Texas Independence Trail Region

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


Photo by TXDOT


The Texas Independence Trail city of Columbus enjoyed a quiet start as a crossing along the Colorado River in the early 1800’s. Called Beeson’s Ford, it served as settlement for members of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred who began to arrive in 1821. But its tranquility wouldn’t last. Sam Houston’s army showed up in 1836, camping along the river banks for seven days in March as he retreated from Gonzales to San Jacinto in the Runaway Scrape. Upon his departure, Houston burned the community to the ground. The site was quick to recover, however, rebuilding and expanding throughout the mid and late 1800s, contributing to a sizable collection of Greek Revival and Victorian architecture that can still be seen in the Columbus Historic District today. Surviving evidence of a Columbus past includes the Alley Log Cabin, one of the first structures rebuilt after the fire; the restored Stafford Opera House; the Colorado County courthouse, restored through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program; and a fire department water tower now serving as home to the United Daughters of the Confederacy Museum. Columbus’ historic homes tour, a heritage traveler favorite, features an audio history broadcast to vehicle radios.