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All About Washington-On-The-Brazos: The Birthplace of Texas

December 19th, 2013 by Pamela Murski

The  Birthplace of Texas, located right here in Washington County, is just a short drive from Murski Homestead B&B.  The beautiful drive down Hwy 105 leads to this magical place known as the Birthplace of Texas where one will find Texas History  from its’ inception.  The 293-acre 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. The Park encompasses the Visitor Center, Star of The Republic Museum, Barrington Living History Farm, Independence Hall,  Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site, Six Flags Over Texas Monument, and absolutely stunning grounds.  There are ongoing events year round at this historical place.

Texas History & Birthplace of Texas

Birthplace of Texas

The first place to stop upon entering the Birthplace of Texas Park is the  Park Visitor Center and Washington Emporium Gift Shop which are open from 10 am – 5 pm.   The Visitor Center features interactive exhibits in the Gallery of the Republic  presenting a timeline of the Texas Revolution and highlighting the historic attractions located within the park.   This  is the best place to gather information on the park,  the museum, Barrington Living History Farm,  acquire entry tickets and to view picturesque views of the Brazos River.

The Visitor Center is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Closed on Christmas Day.  The Park Grounds are open daily from 8 am until sundown.  It’s location is 23400 Park Road 12 in Washington, off State Hwy 105 on FM 1155, halfway between Brenham and Navasota, approximately one hour northwest of Houston. Click here for travel directions.

Book your room at the bed and breakfast, our family ranch/farm from the 1800’s,  to complete your journey through Texas history while visiting The Birthplace of Texas.

 

Star Of Republic Museum:

Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Republic of Texas, a sovereign nation from 1836 to 1846. Explore the Museum’s award-winning exhibition for an unparalleled look at the people, places, and events that shaped the character of the Texas we know today. Enrich the experience with an introductory video highlighting the significance of Washington-on-the-Brazos and rare, exclusive artifacts and documents.  Experience early Texas lifestyles in the Showers Brown Discovery Center with hands-on, entertaining activities.

 This fledgling nation, The Republic of Texas, through struggles and determination,  grew to become a unique and special place, equaled by no other.

The Star of the Republic Museum was created by the Texas Legislature and is administered by Blinn College as a cultural and educational institution. Its purpose is to collect and preserve the material culture of the Texas Republic from 1836-1846 and to interpret the history, cultures, diversity, and values of early Texans.

For more information including hours of operation and holiday closings, call 936-878-2461, ext. 237 or visit the Star of the Republic Museum website.

 

Barrington Living History Farm:

Barrington Living History Farm, named after Dr. Jones birthplace, Great Barrington Massachusetts,  is a representation of the farm founded by Dr. Anson Jones, Doctor,  Congressman, Minister to the United States, Senator, Secretary of State and the last President of the Republic of Texas.  With Jones’ daybook and accounts as their guide, the interpreters at Barrington Living History Farm conduct themselves much as did the earliest residents of the original farmstead, raising cotton, corn, cattle and hogs. Visitors take a step into the lives of Barrington’s earliest residents and participate in daily activities to better understand what life was like over 150 years ago.  The Anson Jones Home is an original structure built in 1844, near Washington. It was moved to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historical Site as part of the Texas Centennial Celebration in 1936.  With the Anson Jones Home and outbuilding, you experience a true representation of the lifestyle of the Jones family and the slaves who lived and worked here.

You are encouraged to participate in the work of the farm and become a part of the exhibit. Learn about the different Heritage breeds of livestock and help feed the chickens. Help plant or harvest crops as the season and weather permits. See the antique cotton spun, and learn how the cotton grown on Jones’ farm is different than most varieties grown in Texas. Explore the farm and experience the daily lives of those who came before. Barrington Farm is open daily from 10 am–4:30 pm

For more information, including holiday closings, visit:Texas Parks and Wildlife.

 

 

Independence Hall:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revered as the one of Texas’ most significant historic places, it was here in 1836 that representatives of the Texas settlements met to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. A replica of Independence Hallmarks the place where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed and the government of the Republic of Texas was created.  Walk in the footsteps of Davy Crockett….

Fanthorp Inn:

Nestled amid the rolling hills of Grimes County in Anderson, Texas, about 20 miles northwest of Washington-on-the-Brazos, Fanthorp Inn stands as a wonderfully preserved example of a 19th century stagecoach inn.

The 18-room inn had humble beginnings in 1834 as the simple dogtrot home of English immigrant, Henry Fanthorp and his bride, Rachel Kennard. By 1835 Fanthorp had become postmaster for the area and over time, the Fanthorp home evolved into a well-known country inn. Notable guests included Sam Houston, Zachary Taylor and Kenneth Anderson. Local legend has Generals Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis as guests of the Inn. Fanthorp Inn functioned as a country hotel/tavern until shortly after Henry and Rachel died of yellow fever in 1867, at which time it was converted back into a family home for their daughter Mary and her family.

Purchased by Texas Parks and Wildlife in 1977, the Inn underwent extensive archeological, architectural, and historical investigations and was restored to her 1850’s glory. Once again, hospitality reigns supreme as Fanthorp Inn is opened to the public for guided tours, school programs, adult group tours and special events.

Special Events include Stagecoach Days where poets, cowboys and musicians entertain as visitors tour the Inn and have the unique opportunity to experience the rolling rhythm of 1850’s travel as they ride our bright red stagecoach,  Texian Days with demonstrators of 1850’s skills, crafts exhibit methods of spinning, weaving, quilting, chuck wagon cooking, blacksmithing,  music as sweet melodies from dulcimers drift on the breeze,  raucous cowboys cook and cajole as poets and storytellers spin yarns. The horses stamp their hooves and shake their heads, rustling leather harnesses as they wait with anticipation the first of several journeys pulling the stagecoach full of cheerful passengers; Twilight*Firelight when luminarias and cresettes illuminate your path as you follow the sounds of laughter and music wafting throughout the Inn,  visit with “Henry and Rachel Fanthorp”, road weary travelers, boarders, poets and a host of colorful 19th Century characters, a time when Fanthorp Inn  ushers in the holidays spreading Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards All;  Easter Sunrise Service held at Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site in Anderson, Texas. This special spiritual event includes prayers, hymns, scripture and meditation which mark this event as a reverent celebration of the resurrection. Fellowship follows with refreshments provided by congregation members. Service begins at 7am.  Stepping onto the Fanthorp front porch is a passage into yesteryear!

Download the Fanthorp Inn 2013 program schedule.  For additional information please visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife website,  their Facebook page – Fanthorp-Inn-State-Historic-Site-Texas-Parks-and-Wildlife or call 936-878-2214 or 936-873-2633.  Tours: Saturday & Sunday 9am – 11:30am, 1pm – 3:30pm.

 

Six Flags Over Texas Monument:  

The Six Flags Over Texas Monument located in August Horst Municipal Park, Navasota, Texas,  is an impressive capture of almost 500 years of Texas History, celebrating Texas’ uniqueness.  From a time before recorded history the area around the confluence of the Brazos and Navasota Rivers, along the La Bahia trail, has been a magnet to travelers and a place to rest and reflect on the heritage of Texas. This monument celebrates that heritage with a timeline of flags, representing the Nations who built Texas’ unique character.

Beginning with the first Europeans to explorer under the flag of Spain in 1519
Texas became a destination, a vast unknown space to conquer.
Spain flew the first flag during their rule of most of Texas from 1519 to 1685
(168 years) and 1690 to 1821 (131 years, a total of 299 years).

 

In 1685 France sought to expand their holdings in North America and sent their own explorers. A French Nobleman named Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle founded an ill fated colony called Fort Saint Louis near Matagorda Bay. He was killed by one of his own men as he explored this region. It flew from 1685 to 1690.

 

Mexico followed the United States declaring itself free and independent of Spain and establishing a fledgling Republic on September 16, 1821. That same year Impresario Stephen F Austin was granted permission to establish a colony with 300 families. By 1830 political and cultural difference began to put a strain on relations between Texans and the government in Mexico. The final straw for many Texans was when Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna tore up the Mexican Constitution and declared himself Dictator.

 

It was during this time of political turmoil and strife that the town of Washington was established and settlers began to congregate near what would become Navasota. March 2, 1836 representatives in convention at Washington declared all Texas free and independent of the government of the Republic of Mexico. With the Texan victory at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 their independence was secured, and the young republic grew by leaps and bounds.

 

The new nation’s capital was set in Washington in 1842 and the region continued to prosper, the La Bahia Road and Brazos River becoming arteries of communication and commerce. As Texas grew she struggled through many difficulties with neighbors and finances. A vibrant nation of rugged individualists found they wanted a partner for the future, so the Lone Star of Texas joined the Star Spangled Banner, joining the United States officially on February 19, 1846.

 

The Confederate flag was the sixth flag,
flying from 1861 to 1865.

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