Site of the Town of Belgrade
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member TheMarkerFinder
N 30° 37.639 W 093° 41.434
15R E 433818 N 3388503
Quick Description: A 1936 Texas Centennial marker about a town that was thriving before the Civil War
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 5/17/2020 9:46:29 AM
Waymark Code: WM12FP7
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member QuarrellaDeVil
Views: 2

Long Description:

My wife, Mandy, is in children’s ministry and we were on a retreat this weekend providing activities for children on a church retreat. The weather had been nice and sunny but, as lunch was ending on the last day, the rain clouds began to show up. After lunch we packed all our stuff and started leaving the camp. And the drizzling started. I threw a quiet fit within myself as I saw my plans getting washed away. My wife is not so much into historical markers, but she does love adventure and spontaneity and she does enjoy the opportunity to teach our kids history by showing them places where it happened.

Time was limited (and sometimes, my wife’s patience when stopping at markers) so I minimized our stops by planning to only stop at Texas Centennial markers (and an exception or two.) I had planned the most efficient route to see them all and that meant our first stop would be the Belgrade marker. I didn’t know what to expect from our endeavor, but I knew getting to it would mean traveling a couple miles on dirt roads. I watched the rain get a little worse and I envisioned those roads turning muddy and impassible. “Well so much for that idea,” I said, ready to give up the whole thing. I also didn’t like the idea of having rain in my pictures. Raindrops make the granite all splotchy looking. If I’m going to travel great distances, I’d at least like my pictures to be pretty.

“No, let’s go head and try,” my very gracious wife said.

“OK,” I said reluctantly. We had a travel a ways to get to the first marker, so maybe it wasn’t raining there yet. I started the navigation on my iPhone and we headed out. We had used AT&T as our cel provider for years, but I had recently switch us to T-Mobile to try and cut costs. That would come back to bite us throughout this day.

The good thing about Apple Maps is that once you start navigating, the route is cached on your device. so even if you loose signal, you can still get where you’re going. That’s good because well before we reached the place where we would turn off the highway and onto the dirt road, we lost signal. I tried to double check the map, but of course the map data couldn’t be loaded without a connection. I tried Google Maps which I had also looked at before and which even has the Belgrade site labeled on the map. But, without a connection, Google is useless too. No matter, I had studied the roads and memorized all the turns to get to the Belgrade marker ahead of time, so I thought I could still get us the rest of the way there. We drove down the first road off the highway looking for that first right turn. But, it never came. Did we blink and miss it? We drove down a few more roads and somehow ended up on the highway again. That was unexpected. We went back to the first dirt road and tried again. Same result. Disappointment started to set in again. “OK, forget it. Let’s just go to the next one,” I sighed.

We made our way down the highway a bit and eventually got back to an area where we had cel coverage. “Let me take another look at the map,” I said admitting I didn’t really want to give up on the Belgrade marker. Compared with every other marker I had planned on, that one would be the real accomplishment. I looked at the new loaded map data in the area of the Belgrade marker and saw our mistake. My wife, again, graciously agreed to turn back. We hadn’t gone that far, so having another go at it didn’t seem unreasonable. We arrived back at the turn off, but this time I had just browsed the area in Apple Maps. Another cool thing about Apple Maps it caches any area you browse on the map, so if you loose signal, you can still browse the already loaded map. Google Maps had that functionality too, but you had to tell it what to cache. Very complicated. (In 2016. maybe it's easier now?) And I’m a software developer. Apple Maps just works.

We headed down that first dirt road and this time, we went to the left of the little church instead of right. Eventually, we reached the right turn I was expecting earlier. The weather was getting a little drizzly, but things were looking up. Maybe we could find the marker and get back to the highway before the roads turned to mud? As we pushed ahead, I noted how on either side of this dirt road, was a sharp drop on either side. This would be a horrifying place to run off the road. Especially with no cel service. And then we came to a scary site. The road ahead dipped down sharply and became very rough for about 30 or 50 feet. “The road’s been washed out,” Mandy told me. She’s more of a country girl, so she’s knowledgeable about such things. I think she then had some comments about how she was going to have to back the vehicle up all the way down that road to that right turn we had made. Without falling off the road. And by the way, we were pulling a trailer.

She started the very precarious backing up process. Then, I had a thought, so turned to her. “Would you mind if I walk to the marker? I think it’s about another mile” I said.

“Go for it” she replied “I’m to try to get us out of this.” Sweet. It was a little drizzly. Normally I don’t like walking in the rain, but we had come too far. Oh, and Mandy is very skilled at driving with a trailer and I stink at it, so I was useless for that task. I quickly left the vehicle and started bounding over the washed-out road. It had been washed-out for some time but was not water logged at this time.

For the retreat, we had enlisted a couple teenagers, Mia and Luke, to help us with activities for the children. Now, as I was half jogging down this road thought the middle-of-nowhere, they hopped out and began following. They were ready for adventure. I think, as I left the vehicle, I heard one of my young daughters asking if she could go too. I’m sure I heard Mandy tell her no.

We headed down the road at a more than leisurely pace. I didn’t want to get rained on any more than I had to. I was now expecting a left turn, which we did find. Along the way we found a place in the road that was significantly sandy. I suspect our vehicle would not made it past that. On foot, it just meant getting a little sand in one’s shoe. A little way past the sand pit, we found the marker. I had considered that it might be overgrown. Luckily, at the time we found it, all the grass around it had been mowed. It was as though somebody was expecting the marker to receive visitors. That was encouraging.

I took my usual close up and far-away marker-in-its-context shots. I also took some souvenir photos for Mia and Luke. I got a nice accurate coordinate too. The lack of cel coverage prevents loading new map data, but GPS doesn’t care. As long as there is line-of-site with the satellites, even an iPhone will receive a GPS signal. We didn’t spend much time at the site. It was drizzly and further down the road past the marker looked like a house. I wasn’t sure if we were on county roads or private property. (I kept a lookout for “No Trespassing” signs and I never saw any.) We took the pictures we wanted and started hoofing it back to the vehicle. We arrived to a miraculous site.

Just passed that washed-out area, I could see the our vehicle and trailer backing up towards us. We got in out of the weather. Normally, in a light drizzle, you don’t get that wet. But after 45 minutes in a drizzle, I was drenched. My shoes were wet and sandy. Yuck. It was worth it. “Did you find it?” Mandy asked.

“Yes!” I said excitedly. I showed her our pictures. She mentioned she was able to get the vehicle turned around without incident and was trying to back up as far as possible before we got back so we wouldn’t have to walk as far. She was happy for us. We got back out on the main highway very relieved. I probably beamed for quite a while at our accomplishment.

There are four Texas Centennial markers in Newton County. We found the hard one. The remaining three should be cake.

Marker Number: 14508

Marker Text:

Established in 1839 ▾ A thriving settlement before the Civil War

Erected by the State of Texas

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