Our area is rich in Texas history! Washington County is where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed on March 2, 1836! Visit Toubin Park in Downtown Brenham and see the fully restored underground cistern from the 1800‘s, originally used to collect rainwater and battle fires. It is a State Antiquities Landmark!
Independence Historical Society offers tours of two of the earliest homes in Washington County, as well as a rural one-room schoolhouse. John P. Coles House provides an opportunity to experience Colonial Texas life. Free tours on selected March and April weekends; other times by appointment. Admission fee.
History lives, thanks to the Burton Heritage Society! Since 1973 devoted members have maintained and preserved the Burton Railroad Depot and Mt. Zion Cemetery. Both sites are vital to area history. The depot transports visitors to 1870 when Burton was a terminal on the Houston and Texas Central Railroad while the cemetery honors some of the earliest and more notable inhabitants. Open first Saturday of the month and by appointment.
Beneath Brenham streets is a State Archeological Landmark, a large system of historic cisterns. The cisterns were built in the late 1800s to store rainwater for public fire fighting. Private cisterns were also abundant throughout early Washington County, used for bathing, drinking and cooking. Enjoy the Wild West story of why these cisterns were built. It’s a tale of an early railroad, a rough Boom Town, and colorful characters who shaped Washington County’s history. Self-guided tours through this historic Downtown Brenham pocket park can be enjoyed any time of the day.
The Brenham Heritage Museum is a local history museum located in Downtown Brenham. Exhibits and collections reflect a focus on the history and culture of Washington County. Originally serving as the United States Post Office, this magnificent building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was eventually transformed into the museum you see today.
NOTE: The museum is currently closed for renovations.
Travel back in time to 1850 and explore the original home of Dr. Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. The Jones family lived at the farm for over a decade, building a successful cotton farm with enslaved labor after Texas joined the union. This living history farm is complete with period costumed interpreters using 19th century farming practices for planting, cultivating, harvesting and working with livestock. Explore the sights and smells of farm life and experience the daily lives of those who came 150 years ago.
Located within Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. Entrance fees apply. Open Wed-Sun 10am-4:30pm
On the east side of FM 50 (next to the Antique Rose Emporium), interpretive signage and a reconstructed bell tower mark the archeological ruins of the Baylor campus for males. A well-marked walking and/or driving trail with 19 interpretive signs relates the history of the village of Independence. On the west side of FM 50, ruins mark the site of the original Baylor University and its female department, one of the best places in the state to enjoy springtime bluebonnets. Adjacent to the John P. Coles homes, this park features picnic tables and a playground area.
The Star of the Republic Museum was created by the Texas Legislature and is administered by the Texas Historical Commission as a cultural and educational institution. Its purpose is to collect and preserve the material culture of the Texas Republic (1836-1846) and to interpret the history, cultures, diversity and values of early Texans. The Museum strives to inspire interest, understanding and appreciation of Texas heritage for students, teachers, scholars and the general public through exhibits, tours, programs, web activities, and outreach.
The Chappell Hill Historic District includes the restored Providence Baptist Church parsonage, the Museum displaying historical exhibits and the Swearingen folk art collection, the Rock Store, century-old churches, Masonic Cemetery, library and the oldest continually operating bank in America. Groups are invited for tours of the historic sites with advance reservation. If you are having a group event or wedding, Chappell Hill may be the place for you! Providence Church is a quaint location for a wedding ceremony – the church holds 130 people. The Museum is ideal for parties up to 120, and the Rock Store can seat 40 people for a more intimate gathering in historic downtown.
People revere Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site as the site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. Thereafter, despite great personal risk, the delegates continued meeting until they had drafted a constitution and established the new nation’s first lasting government.
Picturesque Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site is located on the Brazos River. Expansive park grounds provide a beautiful setting for picnicking, sightseeing and bird-watching. The Star of the Republic Museum, Independence Hall and Barrington Plantation offer the visitor a unique insight into the lives and times of the men who fought and won Texas’ independence from Mexico.
Conference center provides a beautiful view of the park. Glass doors, windows and patio overlook the historic grounds and provide a perfect location for receptions, rehearsal dinners and weddings. Maximum capacity 400.
Step into the Past Historical Tours are great for mid-week groups and individuals on Saturdays. Start out at the Visitor Center for a short film about Brenham’s history, shown by reservation for groups. Visit historic sites on a guided walking tour of Downtown Brenham with your group, or have a step-on guide join you on a visit to neighboring historic sites around the county. Must be booked at least 2 weeks in advance.