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East Columbia Texas History:
In 1823, Josiah Hughes Bell established the Bells Landing (Sugar) Plantation on the Brazos River. The plantation served as a supply depot for settlements located upriver. In 1824 Bell laid out the town of Marion. Though he advertised lots in 1829, the promotion failed. By 1831 the community had a few cabins, a country store and the frame of Bell’s plantation house and was referred to as Bell’s Landing. As more sugar and cotton plantations were established in the area, the community grew around the Bell home. Trading schooners carried goods from the river port to New Orleans. In 1827 Bell sold the townsite to Walter C. White. During the Texas Revolution, the town was an army enlistment point and ferrying dock. The community continued to be called Bell’s Landing until at least 1940. By 1842 the town was known as West Columbia, and it was renamed East Columbia. East Columbia prospered when Houston became the capital of Texas and continued to prosper when the Houston Tap and Brazoria Railroad built a line to the town in 1859. The beginning of the Civil War stopped all growth. The town’s population hit a high of 1,500 in the 1890s but was down to 150 by 1914. The 2010 census was 95. The Columbia post office was renamed East Columbia in 1927. East Columbia is located on SH 35 and CR 703, two miles east of SH 36 and West Columbia, and 13 miles west of Angleton, Texas.
East Columbia Main Street National Historic District:
“East Columbia was founded by Josiah Hughes Bell in 1823. Originally named Bell's Landing, this site on the Brazos served as a supply depot for settlements on the river above. In 1824 Bell laid out the new town and named it Marion. In 1842, when Bell's settlement on the prairie became known as West Columbia, Marion was renamed East Columbia.”
Historic Bell's Landing, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Founded 1823 as Brazos River Landing for Josiah H. Bell’s Plantation. Townsite of Marion laid out in 1824. Later named East Columbia. Army enlistment point and ferrying dock during the Texas Revolution. Key river port and trade center during Republic of Texas Days.” The marker is located at Brazos and Front Streets.
Historic Sweeny-Waddy Log Cabin, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“John Sweeny, SR moved his family from Tennessee to Brazoria County, Texas about 1833. With the help of slaves, he cleared his land and established a large plantation. This log cabin, originally located about 9 miles southwest of this site, was built soon after Sweeny's arrival and housed the slave family that included Mark and Larkin Waddy. The Waddys continued to live in the cabin after they were freed at the end of the civil war.”The cabin is located on the grounds of the Ammon Underwood House at 523 Main Street (CR 703).
Historic Ammon Underwood House, 1835, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“A structure erected in noted old river port of town of Marion in Republic of Texas era. First position, of hand-hewn cedar, was built around 1835 by colonist Thomas Winters, merchant-civic leader-soldier Ammon Underwood bought and enlarged the house in 1838-39. In 1839, he married Rachel Jane, daughter of William and Catherine Carson, of Austin's original colony. President Anson Jones and other famous Texans often visited the Underwoods.” The house is now home to the Ammon Underwood House Museum. 523 Main Street (CR 703).
Historic Carry Nation’s Hotel, 1880, Texas Historical Marker Text:
During a brief and troubled time in her life, Carry Amelia Moore Nation (1846-1911) operated the Old Columbia Hotel on this site about 1880. She later achieved fame as a hatchet-wielding crusader against the use of alcoholic drink and tobacco. Born in Kentucky to slave-owning parents, Carry Moore and her family moved to Grayson County, Texas, soon after the outbreak of the Civil War. After an unhappy first marriage in Missouri to an alcoholic, she married David Nation in 1877. They acquired 1,700 acres of farmland on the San Bernard River west of here. Unsuccessful at farming and marriage, David moved to Brazoria to practice law, and about 1880 Carry moved here to Columbia to operate the hotel owned by A. R. and Jesse W. Park. Her name is on the Columbia Methodist Church roll. She lived at the hotel with her daughter Charlien Gloyd, Mother Gloyd (Carry's first mother-in-law), and David's daughter Lola. David Nation also operated a saddle shop just southwest of this site. The family soon moved to Richmond, Texas, to operate a hotel, then moved to Kansas in 1889. The Nations were divorced in 1901 after Carry began her crusade against saloons. She lectured at the University of Texas in Austin in 1902 and 1904.”
Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site Information, West Columbia:
In 1902, Governor Hogg purchased land along Varner Creek from Martin Varner, a member of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred colony who had established a sprawling plantation on the Brazos River in 1824. Though the Governor drilled several oil wells on the site, oil was not discovered on his property until 1920, 14 years after his death. In 1958, his daughter Ima Hogg donated 66 acres, including the two story Greek revival plantation house and the kitchen building, to the State of Texas. Guided tours of the 1835 house museum are available Tue-Sun, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm. Reservations are not required for groups of less than 10 people. For larger groups, reservations must be made 2 weeks in advance. School tours are also available by reservation. The 1920s interpretive barn is open daily for self-guided tours. Come visit during the spring when the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes are in full bloom. The park has a 0.5-acre pond. Activities include birding, picnicking, and historical interpretation. Annual events include Juneteenth Reunions, the San Jacinto Festival, and a Christmas Celebration held on the first weekend in December; Christmas tours are held throughout December. This historic site is available for family reunions, weddings and other events. For more park information read the Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site Visitor Guide. Varner-Hogg Plantation is located 2 miles north of West Columbia on FM 2852. Take FM 2852 to Park Road 51 (North 13th Street).
Fish Stocking History
Ammon Underwood Home & Waddy Cabin Museum, Located in East Columbia:
Ammon Underwood partnered with Catherine Carson in running the 1835 Underwood house as a boarding house. The house is located on the Brazos River and has been moved several times to save it from riverbank erosion. It serves as an education facility teaching children and adults about early Texas history. The 1850 Sweeny-Waddy Log Cabin was built on the John Sweeny Plantation and served as home to his slave, Mark Waddy. The Waddy family occupied it until the death of George S. Waddy in 1953. The cabin was moved adjacent to the Underwood House. The cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas historical landmark. The First Capitol Historical Foundation maintains the house and grounds. Tours are available by appointment by calling the West Columbia Chamber of Commerce at (979) 345-3921. Both buildings are located at 523 Main Street (CR 703), West Columbia. Email
West Columbia Public Library:
The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. (979) 345-3394. 518 E. Brazos Avenue in West Columbia, Texas. East Columbia is 1.8 miles east of West Columbia. Email
Event Venue - Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site Information, West Columbia:
Amenities include the house, a barn, outbuildings, and a 0.5-acre pond Annual SHS events include Juneteenth Reunions, the San Jacinto Festival, and a Christmas Celebration held on the first weekend in December. This historic site is available for family reunions, weddings and other events. For more park information read the Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site Visitor Guide.Varner-Hogg Plantation is located 2 miles north of West Columbia on FM 2852. Take FM 2852 to Park Road 51 (North 13th Street).
Fish Stocking History
West Columbia Parks Department Annual Events:
The West Columbia Parks Department and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department jointly sponsor Kid Fish every March at the First Capitol Park pond. Free fireworks are held every July 4th. The October 31st Trick or Treat in the Park features game booths with prizes, inflatables, a costume contest, a hay ride, music, and hotdogs, Frito pies and drinks. These events are held at the First Capitol Park at 1300 North 13th Street.
Annual Houston Rodeo Southwest Trail Ride, Rosenberg to Houston, Feb:
This 120-mile ride was established in 1993. The ride begins in Rosenberg, Texas. The 2015 trail ride began on Saturday, February 21, and included 250 riders and 15 wagons. The ride left on Saturday from the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds at 4310 SH 36 South, Rosenberg, TX 77471. A morning break was taken on SH 36. Lunch was at Tejano Nights on SH 36. The night was spent at the Needville Fairgrounds at 13631, SH 36, Needville, 77461. On Sunday morning the ride continued on SH 36. Lunch was in Damon Texas, and the group overnighted at HL&P in West Columbia, Texas. On Monday morning the wagon train continued traveling south on SH 36 to SH 35. Lunch was held at the Bar X Ranch in Bailey Prairie, Texas. The night was spent at the Brazoria County Fairgrounds at 901 S. Downing Street, Angleton, Texas. The wagon train left on Tuesday morning for Sandy Point, Texas. A break was taken at the post office in Bonney, Texas. They overnighted at the Venus property in Sandy Point. On Wednesday they headed for Fresno, Texas. Lunch was at Ricky D’s Dance Club in Juliff, Texas. They overnighted on the SWTRA property in Houston. Thursday lunch was spent on the Harris County Line on FM 521 and Beltway 8 in Houston. They overnighted on the SWTRA property in Houston, for a total daily distance of 18 miles. On Friday, they left for Memorial Park in HoustonPark (6501 Memorial Drive, 77007). Lunch was spent on Westpark Drive behind Coco-Cola. (832) 665-6918. (713) 408-8400. (713) 402-8400.
Annual Houston Rodeo Southwestern Trail Ride, West Columbia to Houston, Feb:
This 100-mile ride was established in 1973. The ride begins in West Columbia, Texas. The 2015 trail ride began on Saturday, February 21, and had 250 riders and 9 wagons. Saturday activities included Circle Ride – Kid’s Fun Day. The group camped at 329 Ellis Lane, West Columbia. Sunday morning the wagon train turned left onto SH 35 and headed towards FM 521. Lunch was taken at 1440 SH 35 South. The group camped at the RV Ranch, 29028 FM 521, McBeth, Texas; total miles 10. On Monday, the group traveled 20 miles. They took FM 521 to Glendale Lake and stopped at the Heritage Rose Elementary school for a rest. They planned to camp in Arcola, Texas, but if it rained, they would camp at SH 6 and FM 521. On Wednesday morning they turned left onto Post Oak Boulevard. They took a lunch break at Lula Belle Goodman Elementary School. They spent the night at Tom Bass Park in Pearland at the feeder of Beltway 8, between Cullen Boulevard and SH 288. On Thursday they pulled out, did a U-turn on Beltway 8, and then rode towards Almeda School Road. Their lunch break was at SH52/Almeda Road and Fellows Road. They spent the night at the Post Oak Arena, 15253 South Post Oak Road, Houston. They rode 7 miles on Thursday. On Friday, they went to the City of Bellaire’s Evelyn’s Park Conservancy at 4400 Bellaire Boulevard. They lunched at Newcastle & Bissonnet and spent the night at Memorial Park (6501 Memorial Drive, 77007). (281) 414-9134. (713) 419-0580. (832) 931-6572.
Annual Kid Fish at First Capitol Park Pond, West Columbia, March:
The West Columbia Parks Department and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department sponsor this event. It is held at the First Capitol Park pond at 1300 North 13th Street. (979) 345-3123.
April 21-22, 2018
Annual Migration Celebration, San Bernard NWR, April:
The celebration begins with a Friday night fundraising dinner held at River Place in the Freeport Municipal Park at 421 Brazosport Boulevard; fees apply. Other event activities include speakers, presentations, workshops, exhibits, an auction, a photo contest, a duck stamp art contest, dinners, birding tours, bird banding demonstrations, kayak, van, and buggy tours, a refuge fireside exhibit, a birds of prey show, crabbing for kids, a San Bernard Oak interpretative walking tour, food vendors and a bake sale, a Children’s discovery program, and other activities. (979) 964-3639. Maps and Directions to Events
20-21 April 2018
Annual San Jacinto Festival, West Columbia, April:
Festivities include arts and crafts, a parade, a BBQ Cook-off, a carnival, a Friday night dance, a tea at Varner Hogg Plantation, a washer tournament, horseshoes, dominos, a pageant, historical tours and skirmishes, an antique car show, helicopter rides, and the Rotary Shrimp Boil and Auction. (979) 345-3921. This event is sponsored by the West Columbia Chamber of Commerce. (979) 345-4656. The vent is located at the Varner-Hogg Plantation SHS. 1702 N. 13th Street.
9 September 2017 – Cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey.
Annual First Capitol Festival, West Columbia, September:
This event honors first responders and those who have or are serving in the military. Activities include a 5K Color Run/Walk, a parade, food vendors, The Red, White and Blue Trade Show, live entertainment, kids’ entertainment and more.
October 12-18, 2018
Annual Brazoria County Fair, Livestock Show & Rodeo, Angleton, October:
Activities include live entertainment, a carnival, a BBQ cook-off, a livestock show and rodeo, auctions, a parade, pageants, contests, a pet parade, tricycle races, a youth horseshow, commercial exhibits, live music, a science fair and more. (979) 849-6416. This event is held at the Brazoria County Fair Grounds. 901 S. Downing Street, Angleton, Texas.
7 October 2017
Annual Harvest Festival at Varner-Hogg SHS, Oct:
Visitors learn about harvesting on an 1800s plantation, view tools and wagons used in harvesting sugar cane, taste real sugar cane, and learn how it is gathered and processed. Other activities include hayrides, cotton picking, storytelling, craft activities, viewing animals and free refreshments. An admission fee applies. This event is held from 6pm-9pm at the Varner-Hogg Plantation at 1702 N. 13th Street. (979) 345-4656.
2 Nov 2017
Annual Ghosts along the Brazos, East Columbus, Nov:
Activities include ghost walks along Front Street, historic home tours, children and adult activities, an owl presentation, and a hayride down Main Street. This event is held at Bethel Presbyterian Church at Duval and Main Street (CR 300G) in East Columbus. (979) 345-3921. Email
Annual "A Candlelight Christmas," West Columbia, 1st Saturday in Dec:
Activities include touring the decorated mansion, photos with Santa, listening to the “Texas Night Before Christmas” reading, and Christmas cookies and Wassail. This event is held at the Varner-Hogg Plantation at 1702 N. 13th Street. (979) 345-4656.
Varner Creek Winery, Angleton:
The produce elderberry, jalapeno, loquat and other wines, including meads made from honey. They are new and did not have a tasting room in spring 2018. They do wine tastings by appointment. (979) 236-0659. 1014 North Velasco, Angleton, Texas.
Clean & Lean Nutrition Eatery & Smoothie Bar, West Columbia:
Opened in 2016. Serves healthy food such as “Build Your Own Breakfast Bowl.” They also serve protein shakes, wraps, salads and much more. (979) 345-3323. 425 South 17th Street, West Columbia. Reviews
421 Coffeehouse & Bistro, West Columbia:
Good food. Great reviews from 2015. (979) 345-2560. 421 South 17th Street, West Columbia. Reviews
Takeria La Rosa, West Columbia:
Reviews for this taco hut are not great but even negative reviewers say they make delicious breakfast tacos, and the only complaints were service and the queso. (979) 345-1010. 825 East Brazos Avenue. Reviews
Snowflake Donuts, West Columbia:
Only review from 2015. (979) 345-9962. 728 West Brazos Avenue. Reviews
Elmo' Grill, West Columbia:
They serve a fried fish plate, hamburgers, chicken fried steak and other menu items. Read reviews before visiting and ordering. Service complaints more than food complaints. (979) 345-5127. 454 South 17th Street. Reviews