Discover Austin: Washington-on-the-Brazos - Episode 86
Discover Austin has visited several historic sites and for this road trip episode, I'm heading to Washington-on-the-Brazos, the location where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. If you'd prefer to read about this historic site, you can find the transcript below the video.
Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. On March 2, 1836, 59 delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence creating the Republic of Texas. We’re here at Washington-on-the-Brazos to visit one of Texas’ most historic sites on this road trip episode of Discover Austin.
Washington-on-the-Brazos, is located about two hours east of Austin. Run by the Texas Historical Commission, there are three major aspects to see: Independence Hall, the Star of the Republic Museum, and the Barrington Plantation.
This is Independence Hall, site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence. While this is a replica of the original building, it sits on the very place where the original was. In 1836, the building was not completed so there were no windows or doorways. A cold snap came through as The Convention of 1836 convened on March 1 to deliberate the political aspect of the war with Mexico. On the first day a motion to declare Independence from Mexico was passed. George Childress was appointed as the chairman of the committee to draft a Declaration of Independence. Childress had already studied other similar documents, including the US Declaration of Independence, and had a draft already set to go. The committee made minor changes to it, but on March 2, it was approved and signed by the delegates. This was the official formation of the Republic of Texas. At the same time the convention was approving the declaration, the Alamo was under siege from Santa Anna eventually, falling on March 6. Because of the ongoing battles, the convention was quick about it’s duties and within 17 days created a constitution and established an interim government.
The Star of the Republic Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and showcasing the material culture of the Texas Republic. There is more than 10,000 square feet of exhibit space designed to help you understand the early days of Texas.
The Barrington Plantation gives you a great opportunity to learn what it would be like to live like a Texan in the mid 1800s. Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas, owned land very nearby and his house was moved here. Using Anson Jones’ writings as a guide, costumed farm workers use his methods and materials for farming and ranching. These gentlemen are removing the bark from cedar trees to build a new pen for some pigs. Crops are planted using seeds from that era or as close to that era as is possible to obtain.
Washington-on-the-Brazos is a beautiful place to soak up some momentous Texas history. Whether it’s the main attractions of Independence Hall, the museum, and the plantation or simply having a picnic near the river, time here is well spent. I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty, thanks for joining me for this road trip episode of Discover Austin.