fernandez, the grandson of a Mexican American maid, be the rightful heir to the vast Kenedy fortune, including the family's mythic South Texas ranch?…

Texas History |
January 1, 2004

Showdown at Waggoner Ranch

It’s the nation’s biggest spread within the confines of a single fence—more than eight hundred square miles extending across six counties. So it’s fitting that the family feud over its future is big too. And mythic.

News & Politics |
November 1, 2003

The Witness

For forty years Nellie Connally has been talking about that day, when she was in that car and saw that tragedy unfold. She's still talking—and now she's writing too.

Texas History |
August 31, 2003

Fair’s Fair

The State Fair has seen it all, from a model of the Washington Monument made entirely out of human teeth to a visit by King Olaf V of Norway on Norweigian Day.

Texas History |
April 1, 2003

Walking Among Ghosts

Senior editor Michael Hall revisits Waco's Branch Davidians and describes the challenges and nuances of writing about the remaining followers and the controversies of their tragic history.

Texas History |
February 1, 2003

The Warrior’s Bride

Cynthia Ann Parker was nine when a Comanche snatched her from her East Texas home in 1836. Yet throughout her life as her captor's wife she remained strong, brave, and devoted to her husband and children. Which is to say, she was the original Texas woman.

Texas History |
January 1, 2003

Two Wings and a Prayer

Legend has it that an East Texas preacher's homemade flying machine took off in late 1902, nearly a year before Kitty Hawk. Are the history books wrong about who was first in flight—or are they right, brothers?…

Texas History |
November 1, 2002

Lights Out

Most of the lighthouses that once kept watch over the Texas Gulf Coast have vanished, victims of time and the modern world. Yet a few romantic relics remain.

Texas History |
June 30, 2002

Dead Line

Indians slain by settlers and vice versa. Lynchings and shoot-outs. Poisonings and dismemberings. Assassinations and massacres. Our past three hundred years or so have been, uh, colorful. A fond look back at the murder and mayhem.

Texas History |
April 1, 2002

Our Towns

What's the story behind "Bug Tussle"? "Old Dime Box"? "Frognot"? It turns out there's more to a name than I ever expected.

Texana |
December 1, 2001

Merry Tex-mas

Break out the hog-bladder balloons and get ready to chase livestock! It's time for a look at Texas' Christmas past.

Texas History |
December 1, 2001

Tex Education, Part 4

Can you keep up with the state's most famous Joneses? Get to the bottom of this burning question—and 21 others—by taking the final installment of my Texas literacy test.

Music |
December 1, 2001

A Long, Strange Trip

The life of Roky Erickson——one of the most influential Texas rock and rollers of all time——has been one calamity after another. His family and friends have taken care of him with the best of intentions, but you know what they say about the road to hell.

Texas History |
September 30, 2001

Tex Education, Part 3

What tall Texan dated top actress during Hollywood's heyday? Find out the answer-and other Lone Star lore-by taking the penultimate installment of my literacy test.

Texas History |
May 31, 2001

Tex Education, Part 2

In 1883, being caught with what everyday object could have gotten you killed? Find out the answer, along with 24 other equally fascinating tidbits, in the second installment of my Texas-literacy test.

Texas History |
April 30, 2001

The Second Battle of Goliad

In March 1836, 342 men fighting for Texas independence surrendered to Mexican general José de Urrea. A week later they were shot on orders of Santa Anna. Was it a massacre, as generations of schoolchildren have been taught, or an execution? The question has divided a historic Texas town.

Arts & Entertainment |
February 1, 2001

The Whole Shootin’ Match

The most famous bank-robbing lovers of all time weren't nearly as glamorous as Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Although the fragile, pretty Bonnie Parker had her good points, Clyde Barrow was a scrawny, two-timing psychopath. They were straight out of a country and western ballad. And when they died in…

Music |
April 30, 2000

Gotta Lubbock

Buddy Holly. Waylon Jennings. Carolyn Hester. The Hancocks. The Flatlanders. An oral history of the state's most storied music scene.