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Texas Independence Trail Region

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

Seguin


A CONCRETE PAST

Rich with pecans, walnuts and history, Seguin is the seat of Guadalupe County and one of the oldest towns in Texas, founded by frontier rangers in 1838. Originally called Walnut Springs, the community later was named for Juan N. Seguin, the Tejano hero who warned Texans of the advancing Mexican Army during the Runaway Scrape, and later fought with the Texas Army at San Jacinto. A 17-foot-tall bronze statue of Juan Seguin on horseback stands in downtown’s Central Park. A more whimsical monument in concrete — “The World’s Largest Pecan”— honoring the bountiful local crop, graces the courthouse square. The city celebrates Pecan Fest Heritage Days every October. 


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Seguin was a stop along the Chisholm Trail cattle route and prospered from cotton, agriculture, livestock and oil. This Texas Main Street City boasts a 26-square-block downtown commercial district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Early-20th Century buildings now house cafes, the Seguin-Guadalupe County Heritage Museum, gift shops and live performance venues, such as the Texas Theatre, a restored 1931 Spanish Colonial Revival gem. Another imposing building from that era is the Art Moderne-style Guadalupe County Courthouse, completed in 1935. The limestone structure was designed by architects L.M. Wirtz and Harold Calhoun, and includes frieze panels depicting allegorical images of Liberty, Justice and Wisdom.

Seguin also boasts a large inventory of Victorian-era homes. The tourist information center offers maps for self-guided tours past the historic structures. Heritage Village south of downtown includes the oldest building in Seguin, Los Nogales Museum, a restored adobe-brick structure dating to 1849; a hand-carved dollhouse; a calaboose (jail) on wheels; one of the oldest Protestant churches in Texas, and a log cabin occupied by the same family for a century.

Seguin was nicknamed “The Mother of Concrete Cities” for experimenting with lime-crete to build nearly 100 homes and public buildings. Only 22 survive, and the grandest is the Sebastopol House Historic Site, one of the best-preserved examples of lime-crete construction in the U.S. The Greek Revival-style home was built by African American slaves in 1856. The Wilson Pottery exhibit at the site displays historic pottery, artifacts and memorabilia of the first business in Texas operated by freed slaves. Ten miles south of Seguin, the Sweet Home Vocational and Agricultural High School educated African American students from 1924 until 1962. Financed in part by the Rosenwald Fund, which provided matching monies to African American communities to build public schools, it now serves as a community center.