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San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

Monument

The San Jacinto Monument is dedicated to the "Heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto and all others who contributed to the independence of Texas." The monument is a 570-foot shaft topped by a 34-foot star symbolizing the Lone Star Republic. The building incorporates a number of innovative engineering features not common during the period of its construction. The American Society of Civil Engineers recognized this technology with the prestigious designation of State and National Historic Structure. The monument is listed as the tallest stone column memorial structure in the world, 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.

Construction of the Monument The monument weighs 70,300,000 pounds. It is 125 feet square at the base, tapering to 30 feet square at the top. It is faced with blocks of cordova shell stone weighing 500 pounds apiece. This shell stone is over 100 million years old and was quarried from Burnet County north of Austin. The shaft walls are 4 feet thick at the base of the monument and 2 feet thick at the top.


The monument was a Public Works Administration project started on April 21, 1936 and dedicated on April 21, 1939. The project was completed on time, three years to the day after it was started. Of the 165 permanent job-site workers, only 35 had previous construction experience. The work crew completed 6 feet of wall, set 3 tons of steel, used 1 train carload of stone, poured 75 yards of concrete, shaped 1200 square feet of forms, and raised a 65 ton working scaffold 6 feet every day. The sculpture stone used for each frieze around the monument weighs 4 tons each. The 9-pointed star is 35 feet tall, weighs 220 tons, and can be seen as a star from any direction in the site because of its unique configuration. The star took 20 working days to build and each stone used in the star was 12x12 inches in size, 3 inches thick, and had to be cut to fit. Not a single piece of the star was level and plumb.

The foundation all this rests on is a solid 15 feet of concrete at the center, tapering to a 5-foot thickness at its edges. By architect specifications, the foundation had to be a continuous pour lasting 57 hours, amounting to 100 cubic yards of concrete per hour. As you approach the San Jacinto Monument, you will no doubt notice the 15-1/2 foot tall bronze doors weighing 3,000 pounds apiece. These doors carry reliefs of the six flags that have flown over Texas. The total cost of the monument was $1,500,000. This was provided by federal, state, and local funds.

San Jacinto Museum of History The Museum of History's collections spans more than four hundred years of early Texas history, from the Spanish conquest through Texas in the nineteenth century. The collection contains more than 100,000 objects, 250,000 documents, 10,000 visual images, and a 35,000-volume rare book library. The Museum of History is operated in a public-private partnership, the site is administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and The San Jacinto Museum of History Association, a private, non-profit organization, operates the Museum.


Observation Floor Visitors can ride up the elevator to the massive concrete and limestone tower to the observation floor at 489 feet above the Battleground. On a clear day, the view encompasses the historic battleground, the marsh restoration and boardwalk, the Buffalo Bayou, the busy Houston Ship Channel, the Battleship TEXAS, and many square miles of surrounding area. The elevator is also operated by the Museum of History.

"Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto" "Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto" is an award winning 35-minute multi-media production vividly depicting the events of the Texas Revolution and Battle of San Jacinto. The presentation is shown in the 160-seat Jesse H. Jones Theater for Texas Studies. This presentation is also operated by the Museum of History.

Reflection Pool The exact date of the reflection pool's construction is uncertain, but is probably about 1937-1938. The pool is 1,800 feet long by 200 feet wide, covering about 8.4 acres, and ranges from four feet to six feet in depth.

Restoration The Phase 1 restoration of the exterior of the monument's column and star was completed in 2001. Phase 2 exterior renovations were completed in 2002, and Phase 3 interior renovations were completed in Fall 2006.


Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744 Toll Free: (800) 792-1112, Austin: (512) 389-4800 Content of this site Š Texas Parks and Wildlife Department unless otherwise noted.

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

History

In March of 1836, the war for Texas' independence from Mexico was not going well for General Sam Houston and his Texan troops. On March 11, Houston abandoned Gonzales and retreated eastward in advance of the numerically superior forces of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the President of Mexico. Houston's poorly trained troops were restless, eager for revenge after the Goliad massacre and the fall of the Alamo. Houston realized, however, that the Texans had little chance of winning over Santa Anna's much larger army without some sort of advantage.

On April 18, Houston arrived at Buffalo Bayou and found that Santa Anna had already sacked the small town of Harrisburg. Through a captured Mexican courier, he learned that Santa Anna had isolated himself from the bulk of his troops and had a force of about 750 men, slightly smaller than Houston's force of 820 men. Houston realized that his chance had come. On April 19, Houston and his men crossed to the south bank of Buffalo Bayou and marched east, setting up camp near Lynch's Ferry on April 20. An advance guard of the Texans captured a boatload of the Mexican Army's provisions at the ferry, providing food for the famished Texan soldiers.


A small party of Texans retreated back to Houston's position near Lynch's Ferry, with the Mexican forces not far behind. Upon his arrival at nearby San Jacinto, Santa Anna tried to draw the Texans into battle. Skirmishes continued into the late afternoon, when Santa Anna established a camp about three-quarters of a mile east of Houston's position. In a brief skirmish at sunset, a detail of Texan cavalry almost met with disaster, stoking Houston's fears about his poorly trained, individualistic troops. As darkness fell, both armies settled into camp for the night. Houston ordered his men to eat and rest, while he stayed up all night worrying. Santa Anna, realizing that Houston's forces was slightly larger, built fortifications using saddles, baggage, and anything else available and hoped that reinforcements would soon arrive. Even though his men were exhausted, he kept them up all night on alert, believing that the Texans would attack at first light. On April 21, dawn came with no attack and Santa Anna relaxed. At about 9 AM about 500 more Mexican troops arrived, to the chagrin of Houston and his men. Houston sent a small detail to destroy Vince's Bridge to delay additional Mexican reinforcements. At noon he held a council of war, at which no decision was reached.

That afternoon, Houston assembled his troops and laid out a plan of battle. The main force advanced quietly in a frontal assault, hoping for the advantage of surprise. Two other groups circled around to the left and right flanks of the Mexican camp. The Mexican troops had relaxed in the knowledge of their numerical superiority and many were eating and sleeping. The Texas had advanced to within 200-300 yards of the Mexican position before they were discovered and the alarm sounded. The main group of Texans charged the camp, screaming, "Remember Goliad! Remember the Alamo!"" A pitched battle quickly ensued, much of it hand-to-hand at the Mexican fortifications. The two other groups of Texans attacked the flanks, quickly overwhelming the Mexican camp. Houston was wounded, but fought on with his men. In less than


twenty minutes, organized resistance ended and many Mexicans were killed by revenge-driven Texans even as they tried to surrender. As the sun sets to the west, the battle ended, the marshes stained scarlet with blood. Nine Texans and 630 Mexicans lay dead or mortally wounded, a tremendous defeat for the Mexican Army. Those with medical training did their best with minimal supplies to treat the Texan and Mexican wounded. The 700 uninjured Mexican troops were disarmed and placed under guard. A small number, including Santa Anna, escaped from the battle and headed westward to the several thousand troops waiting west of the Brazos River. Houston knew that if Santa Anna was able to reunite with the main body of his army, the war would continue, so he sent out scouts to search for the escapees the next day. By noon, Houston's men had captured Santa Anna, who was disguised as a private. Santa Anna ordered his troops to withdraw from Texas, securing independence for the Republic of Texas.

Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground The San Jacinto Battleground Association was organized in late 2002 as a non-profit partner to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, to acquire and preserve land adjacent to the San Jacinto Battleground. In 2005 the Association became know as the “Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground� in recognition of a broader objective to preserve the site and honor the battle. Memberships or donations fund and support property acquisition, on-going archeology projects, environmental safety at the park, historical markers, re-enactors (San Jacinto Volunteers), scholarship on the Texas Revolution, Battleship TEXAS restoration (First Texas Volunteers), an annual symposium, and other educational opportunities.

San Jacinto Monument  

San Jacinto Monument