Washington-on-the-Brazos (also known as Washington) is an unincorporated area along the Brazos River in Washington County, Texas, United States. It was founded when Texas was still a part of Mexico, and the settlement became the site of the Convention of 1836 and the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The name "Washington-on-the-Brazos" was used to distinguish the settlement from "Washington-on-the-Potomac".
Washington-on-the-Brazos is known as "the birthplace of Texas", a distinction it earned when on March 1, 1836 it became the meeting place of the Texas delegates who formally announced Texas' intention to separate from Mexico and who drafted the constitution of the new Republic of Texas, organizing an interim government to serve until an officially elected government could be put in place.
The delegates declared independence on March 2, 1836. Their constitution was adopted on March 16. The delegates worked until March 17, when they had to flee, along with the people of Washington, to escape the advancing Mexican Army. The townspeople returned after the Mexican Army was defeated at San Jacinto on April 21. Town leaders lobbied for Washington’s designation as the permanent capital of the Republic of Texas, but leaders of the Republic passed over Washington in favor of Waterloo, which later was renamed Austin.
Washington County was created by the legislature of the Republic of Texas in 1836 and organized in 1837 and Washington-on-the-Brazos became the county seat. Although the county seat moved to Brenham in 1844, the town continued to thrive as a center for the cotton trade until the mid-1850s, when the railroad bypassed it. The strife of the Civil War took another toll on the town, and by the turn of the 20th century it was virtually abandoned.
Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site
The State of Texas purchased 50 acres (20 ha) of the old townsite in 1916 and built a replica of the building where the delegates met. The state acquired more of the site in 1976 and 1996.
Located between Brenham and Navasota off State Highway 105, the site is now known as Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. It covers 293 acres (118.6 ha), and features three main attractions, Independence Hall, Barrington Living History Farm and the Star of the Republic Museum, which is administered by Blinn College.
Barrington Living History Farm
The Barrington Living History Farm is a living museum farm homestead that represents the mid-19th century farm founded by Dr. Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. Costumed interpreters raise cotton, corn, cattle and hogs using period techniques. The 1844 Anson Jones Home was moved to the site in 1936 as part of the Texas Centennial Celebration. The recreated outbuildings include two slave cabins, a kitchen building, a smokehouse, a cotton house and a barn. The farmstead opened in 2000, and is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
- In Houston, Washington Avenue was named after Washington-on-the-Brazos. It was the western route to Washington County. Following the present day road: Washington Avenue; Hempstead Highway; US 290 (Northwest Freeway) then outside of Harris County US 290 is called Houston Highway.
The community is within the Brenham Independent School District.
- Washington the Brazos State Historic Site, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- http://www.birthplaceoftexas.com/visitor_svcs_complex.htm Visitor Services Complex
- http://www.birthplaceoftexas.com/barrington/index.htm Barrington Living History Farm
- Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved Apr. 12, 2005.
- Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historical Park from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved Apr. 12, 2005.
- Washington-on-the-Brazos web site
- Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site
- Star of the Republic Museum
- Barrington Living History Farm - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
- VISITOR INFORMATION for Washington County, Texas