SIFE seeks to help fund interpretational center around historic dig site
April 12, 2011
PLAINVIEW – Many of Plainview’s current residents – especially younger students – may not realize that the city was once the site of quite the hype thanks to some Boy Scouts and the discovery of an ancient spear point in the 1940s.
The Students in Free Enterprise team at Wayland Baptist University is hoping to bring that dated discovery back into the limelight and create a facility that would help future generations study the historical significance. According to SIFE faculty adviser Dr. Sam Van Hoose, the city of Plainview has been discussing the possibility of erecting an interpretational center at the location of the dig to show the history of the spearhead’s era, photos of the dig and additional information.
Van Hoose said the SIFE team wanted to get involved as well and are hoping to rally groups and individuals to help support the project. The dream project would involve an octagonal gazebo like the ones currently located on the Hike and Bike Trail along the Runningwater Draw. The gazebo would include at least three walls on which exhibits, photographs, maps and a diorama would be featured for informational purposes. Benches would provide a place for visitors to enjoy the site.
“This is a historical project that would be great for the area school children. It’s not something SIFE would normally get involved with, but we think it’s important for the city,” Van Hoose said. “The kids need to have a feel for the history of this area. You can read about it in a book, but it doesn’t often sink in until you go out and touch it and see it.”
The gazebo center would be located about 30 yards from the current historical marker, which signifies it as a registered historical site and is located east of Joliet near the hiking trail at about where Third Street would intersect.
The SIFE group, which is made of Wayland students from a variety of academic disciplines but advised out of the School of Business, will be spearheading an effort to raise money for the project, primarily through the sale of brick pavers that will line a sidewalk from the historical marker to the gazebo. The project is expected to cost about $20,000 and the brick sale should be able to cover the majority of the cost.
The city owns the land and will do the preparatory work for the construction, and the city will maintain upkeep on the facility and promote it through the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street/Convention and Visitors Bureau and other efforts to attract tourist groups.
Van Hoose said the 4” by 8” bricks will cost about $100 and will be laser engraved with words and logos (which may incur an additional cost), with an obvious limit to the room for engraving. Larger pavers may be available for businesses who wish to underwrite the project for a larger donation.
At this point, Van Hoose said he is seeking feedback from the community on interest in the project and possibly support. The plan would be to offer the first sale of bricks through July at the initial cost and a second offering after July if necessary at a slightly higher cost. The goal would be to have the interpretational center in place and functional by September.
Van Hoose said the city and SIFE sees the value of having such a center in terms of the educational opportunities for current school-age children as well as university students with an interest in the field. He hopes to get some interest from other universities who do archaeological work to reopen the site and see what else might could be unearthed.
The original discovery was made in 1941 after a group of Scouts were digging in the caliche banks along the draw.
“The spear head was unlike anything that had ever been found before, and scientists dated it from between seven and eight-thousand years ago after the Clovis era,” Van Hoose said. “The called it a Plainview point since it was unique.”
After the discovery, the University of Texas sent a team and conducted two archeological digs, one in 1944-45 and another later on that Van Hoose said was not well documented. They also uncovered many pottery pieces, bones of animals and other points similar to the original findings. The bison bones revealed animals nearly twice the size of present-day bison.
Since that time, Plainview points have been found as far away as Alaska and all around Texas and New Mexico. The spear head is longer and thinner than the traditional arrowhead design that may be more familiar.
To share feedback with Van Hoose about the project, contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is interested in hearing from community members as well as businesses that might have an interest in underwriting portions of the project or providing in-kind gifts toward the effort.