Thursday morning after my personal training at the gym, I headed to Donette Harpole’s home in the Morgans Point neighborhood on Lake Belton to spend a couple of nights. For quite a while, we had been planning to get together so we could spend a day at the nearby Mother Neff State Park.
It is a 259-acre state park located on the Leon River west of Moody in Coryell County, at 1680 Texas 236 Highway. [http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/mother-neff] Noah and Isabel Neff from Virginia purchased 900 acres here in 1852, including all of what is now Mother Neff State Park. The youngest of their nine children, Pat Neff, later became the governor of Texas. In 1921, Isabella Neff died. In her will, she donated six acres of her favorite spot to the State of Texas for a park. Since there was no official state park system at that time, Governor Pat Neff developed Neff Memorial Park with campgrounds, picnic spots and walking trails. After the State Parks Board became official in 1923, it began accepting private land into the state system. In 1934, Gov. Neff donated the family park, totaling 250 acres, to the state.
Civilian Conservation Corps Company 817, with over 200 men, worked at the Mother Neff park site from 1934 to 1938. The Corpsmen constructed park roads, walking trails, picnic areas and campgrounds. They used materials from the park property and close by to build park structures. Limestone made strong foundations and attractive walls. Lumber and timber from many species of trees added a natural appearance. A pavilion, recreation hall, concession hall and other structures came later. They also built a beautiful stone water tower with an observation deck overlooking the valley.
Heavy seasonal rain and human impact have caused the Leon River to flood many times. Severe flooding has closed the park several times over the years for major repairs. To reduce the impact of flooding, the park recently underwent major reconstruction. The new Park Headquarters and Visitor Center opened in January 2015.
It had been many years since I had visited this park and there have been many changes since then. Some of the damaged areas of the park are still closed. They relocated the RV campground to higher ground. It has twenty full hook-ups on large level sites, with lots of space between sites.
Friday morning Donette and I met one of our Cen-Tex buds, Larry Roming, at his site. He had prepared lunch for us. We visited with him for a while and then Donette and I went hiking on a couple of the trails. The moderate temperature and cloud cover helped make the hiking more comfortable. Larry didn’t have time to hike with us because he had to check out by two o’clock.
After we had finished our hikes, we headed back to Morgans Point. Donette showed me around the neighborhood before going home.
STATS Route: I-35 N to Belton => TX 317 N (Exit 293-B) => West Adams (FM 2305) => Morgans Point (FM 2271) Total Miles Driven: 70 Weather Conditions: Mild, breezy Road Conditions: Mostly good; some construction on TX 317 in Belton