"The Culture Ladies" in a scene from Saledo Legends Photo: Cindy Dale
An Outdoor Musical Drama
This epic outdoor musical drama was written to enlighten the public
about the cultural and historical impact of Scottish settlements in
central Texas and their contribution to the state. The thousands of
tourists who travel to this unincorporated village to attend
performances of Salado Legends return home with a better
understanding of Scottish heritage in central Texas, and at the
same time their visits economically benefit the village.
The village of Salado began because of Colonel E.S.C.
Robertson, who moved to land in central Texas that his father was
granted from Mexico in 1834. Robertson donated ten acres at Salado
Springs for a school and 90 acres to be sold for homesites, which
became Salado in the mid 1800s. Salado is located halfway between
Austin and Waco, along the Salado Creek, the first Natural Landmark
Tablerock Festival of Salado is a nonprofit
organization, founded by citizens of Salado and Bell County in
1979, to manage a 450-seat amphitheater that was built on thirteen
acres of land donated by the Goodnight family. Three years later,
the organization was floundering; its bank account was down to
$1.34 when local children's book author, Jackie Mills, was asked to
revive the Tablerock Festival. She enlisted the help of her
husband, Denver Mills, who was president of the Salado Chamber of
Commerce, and the community. After attending an Institute of
Outdoor Drama conference, Jackie Mills began researching Salado's
history to base a musical play, which she wrote for production in
Members of the community contributed to its
development in their own ways. The Salado Creekside Cloggers choose
music and choreographed a historic dance; a Salado artist and
blacksmith designed and made a Scottish claymore sword, which is
important in the play's plot; Temple Civic Theater Board members
loaned their sets and costumes; a book store sold tickets; the
Cultural Activities Center of Temple, Texas, loaned lighting
equipment; local composers wrote music and lyrics; and many more
examples of community support are documented.
When rehearsals began for the musical drama, it
called for 35 actors. Descendants of original settlers who lived in
the area wanted to participate, so "one liners" were written for
them. The cast rose to 75, yet more founding families wanted to
participate. To accommodate everyone, families are rotated every
other year. Because of the lack of restaurants in Salado that could
accommodate the audience, Mills made arrangements with a local
restaurant owner to cater meals, so that Salado Legends became part
of a dinner theater.
On July 24, 1993, the musical drama opened, and
played to three sold-out performances, making a $1,600 profit. Each
of the following six years of the musical's run has earned
Tablerock more money and attracted a larger audience. In 1999, the
gains from Salado Legends were $10,640, and the economic impact to
the community was estimated at $182,488.
The legacy project is well documented with an essay
by Jackie Mills; the script to
Salado Legends; 22 photos;
20 essay attachments that describe aspects of Salado culture and
historic attractions; two musical CDs and two audio tapes, both
from 1998 and 1999 productions; numerous newspaper articles;
postcards; and brochures and programs from the past five years.
Originally submitted by: Chet Edwards, Representative (11th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.