The San Jacinto Monument is a 567-foot high column that is situated on the Houston Ship Channel in Harris County, Texas. On top of the monument is a 220-ton star that honors the site of the Battle of San Jacinto. The San Jacinto Monument was constructed from 1936 to 1939, and it is considered as the world’s tallest masonry column. On the base of the monument is the San Jacinto Museum of History, and it is where you can learn more about Texas culture and the history of the Battle of San Jacinto. In this article, we are going to know more about the history of the San Jacinto Museum.
In 1856, the Texas Veterans Association petitioned the state legislature to construct a memorial in honor of the men who died and risked their lives during the Texas Revolution. However, the government did not commemorate the last battle of the revolution until the 1890s. That was the only time when funds were finally given to purchase the land where the Battle of San Jacinto happened. After a quick inspection to determine the boundaries of the battle site, the legislature purchased the property was for a new state park east of Houston. This eventually became the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas started to put pressure on the legislature to build a monument at the Battle of San Jacinto. Finally, the Texas government found some budget to make the monument. They hired architect Alfred C. Finn to provide the final design along with engineer Robert J. Cummins. In March 1936, the ground was broken for the San Jacinto Monument. The monument’s construction began on April 21, 1936, which also happens to be the 100th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. After three years, the memorial was finally completed. The project cost about $1.5 million, and the funds used were given by both the United States Congress and the Texas legislature.
Since the monument opened, it has been managed by a nonprofit association called the San Jacinto Museum of History Association. In 1966, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department took over the operations of the museum. But, the Parks Department still allows the history association to continue its oversight of the museum and monument.
In 1983, the monument underwent renovation. The base of the memorial was also renovated seven years after that so that it can accommodate the San Jacinto Museum of History and the Jesse H. Jones Theatre for Texas Studies. In 1995, the exterior part of the monument went under further renovation. And from 2004 to 2006, the entire memorial was renovated.
Features of San Jacinto Museum and Monument
The monument is about 570 feet tall and is made of reinforced concrete that is faced with Texas fossilized buff limestone that was quarried near Austin. The museum proper, which is located at the building’s base, is about 125 feet square big, and it has eight engraved panels that depict the history of Texas. The six flags of Texas decorate the museum’s bronze doors. Located above the panels, and at the base of the shaft, is a frieze which depicts the events that happened during the Anglo-American colonization of Texas. The axis of the monument stands forty-eight feet square from its foundation. The statue is crowned with a thirty-four-foot star, which represents the “lone star” of Texas. There is also a reflecting pool that’s 1,750 feet long and 200 feet wide, and it mirrors the shaft from top to bottom. Aside from the museum, there is also a 5,000-seat amphitheater located behind the building, and it offers a continuous screen presentation of the Battle of San Jacinto.