This meadow, approximately 2100 acres, is the largest section of native grassland existing in Texas. It was originally part of a prairie system that stretched throughout the Midwestern United States and into Canada. Since the earliest settlers arrived in this area in the 1830s, when Texas was part of Mexico, this grassland has remained uncultivated, providing an annual harvest of native grasses.
A lack of fuel and surface water made this area unsuitable for pioneer farmers. Although similar land nearby was tilled and planted, often resulting in erosion or overworked soil, this site was saved by the owner M.L. Smiley (1872-1953). A native of Lamar County, he used the meadow for cattle grazing and for hay production.
Early harvests consisted of cutting and stacking the grasses for drying, or transporting the hay to nearby steam-powered presses. The process was later simplified by the use of gasoline-powered machines that harvested and baled the hay on the site.
After Smiley's death, the meadow was inherited by brothers George S. and Gene M. Woodfin. Today the Smiley-Woodfin Prairie Grassland is the largest supplier of native hay in the state.