Texas Lakes Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

1936 Texas Centennial

El Paso Museum
El Paso Museum


That's when Texas threw itself a party that inspired a visit from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and kicked off heritage tourism throughout the state. 1936 marked perhaps our most important milestone—the 100-year anniversary of our independence. The Texas-sized celebration allocated millions of our state budget and almost as much in federal contributions during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Festivals and commemorative events took place across the state in cities large and small, but the grandest occurred in Dallas and included a multi-million dollar exposition occupying 50 buildings (many still survive as Fair Park). Not to be outdone, Fort Worth mounted their own centennial exposition, considered more entertaining for its "Winning of the West" theme.

Centennial resources also created a lasting impression on many other Texas towns. More than 1,000 granite markers were placed throughout Texas' 254 counties commemorating their establishment date and history. Texas built nine architecturally stunning memorial museums, commissioned 20 bronze statues (some stylistically controversial), erected 45 monuments (many in the modern Art Deco or Nouveau styles), restored 16 historic sites, made park improvements, and built community centers—whew! Publicity and boosterism spread the word that Texas cherished and preserved its heritage and traditions while it was open for modern business. Thanks to the support of centennial committees, advisory boards, institutions, and, of course, fellow Texans, the efforts of 1936 were a grand, and permanent, success that you can plan a trip around today.

Map of Theme

= Site  = City

The Orris D. Brown Collection, no. 3 - Texas Centennial Snapshots (1936)
Donor: Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Silent | 1936
Film courtesy Texas Archive of the Moving Image 
See the entire film by clicking on the Texas Flag logo to the left of the sound function.

This film from the Orris D. Brown Collection documents notable locations, battles, and citizens that tell the story of early Texas at the time of its centennial in 1936. Intertittled to introduce each place and its significance, footage is included of statues of La Salle and Sam Houston, the Spanish Governor's Palace and the Alamo in San Antonio, the Battle of Gonzales battlefield, the site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence in Washington-on-the-Brazos, Sam Houston's homes in Independence, Texas and Huntsville, Texas, and the graves of the Houston family. Most notably, footage of Sam Houston's slave and personal servant, Uncle Jeff Hamilton, is also included.


Texas State Historical Association logo
Read more about the Texas Centennial in the Handbook of Texas Online.