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Texas Independence Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Washington: Texas Independence Day Celebration at Washington on the Brazos


March 5, 2016 - 10:00am to March 6, 2016 - 5:00pm
Washington on the Brazos to mark 180th Anniversary of Texas Independence  and 100th Birthday of this State Park - K. Dragna
Washington on the Brazos - 180th Anniversary

Washington on the Brazos to mark 180th Anniversary of Texas Independence and 100th Birthday of this State Park!

2016 will be an important year for Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site: not only is it the 180th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico in 1836 at the park site, but it will also be the state park's 100th birthday. 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.

To commemorate this special occasion the three entities that administer and support this site—Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept (TPWD), Blinn College and Washington on the Brazos State Park Association—are planning a Texas-size celebration.

“Texas Independence Day Celebration” (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 (collections and programs honoring history of early Texans, administered by Blinn College); Independence Hall (the site where representatives wrote the Texas Declaration of Independence); and Barrington Living History Farm (where interpreters dress, work and farm as did the original residents of this homestead). The birthday celebration features live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, historical encampments and commemorative programs as guests experience life in Texas in 1836.

Admission fees are waived for the site’s attractions (Independence Hall, Star of the Republic Museum, and Barrington Living History Farm) 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 some special guests and entertainment, including but not limited to Texas A&M University Singing Cadets; the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band to perform three times; a historical play about the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence; unveiling and book signing of “Washington on the Brazos: Cradle of the Texas Republic” by author Richard B. McCaslin (fellow of the TSHA and professor of history at the University of North Texas); family reunions of the descendants of the 59 men who signed the Declaration; a special exhibit at the Star of Republic Museum relating to the 180th, and additional historical reenactments.
And just as they did 180 years ago, riders on horseback will deliver to Independence Hall a reproduction of the letter written by Alamo leader William Barret Travis to the delegates meeting at Washington on the Brazos in which he declared, "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. If independence is not declared, I shall lay down my arms, and so will the men under my command."
Tentatively called the “Ride for Independence – Alamo to Washington,” interpretive staff from area historical sites will retrace on horseback the route the courier traveled in 1836 as closely as possible, while dressed in period clothing and using riding tack authentic to that used during the Texian War 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 make their way down La Bahia Road and into Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site to deliver Travis' letter, timed in conjunction with the annual Texas Independence Day Celebration at this state park.

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 180th website that will promote all 180th events and create a registry of descendants of those who lived in Texas during 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 Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington Living History Farm. 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. 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 the all festivities, including TIDC and the 180th celebrations, are continually posted at www.wheretexasbecametexas.org; the public can contact office@wheretexasbecametexas.org or (936) 878-2214 for more information.

Location

  • Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site
  • 23400 Park Road 12
  • Washington, Texas
  • 77880

Contact

Fees

  • Free


Map of Event