ALTO, TX (KTRE) - With just a quick glance around, to the untrained eye, it may merely be an open field. But a closer look reveals decades of history.
"This being their traditional cultural properties and their homeland, we want to make the connection with the Caddo people and be able to bring that to the educational system in Texas," said Jeffrey Williams, president of Friends of Caddo Mounds.
One way to make that connection, preserve and protect history. It's the idea behind the group's latest project recreating a grass house.
"The Caddo would have lived in a grass house. The average size that was located here on this site was about 30 feet in diameter, that's a rather large house," said Anthony Souther, Caddo Mounds Site Manager.
Large indeed, but will only take up a portion of these 397 acres of land. Grass homes, a once common form of living for the Caddo people dating back to around 800 A.D. Unique in even the way they were built.
"Each family in the area would be given certain items that they would have to collect. They would bring them together on a certain day and raise the house. And then the family that the house was being built for would be responsible for feeding them," Souther said.
It's a project over five years in the making, given a boost thanks to a $5,000 donation from the Texas Historical Foundation on Sunday. That donation just the latest in a recent string of gifts. Last week the group received $16,900 from the Summerlee Foundation. Enough now to start construction on the house.
"We hope to treat it like a community barn raising, so a lot of the value is just creating that community connection with both the local community here in East Texas as well as the Caddo community," Souther said.
The new grass house will go here and will serve as the third to be built here since 1981. Reverting back to the past, the group says, all for the chance at a richer future.
The group plans to officially begin construction on June 22nd, with plans to complete the project sometime late July.