TexasEscapes.com  
HOME : : NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : BUILDINGS : : IMAGES : : ARCHIVE : : SITE MAP
PEOPLE : : PLACES : : THINGS : : HOTELS : : VACATION PACKAGES
TEXAS TOWNS
Texas Escapes
Online Magazine
Texas | Columns | "Texas Tales"

Mount Bonnell
Covert Park

Austin, Texas

by Mike Cox
Mike Cox
Next time you’re in Austin, be sure to visit Covert Park.

But if you don’t know how to get there, don’t ask someone where it is. If you need directions, ask how to find Mount Bonnell.

Most Austinites don’t know that one of the prettiest places in their city is officially known as Covert Park. That’s in honor of Frank M. Covert Sr., who in 1938 donated to Travis County a tract that back then lay just beyond the western edge of town. The centerpiece of the property was Mount Bonnell. In the early 1970s, the city acquired the land and turned it into Covert Park.

Mount Bonnell, named for pioneer Texan George M. Bonnell, is not a mountain in the real sense of the word, but it’s the highest point in Austin – some 775 to 785 feet above sea level. Even those numbers make the landmark sound higher than it is, about 200 feet above Lake Austin.

Still, the view from the top is impressive. And people have been coming to enjoy that view for a long time.
View from Mount Bonnell
The view from Mount Bonnell
TE photo, 2002
In 1841, as the Austin Daily Bulletin reported on Dec. 13, “A large party of ladies and gentlemen incited by the fineness of the weather and making use of the vacant time during the temporary adjournment of Congress made an excursion on Saturday morning to Mount Bonnell and the country adjacent.”

The newspaper editor, in recounting the excursion, noted that his “editorial duties” had “precluded [him] from the pleasure of participation.”

But just about everyone else in town made the trip.

“The party consisted of 40 gentlemen and 10 ladies, who returned to town in formal array, the armed portion of the cavalcade in advance,” the Bulletin account continued. Vice President Edward Burleson had made the trip, along with the charge of a foreign nation (France), members of the republic’s Congress, “professional men and plain citizens, many of them temporary visitants…who will certainly go home with a vivid recollection of the sunny and variegated beauty of the scenery around Austin and the salubrutity of its atmosphere.”

The reason the excursionists had to have an armed escort was that Austin then constituted the farthest outpost of settlement on the Texas frontier. The Indians still had not accepted that Texas had declared itself a sovereign nation.

Despite the threat of Indians, the editor of the Bulletin obviously hated that he had missed the trip. “We wanted to scent the pure air of the mountains,” he waxed on, clearly needing some time out of the office, “to encircle with the heart’s vision the beauty of the scene, to look again over the dark blue peaks of which the memory of our boyhood still has some reminisces, and upon the river with its gentle current running far beneath, and the wood upon its borders, for we think it one of the pleasantest sights in nature to look down upon running water and the varied verdance of a forest.”

Those who did go, the editor continued, got the view and good groceries. “The viands which were carried out and partaken of by the Cypress spring in the valley, would to us have had an improved taste engendered by the pure air and the novelty and beauty of the scene….”

All in all, the editor concluded, the excursion to Mount Bonnell had been “merry as a marriage bell.” Still lamenting that he had missed the outing, the editor philosophized, “We count such a day’s enjoyment, worth a year of common life, and reiterate our regret at not having been there.”


Sam Houston, just beginning his second term as president of the republic, had not been there either, but he had visited Mount Bonnell.

Houston once climbed the peak with Judge R. M. Williamson, a former Texas Ranger. The big general is supposed to have slapped Williamson on the back and proclaimed:
“Upon my soul, Williamson, this must be the very spot where Satan took our Savior to show and tempt him with the riches and beauties of this world.”


© Mike Cox
"Texas Tales" October 3, 2004 Column
See Austin, Texas
Related Topics: Columns | Texas Towns | Texas
Order Books by Mike Cox
Related Topics:
Columns | People | Texas Town List | Texas
Custom Search
TEXAS ESCAPES CONTENTS
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | HOTELS | SEARCH SITE
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | FORTS | MAPS

Texas Attractions
TEXAS FEATURES
People | Ghosts | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Texas Centennial | Black History | Art | Music | Animals | Books | Food
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Rooms with a Past | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Stores | Banks | Drive-by Architecture | Signs | Ghost Signs | Old Neon | Murals | Then & Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes. All Rights Reserved