FIRST SHOT FIRED
The legacy of Gonzales is a long and rich one, placing its narrative among a list of premier historical watermarks in the evolution of Texas statehood. On October 2, 1835, the first shot in the Texas Revolution exploded here from a six-pound cannon. The cannon, a gift of the Mexican Government to the Gonzales community for defense against local Comanche and Tonkawa tribes, became the symbol of a battle that would spell the end of Mexican rule in Texas’ march toward freedom and statehood. The Battle of Gonzales, with its “Come and Take It” motto, was the first real revolt by the community’s American colonists against the ruling government, reflecting the overwhelming sentiments across the future state of Texas. Two nearby sites also help tell the story of Texas Independence. Seven miles west of Gonzales, a monument dedicated to the Battle of Gonzales is located near the place of the battle, the village of Cost. Eight miles east of town, the Braches House and Sam Houston Oak is alleged to be the spot where General Sam Houston received the news that the Alamo had fallen – and the defenders killed. The home can be seen from the road or a tour can be arranged through the Gonzales Visitor Center.
Today, Gonzales offers a far friendlier atmosphere, surrounded by icons of the state’s epic past. The Historical homes and buildings comprise much of this Texas Main Street city where a total of seven public squares surround the courthouse, a Romanesque Revival design completed in 1886 and restored in 1997. Museums including the Old Jail Museum, housed in an 1887 Italianate jail designed by architect Eugene T. Heiner, provide a compelling overview of the Gonzales legacy. What is believed to be the infamous cannon is part of the permanent collection of the Gonzales Memorial Museum. Special events include the Come and Take It Celebration, a three-day festival featuring live music, a parade, square dancing, chili cookoff, and re-enactments.