The San Jacinto Monument is dedicated to the "Heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto and all others who contributed to the independence of Texas." The monument is a 570-foot shaft topped by a 34-foot star symbolizing the Lone Star Republic. The building incorporates a number of innovative engineering features not common during the period of its construction. The American Society of Civil Engineers recognized this technology with the prestigious designation of State and National Historic Structure. The monument is listed as the tallest stone column memorial structure in the world, 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.
Construction of the Monument
The monument weighs 70,300,000 pounds. It is 125 feet square at the base, tapering to 30 feet square at the top. It is faced with blocks of cordova shell stone weighing 500 pounds apiece. This shell stone is over 100 million years old and was quarried from Burnet County north of Austin. The shaft walls are 4 feet thick at the base of the monument and 2 feet thick at the top.
The monument was a Public Works Administration project started on April 21, 1936 and dedicated on April 21, 1939. The project was completed on time, three years to the day after it was started. Of the 165 permanent job-site workers, only 35 had previous construction experience. 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 sculpture stone used for each frieze around the monument weighs four tons each. The nine-pointed star is 35 feet tall, weighs 220 tons, and can be seen as a star from any direction in the site because of its unique configuration. The star took 20 working days to build, and each stone used in the star was 12 by 12 inches in size, 3 inches thick, and had to be cut to fit. Not a single piece of the star was level and plumb.
The foundation all this rests on is a solid 15 feet of concrete at the center, tapering to a 5-foot thickness at its edges. By architect specifications, the foundation had to be a continuous pour lasting 57 hours, amounting to 100 cubic yards of concrete per hour. As you approach the San Jacinto Monument, you will no doubt notice the 15.5-foot tall bronze doors weighing 3,000 pounds apiece. These doors carry reliefs of the six flags that have flown over Texas.
The total cost of the monument was $1,500,000. This was provided by federal, state and local funds.
San Jacinto Museum of History
The Museum of History's collections spans more than 400 years of early Texas history, from the Spanish conquest through Texas in the 19th century. The collection contains more than 100,000 objects, 250,000 documents, 10,000 visual images, and a 35,000-volume rare book library.
The Museum of History is operated in a public-private partnership: the site is administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; and the San Jacinto Museum of History Association, a private, nonprofit organization, operates the museum.
Visitors can ride up the elevator of the massive concrete and limestone tower to the observation floor at 489 feet above the battleground. On a clear day, the view encompasses the historic battleground, the marsh restoration and boardwalk, Buffalo Bayou, the busy Houston Ship Channel, the Battleship Texas, and many square miles of surrounding area. The elevator is also operated by the Museum of History.
"Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto"
"Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto" is an award-winning, 35-minute multimedia production vividly depicting the events of the Texas Revolution and Battle of San Jacinto. The presentation is shown in the 160-seat Jesse H. Jones Theater for Texas Studies. This presentation is also operated by the Museum of History.
The exact date of the reflection pool's construction is uncertain, but is probably about 1937-1938. The pool is 1,800 feet long by 200 feet wide, covering about 8.4 acres, and ranges from 4 feet to 6 feet in depth.
The Phase 1 restoration of the exterior of the monument's column and star was completed in 2001. Phase 2 exterior renovations were completed in 2002, and Phase 3 interior renovations were completed in fall 2006.
The Monument and Museum elevator to the newly renovated Observation Floor is now open.
Improvements to the interior of the San Jacinto Monument, including the installation of a sprinkler system, elevator upgrades, and work on the Observation Deck, began Sept. 6, 2005. For more information, check the San Jacinto Museum of History web page or call (281) 479-2421.