It was March 2, 1836 when 59 delegates bravely met at Washington, Texas to do something few have ever done: found a nation and make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico.
From 1836 until 1846, the Republic of Texas proudly existed as a separate nation. Washington on the Brazos is, indeed, “Where Texas Became Texas.” Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site has many onsite amenities open daily, as well as a busy schedule of events and programs. On the grounds of the 293-acre state park, stories of this tumultuous time in Texas history live on.
Independence Hall is the site where the representatives met in 1836 to write the declaration of independence and craft the first constitution and the Star of the Republic Museum houses collections honoring the history, cultures, diversity and values of early Texans. At Barrington Living History Farm interpreters dress, talk, work and farm as the earliest residents of the original farmstead did, while the Washington on the Brazos site’s Visitor Center features interactive exhibits which present a timeline of the Texas Revolution and highlight the historic attractions located within the park. In nearby Anderson, you’ll find the Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site, a wonderfully preserved example of a 19th century stagecoach inn.
March 3 and 4: Texas Independence Day Celebration
The annual two-day living history celebration is a free event featuring live music, food, traditional crafts, musket and cannon firings, Texas A&M University Singing Cadets, the Kids History Zone, “The Birth of a Republic” historical play about the signers of the declaration, Brenham Children’s Chorus and other commemorative programs. Historical reenactors set up a bonafide 1836 Texas Army camp where visitors can wander freely to learn how the soldiers and their families lived then.
Admission fees are waived for the site’s attractions (Independence Hall, Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington Living History Farm) for the weekend celebration. Admission to the grounds, on-site shuttles and parking are also free.
March 10: Stagecoach Days
Experience what it was like to travel cross country via mule-driven stagecoach and learn about the Inn’s history and connection with early stage lines. A suggested donation of $4 ($10 with coach ride) for adults and $2 ($5 with coach ride) for children to tour the Inn and ride the coach helps support the site. Coach rides last approximately 15 minutes and Inn tours for 30-45 minutes.
March 12 – 16: Making Hay (daily during Spring Break)
Visitors to Barrington Living History Farm can watch staff mow the grass with a scythe, and then help with the raking, drying, mounding the hay into hay rows and hay cocks and helping storing it for later use.
March 17: Living History Saturday
At Independence Hall and throughout the park grounds travel back in time as staff and volunteers dress in period clothing to bring to life the people and events of Old Washington. The program features family activities including writing with a quill pen, signing a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence, visiting with militia soldiers or playing early Texas games.
Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site is halfway between Houston and Austin at 23400 Park Road 12, Washington, TX, 77880—off of State Hwy. 105. From Hwy. 105, follow either FM 912 or FM 1155 to Park Road 12.