Anyone who spends any time in Texas knows that being “Texan” is life. Everything is bigger in Texas, including their pride in the state’s historical events. This is even more true when a person has a familial connection to an event.
In our case, my husband’s family is very proud of that fact that his grandfather, my son’s great grandfather was one of 3 men who built the star at the top of the San Jacinto Monument. At the time it was built they couldn’t build it on the ground and lift it to the top with a crane, so they asked for volunteers to climb to the top of the monument when the time came and build it in place. That would have been a big “Nope.” from me, but George Albert Lindsey raised his hand and it has become a treasured piece of our family’s legacy.
Because of this exciting connection, we visit the monument at least once every 18-months, beginning when Jamie was 2.
Most Texans learn important facts in the state’s history from a young age, but for those who may not know, The Battle of San Jacinto (fought on April 21, 1836) was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes.
Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, was captured the following day and held as a prisoner of war. Three weeks later, he signed the peace treaty that dictated that the Mexican army leave the region, paving the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country. These treaties did not specifically recognize Texas as a sovereign nation, but stipulated that Santa Anna was to lobby for such recognition in Mexico City. Sam Houston became a national celebrity, and the Texans’ rallying cries from events of the war, “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!,” became etched into Texan history and legend.
As you can imagine, creating a monument to honor this historic event was important, not just for Texas’ history but America’s history as well. In 1856, the Texas Veterans Association began lobbying the state legislature to create a memorial to the men who died during the Texas Revolution. However, the legislature made no efforts to commemorate the final battle of the revolution until the 1890s, when funds were finally appropriated to purchase the land where the Battle of San Jacinto took place.
Once completed the San Jacinto Monument was a 567.31-foot-high column located on the Houston Ship Channel in unincorporated Harris County, Texas, near the city of Houston. The monument is topped with a 220-ton star that commemorates the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution.
The monument, constructed between 1936 and 1939 and dedicated on April 21, 1939, is the world’s tallest masonry column and is part of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. The column is an octagonal shaft topped with a 34-foot Lone Star – the symbol of Texas. That star is a proud achievement for my husband’s family. The 220-ton star itself had to be built in place, which meant that the workers has to constructed it on to of the monument. The family story goes, that they asked for volunteers and George A. Lindsey was one of those volunteers. (I am currently trying to get more information from the construction company who built it.)
Visitors can learn about Texas history with several displays, museum exhibits, documentaries and more located in the base of the monument. Visitors can also take a elevator ride to the observation deck of the monument and look out over the Houston Ship Channel and surround areas, as well as view the USS Texas (Battleship) docked nearby.
You can learn more about the San Jacinto Monument at their website as well as get information on visiting this historical site.
Building the monument was hard work. In the 57 hours that the foundation was poured, the builders consumed 3,800 sandwiches and 5,700 cups of coffee.
A full-scale model of the 34 foot, 220 ton star was built to test its assembly before the star was constructed at the top of the monument.
The design was the brainchild of architect Alfred C. Finn, engineer Robert J. Cummins, and Jesse H. Jones. Construction ran from 1936 to 1939. Its builder was the Warren S. Bellows Construction Company of Dallas and Houston.
The monument has been recognized as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
There is no food or drinks allowed inside the monument, but you are welcome to bring snacks or even a picnic and eat on the steps or outside at base of monument.
There are images and engravings on the exterior of the monument, so this is a great chance to burn off some of the kids’ energy.
The observation tower is small, so if you are there on a slow day, there is a good chance you can sit and relax while the kids enjoy the view without losing sight of them. (Bring some quarters for the binoculars.)
Price ranges (at the time of posting):
Pricing ranges from free for exploring the grounds and viewing a small section of the museum to individual pricing for the larger “Special Exhibit” museum section, observation level, and media (Jesse H. Jones Theatre). Membership options are available starting at $50. Refer to their website for membership pricing and admission pricing.
- “Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto” Movie admission ranges from $5.50-$6.00
- Observation Floor admission ranges from $4.50-$6.00
- “A Destined Conflict” Exhibition admission ranges from $4.00-$6.00.
- Combination tickets are available for a better discount.
Bonus Points from Mom:
- Indoor activity providing a safe, educational space from the summer heat or colder says of winter.
- Often there are events on the grounds around the monument, like car shoes and festivals that gives a two-for-one opportunity to explore.
- The monument sits across the street from the Battleship Texas, so you car really get immersed in Texas history!
- There is lots of space to run and explore for kids, so pack a picnic and enjoy!!
Enjoy some photos from our visit to the Monument in January: