The case of the missing Pilot Knob historical marker

Reader notices that marker for rare Texas volcano has disappeared.


Have you seen this marker lately?

Reader Jim Christianson noticed that one of most elaborate Texas Historical Markers in the area was missing from U.S 183 South near Creedmoor Road.

“It has been missing for at least two years, maybe more,” he writes. “It is a geological marker for Pilot Knob. Hundreds of University of Texas students who took geology have been taken to Pilot Knob on field trips to look and study at the volcano that was once there.”

The metal marker at Pilot Knob — one of several Central Texas rises given that name because of their navigational roles along ancient prairie trails — tells the geological history of the area.

It was put up in 1963 by what is now known as the Texas Department of Transportation. Not long after that, the Texas Historical Commission assumed oversight over most of the state’s markers in tandem with county historical commissions. Some of those markers go back to the 1910s and the most monumental, which include some handsome limestone slabs, were set up for the Texas Centennial in 1936.

“We are coordinating with some folks at TxDOT about whether they know the location of the marker,” Chris Florance, information officer for the Texas Historical Commission, assures us. “We are still working on it.”

A lot of new development is going on in the Pilot Knob area. Could it have been taken down temporarily during road work? Was it stolen? That does happen, although this marker seems an unlikely target.

“We want it back to its rightful place,” Christianson says. “Some highway warehouse may have it some place just waiting to put it back up, but did not know where it belongs. We know where it belongs. It belongs at Pilot Knob.”

You can’t understand New Austin without delving into Old Austin. One digital avenue for that quest is Austin Found, a series of historical images of Austin and Texas published at statesman.com/austinfound. We’ll share samples here regularly.



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