Special Events and Celebrations at Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site April through July 2017

Share Article

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site tells the history of Texas, with four onsite attractions and an incredible schedule of events and programs.

News Image
In the early days of March 1836, The Alamo was under siege by the forces of General Santa Ana. Yet, 59 delegates from across the territory gathered in Washington on the Brazos to do something few have ever done: found a nation.

It was March 2, 1836 when 59 delegates bravely met at Washington, Texas to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. From 1836 until 1846, the Republic of Texas proudly existed as a separate nation. Washington on the Brazos is, indeed, “Where Texas Became Texas.”

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site has many onsite amenities open daily, as well as an incredible schedule of events and programs. On the grounds of this 293-acre, TPWD-run state park is 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. The entrance to the park grounds, Visitor Center and parking is always complimentary; fees apply for access to Barrington Farm and the Star of the Republic Museum, and for tours of Independence Hall.

One of the site’s most significant, annual events occurs on March 4 and 5, 2017: Texas Independence Day Celebration; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site). “Texas Independence Day Celebration” is an annual two-day celebration featuring live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, firing demonstrations, historical encampments and commemorative programs. Special guests and entertainment will include Texas A&M University Singing Cadets; the historical play “The Birth of a Republic” about the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence; family reunions of the descendants of the 59 men who signed the Declaration; wreath laying ceremony at the Children’s Monument; demonstrators and musicians will bring old time music, crafts and additional historical reenactments; and walking the same trail as Texas’ forefathers and pioneer families. Texas musicians and actors will provide musical and theatrical entertainment. A Kids History Zone will allow children to dress up in historical costumes; sign a large-scale copy of the Declaration; and takes photos near the Declaration. No admission fees; parking and onsite shuttles also complimentary. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas.gov.

March 4, 2017 through February 15, 2018 – Heirloom Genealogy: Tracing your Family Treasures – Star of the Republic Museum: The Star of the Republic Museum at WOB will celebrate the 181st anniversary of Texas’s independence with its new exhibit, “Heirloom Genealogy: Tracing your Family Treasures.” Stories will come to light as artifacts are examined in-depth through lineage research. Documents reveal where the artifacts originated, who owned them, and how they got to Texas. Items in the exhibit include three-year-old Edward Boylan’s buckskin suit; Pleasant B. Watson’s diary; Heinrich Tiemann’s clog-making tools; and Clara Lang’s grand piano, among others.
Permanent Exhibit – Pioneer Playroom – Star of the Republic Museum: The Museum’s Pioneer Playroom simulates an early Texas frontier homestead that allows participants to immerse themselves in the role of pioneers through role-playing, interactive experiences and a variety of learning styles. Children can load and sit on a buckboard wagon, dress in clothing characteristic of the period, build a log cabin, wash and hang laundry, haul water, milk a cow, gather eggs from a chicken coop and more. Free with paid admission to the Museum. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 245 or donna.barker(at)blinn.edu.

SCHEDULE OF SPECIAL EVENTS - APRIL THROUGH JULY 2017:
Unless noted otherwise, programs are open to all ages, but an adult must accompany any children. Visitors should dress appropriately for the season and be prepared for the weather as the events take place in 1850s period settings, with some portions outdoors. Visitors should call the park at (936) 878-2214 to confirm these dates and times; events subject to change based on weather, etc.

April 8, 2017 - The Doctor Is In: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Barrington Farm): Dr. Jones was a physician by trade and used different techniques to treat ailments than we do today. Learn about pharmaceutical and medical inventions for disease in 1850 For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas.gov.
April 8, 2017 – Stagecoach Days: 11 a.m. – 3p.m. (Fanthorp Inn): Fanthorp Inn will host Stagecoach Days allowing visitors to experience what it was like to travel cross country via stagecoach and learn about the Inn’s history and connection with early stage lines. A suggested donation of $4.00 ($10 w/ coach ride) for adults and $2.00 ($5 w/ coach ride) for children to tour the Inn and ride the coach helps support the site. Coach rides last approximately 15 minutes and Inn tours for 30-45 minutes. This event is open to all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas.gov.
Special Focus Program for Stagecoach Days: Children’s Pastimes and Playthings – Join us at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for “Children’s Pastimes and Playthings”. A Children's Day/Fest - a day focusing on hands on activities for kids. There will be several stations with fun and engaging activities for kids including period games, toys and interactive historical demonstrations. In the days before cell phones, TV’s and computer games early Texas children found delight in activities such as Button Whizzers, Corn Shuck Dolls, and Hoop Races.

April 15, 2017 – Living History Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Independence Hall and Old Washington Townsite): Travel back in time to where a nation was born in 1836. On the third Saturday of each month staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing bring to life the people and events of Old Washington providing a unique opportunity to discover various aspects of life surrounding the birth of the Republic of Texas. The program features activities suited for the entire family. Try your hand at writing with a quill pen and sign a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Visit with militia soldiers travelling through town or try your hand at some early Texas games. Step back in time and discover the spot where Texas became Texas! (Activities will vary and some are weather dependent) This program will feature: Quill pen writing, Blacksmithing demonstration, Texian Militia display with black powder rifle demonstration at timed intervals. 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Traditional tours of Independence Hall will not be offered these days. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas.gov.

April 15, 2017 - Hands-On-History – Quill Writing: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Star of the Republic Museum): Join museum staff on the third Saturday of each month to make crafts and toys that pioneer kids made during the Republic time. Visitors can also discover what life was like for kids living in the 1830s in the newly renovated Pioneer Playroom. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 236 or Donna.barker(at)blinn.edu.

April 22 & 23, 2017 – Basketry on the Brazos: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Barrington Farm): Baskets were a utilitarian and useful item on a farm, used much like our plastic bags or baskets today, but people could buy or make their own. Many different kinds were made, some by folks on the farm repaired or made their own. For more information, contact Bruce Wardlow at (936) 878-2214 ext. 246 or bruce.wardlow(at)tpwd.texas.gov.

May 13, 2017 – Stagecoach Days: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Fanthorp Inn): Fanthorp Inn will host Stagecoach Days allowing visitors to experience what it was like to travel cross country via stagecoach and learn about the Inn’s history and connection with early stage lines. A suggested donation of $4.00 ($10 w/ coach ride) for adults and $2.00 ($5 w/ coach ride) for children to tour the Inn and ride the coach helps support the site. Coach rides last approximately 15 minutes and Inn tours for 30-45 minutes. This event is open to all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas.gov.
Special Focus Program for Stagecoach Days: Music Makes a Dance Celebration – Join us at 11, 1 and 3 for “Music Makes a Dance Celebration”. Fanthorp Inn focuses on Dance in Texas during the days when music along with dancing was one of the few opportunities to socially interact and enjoy the company of others. Come join the fun and learn a few of the popular dances enjoyed in early Texas. Citizens looked forward to these events and an opportunity to show their finest clothes, behavior and manners. Anticipation and preparations of days if not weeks were spent preparing for the parties.
May 20, 2017 – Living History Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Independence Hall and Old Washington townsite): Travel back in time to where a nation was born in 1836. On the third Saturday of each month staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing bring to life the people and events of Old Washington providing a unique opportunity to discover various aspects of life surrounding the birth of the Republic of Texas. The program features activities suited for the entire family. Try your hand at writing with a quill pen and sign a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Visit with militia soldiers travelling through town or try your hand at some early Texas games. Step back in time and discover the spot where Texas became Texas! (Activities will vary and some are weather dependent) This program will feature: Cooking demonstration with focus on the type of food available in town at the time of the Convention of 1836. Traditional tours of Independence Hall will not be offered these days. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas.gov.

May 20, 2017 - Hands-On-History – Corn Husk Dolls: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Star of the Republic Museum): Join museum staff on the third Saturday of each month to make crafts and toys that pioneer kids made during the Republic time. Visitors can also discover what life was like for kids living in the 1830s in the newly renovated Pioneer Playroom. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 236 or Donna.barker(at)blinn.edu.

May 27, 2017 - Letters from Home: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Barrington Farm): Writing letters was an important way to communicate news, family information, announcements, and new ideas or events to the world. Try your hand with a calling card, and see the importance of the written word. For more information, contact Kellie McKenney at (936) 878-2114 ext. 246 or kellie.mckenney(at)tpwd.texas.gov.

All weekends in June - Chased by Mops and Buckets: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Barrington Farm): Spring cleaning was a yearly ordeal that families underwent to prepare their house for warmer weather and to clean out the dust and dirt from a shut-in winter. It was much more laborious than cleaning today and you can help clean windows and shake out rugs. Learn how we clean other items in the house that are more delicate and learn some ideas to use with spring cleaning at your home. For more information, contact the Farm at (936) 878-2214 ext. 246.

June 11, 2017 – Stagecoach Days: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Fanthorp Inn): Fanthorp Inn will host Stagecoach Days allowing visitors to experience what it was like to travel cross country via stagecoach and learn about the Inn’s history and connection with early stage lines. A suggested donation of $4.00 ($10 w/ coach ride) for adults and $2.00 ($5 w/ coach ride) for children to tour the Inn and ride the coach helps support the site. Coach rides last approximately 15 minutes and Inn tours for 30-45 minutes. This event is open to all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas.gov.

Special Focus Program for Stagecoach Days: Children’s Toys – Join us at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for “Children’s Toys”. A day children can learn new games from the old days. There will be several stations with fun and engaging activities for kids including period games, toys and interactive historical demonstrations. In the days before cell phones, TV’s and computer games early Texas children found delight in activities such as Button Whizzers, Corn Shuck Dolls, and Hoop Races. Come join the fun and take home a 19th century toy you made yourself.
June 24, 2017 – Juneteenth Heritage Program: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Independence Hall and Visitor Center facilities): On the 19th of June 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and made a declaration of freedom ending the bondage of approximately 250,000 enslaved men, women and children in Texas. Since that time, “Juneteenth” has been celebrated and remembered by picnics, parades, family reunions, pageants, barbecues and games. Join us as we observe this important occasion and celebrate the rich African American heritage and culture of the Brazos Valley, past and present. This new program for Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site will include exhibits, art displays, guest speakers, living history, music and more. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor@tpwd.texas.gov.

All weekends in July – Corn Harvest and Field Weeding: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Barrington Farm): Help harvest our corn fodder and corn, as weather permits, and tend to our fields throughout the summer. Fighting the weeds is something everyone had to do to help survive and corn being one of the Jones’ cash crops it was most important to tend to. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, contact the Farm at (936) 878-2214 ext. 246.

July 8, 2017 – Stagecoach Days: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Fanthorp Inn): Fanthorp Inn will host Stagecoach Days allowing visitors to experience what it was like to travel cross country via stagecoach and learn about the Inn’s history and connection with early stage lines. A suggested donation of $4.00 ($10 w/ coach ride) for adults and $2.00 ($5 w/ coach ride) for children to tour the Inn and ride the coach helps support the site. Coach rides last approximately 15 minutes and Inn tours for 30-45 minutes. This event is open to all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas.gov.
Special Focus Program for Stagecoach Days: How Sweet the Sound – Join us at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for “How Sweet the Sound”. Fanthorp Inn focuses on the Dulcimer in Texas during the days when music along with dancing was one of the few opportunities to socially interact and enjoy the company of others. On this day children will be given the opportunity to strum along with the Star of Texas Dulcimer group and learn a bit of early Texas music played on the authentic mountain dulcimer.

July 15, 2017 – Living History Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Independence Hall and Old Washington townsite): Travel back in time to where a nation was born in 1836. On the third Saturday of each month staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing bring to life the people and events of Old Washington providing a unique opportunity to discover various aspects of life surrounding the birth of the Republic of Texas. The program features activities suited for the entire family. Try your hand at writing with a quill pen and sign a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Visit with militia soldiers travelling through town or try your hand at some early Texas games. Step back in time and discover the spot where Texas became Texas! (Activities will vary and some are weather dependent) This program will feature: Quill pen writing, Texian Militia display with black powder rifle demonstration at timed intervals. 11am, 1pm & 3pm. Traditional tours of Independence Hall will not be offered these days. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas.gov.

July 15, 2017 - Hands-On-History – Buzz Saw Toys: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Star of the Republic Museum): Join museum staff on the third Saturday of each month to make crafts and toys that pioneer kids made during the Republic time. Visitors can also discover what life was like for kids living in the 1830s in the newly renovated Pioneer Playroom. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 236 or Donna.barker(at)blinn.edu.

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site
There are many reasons to join the Washington on the Brazos State Park Association as a member and explore this Texas treasure. Besides the irreplaceable satisfaction of helping to uphold Texas history through the Association’s preservation projects, celebrations and programming, spending time at the park is an easy, inexpensive, educational and fun way to entertain families and visitors. Park Association membership levels are available for individuals, families and businesses and include free admission to the Site’s attractions for a year, and—for some levels—private parties during the park’s special celebrations.

The Park: The expansive park grounds of this state park 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 and Education Center, which is available for rent for meetings, weddings and reunions. An outdoor amphitheater and two pavilions are also available to rent.
Leashed pets are allowed in the park, but NOT allowed onto farm site or in the buildings. Attractions are accessible for the mobility impaired. For lodging information, please contact the Brenham Visitor Center at http://www.visitbrenhamtexas.com/ or 1-888-BRENHAM, or the city of Navasota at http://www.navasotagrimeschamber.com.

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site is found 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. For additional information, call (936) 878-2214 or visit the site’s website at http://www.wheretexasbecametexas.org.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print