Gonzales, Texas

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Gonzales, Texas
City
Gonzales' Municipal Building on St. Joseph St. was built in 1959 from plans by Emil Niggli and Barton Riley.
Gonzales' Municipal Building on St. Joseph St. was built in 1959 from plans by Emil Niggli and Barton Riley.
Motto: "Where the fight for Texas liberty began"[1]
Location of Gonzales, Texas
Location of Gonzales, Texas
Coordinates: 29°30′32″N 97°26′52″W / 29.50889°N 97.44778°W / 29.50889; -97.44778Coordinates: 29°30′32″N 97°26′52″W / 29.50889°N 97.44778°W / 29.50889; -97.44778
Country United States
State Texas
County Gonzales
Area
 • Total 5.1 sq mi (13.2 km2)
 • Land 5.1 sq mi (13.2 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 285 ft (87 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 7,202
 • Density 1,412.8/sq mi (545.5/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78629
Area code(s) 830
FIPS code 48-30116[2]
GNIS feature ID 1336672[3]
Website http://www.cityofgonzales.org/

Gonzales is a city in Gonzales County, Texas, United States. The population was 7,237 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Gonzales County.[4]

History[edit]

Come and Take It.

Gonzales is one of the earliest Anglo-American settlements in Texas, the first west of the Colorado River. It was established by Empresario Green DeWitt as the capital of his colony in August 1825. DeWitt named the community for Rafael Gonzáles, governor of Coahuila y Tejas.[5] Informally, the community was known as the Dewitt Colony.

The original settlement (located where Highway 90-A crosses Kerr Creek) was abandoned in 1826 after two American Indian attacks. It was rebuilt nearby in 1827. The town remains today as it was originally surveyed.

Gonzales is most famous as the "Lexington of Texas" because it was the site of the first skirmish of the Texas Revolution. In 1831, the Mexican government had granted Green DeWitt's request for a small cannon for protection against Indian attacks. At the outbreak of disputes between the Anglo settlers and the Mexican authorities in 1835, a contingent of more than 100 Mexican soldiers was sent from San Antonio to retrieve the cannon.

When the soldiers arrived, there were only 18 men in Gonzales, but they refused to return the cannon, and soon men from the surrounding area joined them. Texians under the command of John H. Moore confronted them. Sarah DeWitt and her daughter sewed a flag bearing the likeness of the cannon and the words "Come and Take It," which was flown when the first shots of Texan independence were fired on October 2, 1835. The Texians successfully resisted the Mexican troops in what became known as the Battle of Gonzales.[6][7]

Gonzales later contributed 32 heroic men from the Gonzales Ranging Company to the defense of the Alamo.[8] It was the only city to send aid to the Alamo and all 32 men lost their lives defending the Alamo. It was to Gonzales that Susanna Dickinson, widow of one of the Alamo defenders, and Joe, the slave of William B. Travis, fled with news of the Alamo massacre. General Sam Houston was there organizing the Texas forces. He anticipated the town would be the next target of General Antonio López de Santa Anna' Mexican army. Gathering the Texians at Peach Creek east of town, under the Sam Houston Oak, Houston ordered Gonzales burned, to deny it to the enemy. He began a retreat toward the U.S. border. The widows and orphans of Gonzales and their neighbors were forced to flee, thus precipitating the Runaway Scrape.

The town was derelict immediately after the Texas Revolution, but was eventually rebuilt on the original site throughout the early 1840s. By 1850, the town had a population of 300. The population rose to 1,703 in the 1860 census, 2,900 by the mid-1880s, and 4,297 in 1900. Part of the growth of the late 19th century can be attributed to the arrival of various immigrants, among them Jews, many of whom became peddlers and merchants.[9]

Geography[edit]

Gonzales is located at 29°30′32″N 97°26′52″W / 29.50889°N 97.44778°W / 29.50889; -97.44778 (29.508801, -97.447709).[10] It is located near the confluence of the San Marcos and Guadalupe rivers.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.1 square miles (13 km2), all of it land.

Demographics[edit]

Gonzales County Courthouse, finished in 1896 to plans by J. Gordon Riely, the master of Texas courthouses

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 7,202 people, 2,571 households, and 1,763 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,412.8 people per square mile (545.2/km²). There were 2,869 housing units at an average density of 562.8 per square mile (217.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.5% White, 7.40% African American, 1.00% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 21.15% from other races, and 2.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 47.2% of the population.

There were 2,571 households out of which 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,226, and the median income for a family was $34,663. Males had a median income of $22,804 versus $18,217 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,866. About 14.8% of families and 20.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.5% of those under age 18 and 23.0% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

The old Gonzales College at 820 St. Louis St. is now a private residence.

During the 19th century, the town was a center for higher education in Texas. Construction began in 1851 and the college opened in 1853, with 50 students. An 1855 addition for the men's program was torn down during the Civil War; the materials were used to build Fort Waul, just to the north of the town. By 1857, the school granted bachelor of arts degrees to females, making it one of the earliest colleges in Texas to do so. The college was purchased in 1891, and its building converted into a private residence by W.M. Atkinson.

The city of Gonzales is served by the Gonzales Independent School District and is home to the Gonzales High School Apaches.[11]

Media[edit]

Newspaper - The Gonzales Inquirer was established in 1853. It is one of the six oldest county newspapers still operating in Texas.[12][13]

Radio - Radio station KCTI has served the city and county since 1947.

Historic Monuments and Buildings[edit]

The site of the Battle of Gonzales, in the village of Cost, off Highway 97, is marked by a handsome stone and bronze monument commissioned by the State of Texas in 1910. The "Come and Take It" monument is the work of the Italian-born San Antonio artist Pompeo Coppini, Texas' leading sculptor in his day.

The Gonzales County Courthouse (1996), on the National Register of Historic Places, is by the master of Texas courthouses, James Riely Gordon. Winning a country-wide competition for the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio launched Gordon's career, as the first of 72 courthouses, 18 of them in Texas (with 12 remaining in this state). J. Riely Gordon was also a master of the Romanesque Revival style, hugely popular in the 1890s, and seen here with good effect.

Historic Houses[edit]

Gonzales has an especially high concentration of historic houses and other buildings.

In 2012, ' 'This Old House' ' named Gonzales as one of the Best Old House Neighborhoods,[14] noting its well-preserved downtown, its large stock of affordable and fixer-upper fine houses in Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Italianate, and Greek Revival styles, as well as the town's low cost of living and convenience to the big cities of Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.

The oldest dwellings in Gonzales date to the mid-19th century, but most of the architecturally notable houses were constructed beginning in the late Victorian period, from about 1880 to about 1915. Queen Anne style houses are the most common, with Colonial Revival and Classical Revival houses as well. J. Riely Gordon and Atlee B. Ayers were among the renowned architects active here. Many of the most notable homes, built for the important families of Gonzales, were erected along St. Louis St. and St. Lawrence St. Those two roads edge, to the south and north, a long stretch of public land one block wide running from the historic downtown commercial center and courthouse all the way to Kerr Creek to the east.

C.T. Rather House (1892) - 828 St. Louis, St.
J.B. Kennard House (1895) - 621 St. Louis St.
G.F. Burgess House (1897) - 803 St. Lawrence St.
J.D. Houston House (1898) - 619 St. Lawrence St.
C.B. Patton House (1907) - 927 St. Lawrence St.
Edward Lewis House (1910) - 605 St. Louis St.
The Episcopal Manse (1911) - 721 St. Louis St.
C.H. Hoskins House (1911) - 906 St. Louis St.
R.S. Dilworth House (1911) - 903 St. Lawrence St.
O.B. Robertson House (1915) - 1520 St. Louis St.

Notable people[edit]

Gallery of Gonzales[edit]

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Gonzales has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "City of Gonzales Texas". City of Gonzales Texas. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Profile for Gonzales, Texas, TX". ePodunk. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Come and Take It". Gonzales Texas Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  6. ^ Davis (2006), p. 142.
  7. ^ Sonny Long (Apr. 20 , 2006). "Gonzales named top historical community in Texas". The Victoria Advocate. p. 2A. Retrieved Dec 29, 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 340.
  9. ^ "Gonzales, Texas", found in the Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities,
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ "Gonzales Independent School District". Gonzales Independent School District. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Gonzales Inquirer". Gonzales Inquirer. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  13. ^ "GONZALES COUNTY". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  14. ^ http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20569037_21121468,00.html
  15. ^ "Jerry Hall". IMDb. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  16. ^ http://www.gonzalesinquirer.com/news/article_41228a68-2d01-11e3-9179-001a4bcf887a.html
  17. ^ http://www.hillcountrydeco.com/theaters/lynn/
  18. ^ Climate Summary for Gonzales, Texas

Further reading[edit]

  • Davis, William C. (2004), Lone Star Rising: The Revolutionary Birth of the Texas Republic, Free Press, ISBN 0-684-86510-6 
  • Edmondson, J.R. (2000), The Alamo Story-From History to Current Conflicts, Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 1-55622-678-0 
  • Frenzel, Paul (1999), Historic Homes of Gonzales, Gonzales, TX: Reese's Printing 

External links[edit]