Lover's Retreat - Palo Pinto County

Lover's Retreat is one of the most scenic spots in Palo Pinto County. Back when it was open to the public, it was utilized by everyone in our county as a meeting ground or picnic area for many of the annual events. Families met here for reunions, churches held tent revivals and held in Palo Pinto County and many families report that it was the gathering place for their family reunion every year especially back in the '50's.

The stories of how Lover's Retreat was so named are as varied as the colorful quilts that my grandmother pieced. Each person believes his or her story to be the factual account. In the 80's, while working on the History of Palo Pinto County Texas Volume I, many stories were shared from notable historians such as John Winters, Jean Price and Allen Ramsey as well as other contributors.

An early settler in Golconda, (Golconda was the original name of Palo Pinto County), whose name was Lovers, was spotted by the Indians while rounding up stray cattle. The Indians pursued him and he desperately jumped from his horse to a cave with a crawl located very near a natural spring. Several baffled but determined Redskins, leapt over rocks very near his hiding spot. He could see them bending down to drink water from the cool flowing spring and he thought for sure, they would hear the loud beating of his heart. They did not see him crouching there, and soon went along their way. After many hours passed, he crawled out of the cave and went about his daily chores. The name "Lover's Retreat" came from Mr. Lover's escape of Indian capture.  

Another tale was spun around an Indian maiden, daughter of the Chief of an Indian tribe, who pledged his daughter to a noble brave, son of a Chief in a neighboring tribe. The maiden was in love with a brave in her own tribe. To escape forced marriage, she and her true love fled to hide in the rocks of Lover's Retreat.

The site is rich with history and back when it was open to the public, was a gathering place for many annual events such as Palo Pinto's Old Settler's Reunion. As we greet visitors today, we will hear many stories especially from Baby Boomers, whose parents brought them to the park as toddlers and teens for the annual family reunion or other events.

The park is a part of the Barney Carter Ranch is , owned by daughter Eloise Beckworth Davidson and her children, John, Gary, Linda and also Anslie Buttram and family. Mr Carter was in the first wave of oil operators when the West Texas fields opened in the 1920's. His daughter, Mrs. Davidson recalls being told that after World War I, the Fort Wolters calvery disbanded and some of the old horse water roughs were brought in and placed in the park's south side to help stabilize soil erosion from an offshoot of Eagle's Creek. Those cement water troughs from the Calvery are still in place today.

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Palo Pinto Facts

"Palo Pinto" means painted posts or trees. Native Americans painted tree trunks red and blue along the banks of North Fork of Palo Pinto Creek near Strawn and some think that is how the county gets its name.