Description - San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park is located in Harris County, 20 miles east of downtown Houston, on 1167.89 acres adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel. The park contains the 570-foot San Jacinto Monument, erected in honor of Texans who defeated the Mexican army of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna on April 21, 1836, and won Texas independence from Mexico. Original acquisitions of the western tract of the present park, encompassing the site of the Texian's camp of the Battle of San Jacinto, were made in 1883. Successive tracts of land were added by donations and grants in later years. In 1965, management of the San Jacinto Monument was granted to the Texas Parks And Wildlife Department by the 59th Legislature. In 1985, additional tracts were donated and purchased. The Battleship TEXAS became a part of the park in special memorialization ceremonies on April 21, 1948, and was managed by the Battleship Texas Commission, with members appointed by the governor. In 1983, the Legislature transferred the ship to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the only state agency with experience in the operation of large historic properties.
Copyright: Texas State Parks & Historical Sites
The park acreage encompasses the area of the Battle of San Jacinto, the concluding military event of the Texas Revolution which took place on April 21, 1836. General Sam Houston, commanding a small force of Texans, routed a larger Mexican army led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the president of Mexico. The decisive 18-minute battle secured independence for Texas and ultimately led to major westward expansion of the United States.
Granite markers designate locations of the Texian camps, the Mexican camp, and the site of the advance by Texian forces. Also included in the park is Santa Anna Bayou, adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel. Portions of the park offer views of the Houston Ship Channel. The entire park complex is registered with the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark.
The San Jacinto Monument is dedicated "to Heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto and all others who contributed to the independence of Texas." The monument is a 570-foot limestone shaft topped by a 34-foot, 220-ton star symbolizing the Lone Star Republic. The building incorporates a number of innovative engineering features not common during the 1936 - 1939 period of its construction. In 1992, this technology was recognized with the prestigious designation of State and National Historic Structure by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Criteria for these awards include significant contributions to state and national heritage and to the civil engineering profession. The building is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the world's tallest stone column memorial.
The San Jacinto Museum of History, housed in the 570-foot San Jacinto Monument, is located on the battlefield where Texas won its independence from Mexico on April 21, 1836. The Monument will be undergoing a historic restoration for the next few years. The project poses no threat to the safety of park visitors, so the Monument will remain open throughout the restoration.
The Museum is a private, non-profit, educational organization with a collection which spans more than four hundred years of early Texas history, from the Spanish conquest through Texas in the nineteenth century. Emphasis is on colonial Texas as a part of Mexico and the Republic of Texas. The collection contains more than 100,000 objects, 250,000 documents, 10,000 visual images, and a 35,000 volume rare book library.
Also housed in the Museum, in the 160-seat Jesse H. Jones Theater for Texas Studies, is the nation's largest historical multi-image presentation, "Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto." This award-winning, 35-minute production vividly depicts the events of the Texas Revolution and Battle of San Jacinto - a battle that changed the face of North America.
Visitors can also elect to ride to the Monument's observation floor 489 feet above the Battleground for views of thecity and the Houston Ship Channel.
The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Call 281/479-2421 for elevator and theater ticket prices.
TEXAS is the last of the battleships, patterned after HMS DREADNOUGHT, that participated in World War I and the Second World War. Considered the most powerful warship afloat because of her ten 14"/45 guns in five twin turrets, TEXAS was commissioned in March 1914 and proceeded almost immediately to Mexican waters where she joined the Special Service Squadron following the "Vera Cruz Incident." She returned to Atlantic Fleet operations in the fall of 1914. In 1916, TEXAS became the first U. S. battleship to mount antiaircraft guns and the first to control gunfire with directors and range-keepers.
After the U. S. entered World War I, TEXAS joined the 6th Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet early in 1918. Operating out of Scapa Flow and the Firth of Forth, TEXAS protected forces laying the North Sea Mine Barrage, responded to German High Seas Fleet sorties, and helped prevent enemy naval forces from interrupting the supply of allied forces in Europe. Late in 1918 she guarded the German Fleet in route to its surrender anchorage and escorted President Wilson to peace talks in France. In 1919, TEXAS became the first U. S. battleship to launch an aircraft and served as a plane guard and navigational reference for the first transatlantic flight by the seaplane NC-4, after which she transferred to the Pacific Fleet.
In 1924 TEXAS returned to the Atlantic and sank the incomplete battleship WASHINGTON (BB 47) so the U. S. would be in compliance with the Naval Arms Limitation Treaty of 1922. From 1925 to 1927, TEXAS underwent modernization in Norfolk, changing from coal to oil fired boilers and from cage to tripod masts. In 1927, TEXAS became the flagship of the U. S. Fleet and inaugurated the use of "talking" pictures for crew entertainment. She embarked President Coolidge for a trip to Cuba in 1928.
TEXAS received the first commercial radar in the U. S. Navy in 1939. In 1940, TEXAS was designated flagship of U. S. Atlantic Fleet. The First Marine Division was founded aboard TEXAS early in 1941. That same year, while on "Neutrality Patrol" in the Atlantic, TEXAS was stalked by German submarine U-203.
After America entered World War II in December 1941, TEXAS escorted Atlantic convoys. In 1942, TEXAS transmitted General Eisenhowers first "Voice of Freedom" broadcast, asking the French not to oppose allied landings on North Africa. The appeal went unheeded and TEXAS provided gunfire support for the amphibious assault on Morocco, putting Walter Cronkite ashore to begin his career as a war correspondent. TEXAS fired on Nazi defenses at Normandy on "D-Day," June 6, 1944. Shortly afterwards, she was hit twice in a duel with German coastal defense artillery near Cherbourg, suffering 1 fatality and 13 wounded. Quickly repaired, she shelled Nazi positions in Southern France before transferring to the Pacific. TEXAS' Pacific Fleet duty involved providing gunfire support for landings on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She is also credited with downing Kamikaze aircraft.
In 1948, TEXAS became the first battleship memorial museum in the U. S. Her reciprocating engines were named National Engineering Landmarks in 1975, and TEXAS was designated a National Historic Landmark in1977. TEXAS was placed under the stewardship of Texas Parks and Wildlife in 1983. The ship underwent dry-dock overhaul in 1988-90 and began systematic restoration to her 1945 Pacific theater configuration in Measure 21 blue camouflage. TEXAS can be toured daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at her berth in the San Jacinto Battleground east of Houston, site of the 1836 victory that led to Texas independence from Mexico.
- The park is open year-round, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (March 1 through October 31) and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (November 1 through February 29). There is no entrance fee charged to enter the grounds. Facilities include the Battleship TEXAS, San Jacinto Battleground, San Jacinto Monument, restrooms without showers, picnic tables, and concession facilities. There is a covered pavilion for rent by reservation at the park, and large event tents are available to rent.
Fords of the 50s Annual Old Car Picnic - Hundreds of classic cars from many eras on hand for visitors to enjoy. Bring a picnic lunch and plan to spend a day at the park (usually in March). Whether you're a spectator or you want to bring an old car to show, contact the park for more information.
Annual Rivers, Lakes, Bays N Bayous Trash Bash - Join park staff and fellow volunteers for a half-day cleanup along the San Jacinto River (usually late March/early April). A celebration of the environment follows, featuring a free lunch, music, and lots of prizes! Contact the park for information.
Battle of San Jacinto Reenactment - The San Jacinto Volunteers stage their Annual Battle of San Jacinto Reenactment at the park on the Saturday closest to San Jacinto Day, April 21. The battle between Mexican and Texan forces is the highlight of the living history activities of the day. Camps open to the public each year at 10 a.m. Bring a picnic lunch and plan to spend the entire day back in 1836! Contact the park for details.
Monumental Bug Bash - The Bay Area Volkswagen Club hosts this annual car show (usually late April/early May), that features oodles and oodles of "BUGS." If you have an old VW or just want to come and see the show, bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it.
Area Attractions: Nearby are Sheldon Lake State Park and Wildlife Management Area; Brazos Bend, Lake Houston, and Galveston Island State Parks; Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historical Park; NASA; Houston's historical and cultural museums; AstroWorld; and George Ranch in Fort Bend County.
Recreation - The park offers historical study, commemorative events, and picnicking.
Climate - Current weather conditions can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.
San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park Complex are situated within the Gulf Coast region of Texas. From Interstate 610 East, take Texas Highway 225 east for 11 miles to Texas Highway 134 (Battleground Road), continue north about 2 miles and turn right on Park Road 1836 for the Monument or stay left (Highway 134) another mile to reach the Battleship.