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Texas Independence Trail Region

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

West Columbia


Peach Point Cemetery - SFA's Plantation

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

The capital of the Republic of Texas from 1836 until 1837, this historic town, originally called Columbia, is where Sam Houston was sworn in as president of the Republic and where Secretary of State Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas,” died. Two buildings served the fledgling government, including a one-and-a-half story clapboard cabin that became the first Capitol of the Republic of Texas. The 1900 hurricane destroyed the humble structure but a replica built in 1977 is a reminder of Texas’ early days of independence. The Capitol of Texas Park features 21 black granite monuments depicting the people and the events that contributed to the birth of the Republic. 


Contact

  • Contact: West Columbia Chamber of Commerce
  • Phone: 979-345-3921
  • Visit Website

Map


A 1950 former bank building clad in marble and stone now houses the Columbia Historical Museum. Displays include 19th Century artifacts, documentation of the productive West Columbia oilfield, a diorama of the town of East Columbia, founded in 1823, and exhibits about the local ranching industry. Nearby is the restored Columbia Rosenwald School, which educated African American students from 1921 until 1948. Now a museum, it took detective work to authenticate the structure, and support from the community and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to bring the school back to life from serving as a hay barn.

Two miles north of West Columbia, the Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site was established in 1824 when Martin Varner, one of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred colonists, settled the land with his slaves. Varner sold the property in 1834 to the Patton family, whose slaves built a sugar plantation that operated until the Civil War. Hand-made bricks formed with clay from the Brazos River bottom were used to build the plantation house and the slave quarters. In 1901, former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg purchased the land for oil speculation. Decades later, the property was donated to the State of Texas by Miss Ima Hogg, the governor’s daughter, and opened to the public in 1958. The site, now operated by the Texas Historical Commission, includes the plantation house with period furnishings, pecan orchards, outbuildings, the governor’s outdoor bathtub, and ruins of the sugarcane mill.