Theis Attaway Park, a Small Nature Center in Tomball, TX
Theis Attaway Park is small when it comes to nature centers. For the fish, birds, squirrels, rabbits and other creatures which reside and/or pass through that four-acre preserve, it is a nice respite from the surrounding housing developments and shopping centers.
Finding it was a bit of a challenge. The easiest way to locate it is to look for the large WalMart store located at 13509 Theis Lane. There is a tiny park hours sign posted on Theis Lane opposite the backside of the large WalMart store. We missed seeing it the first time we drove past.
The larger sign telling people about this nature center is located well inside the park and small parking lot which only holds 8 vehicles at a time. One of the 8 spaces is set aside as a handicap spot.
In case you cannot read the sign above, this is what is posted upon it under HISTORY.
“This Nature Center is constructed on the site of the Fritz Theis Survey. In 1868, Henry Theis, a German immigrant who came to Texas in 1846, paid 254 Mexican silver dollars for 160 acres. This land was purchased from the heirs of C. N. Pilot who obtained the property through a Spanish land grant. In 1934, Henry’s son Fritz purchased the land and added 35.11 acres, which includes this site. The deed to this land bears the signature of Miriam (Ma) Ferguson, the first woman governor of Texas. In 1950, Fritz’s son A. W. (Allie) Theis and his wife, Thelma (nee Attaway) purchased this property.
The Atascosita Trail, a Spanish-built trail that served as a major trade route for early Texas pioneers, crossed the south portion of the Theis property.”
Information on the sign regarding the WET POND reads as follows:
“Around 1952 iron ore was dug from this location for use in widening what is now State Highway 249. The iron ore pits became the family swimming hole. These ponds have been transformed into a wildlife sanctuary for birds and small animals. Aquatic vegetation has been added to supply oxygen and food to support the fish and wildlife population.”
Can you spot the little fish in the photo below? The pond was loaded with them!
We also saw people fishing in this pond.
On the sign under the word WILDLIFE this was what was posted:
“Special wildlife islands have been created in the pond to provide a home for migrating birds. By keeping much of the existing woods intact, small mammals such as squirrels, rabbits and foxes may be seen. This also keeps intact existing bird habitats.”
The day we happened to visit this nature center there were no migrating birds to be seen. The observation viewing platform is about the size of the playhouse my Dad built when I was a child. Window-like openings offer different views of this small park.
Near the pond and observation viewing platform is a small open air amphitheater. The three tiered stone seats face the wooden stage. I can well imagine many different uses for this amphitheater.
Near the amphitheater is a grassy area perfect for picnics. It is just beyond the hill and to the right of the restrooms in that log cabin-like structure in the photo above.
The dedication plaque on this well structure reads as follows:
Dedicated in Loving Memory of Brother Jim Strong
John 4: 13 & 14 Jesus Answered,
“Everyone Who Drinks This Water Will Be Thirsty Again, But Whoever Drinks The Water I Give Him Will Never Thirst. Indeed, The Water I Give Him Will Become in Him A Spring of Water Welling up To Eternal Life.”
Given By: The A. W. “Butch” Theis Jr. Family
The Theis Attaway Park is not one that exercise buffs who wish to walk or jog for miles would seek. The walking trail is only 1/4 mile from start to finish.
The nice thing about the trail is that it is smooth asphalt and quite wide. It would nicely accommodate people in wheelchairs. Much of it goes through heavily wooded areas. Benches are provided at various spots.
Inscribed into the dedication plaque of this Theis Attaway Nature Center is the following:
“The Theis Attaway Nature Center is dedicated in memory of A. W. “Allie” Theis, Sr., in honor of his wife, Thelma (Attaway) Theis, and to the glory of our gracious God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Allie (Daddy to us) loved the outdoors. He felt that having a patch of land was one of the most important things a man could offer his family and would often say, “Better get some land, because God ain’t makin’ any more.” Land to him provided a place for a home, game to hunt, fields to plant, room for his Brahman cattle to roam and a spot for friends to come together to enjoy some of his good cooking and continual joke telling.
Daddy hoped to always keep this spot (the old fishing and swimming hole, along with land nearby) for family and friends to gather and enjoy nature. Sharing his dream to keep the land, Thelma (Mother) worked at Brautigam’s Grocery Store to add to Daddy’s constable pay and farm income. Now, Mother gives this land so a piece of Tomball’s past and a small part of God’s wonders may be preserved. Daddy, a man with big hands and an even bigger heart, would be especially proud that here the legacy of good time among family and friends will continue. This land cherished by six generations of the Theis family now remains for all to enjoy.
Daddy, we know you would love it.”
The plaque was signed as follows:
“The children of A. W. “Allie” and Thelma (Attaway) Theis, with special remembrance of our deceased infant brother, Clifford Dale Theis.
A. W. “Butch” Theis Jr.
Mildred “Millie” Theis Martin
Mary Martha Theis Williams
Patricia “Pat” Theis Com
This small park in Tomball is open year round. Professional photographers have used this nature center as a site for taking family photos, graduation photos and the like.
While so much of our Houston metro area keeps being paved over with new land developments, thanks to the Theis family this precious 4 acres of land will remain as it is for generations to come.