The San Jacinto Monument is a 570-foot tall shaft topped by a 34-foot star. The monument is dedicated to the “Heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto and all others who contributed to the independence of Texas.”
The base of the monument holds the San Jacinto Museum of History and a theatre. A reflecting pool extends from the front of the monument toward Buffalo Bayou.
The monument is the tallest stone column memorial structure in the world. It is 15 feet taller than the Washington Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Building a tribute
Two New Deal programs, the Public Works Administration and the Work Projects Administration, built the monument and its supporting features. Architect Albert C. Finn designed the soaring column, while engineer Robert J. Cummins ensured it would stand tall. Construction began on April 21, 1936. The project took three years to the day to complete and was dedicated on April 21, 1939.
The foundation for the monument is concrete, a solid 15 feet thick at the center, tapering to a 5-foot thickness at its edges. The foundation required a continuous pour of 100 cubic yards of concrete per hour for 57 hours.
The work crew completed 6 feet of wall, set three tons of steel, used one train carload of stone, poured 75 yards of concrete, shaped 1,200 square feet of forms, and raised a 65-ton working scaffold 6 feet every day.
The monument weighs 70,300,000 pounds. It is 125 feet square at the base, and tapers to 30 feet square at the top. The shaft walls are four feet thick at the base, and two feet thick at the top.
Blocks of Cordova shell stone, each weighing 500 pounds, face the building. The stone came from Burnet County, and is over 100 million years old.
Each sculpture stone used for the friezes around the monument weighs four tons each.
The 15.5-foot tall bronze doors weigh 3,000 pounds apiece. These doors carry reliefs of the six flags flown over Texas.
The nine-pointed star symbolizes the Lone Star Republic. It is 35 feet tall, weighs 220 tons, and looks like a star from any direction. The star took 20 working days to build, and each stone used was 12 by 12 inches and 3 inches thick. Workers had to cut each piece to fit; not a single piece of the star was level and plumb.
The building incorporates engineering features not common at the time. Because of that, the American Society of Civil Engineers has designated the monument as both a State and National Historic Structure.
San Jacinto Museum of History - The museum’s collections span more than 400 years of early Texas history, from the Spanish conquest through Texas in the 19th century. The collections contain more than 100,000 objects, 250,000 documents, 10,000 visual images, and a 35,000-volume rare book library. Entry is free, except for special exhibits.
Observation Floor - Ride the elevator to the observation floor, 489 feet above the battleground. On a clear day, you can see the battleground, the marsh and boardwalk, Buffalo Bayou, Houston Ship Channel, Battleship Texas, and many miles beyond. Admission is charged.
Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto - Watch the award-winning, 35-minute multimedia production on the Texas Revolution and the Battle of San Jacinto. The movie runs in the Jesse H. Jones Theater for Texas Studies. Admission is charged.
Reflecting Pool - The pool is 1,800 feet long by 200 feet wide, covers about 8.4 acres, and ranges from 4 feet to 6 feet deep. It was likely built in the late 1930s.