Texas Independence From Mexico Celebration

Published in the Wilson County News on Feburary 20,2013

Celebrate TexasIndependence -Visit the birthplace of Lone Star liberty in Washington-on-the-Brazos


    When we think of Texas’s struggle for independence from Mexico in the 1830s, most will automatically think of the Alamo or the Battle of San Jacinto. But, Washington-on-the-Brazos is considered by historians to be the most significant place in Texas at that time. On March 2, 1836, Washington-on-the-Brazos made history as the birthplace of the Republic of Texas.

 Making History

    On this day, delegates elected from each municipality in Texas met in a small, unfinished building, now referred to as Independence Hall, to establish an interim government and to write a constitution for the new Republic of Texas. At the same time, General Santa Anna was lying siege to the Alamo and many delegates desperately wanted to rush to the aid of those trapped inside - men like Bowie, Travis and Crockett. But those delegates were convinced by others that it was much more important to finish the job they were there for - to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. Working day and night for over two weeks, they forged a constitution and a government that lasted ten years, until the Republic of Texas became part of the United States, as its 28th state.

      The town of Washington had sprung up around a ferry landing on the Brazos River, and by 1835, it had become a supply crossroad for tradesmen and merchants because of the river and the nearby major roads. It continued to flourish and gain prominence until the mid 1850s; the decline of the town began when it was by-passed by the railroad. Today the population of Washington-on-the Brazos is only nine. One of those nine proud residents was our guide who led us on the journey to experience exactly what happened during March of 1836.

 Bringing the past to life


   As we sat inside Independence Hall at a long table similar to the one used by the delegates in 1836, listening to his vivid descriptions of the events, he sometimes spoke as if he was there at that time. He drew us into the history and made us feel a part of this wonderful place. Tours are available daily.


   Washington-on-the Brazos State Historical Site covers 293 acres and includes the Independence Hall, the Star of the Republic Museum and the Barrington Living History Farm.

   The Star of the Republic Museum, a two-level, 22,000 square-foot facility build in the shape of the Texas star, opened in 1970 and contains many artifacts from that period of time. One of the most interesting aspects of the museum is the timeline along the wall of the stairs that takes you to the second floor. It displays events that occurred in the region from the founding of the Alamo in 1718 to Texas becoming part of the United States. The 80-seat Jesse H. Jones Theatre features a 20-minute video entitled “Once a Nation” providing an overview of life between 1836 and 1846. It is well worth your time so see this excellent presentation.

  The Barrington Living History Farm represents the lifestyle of Dr. Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas, and his family. It includes a structure built in 1844 and moved to this historical site in 1936; other structures were recreated based on historical information. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the work of the farm guided by interpreters, dressed in period clothing, to better understand and experience the daily lives of those early Texas settlers.


Admission to all three venues: Independence Hall, the Star of the Republic Museum and the Barrington Living History Farm Museum, is $9 per adult, $6 per child (7 and up)
or $27 per family (2 adults and up to 5 children). All facilities in the park and the museum are accessible for the physically challenged. This is a wonderful experience for anyone who loves history.

 Nearby Brenham

  A great bonus of visiting Washington-on-the-Brazos is the nearby city of Brenham, with the Blue Bell Creameries, museums, wineries, restaurants, and great boutique hotels and B&Bs. You can go to www.visitbrenhamtexas.com for more information about this area.


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   © Harry Perez 2012