Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site gives visitors unique insights into the lives and times of the 59 delegates who met on that very spot on March 2, 1836 to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. From 1836 to 1846, the Republic of Texas proudly but precariously existed as a separate and unique nation. Washington on the Brazos, located on 293 acres of picturesque park land is “Where Texas Became Texas.”
Many onsite amenities are open daily, as well as an ongoing schedule of events and programs. Operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, this state park includes the Star of the Republic Museum administered by Blinn College; Independence Hall (site in 1836 where the representatives met to write the declaration of independence); and Barrington Living History Farm (where interpreters dress, talk, work and farm as the earliest residents farmstead did).
The Visitor Center (always free parking) features interactive exhibits which present a timeline of the Texas Revolution and highlight the historic attractions located within the park; it also houses the spacious Washington Emporium Gift Shop, which offers snacks and Texas-themed items. The Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site is a wonderfully preserved example of a 19th century stagecoach inn, located nearby in Anderson, TX.
Special programs for September and October 2015 include the following:
Cotton Pickin’ Weekends in September, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Visitors can join the farm hands in harvesting the Barrington Farm cotton crop. The cotton has been planted, watered and weeded, and now visitors can help pick, hand gin, card and weave the beautiful “Lone Star” antique variety of cotton. Standard farm admission fees apply. Activities may vary depending on weather conditions and resource availability. Barrington Living History Farm; contact Ben Baumgartner or Bruce Wardlow: (936) 878-2214, ext. 246.
Stagecoach Days, Sept 12 and October 10, 2015, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Visitors can experience what it was like to travel cross-country via stagecoach and learn about the Inn’s history and connection with early stage lines. There is no admission fee to visit the Inn, with a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children for 15-minute stagecoach rides. Inn tours last 30-45 minutes. Additional activities on these days may include music from the Star of Texas Dulcimers and poem readings by a cowboy poet. Fanthorp Inn; contact Jon Failor: (936) 878-2214, ext. 224
Living History Saturdays, September 19, October 17, November 21, and December 19, 2015, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Travel back in time to where a nation was born in 1836. Staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing bring to life the people and events of Old Washington, providing a unique opportunity to discover various aspects of life surrounding the birth of the Republic of Texas. The program features activities suited for the entire family such as writing with a quill pen; signing a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence; visiting with militia soldiers travelling through town; or playing some early Texas games. Traditional guided tours of Independence Hall will not be offered these days. Independence Hall; contact Jon Failor: (936) 878-2214, ext. 224
Music Makes a Celebration, September 26, October 24, 2015, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Discover the music that inspired celebration and recreation in 19th century Texas with the program presented by Homestead Strings at Fanthorp Inn. Relive the joy that weary travelers and local citizens experienced as the Inn provided the largest accommodations in the area to host celebrations, parties and the occasional escape from the rugged Texas frontier. Presentations are ongoing throughout the day and will last approximately 35-40 minutes. Fanthorp Inn; contact Jon Failor: (936) 878-2214, ext. 224
Information courtesy of Jeanne Albrecht, media rep, Washington on the Brazos State Park