Washington on the Brazos to Celebrate Texas' 180th Anniversary of Independence

Share Article

Washington on the Brazos will celebrate how Texas became Texas with a montage of celebrations, including a reenactment of that historic courier ride from the Alamo to Washington, and the “Texas Independence Day Celebration” March 5 and 6 at Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site.

Texas Independence Day Celebration

“Let the Convention go on and make a declaration of independence; and we will then understand, and the world will understand, what we are fighting for.” William Barret Travis, Texas Commander, The Alamo

“Let the Convention go on and make a declaration of independence;
and we will then understand,
and the world will understand, what we are fighting for.”    
William Barret Travis, Texas Commander
Battle of the Alamo

Even though his command of 183 men were overwhelmingly outnumbered and faced imminent death at the Alamo by Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna, William Barret Travis had the wisdom to send a message to the 59 men huddled in near-freezing weather at the Constitutional Convention in Washington, Texas to stay there, and complete the task of declaring independence from Mexico. They did exactly that—and on March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence and became the Republic of Texas. Washington on the Brazos is, indeed, Where Texas Became Texas.

Next year—180 years later—Texas will celebrate “how Texas became Texas” with a montage of celebrations, starting with a reenactment of that historic ride from the Alamo to Washington, retracing on horseback the route the courier traveled in 1836 as closely as possible, with riders dressed in period clothing and using authentic riding tack used during this Texian war for Independence. Tentatively called “The Ride for Independence,” the proposed ride will begin in late February 2016 on the grounds of the Alamo and travel through towns including Seguin, Gonzales, Shiner, San Felipe, Belmont, Sublime, Altair and Beard.    

For the grand finale, on Saturday, March 5, 2016, the riders will ride down the La Bahia Road to Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site to deliver Travis' letter, timed in conjunction with this state park’s annual Texas Independence Day Celebration.

2016 will be an especially important year for Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site as it celebrates the 180th anniversary of Texas’ Declaration of Independence and its 100th birthday as a park. To commemorate this dual occasion the three entities that administer and support Washington on the Brazos site—Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept (TPWD), Blinn College and Washington on the Brazos State Park Association—are planning a Texas-size “Texas Independence Day Celebration” (TIDC).

TIDC is an annual two-day celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6, 2016 on the expansive 293-acre park grounds and its three incredible attractions: Star of the Republic Museum; Independence Hall and Barrington Living History Farm. The birthday celebration features live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, historical encampments and commemorative programs as guests step back into history to experience life in Texas in 1836. Admission fees are waived for the site’s attractions during the TIDC weekend celebration. Admission to the grounds, on-site shuttles and parking are also free.

In 2016, TIDC will be expanded to include more special guests and entertainment, including but not limited to three performances by the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band; concerts by the Texas A&M University Singing Cadets; family reunions of the descendants of the 59 men who signed the Declaration; special events at the Star of Republic Museum and the Barrington Living History Farm; and additional historical reenactments.

Other events and programs are being finalized at the seven historic sites associated with the Texas Revolution (Gonzales, San Felipe, San Antonio Missions, the Alamo, Washington on the Brazos, Goliad and San Jacinto Monument). Statewide initiatives include “Passport to Texas Independence” guide sponsored by the Texas Independence Trail Region, and a proposed website that will promote all 180th events and create a registry of all descendants of those who fought in the Texas Revolution in 1835 and 1836.    

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site:
This TPWD-run state park has many onsite amenities open daily, as well as an incredible schedule of events and programs. On-site attractions include Independence Hall (the site in 1836 where the representatives met to write the declaration of independence); the Star of the Republic Museum (collections honoring the history, cultures, diversity and values of early Texans--administered by Blinn College); and Barrington Living History Farm (where interpreters dress, talk, work and farm as the earliest residents of the original farmstead did). The site’s Visitor Center features interactive exhibits which present a timeline of the Texas Revolution and highlight the historic attractions located within the park; it also houses the spacious Washington Emporium Gift Shop, which offers snacks and a wide range of Texas-themed items and keepsakes. The Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site is a wonderfully preserved example of a 19th century stagecoach inn, located nearby in Anderson, TX. And remember, entrance to the park grounds, Visitor Center and parking is always free.

The Park: The expansive park grounds along the Brazos River also provide a beautiful setting for picnicking, sightseeing and bird watching, as well as four geocaching sites—two each from TPWD and the Brenham/Washington County Chamber and CVB. It also features a Conference Center which is perfect for meetings, weddings and reunions. The Education Center with a main auditorium and two classroom style spaces are perfect for smaller groups. An outdoor amphitheater and two pavilions are also available for rent.

Park Association membership levels are available for individuals, families and businesses and include free admission to the Site’s attractions for a year, including—for some levels—private parties during the park’s special celebrations.

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site is located on the Brazos River at the original townsite of Washington, Texas, a major political and commercial center in early Texas. It is located at 23400 Park Road 12, Washington, TX, 77880—approximately halfway between Brenham and Navasota, off of State Hwy. 105. From Hwy. 105, follow either FM 912 or FM 1155 to Park Road 12.

Updates on site, its ongoing schedule of special events and specifically TIDC’s festivities are continually posted at http://www.wheretexasbecametexas.org; the public can contact (936) 878-2214 or office(at)wheretexasbecametexas(dot)org for more information.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website