Even though we were one of the last states added to the Union, Texas still has an extremely rich history. This history is most evident in our smallest towns where urbanization hasn’t gotten rid of all evidence of what occurred there in years past. Here are five of the most historic towns in Texas.
Gonzales played a huge role in our independence from Mexico. The first shot of the Texas Revolution was fired here on October 2, 1835. The battle that ensued was over a cannon that Mexico lent the town for protection against Indians and wanted back. The citizens of Gonzales said "Come and Take It," the fighting words that became a famous saying. Every year, the town hosts the "Come and Take It" Festival in which they parade through the streets with music and banners depicting the saying.
Goliad, the third oldest municipality in Texas, also has plenty of blood on its hands. In 1836, 341 Texas soldiers were mercilessly executed in what became known as the Goliad Massacre. Presidio La Bahia, pictured above, is supposedly the most haunted mission in Texas due to all the war-torn men who died there, and you can visit it yourself and see if you can spot any apparitions. Aside from war-related history, Goliad is known as the "birthplace of Texas ranching" and the first makeshift Declaration of Independence was signed here in 1835.
Nacogdoches is THE oldest town in Texas, so naturally it has a rich history. In the late 1700s, Spanish settlers established missions here despite the resistance from the Caddo Indians who already inhabited the town. In 1832, these Indians drove the Spanish out, an action that later led to the Texas Revolution that the previous two towns helped initiate. In 1923, Stephen F. Austin University was established. For nature lovers, Nacogdoches is home to the largest Azalea garden in Texas and has a beautiful mountain range, the Caddo Indian mountains, nearby.
4. Port Isabel
This waterside town dates back to the 1770s with a fishing village called El Fronton that was renamed Point Isabel when the US Army built a fort there. The famous lighthouse you see here was built in 1852, and it would later play a major role in the Civil War when the Confederacy attempted to blind the Union troops by stealing the light that was supposed to guide them in the water. The town suffered two major hurricanes in the late 1800s and created the Texas International Fishing Tournament in 1934 in an attempt to boost tourism. Today, it's the largest saltwater fishing tournament in Texas. The towns's name was changed from Point Isabel to Port Isabel in 1928 by the Point Isabel Land Company.
Presidio is a small river village near the breathtaking Big Bend that has Spanish roots dating back to the 1500s. The Spanish established a colony here in the 1700s and officially gave it the name "Presidio del Norte" in 1830. White settlers didn't start arriving until 1850.