Texas is loaded with historical sites – and we’re not just talking about the Alamo. In 1836, General Sam Houston won independence for part of what’s now Southeastern Texas at the Battle of San Jacinto. That year, two brothers founded the town of Houston in his name.
Since then, the city has seen its fair share of settlers, military skirmishes and oil prospectors. Many of Houston’s most famous historic sites remain open to visitors. Some offer tours, while others accommodate overnight visitors. If you’re curious about the origins of the Lone Star State, check out our Top 5 local sites for history buffs.
Military history mavens will go batty for this real-life Navy boat, which saw action during WWI and WWII. Park entrance is free, though it’s more than worth the $12 for a cruise through the battleship. The self-guided tour includes access to the Flag Bridge, sleeping quarters, engine rooms and more. Tip: Check with the First Texas Volunteers in advance to see if an exclusive access Hard Hat Tour is offered during your stay.
Want to soak up Houston’s history round-the-clock? Book a stay at the Magnolia Houston. This luxurious boutique hotel sits in a circa-1926 building that originally housed the Post-Dispatch newspaper; and later, Shell Oil Company. The gorgeous Beaux Arts building fell into disrepair in the 1990s before being bought and converted into a plush, 314-room hotel with rooftop pool and contemporary American dining lounge. Visit Magnolia’s upper-deck after dark for amazing panoramic views of the city lights.
Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park
In the shadow of downtown Houston’s skyscrapers, you’ll find a quaint little “town” of ten historic buildings at Sam Houston Park. It’s a slice of greater Houston history all in one place. Duck inside the circa-1891 St. John church to see the original cypress plank pews, go inside a ramshackle farmhouse moved from the shore of Clear Creek, or marvel at the antique furnishings inside the stately Nichols-Rice-Cherry House.
Learn about the prestigious history of the Buffalo Soldiers, a group of freed slaves and Civil War soldiers who escorted settlers and work crews through dangerous Native American territories. The group reportedly was given its famous name by Plains Indians who respected the African-American troupe’s fierce fighting abilities. The museum is located inside the original Houston Light Guard Armory, which was built in 1925.
Remember a time before metal detectors and TSA pat-downs? Houston’s Municipal Airport Terminal pays homage to travelers of days past with exhibits of vintage aviation memorabilia inside an original Art Deco airport building. Look for info on the Douglas DC-3 aircraft, as well as displays of vintage airplane toys and air traffic control memorabilia. Weekdays, visitors can also snag a guided tour of the 1928 Carter Airmail Hangar.
Whether you’re just getting off your plane, in downtown Houston on business or enjoying a downtown vacay with your family, it’s easy for history lovers to find a site of interest nearby. Contact us today to set up your stay at Magnolia, downtown Houston’s premier historic boutique hotel.