Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Washington-On-The-Brazos State Park

John and I were on our way to Austin last Friday when we decided to make this stop.  It was a nice break during what proved to be long slow-pokey trip on two lane highways through the cattle fields of  Texas.
I wrote of the Brazos River in my last posting.  Guess it is about time to post a picture of it and explain how it got its name.  Spanish explorers were so thankful in finding the river's fresh waters that they called it Los Brazos de Dios, or Arm of God.
The building pictured above is a replica of the place where the constitution of Texas was signed in 1836.  There are two wonderful museums in this park, we had time to visit only one and there we learned a great deal about the state's history.  The town of Washington during the 1800s was far enough inland ( a place where Santa Ana's forces would not come) and a well-traveled river town that it was chosen as the site for Texas delegates to have their convention and sign a constitution.  Texas was then a part of Mexico called Tamaulipas.  The territory extended from what is now Wyoming, to New Mexico and Colorado.  Even though Texas suffered a bitter defeat at the Alamo in March of 1836, they won in a battle against Santa Anna the next month.  They then were an independent nation for 10 years before gaining their statehood in  1845.  Texas is the only state that was a nation before it became annexed to the United States.
Back in the 1800s the town of Washington had fewer than 200 residents, only one street and commerce limited to the ferry crossing.  The path pictured above was once Ferry Street and, as we walked on it we found a historical marker with information regarding one particular ancient tree.  That is John standing by it, the pecan tree is 60 feet tall.  It is not native to our country, its nearest relatives are 900 miles away in Mexico.  The La Bahia pecan may have been planted as a seedling from Mexico, or fallen out of a saddlebag or wagon.  One other interesting fact here on the town of Washington.  During the Civil War it refused to have a railroad built through it.  By the 1880s this Philadelphia of Texas was mostly farmland.  The Civil War and emancipation totally tanked its economy.

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