Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas

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Location of Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas

Washington-on-the-Brazos was a settlement along the Brazos River in Texas, then part of Mexico, which was 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".

On March 1, 1836, Washington, a small, ramshackle town built next to a ferry landing on the Brazos River became the birthplace of the Republic of Texas. It was here that delegates elected from each municipality in Texas convened in an unfinished building in near-freezing weather to declare Texas' independence from Mexico, write a new constitution and organize an interim government.

The delegates declared independence on March 2, 1836. A 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. The town continued to thrive at a center for the cotton trade but the town began to flounder when the railroad bypassed it in the mid-1850s. The strife of the Civil War took another toll on the town and by the turn of the century, the town was virtually abandoned.

The State of Texas purchased 50 acres (202,000 m²) 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. The area is now a state historic site with a better replica of the meeting hall and a museum with a research library.

Trivia

In Houston, Texas, Washington Avenue was named after Washington-on-the-Brazos.

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