Liendo Plantation in Texas History
Just a smidge northwest of Houston lies Liendo Plantation. It was built on a cotton plantation, by slave labor, in 1853. The home has changed ownership several times and the current owners, Carl and Phylis Detering, painstakingly restored the plantation to period accuracy.
It’s location lent to it earning an important place in Texas History. Aside from being a profitable plantation it was renowned for its Southern hospitality and hosted many Texas dignitaries. During the Civil War Confederate Camp Groce was established to recruit cavalry, artillery, and infantry.? Later it was converted to a POW camp for those captured at the Battles of Galveston and Sabine Pass. General George A. Custer set up camp on the property after the war to ensure Confederates would not retake the area.? He was well liked by Texans as he left Liendo intact due to his strict regulations that did not allow his soldiers to forage or destroy private property.
Currently, Liendo Plantation is a working ranch home to the Detering Red Brahmans. They also host events, weddings, and open the house once a month for docent-led tours. Their major community event is the Civil War Weekend which occurs annually in November.
Civil War Weekend
The Civil War Weekend is a three-day affair beginning on Friday, (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.). This first day is only open to schools (including homeschools). While the Living History School Day may be a little lighter than the weekend (as reenactors have to work too) there are complete Union, Confederate, and Winter Camps set up. The shops, food court, and house are also all open. There are many demonstrations throughout the camps, live artillery demonstrations take place hourly, and a skirmish is reenacted at noon on the battlefield.
Saturday and Sunday are open to the public and will see more activities as the full population of reenactors will be in residence before The Battle for Liendo at 2 p.m. (on both days).
When you arrive at Liendo Plantation (don’t worry Google can find it just fine) you will be instructed on where to park in the grass. Remember this grass is normally a field where cows roam so watch for holes and pies. There is some closer handicap parking but to visit the camps you will be “off-road.” Those with mobility issues may be limited in participation. We saw a lot of strollers and wagons just be prepared to work a little in some parts (hey, throw some lunges in and call it a workout!).
Restrooms are available in the form of port-a-potties. There are many so you won’t have any trouble finding facilities, but, if you are coming from Houston, there’s also a Buccee’s just before the Liendo Parkway exit from 290. Just saying.
Once you park you will walk up the road to the ticket booth (buy and print your tickets online to save time). There are potties here. Just past the ticket booths is where the Union Camp begins. To begin, you just walk through the camps and up to the reenactors. Many will be doing demonstrations near their tents. All the tents are open for you to look in and around so don’t be shy. This is literally why they are there!
You can mosey up the lane and visit the Winter Camp or head up near the main plantation house. You will pass a food court and vendors.
I don’t know about you but by November I am Turkey legged out, but if you still have a hankering they have them for $8ish, as well as regular festival food (e.g. corndogs, funnel cakes, other food on sticks). I will suggest you go visit the sign that says Gyros/ Fried Alligator. The lamb gyro is amazing. And, the tea. If you like tea they brew it loose leaf and have a lot of flavors. I am kicking myself for not getting a card. It was so good. P.S. the kettle corn is delicious too!
If you go through the white picket fence you will be on the plantation house’s lawn and there will be more to see and do here, too. We watched Cowboy from Phenix Knives, out of Bellville, forging a knife. He was personable, informative, and answered all the kids’ questions. We also learned about wool; all the way from guard llamas to shearing, carding, spinning, and weaving.
The house itself is open to walk through (no interior photography). Inside is a collection of furniture and actors. The ladies are in hoop skirts and are more than happy to point out details and answer questions.
Past the house is the Confederate camp and the battlefield. The battlefield is where the artillery demonstrations will be held and the battle reenactment. There is limited seating on bleachers. Be prepared to sit in the grass or stand behind those seated. The battle is fun and you can tell the people are really enjoying themselves. The artillery is loud so if you have a person with sensitive ears prepare them (and, if you hear anyone in any part of the camp yell, “Fire in the hole!” then cover your ears there will be no further warning).
We spent about 2 and a half hours wandering, watching, and eating. This is definitely an event you will stroll. There is no need to rush and if you go too fast you really may miss something as something is always happening. My entire family loved the event!
As historian Randolph Campbell said, “Texans, for the most part, have never learned to be dull.”