The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Driving Tour of Historic Gonzales TX

"Come And Take It"  Gonzales fired the first shot for Texas Independence in the shadow of a homemade battle flag.  Gonzales mustered the only volunteers to answer Colonel William Travis' call for help from the besieged Alamo. The Immortal 32 as the brave men and boys that responded will be forever remembered in Texas history.

Gonzales was the rallying point for volunteers after the fall of the Alamo. In the face of Santa Anna's advancing Army, General Sam Houston torched the town as the women and children followed him on the Runaway Scrape from ashes to victory at San Jacinto. Gonzales rebuilt a city that immortalizes freedom and has stood the test of time.

At our tour of the Old Jailhouse, we picked up a guide to tour the city. Actually, you can hook up with a gentleman through the Old Jailhouse who will do the driving tour with you and provide all kinds of historical information as well as taking you to each stop. He doesn't charge but a donation would be nice as it will take an hour and a half. We didn't have time to wait until he finished the tour he was just starting then and didn't plan to do the tour this trip but we saw a site or two and got hooked. I don't think we saw them all but it was a fun tour anyway with Mary Jane navigating and following the guide while I drove. We did stop to take pictures.

Gonzales County Courthouse, 1896, designed by J. Riely Gordon on Courthouse Square.

Texas Heroes Square

Andrew Ponton

First Baptist Church of Gonzales

 Red brick house built in 1913 by banker O.B. Robertson. Looks remarkably like the courthouse.

The Eggleston House built by Horace Eggleston in 1845. It is the oldest standing structure in Gonzales. Dogtrot style log cabin. The Egglestons, their 5 children, and her mother lived in this house.

Frank Vrazel hous, 1925.

S.H. Hopkins House, 1911, designed by architect Atlee B. Ayres.

Charles Hoskins House, 1911. Designed by Atlee B. Ayres.

C.T. Rather house, 1892.

J.P. Randall house, 1898

Paul Levyson house, 1877.

The Alcalde Hotel, built in 1926 by Aref Droupy. Legend tells of visit by Bonnie & Clyde who escaped through second floor window as police approached. Elvis also stayed here in the early years of his career.

Belle Oaks

C.A.Burchard house, 1897

Everett Lawley house, 1921

Milton Eastland house, 1896

J.C Bright house, 1911. Originally built in the middle of the block, it was moved to the corner to make room for his daughter's house when she married.

James Patek house, 1926

J.J. Fouts house, 1902

1885, T.N. Matthews house, better known as the J.B. Wells residence. Barns and servant's quarters on grounds. Built of Florida long-leaf pine shipped through Indianola.
 W.J. Bright house, 1885. Walls of the original log cabin are contained within the walls of this house.

 J.C. Bright house, 1898. Built by parents while bride and groom were on their honeymoon.

Dr. J.C. Jones house, 1885, remodeled in 1950.

R.S. Dilworth hous, 1893
J.W. Bailey house, 1897

H.W. Matthews house, 1911

 1910 built by lumber-man George Ewing

J.F. Miller house, 1901, in process of restoration. This house and property take up a block.

Solomon Joseph house, 1893

E.S. Atkinson house, 1884

 T.J. Pilgrim house, 1877. Pilgrim was one of the pioneers of Gonzales, starting the first Sunday School in Texas.

Solomon Joseph house, 1900, Original location of Suzann & Almaron Dickinson house.

29 September 1835, the "Come and Take It" cannon was buried in the George Davis fruit orchard to hide it from the Mexican army. Two days later it was dug up, mounted on a cart, and fired at the Mexican Army....the first shot of the revolution.
Mary Jane and I did this driving tour with me driving and taking pictures while she navigated. We definitely didn't get all the historic sites on the driving tour. Hopefully, I got the pictures properly labeled. They do have a guide for this driving tour and I'm sure you would get a lot more historic information. Check at the Jailhouse. I would take advantage of the free tour guide if you have the time.

Stuck In The Jailhouse.....Gonzales TX

Well, just a visit the Old Jailhouse Museum in Gonzales, Texas. The jailhouse was built in 1887 to hold 200 prisoners under riot conditions.  The jail was designed by architect Eugene T. Heiner and built by Henry Kane and Snead & Company Iron Works of concrete, brick, and steel for $21,660.20. It in use until 1975. The entrance hall was once the Sheriff's office. To the left are three rooms, kitchen and bath that were once home for the Sheriff's family. They are now used by the Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture but they used to be home to the Sheriff and his family.

All of the ceilings are made of corrugated steel and concrete. On the lower floor are display cases for articles taken from prisoners, information on the sheriffs, deputies, and other law enforcement officials who served here through the years.

This room is used by the museum staff. We were given a great tour by a young lady with a baby strapped to her front. She clearly was very familiar with all the facts and stories about the jail.

Portraits of all the sheriffs in office from the jail's opening to the time it closed in 1975.

At the end of the hallway is the dungeon, complete sensory deprivation where the only light and sound came through small holes above the door. Our guide offered to let us experience it but we passed on that opportunity.

Gregorio Cortez was a famous prisoner here who came to the area as a farmer. Problems with language led a battle and to the shooting of two sheriffs. He escaped by walking 100 miles and then riding another 400 miles but was eventually caught. He narrowly escaped lynching by a mob at the jail. He was sentenced to 50 years in jail.  A number of years later he was pardoned and became a Mexican folk hero based on his escape and the time it took to recapture him. Language, culture, and racial prejudice were all involved along with the rumor that he and his brother were horse thiefs. The real truth may never be known.
This is the jailer's bedroom.

The women's and lunatics cell when necessary....the holding cell otherwise.

John Wesley Hardin info.

Another view into the dungeon.

The second and third floors feature a large room known as the runaround which is two stories high and was not used for hardened criminals. The death cells are at the front of this room and feature doors of two-inch iron strips forged and fused through the use of heat, borax, and hammer, since the jail was built before welding was invented. In each wing of the room are two-story metals, built as rooms within a room and featuring more of the riveted doors.

The last gallows were last used in 1921 and were torn down in the 1950s. They stood in the run-around next to the third-floor walkway. The present gallows are an exact reproduction.

Large doors to the cell blocks feature small swing-out doors with bars from which the jailer could observe the prisoners, and inside the room are levers that opened and closed latches on the cell doors.

There were six legal hangings in Gonzales, the first in 1855 between the jail and the jailer’s house that was on Market Square. In 1878 it was estimated that 4,000 people "arrived as to a feast to witness the human suffering and shedding of blood" of Brown Bowen. The last hanging was that of Albert Howard on March 18, 1921.

A legend persists that while Howard was in jail he became obsessed with the clock on the Gonzales County Courthouse located just a few yards away from the building, keeping strict attention to the number of hours he still had to live. He swore his innocence would be shown by the clock, that none of its four faces would ever keep the same time again if he was hanged. Through the years the courthouse clocks' faces have rarely been consistent since then.
We missed the big "Come and Take It" festival the weekend before but our guide told us that a huge number of people visited the jail and some of them said they were former prisoners here so they had a few stories to tell her.
After a very interesting tour, we were ready for some lunch. We decided to give the Gonzales Food Market a try.  Interesting is really a barbeque place.

You walk past the counter and choose your meat and sides.

Mary Jane and I both chose the daily specials. She had the sausage sandwich with a side of mixed vegetables. I had the chopped brisket sandwich with a side of home fries. They were both good.

Right before we got into the truck to head to our next adventure, we saw this poem about the Old Town Clock.