WASHINGTON COUNTY, TX — Every March 2, history lovers flock to the spot in Washington County known as, “the birthplace of Texas.”
Due to the pandemic, however, this year Texas Independence Day can’t be celebrated with a major outdoor event. Washington on the Brazos, is known to many, as the site where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed on Mar 2, 1836. Due to state requirements limiting the size of gatherings, the Texas Historical Commission had to make the difficult decision to cancel their annual celebration of Texas independence day, which draws thousands to the state park and museum.
The Commission determined not to let Texas history go forgotten, however. "We couldn’t host Texas Independence Day, so we wanted to be able to bring the history to Texans all across the state, anywhere," said Rachel Flinn, assistant site manager for Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site.
The Texas Historical Commission has planned two virtual events to take place this month. First, is a webinar that will be free to view online. History teachers will debate with one another about which famous historic site is the true ‘birthplace of Texas.’
"Obviously, we think it’s us, but it’s going to include San Jacinto and San Felipe de Austin, as well as the Varner-Hogg Plantation, [which] is going to represent West Columbia,” Flinn commented.
The Commission is also in the process of creating a short film about Texas independence, using historical re-enactors as storytellers, and a professional musician to create the score. The film will premiere for free on Wed., March 31, view-able on Facebook and YouTube accounts connected to the Texas Historical Commission and Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site.
"We’re going to really hone in on the events of 1836, which is where they signed the [Texas] Declaration of Independence," Flinn said. "It was 17 days where they basically formed the government to be in place for the Republic of Texas,” Flinn noted that the Commission hopes to host future events in-person for Washington on the Brazos, such as the site’s annual Juneteenth celebration.
Only time and the public health climate will tell.
To learn more about these events, visit thc.texas.gov, or visit the Facebook page for Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site.