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Texas | Texas State Parks

Washington-on-the-Brazos

First and Last Capitol of the Republic of Texas

Washington County, Central Texas S

FM 912 off Hwy 105
At the Brazos River (Washington County Line)
Near the Juncture of the Navasota and Brazos Rivers
18 miles E of Brenham
10 miles W of Navasota

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Childress statue, Star of Republic Museum
The dramatic statue of Childress (by Raoul Josset)
in front of the Star of the Republic Museum.

TE photo, November 2002

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site

The bill authorizing the purchase of property and improvement of the site was signed in 1915 by Governor James Ferguson.

Marked paths follow some of the actual roads of Old Washington.

One stop is a replica of the building where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed in 1836 and an inscribed obelisk stands - given by Texas schoolchildren in 1900.

  • Barrington Living History Farm
  • Star of the Republic Museum
  • Old Washington-on-the-Brazos - A Brief History
  • Barrington Farm - Anson Jones Home
    Anson Jones Home
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, September 2010

    Barrington Living History Farm

    21300 Park Rd. 12 Washington TX 77880 936/878-2214
    barrington1850@earthlink.net
    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

    The plantation home of Anson Jones, last President of the Republic of Texas. The main house at Barrington served as the last "white house" of the Republic and was originally four miles west of Washington on the road to Independence.

    Barrington Farm today is a hands-on educational facility demonstrating early 19th Century Texas life/ agriculture and animal husbandry.
    Barrington Farm - Anson Jones Home
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, September 2010
    Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park - Barrington Farm
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, September 2010
    Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park - Barrington Farm
    Handcrafted reproduction log cabins
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, September 2010
    Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park - Barrington Farm
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, September 2010
    Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park - Barrington Farm
    More views of Barrington Farm
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, September 2010

    Star of the Republic Museum
    Exhibits and artifacts of life as it was on the Brazos in the early 1800s. Early newspapers, a press, a forge, and rare personal items are displayed. There is something for the most incurious visitor - should you happen to have one in your party.

    A Brief History of Old Washington-on-the-Brazos
    The first settlers of Stephen F. Austin's Colonists arrived in late 1821. Andrew Robinson settled on the west side of the Brazos with his son in law John W. Hall and built a ferry in 1822. Robinson was given a grant by Baron Bastrop and Stephen F. Austin in 1824 which included a league of land and the authority to operate the ferry. The town was surveyed and platted in 1833.

    Dr. Asa Hoxie named the town Washington - after a town in Wilkes County, Georgia - said to be the first town in the United States to be named after George Washington.

    The town has been described as "little more than a collection of rough log buildings scattered on a bluff about half a mile back from the Brazos River. Colonel William Gray, a land agent from Virginia succinctly described it as a "disgusting place."

    After the fledgling government of the Republic of Texas evacuated the site at the approach of Santa Anna's army, it was said that "the glory of the town had departed with the government." When people started moving back, it was described as such:

    "the highly respectful resident population of 250 watched with impotent disapproval the doings of the hundred or so gamblers, horse racers and sports who had most of the money." Another observed: "there was a decrepit air about the place - except for racing season."

    In 1842 when Washington became the capitol for the second time - prosperity was apparent in the brick buildings and additional homes.

    Washington prospered as river traffic increased and there were sometimes as many as three stern-wheeled boats tied up at the docks. An 1854 flood left a boat high and dry in a cotton field where it was eventually dismantled. Captains took note - and moved their ships to deeper and more predictable waters.

    The most momentous event since the signing of the declaration of independence occurred in 1845 when the Congress met at Washington on June 16, 1845 and Texas ceased to be a Republic and joined the United States.

    Washington at zenith in the 1850s had a population of 1,500 - a figure it never saw again. The town refused to pay a bonus to the approaching Houston and Texas Central Railroad and became one of the first of many Texas towns to experience "death by railroad bypass."

    Tourist Information
    Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site
    Box 305 Washington TX 77880-0305
    936/878-2214
    Washington.Brazos@tpwd.state.tx.us
    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us
    http://www.birthplaceoftexas.com

    Related Articles:
    FM 390 - La Bahia Scenic Highway
    The Road to Independence

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