Heritage Tourism Connection banner showing Come and Take It cannon in Gonzales Memorial Museum and battle reenactment at Goliad
Heritage Tourism Connection
Raising awareness of the importance of historic preservation to the tourism industry
Vol 4, Issue 1January/February/March 2011 
In This Issue
Timeline of Texas Independence
Marking Time
Remembering Goliad
Calendar of 175th Anniversary Events
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Texas Heritage Trails Program logoIf that's too much of a mouthful, try: demisemiseptcentennial, dequasbicentennial, dodrabi-centennial, dodransbicentennial, dosquicentennial, quartosept-centennial, quinseptumcentennial, or terquasquicentennial. All that is Latin to say, 175th anniversary, which is the milestone Texas reaches this year. Since lexicologists cannot agree on the proper terminology, we at the THC are not sure what to call the anniversary--but we're happy to let others sort out the semantics, while we celebrate the occasion!

With this special issue of Connection we ring in 2011 with a look to the past, when Texians (as residents were known before annexation) fought for and gained independence from Mexico in 1836. Observance of the anniversary has been in full swing for months--Texas Heroes Day on September 18, 2010, honored the first shots of the Texas Revolution, which took place on October 2, 1835, in Gonzales. The city memorialized the 175th anniversary last year with its Come and Take It Festival. Other commemorative events were held on key dates for the rest of 2010, and many will continue in 2011 (see events calendar below). With so many opportunities to celebrate the birth of the Lone Star State, we hope you will be inspired to attend an event, visit a historic site, and honor the legacy of our great state.

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday, Texas!
THC Heritage Tourism Staff
Timeline of Texas Independence
The following key dates are excerpts from the THC travel guide, Texas Independence Trail Region.
Photo of Texian reenactment group

Texian reenactors, Refugio Militia, during a mock skirmish at Fannin Battleground State Historic Site

· 1821: Mexico wins independence from Spain.
· 1821: Stephen F. Austin begins colonization of region around lower Brazos and Colorado rivers.
· 1824: Mexico adopts federalist constitution; Texas and neighbor Coahuila joined as a single state; Anglo immigration increases.
· 1831-32: New tax and immigration laws cause clashes at Anahuac, Velasco, and Nacogdoches.
· October 1832: Texas delegates at San Felipe convention call for immigration reforms and separate statehood.
· April 1833: Delegates to convention at San Felipe pressed their appeals for government reforms.
· 1834: Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna creates Mexican dictatorship and repeals 1824 Constitution. Stephen F. Austin jailed in Mexico City on charges of sedition.
· October 2, 1835: First shots of Texas Revolution fired at Gonzales.
· October 16, 1835: San Felipe delegates resolve against Santa Anna, vote for provisional Mexican state government and order Sam Houston to raise an army.
· Late 1835: General rebellion: Texans take Presidio la Bahía at Goliad and lay siege to San Antonio; U.S. volunteers begin arriving for the Texas fight.
· February 24, 1836: Siege of the Alamo begins.
· March 2, 1836: Texas Declaration of Independence presented at Washington-on-the-Brazos.
· March 6, 1836: The Alamo falls; Runaway Scrape begins.
· March 19-20, 1836: Mexican army surrounds Col. James W. Fannin's troops at Battle of Coleto. On March 27, the prisoners are executed.
· April 21, 1836: Texan surprise attack at San Jacinto defeats Santa Anna's army.
· May 14, 1836: Texas Republic period begins with peace treaties signed at Velasco.
· October 22, 1836: Sam Houston sworn in as president of the Republic of Texas at Columbia.
Marking Time: 175 Years since the Texas Revolution
By Bob Brinkman of the THC's History Programs Division
Detail photo of Stephen F. Austin Monument

Base of the Stephen F. Austin monument at San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site


In 2011, the THC will join county historical commissions, heritage organizations, and other parties in commemorating 175 years since Texas Independence was declared on March 2, 1836. This year also marks 75 years since the Texas Centennial, the monumental statewide celebration of 1936 that has acquired historical significance in its own right. Travelers are encouraged to visit THC-operated State Historic Sites with a direct connection to 1836, including:

· San Felipe de Austin--capital of Stephen F. Austin's colony, site of the Consultation of 1835, and capital of the provisional government of the Republic of Texas
· Fannin Battleground--location of Col. James Fannin's surrender to Mexican Gen. Jose de Urrea at the Battle of Coleto Creek on March 20, 1836; one week later, most of the prisoners of war were executed at nearby Presidio La Bahía in what became known as the Goliad Massacre
· Acton--burial site of Davy Crockett's widow, Elizabeth
Another related THC property, Casa Navarro State Historic Site (home of José Antonio Navarro, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence), is currently closed for renovation. Several other state historic sites feature historical markers and statues placed during the Centennial celebration in 1936. Every county in Texas has at least one Centennial marker or monument; a complete list for your county can be found in the Texas Historic Sites Atlas.
Photo of the San Jacinto Monument

The 570-foot San Jacinto Monument and the battlefield where Texas won independence from Mexico


One of the THC's major activities to observe the 175th anniversary will be a special commemorative issue of The Medallion magazine. The July/August issue will highlight real stories about real places connected to the events of 1836, as well as sites the public can visit to appreciate the art and architecture of the 1936 memorials. Additionally, new Official Texas Historical Markers dedicated in 2011 will include a tagline about the 175-year commemoration (a similar tagline was incorporated into 1986 markers to observe 150 years since the Texas Revolution). That means the 175-year anniversary will be remembered at more than 200 sites around the state in 2011. In addition to the events listed below, the THC Preservation Calendar will be a good source for tracking activities across Texas related to the significant events of 1836 and 1936. Bring your family and friends to participate in these events and be a part of Texas history!

Remembering Goliad

By Rob Hodges of the THC's Marketing Communications Division

Photo of Presidio la Bahia

Presidio la Bahía blanketed with wildflowers in the spring (photo by Sue Kemp)


More than 2.5 million people remember the Alamo each year by visiting the old mission that is one of the most well-known and visited historic attractions in the U.S. But heritage tourists wanting to experience the origins of Texas while venturing slightly off the well-beaten path can head to Presidio la Bahía. Like its famous counterpart in San Antonio, the Presidio is a National Historic Landmark, an example of intact Spanish colonial architecture, and the site of a tragic and major milestone in the struggle for independence--but it draws just 33,000 visitors annually.

Located about one mile south of Goliad, the Presidio took center stage in the Texas Revolution when it was captured from Mexico in October 1835. While under control of Texian rebels, it was briefly renamed Fort Defiance, and its Our Lady of Loreto Chapel became the setting for the signing of the first Texas Declaration of Independence. The flag of Goliad was flown by the Texians, the sixth of nine flags to fly over the fort throughout its history.

The Presidio's infamy began after the fall of the Alamo (March 6, 1836), when Gen. Sam Houston ordered Col. James Fannin to abandon the fort and retreat to Victoria. Fannin's troops were surrounded by the Mexican Army on March 19, about nine miles east of Goliad at the present-day site of the THC's Fannin Battleground State Historic Site. A two-day skirmish known as the Battle of Coleto Creek resulted in the surrender of Fannin and his troops, who were held at the Presidio for a week before Mexican Gen. Santa Anna ordered their deaths. The execution of 342 men, including Fannin, occurred outside the Presidio walls on Palm Sunday, March 27. Known as the Goliad Massacre, the event would contribute to the famous Texian battle cry "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!" heard during the smashing of Mexican forces at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto on April 21.

During this anniversary year, the Presidio hopes to increase visitation and awareness of the fort's prominent role in the Texas Revolution with a unique educational program for students. From March through May, fourth- and seventh-grade social studies students throughout Texas are eligible to visit for free. Up to 10,000 students will be able to participate thanks to a grant from the Mary Hobbs Griffith Foundation that also provides some funds for transportation costs. Reservations must be made in advance.

Photo of nine flags at Presidio la Bahía

Nine flags have flown over Presidio la Bahía since its origins in 1721 (photo by Randolph W. Baker)

Heritage tourists can enjoy an authentic experience at the Presidio, with lodging, an active church, relatively few other guests, a recent renovation of the complex, and the nearby Fannin Memorial Monument, where the remains of Fannin and his men are buried. The chance to stay the night in what were formerly the officers' quarters (now said to be haunted) or to attend mass at the chapel are just two of the unique ways visitors can take part in the historic triumphs and tragedy of the revolutionary era.

Last year, the THC awarded to the Presidio and its owner, the Catholic Diocese of Victoria, a Historic Lands Plaque, which recognizes landowners who preserve important archeological sites on private property. A much different recognition was given by the Travel Channel, which featured the Presidio in October as part of the "America's Most Terrifying Places" series.

This March, the Battle of Coleto Creek and the Goliad Massacre will be reenacted at the Presidio as part of the annual living history event. The two-day event on March 26-27 takes on special significance this year as the Sunday reenactment falls on the exact date of the massacre 175 years ago. Visitors are encouraged to learn about life as a 19th-century revolutionary soldier by approaching reenactors and asking questions, offering a hands-on approach to Texas history.

Calendar of 175th Anniversary Events
The following is a list of events celebrating Texas' 175-year anniversary known at the time of publication, with available contact info. Call or email ahead or check websites for times, and visit the THC Preservation Calendar for events that may be added in the coming months.

Many take place in the Texas Independence Trail Region, which has created a "Passport to Texas history" enabling travelers to collect special stamps at various sites related to the Texas Revolution. Once you have visited all the sites and filled up your passport, you are eligible for a commemorative gift.
Photo of reenactors at Presidio la Bahía

Reenactors at Presidio la Bahía portray both sides of the battles (photo by Philip Wright)


· February 25: The Siege of the Alamo Candlelight Tour · The Alamo, San Antonio · Sheri Driscoll, SDriscoll@thealamo.org
· February 25-27: Revolution Comes to Washington/Texas Independence Day Celebration · Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, Washington · Scott McMahon, scott.mcmahon@tpwd.state.tx.us
· February 26: Glory at the Alamo · The Alamo, San Antonio · San Antonio Living History Association
· March 2: Sam Houston's Birthday and Texas Independence Day Celebration · Sam Houston Memorial Museum, Huntsville · Michael Sproat, smm_mcs@shsu.edu
· March 2: Texas 175th Independence Day · Tom Green County Courthouse, San Angelo · Tom Green County Historical Commission/Golda Foster, tomgreen.chc@gmail.com, 325.234.6133
· March 4-6 First Saturday · The Alamo, San Antonio · Sheri Driscoll, SDriscoll@thealamo.org
· March 5: The 175th Anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo Symphony Concert (featuring the San Antonio Symphony, Ricky Skaggs, and Phil Collins) · The Alamo, San Antonio · The Daughters of the Republic of Texas
· March 5-6: "Remembering the Alamo" and "Dawn at the Alamo" · The Alamo, San Antonio · San Antonio Living History Association
· March 5-6: Texas Independence Day Celebration · Conroe Heritage Park, Conroe · 936.788.5800
· March 26-27: Goliad Massacre Reenactment · Presidio La Bahía, Goliad
· April 9: Runaway Scrape · George Ranch Historical Park, Richmond · J.R. Thomas, jrthomas@georgeranch.org
· April 16: San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment · San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, La Porte · San Jacinto Museum of History
· April 16: San Jacinto Battle Veterans Memorial Program · Fairmount Cemetery, San Angelo · Tom Green County Historical Commission/Golda Foster, tomgreen.chc@gmail.com, 325.234.6133
· April 16: Battle of San Jacinto Symposium · University of Houston Hilton Hotel and Conference Center, Houston · Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground, 713.237.8997
· April 21: The Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park Grand Opening · Conroe · 936.520.8941, Texas Flag Park
· September 17, 2011: Texas Heroes Day · Monumental Hill State Park, La Grange
· November 5, 2011: Father of Texas Celebration · San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site, San Felipe

Got a Story Idea?

Future editions of Connection will focus on thematic issues that relate to heritage tourism, such as food, music, nature, art, and sustainability. Do you have a story or idea you think should be included? Please send comments or suggestions to Rob Hodges at rob.hodges@thc.state.tx.us, or call 512.936.2399.