“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

West Columbia in Brazoria County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Columbia - The First Capital of The Republic of Texas

Columbia - First Capital of The Republic of Texas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tissie Schwebel, circa 2010
1. Columbia - First Capital of The Republic of Texas Marker
Inscription.  In 1836 and 1837, the town of Columbia (Now West Columbia) served as the capital of the Republic of Texas. Josiah Hughes Bell, a colonist with Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, surveyed and platted Columbia in 1824 to serve as a center for shipping activities. In the mid-1830s, Columbia played an important part in the Texas War for Independence, as residents adopted resolutions for sovereignty.

In July 1836, Ad Interim President of the Republic of Texas, David G. Burnet, named Columbia as the location for the country's first capital. He selected the town because it had adequate housing for legislators and possessed a newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register. The First Congress of the Republic convened in Columbia, and Sam Houston, the first elected President, was inaugurated here on October 22, 1836. The new government addressed a number of important issues while in Columbia, including the reorganization of the Republic's Army and Navy; the organization of a Post Office Department and General Land Office; the establishment of a Court System; and the approval of a National Seal and National Flags. The First Congress adjourned

Capital of Texas Park with insets image. Click for full size.
By Debbie A. Sutherland, March 31, 2011
2. Capital of Texas Park with insets
A Walk through the Birth of Texas
in December 1836, with plans to meet for a second session in the newly built City of Houston.

Although Congress began to meet in Houston, the Executive Branch remained here, conducting official duties until April, 1837, when President Houston moved his Executive Office to his namesake city. Although Columbia no longer served as capital, the Legislation passed here in 1836 continued to play a vital role throughout the years of the Republic. Today, Columbia is revered as a historic community and the First Capital of the Republic of Texas.
Erected 2008 by City of West Columbia, Texas with the help of Nita Kennemer. (Marker Number 14749.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Patriots & PatriotismSettlements & SettlersWar, Texas Independence.
Location. 29° 8.679′ N, 95° 38.85′ W. Marker is in West Columbia, Texas, in Brazoria County. Marker is on East Brazos Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Between 16th and 17th Streets. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 E Brazos Ave, West Columbia TX 77486, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Capitol of the Republic of Texas (a few steps from this marker); Columbia Rosenwald School (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line);

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Columbia (approx. 0.2 miles away); Columbia United Methodist Church (approx. mile away); Old Columbia Cemetery (approx. mile away); Vietnam Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Near Site of First Capitol of the Republic of Texas (approx. 0.3 miles away); Home of George B. McKinstry (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Columbia.
More about this marker. The site of the First Capital of the Republic of Texas was first identified by a monument placed at the site by the State Centennial Committee in 1938.

A replica of the First Capital building is located a few blocks away and displays a Texas Historical Marker, but for years, the original site was not identified other than with the State Centennial Committee monument.

In 2006, Nita Kennemer, then president of the Columbia Historic Museum, began the process of applying for a Texas Historic Marker.

In 2008, the marker was approved and delivered for installation. Around that same time period, work began on a park dedicated to West Columbia's role in Texas history.

The Marker is located in the Capital of Texas Park, a walk through the Birth of Texas at this same location.

The park includes a walking path with 21 stations, each consisting of a black granite monument depicting the people and events of the early Republic, and a central plaza which is representative of the Seal of the Republic.
Also see . . .  The Capitol of Texas Park. A Walk Through the Birth of Texas (Submitted on June 16, 2011.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on April 15, 2011, by Debbie A. Sutherland of West Columbia, Texas. This page has been viewed 1,950 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 15, 2011, by Debbie A. Sutherland of West Columbia, Texas. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Apr. 6, 2020