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Washington, Texas – the Birthplace of Texas
May 4, 2010 by Woodalls Editorial Staff ·
By James and Dorothy Richardson
The largest of the contiguous states in our great country first began in a little tiny town.
Appropriately named Washington, this small town was the seedling that grew into the Texas Republic. In March 1, 1836, a group of 59 delegates gathered in a small meeting hall to initiate what would become the first step toward independence from Mexico. The next day the delegates made that declaration. The meeting hall is recreated on its original site in Washington, Texas, as part of Washington–on–the–Brazos State Historic Site. It is one of many historic destinations in the Texas county of Washington. The county contains several other small, yet historic, towns. But the largest town in the county, Brenham, has opportunities for visitors to experience a variety of activities – not just historical.
Washington–on–the–Brazos State Historic Site is composed of a reconstructed Independence Hall and the town site. It is situated on the Brazos River near its junction with the Navasota River. An exhibit-filled visitor center is also on the grounds. Adjoining this historic site is the Star of the Republic Museum. The building is appropriately star–shaped and its purpose is to preserve and interpret the history during the Texas Republic from 1836 to1846. It is administered by Brenham’s Blinn College.
Another adjoining portion to the historic site and the museum is the Barrington Living History Farm, which was the home of Dr. Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas. Jones lived in this home from 1844 until his death in 1858. When he arrived in Texas in 1833, he practiced medicine and became interested in politics. His political offices included congressman, Minister to the U.S., senator, and secretary of state. In 1844 he was the president of the Republic of Texas until it became the 28th state in February, 1846. The farm was named after Jones’ birthplace in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Interpreters at the farm are in period dress and demonstrate life on an 1850s farm. These three closely related historical spots – Washington-on-the-Brazos, the Star of the republic Museum, and the Barrington Living History Farm — are located nineteen miles northeast of Brenham off State Highway 105.
Brenham has all services available that make it the logical base for explorations while in Washington County, plus there are a number of attractions for visitors. The historic Main Street and downtown area has noteworthy architecture and many specialty shops to entice stopping, like the soda and ice cream shop called Must Be Heaven, or the many antique shops. Next door to the 1915 Classic Revival Brenham Heritage Museum is an exhibit for the Brenham Fire Department featuring an 1879 Silsby steam-powered horse drawn fire wagon. Also inside the museum is a 1923 American LaFrance combination pumping, chemical, and hose vehicle nick...