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Archive for the ‘Historic Walking Tour’ Category

Take a Historic Walking Tour in Downtown Brenham

April 15th, 2015 by Pamela Murski

Downtown Brenham

Historic Simon Theatre and Washington County Visitors Center

Are historic walking tours your favorite thing to do when travelling?  Then don’t miss staying at the ranch in Brenham, Texas for a night or two to go  back in history while enjoying the historic walking tour in downtown Brenham!  Our downtown is a designated historic mainstreet district by the state…..a feat that took many a year and many a step to pass before acquiring!  In that respect, our beautiful architecture and buildings dating from the 1800’s are maintained and treasured by the German & Polish descendants of this beautiful small city.

While on your walking tour, you’ll pass by many 2 and 3 story dwellings that were once home to German blacksmiths, cotton commerce houses, furniture makers, candy shops, dry goods mercantiles, saddleries,  banks, buggy builders, an Opera house and more fascinating businesses of the time.   Downtown Brenham was platted around the Courthouse Square in 1844, when it was selected as the county seat of Washington County. In 1861 an early railroad was completed to Brenham, from Galveston and Houston, bringing a surge of people and prosperity. The community flourished during and after the Civil War, due to its new railroad and abundant supply of cotton, which was treated much like cash in those days. Immigrants from Europe flooded into Washington County through the late 1800’s.  During the early 1900’s, many downtown buildings were remodeled with store fronts  newly faced with marble or brick and decorative awnings.  Today these buildings house restaurants, boutiques, furniture and antique shops, lawyers, jewelers, the Brenham Heritage Museum and more.

Festivals, music, dance, beer and wine events are held year round in the historic downtown area of Brenham.  In the summer, you’ll find live bands, street dances and antique car shows on Saturdays in July during the Hot Nights Cool Tunes Festival, May brings Maifest with parades, German music and German Food to celebrate our German heritage, and Fall/Winter ushers in the Brew Step and Uptown Swirl,  both events celebrating the delicious heritage of beer and wine.  Reserve your  room now at the ranch for any and all of these events to have your home away from home while enjoying the pleasures of our beautiful and historic  town.

Start your historic walking tour at the handsome Simon Theatre, now housing the Washington County Visitor Center, circa 1925.   Architecturally important, this building was designed by the famous architect, Alfred C. Finn, who also  designed the San Jacinto Monument.  The Simon Theatre was designed in the early 20th century Classic Revival style. It was plush and popular in its time, with an upstairs ballroom used for events. The lower floor had a lobby, retail space, a vaudeville stage and movie theater with seating for 739 including the balcony. The handsome Simon Theatre being completely refurbished will soon house convention-wedding-event space, as well as theatre once again!

One of our favorite places in downtown Brenham and one of the stops not be be missed during your historic walking tour is the Wild West Tale at Toubin Park, Circa 1880, located at 208 South Park Street!   Beneath Brenham streets is a State Archeological Landmark, the only system of historic public cisterns found in Texas. Learn how they were built and supplied with water by private businesses.   View one of these amazing cisterns in Toubin Park and enjoy the history through an vivid pictorial display….a Wild West tale of an early railroad, a rough Boom Town and inventive citizens who banded together in adversity after a great fire nearly destroyed their precious early town!

After all that walking, you’ll need a good soak! Come back to your private mini suite at the ranch and enjoy our outdoor spa, where you  can relax and relive your time in historic downtown Brenham while  enjoying a hot bubbling soak and delicious cool glass of wine!  You can pick up a Historic Walking Tour brochure in our Visitor Center downtown or download a pdf by clicking here!