Gonzales is a city in Gonzales County, Texas, United States. The population was 7,237 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat ofGonzales County.
Gonzales' Municipal Building on St. Joseph St. was built in 1959 from plans by Emil Niggli and Barton Riley.
|Motto: "Where the fight for Texas liberty began"|
Gonzales is one of the earliest Anglo-American settlements in Texas, the first west of theColorado River. It was established by EmpresarioGreen DeWitt as the capital of his colony in August 1825. DeWitt named the community for Rafael Gonzáles, governor of Coahuila y Tejas.Informally, the community was known as the Dewitt Colony.
The original settlement (located where Highway 90-A crosses Kerr Creek) was abandoned in 1826 after two American Indian attacks. It was rebuilt nearby in 1827. The town remains today as it was originally surveyed.
Gonzales is most famous as the "Lexington of Texas" because it was the site of the first skirmish of the Texas Revolution. In 1831, theMexican government had granted Green DeWitt's request for a small cannon for protection against Indian attacks. At the outbreak of disputes between the Anglo settlers and the Mexican authorities in 1835, a contingent of more than 100 Mexican soldiers was sent from San Antonio to retrieve the cannon.
When the soldiers arrived, there were only 18 men in Gonzales, but they refused to return the cannon, and soon men from the surrounding area joined them. Texians under the command of John H. Moore confronted them. Sarah DeWitt and her daughter sewed a flag bearing the likeness of the cannon and the words "Come and Take It," which was flown when the first shots of Texan independence were fired on October 2, 1835. The Texians successfully resisted the Mexican troops in what became known as the Battle of Gonzales.
Gonzales later contributed 32 men from the Gonzales Ranging Company to the defense of the Alamo. It was the only city to send aid to the Alamo and all 32 men lost their lives defending the Alamo. It was to Gonzales that Susanna Dickinson, widow of one of the Alamo defenders, and Joe, the slave of William B. Travis, fled with news of the Alamo massacre. GeneralSam Houston was there organizing the Texas forces. He anticipated the town would be the next target of General Antonio López de Santa Anna' Mexican army. Gathering the Texians at Peach Creek east of town, under the Sam Houston Oak, Houston ordered Gonzales burned, to deny it to the enemy. He began a retreat toward the U.S. border. The widows and orphans of Gonzales and their neighbors were forced to flee, thus precipitating the Runaway Scrape.
The town was derelict immediately after the Texas Revolution, but was eventually rebuilt on the original site throughout the early 1840s. By 1850, the town had a population of 300. The population rose to 1,703 in the 1860 census, 2,900 by the mid-1880s, and 4,297 in 1900. Part of the growth of the late 19th century can be attributed to the arrival of various immigrants, among them Jews, many of whom became peddlers and merchants.
The site of the Battle of Gonzales, in the village of Cost, off Highway 97, is marked by a handsome stone and bronze monument commissioned by the State of Texas in 1910. The "Come and Take It" monument is the work of the Italian-born San Antonio artist Pompeo Coppini, Texas' leading sculptor in his day.
The Gonzales County Courthouse (1996), on the National Register of Historic Places, is by the master of Texas courthouses, James Riely Gordon. Winning a country-wide competition for the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio launched Gordon's career, as the first of 72 courthouses, 18 of them in Texas (with 12 remaining in this state). J. Riely Gordon was also a master of the Romanesque Revival style, hugely popular in the 1890s, and seen here with good effect.
Gonzales has an especially high concentration of historic houses and other buildings.
In 2012, ' 'This Old House' ' named Gonzales as one of the Best Old House Neighborhoods, noting its well-preserved downtown, its large stock of affordable and fixer-upper fine houses in Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Italianate, and Greek Revival styles, as well as the town's low cost of living and convenience to the big cities of Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.
The oldest dwellings in Gonzales date to the mid-19th century, but most of the architecturally notable houses were constructed beginning in the late Victorian period, from about 1880 to about 1915. Queen Anne style houses are the most common, with Colonial Revival and Classical Revival houses as well. J. Riely Gordon and Atlee B. Ayers were among the renowned architects active here. Many of the most notable homes, built for the important families of Gonzales, were erected along St. Louis St. and St. Lawrence St. Those two roads edge, to the south and north, a long stretch of public land one block wide running from the historic downtown commercial center and courthouse all the way to Kerr Creek to the east.
The Gonzales Museum was part of Texas' 1936 centennial celebration. Like the San Jacinto Monument, it is built of Texas shell stone. Stained by 76 years of air pollution, it is to be cleaned this year.
The Houston House at 621 St. George St. is a National Register residence.
The old Post Office was built in 1909, and is used as office space today.
The Fire Department is located in the center of town.
The Lynn is a mid-20th century downtown movie theater by architect Jack Corgan.
Following the standard plan of cities in New Spain, the town is organized around a large central square of four parts: Courthouse Square, Confederate Square, Texas Heroes Square, and Church Square.
One of the largest downtown commercial buildings, the 1895 Randle-Rather Building sits at St. Paul and St. George Streets.
In one of the oldest sections of downtown, some of these stores on St. Lawrence St. date to the 1850s.
The historic commercial center is a National Register district, including this part on St. George St.
Built in 1901, Walnut Ridge (121 St. Joseph St.) was designed by J. Riely Gordon for James F. Miller.
The Gonzales Inquirer, one of the oldest newspapers in Texas, published since 1853, is headquartered on St. Paul St.
Following a major restoration, the Crystal Theatre on St. Louis St. is again used for live performances.
The 1874 Solomon Joseph House reflects a traditional house form in Queen Anne style so popular in the Victorian era.
The Edward Sweeney House (1926) at 1109 St. Lawrence St. displays English Tudor Revivalstyle.
The T.H. Spooner House (1875) at 207 St. Francis St. is a National Register property.