Have you ever tried to blow out 178 candles?  That’s how many were needed this past weekend at Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site.  March 2 of this year marked 178 years since the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence at this very site.


On a chilly March morning in 1836, 59 delegates met in an unfinished frame building to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico.  The air was a cold 33˚ with only cotton fabric stretched across the window openings; still, without windows, doors, or a ceiling, these brave men met for what they deemed the only determinable course of action:  independence.  Yet unknown to these men, the Alamo was still falling, the massacre at Goliad had yet to happen, and independence would not be ultimately won until April 21, 1836 and the treaty with Santa Anna wouldn’t be signed until May 14.

The Independence Celebration, held the weekend closest to March 2 every year, is a great way to step back in time to experience life in 1836 Texas.  Hear the crack of rifles and the thunder of cannons as they fire a salute to the birth of the Republic of Texas.

Afterward, walk through the historic encampment of reenactors playing buckskin-clad Texian soldiers and listen to a story or two as you watch them cook their meals and prepare for eminent battles.

Tour 19th-century craft demonstrations at the Barrington Living History Farm and, of course, what would a birthday celebration be without cake?

But if you can’t make it to the celebration, the Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site still makes for an interesting trip any time of year.  The Visitor Center features interactive exhibits which present a timeline of the Texas Revolution and showcase the historic attractions within the 293-acre park.

Independence Hall is a replica of where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed and the Republic of Texas was created.

The Barrington Living History Farm shows life on the farm of Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas.  You can explore the people, places, and events that shaped what Texas is today at the Star of the Republic Museum.

There are also other interpretive exhibits and displays around the park and several special events are held throughout the year.

Insider Tip:  You might want to wear close-toed shoes when you go.  There are many gravel paths between interpretive exhibits and sites that have the perfect size gravel for getting stuck in sandals.  Also, during the warmer months, you might want to pack sunscreen and bug repellent.

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site is located between Navasota, Texas and Brenham, Texas.

From Navasota, take Highway 105 west 7 miles, turn left on FM 1155 to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic.

From Brenham, take Highway 105 east 14 miles and turn right on FM 912 to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site.

The park is open 8am-sunset and busy season is spring and summer.

If you have any questions, you can call 936.878.2214 or visit tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/washington-on-the-brazos/ for additional information and reservations.