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County
Brazoria
Region
Gulf Coast
Population
2010 Census - 3,605
2000 Census - 4,255
Nearby
Towns
West Columbia, Texas
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West Columbia Texas History:
The town of Columbia was founded and platted in 1826 by Josiah Hughes Bell, who located the town 2 miles west of Marion (Bell’s Landing -now East Columbia). Columbia served as the capital of the Republic of Texas from September to December 1836. It was chosen because it had the most permanent buildings and the biggest newspaper in the Republic of Texas. The First Congress of the Republic convened, and Sam Houston was inaugurated president on October 22, 1836. The House of Representatives met in a one and a half story store built by Leman Kelsey in 1833. The Senate met in the smaller 1832 Henry S. Brown home. On November 30, 1836, Congress met in joint session and decided to move the seat of government to Houston. Secretary of State Stephen F. Austin died on December 27, 1836, in Columbia at the home of George B. McKinstry. With the seat of government gone, the town declined as a commercial center. The West Columbia post office was established in 1905. The town was revitalized with the 1918 discovery of the 20 square mile West Columbia oilfield. The town became a commercial center for agriculture (rice and cotton), oil, and sulfur. The 1928 census was 2,800 but declined to 1,000 with the onset of the Great Depression. In the 1960s many major oil companies had producing wells in or near West Columbia, and the area boasted the largest cattle population in Texas.A replica of the first capitol was built in 1977 at 14th and Hamilton Streets. The 2010 West Columbia Census was 3,905. West Columbia is located between the Brazos and San Bernard Rivers on SH 35 and SH 36, 52 miles southwest of Houston, 24 miles north of Freeport, 15 miles west of Angleton, 8 miles north of Brazoria, and 2 miles west of East Columbia, Texas. 
 
Historic First Capital of The Republic of Texas & Replica of Capitol:
“About 1833 Leman Kelsey built a story-and-a-half clapboard structure near this location. When Columbia became capital of the Republic of Texas in 1836, the building was one of two which housed the newly formed government. The First Republic of Texas Congress convened in Columbia. Here Sam Houston took office as Secretary of State. In 1837 the government moved to Houston. The 1900 Galveston Storm destroyed the original capitol. The Replica at this site was built in 1976-72.”The Capitol Replica is located at 14th and Hamilton Streets.
 
Historic Stephen F. Austin Memorial Oak Tree, Marker Text in Hondo, Texas:
“This tree planted on April 15, 2004 was grown from an acorn harvested from the live oak tree located on the site of Stephen F. Austin’s death near present day West Columbia, Texas. Under that large tree, a Texas Historical Monument marks the place where Austin died on December 27, 1936. It was through Austin’s tireless efforts and dedication that the Republic of Texas was created. Austin was called “the Father of Texas” by General Sam Houston and a tree is planted in his memory in every county of Texas.”
This marker is at or near 1100 16th Street, Hondo, Texas.
 
Bailey's Prairie Texas History: 
In 1818, 1812 war veteran James Briton Bailey and his family settled in the area on a 4,587-acre Spanish land grant. Stephen F. Austin disputed Bailey’s claim, but ultimately recognized his claim. Bailey took a new title to the land in 1824, thereby becoming one of the Old Three Hundred. Bailey was an Irishman and was tall, fearless and courageous. He was known for his integrity and eccentric behavior. At his request he was buried standing up, facing west, his gun at his side so no one could look down on him, even in death. His restless ghost is said to walk this prairie. The town grew up around Bailey’s plantation and the league of land granted by the Mexican government to M.S. Munson. Early settlers established large sugar plantations and some also ran cattle. In 1839 the Rev. Jesse Hord established a Methodist Church. By 1936 the community had a church, cemetery, scattered dwellings, and the nearby Bailey’s Prairie oilfield. Most of the surrounding farmland remained part of several large ranches. Bailey’s Prairie is located on SH 35 and FM 521, approximately 9 miles northeast of Brazoria, 6 miles west of Angleton, 9 miles east of West Columbia, Texas.  Baileys’ Prairie Area Map
 
West Columbia Veterans War Memorial:
The memorial is adjacent to the American Legion Post at Jefferson Avenue and 14th Street in West Columbia.
 
SH 332/FM 521 Brazoria Through Truss Bridge in Brazoria, TX, National Register Property:
In 1912, the first traffic bridge was built across the Brazos River, providing a vital link between East and West Brazoria County. The bridge fell into the water in the 1930s. The current 3 Parker through truss span bridge was designed by J.G. McKenzie of Keliher Construction Company. It was built in 1939 using WPA funds and local workers. The bridge was originally nicknamed “The Bridge That Goes to Nowhere” before the soil embankments were built. The Pubic Works Administration paid 45% of the estimated $175,000 construction cost and Brazoria County paid 55% of the cost by issuing road bonds. The bridge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This bridge became a hike and bike trail after a newer bridge was built.
 
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 GuideVarner-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      
 
Columbia Historical Museum& Rosenwald School:
The museum is housed in a 1950 bank building. It features exhibits depicting life in the early days of the town, including documents, vintage photos, and exhibits showcasing the early days of Brazos River cargo and transport boats, cotton farming, cane and rice growing, ranching, farmers, the military, fire departments, physicians, and oil. Displays include tools, toys, weapons, clothes, dishes, furniture and other items. An entire room is devoted to East Columbia. The Rosenwald School is open to the public as a permanent walk-in exhibit. Open Thu-Sat, 10am-2pm. (979) 345-3123. (979) 345-6125. 247 E. Brazos Street.  W. Columbia Rosenwald School Video
 
Columbia Rosenwald School Museum:
Between 1917 and 1932 Sears, Roebuck & Co. President Julius Rosenwald and black educator Booker T. Washington built over 500 Rosenwald Schools in 15 southern states’ rural areas for black students. Because so few have survived, in 2002 the National Trust for Historic Preservation put them on the list of the country’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and launched the Rosenwald Initiative to uncover and restore the forgotten school buildings. West Columbia’s Rosenwald School is on the grounds of Columbia Historic Museum. The school is open to the public as a permanent walk-in exhibit. Open Thu-Sat, 10am-2pm. (979) 345-3123. (979) 345-6125. 247 E. Brazos Street.  W. Columbia Rosenwald School Video
 
Replica of First Texas Capitol Building Museum, 1977, West Columbia:  
Following the Battle of San Jacinto, the Texas government was moved to what was then known as Columbia because the town had the most permanent buildings and the “Telegraph and Texas Register” was the biggest newspaper in Texas. The House of Representatives met in a one and a half story store built by Leman Kelsey in 1833. The Senate met in the smaller 1832 Henry S. Brown home. Within three months the government moved the capitol to Houston. The 1900 Galveston Hurricane destroyed the Kelsey building. The replica Kelsey building was constructed near the original site in 1977. The building is furnished with period pieces. Special events including reenactments are held on the site. The replica first capitol is at north 14th Street and East Brazos Avenue.  
 
Capitol of Texas Park:
The park is the original the site of the Republic of Texas’ first capitol building. Park amenities include a walking path with 21 stations of black granite interpretive panels depicting the people and events of the early republic, a central plaza, and a cistern discovered during park construction. 100 East Brazos Avenue.
 
West Columbia Group Historical Tours:
Tours may be customized. Typical tour sites include the Columbia Historical Museum and Rosenthal School, the Replica of the First Capitol, lunch, the Ammon Underwood Home and the Waddy Cabin, and the Varner Hogg Plantation. For booking, call the West Columbia Chamber of commerce at (979) 345-3921.
 
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.  Email
 
West Columbia Group Historical Tours:
Tours may be customized. Typical tour sites include the Columbia Historical Museum and Rosenthal School, the Replica of the First Capitol, lunch, the Ammon Underwood Home and the Waddy Cabin, and the Varner Hogg Plantation. For booking, call the West Columbia Chamber of commerce at (979) 345-3921.