NATIONAL TEXAS DAY
On February 1st, National Texas Day recognizes the Lone Star State along with its fierce record of independent people and history. The 28th state may not be the only state with a record of being a republic, but their dramatic revolution and fight for independence keep Texas history alive.
Legendary History and People
On December 29, 1845, Texas became the 28th state admitted to the Union, but its storied history stretched long before that date. From the dictatorship of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and the start of the Texas Revolution in 1835 to the Alamo in 1836, names like James Bowie, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and Juan Seguin echo throughout the state.
Many legends abound where Texas is concerned. According to the story, The Yellow Rose of Texas was a woman who distracted Santa Anna during the Battle of San Jacinto allowing victory for the republic. Many credit a woman by the name of Emily West, but historians find little to no evidence. A statue by Veryl Goodnight stands in Houston.
During and after the Civil War, news traveled slowly. It took the arrival of Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, and his announcement with General Orders, Number 3 that the Civil War was over and all slaves were now freedmen for life to change in Galveston, Texas. Whether it required the military to enforce the new federal law or if the news did truly travel slowly, June 19th became a celebration of culture and freedom called Juneteenth.
Technology and Landscape
Texas loves technology. Home to Johnson Space Center and more than one computer company that began as a startup, the Lone Star State wears its boots and lab coat at the same time. They’ve brought us the handheld calculator and 3-D printing as well as many medical advancements. And let’s not forget, Dr. Pepper.
Whether traveling to the Gulf Coast, staying close to the panhandle which includes a patch of Route 66, or wandering the Great Plains, there’s plenty of Texas to see. Take in some history or explore the cities. Take a hike along the Palo Duro Canyon on the Red River or in Big Bend National Park.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL TEXAS DAY
- Visit Texas!
- Share your favorite places in Texas.
- Explore Texas history.
- Read or watch movies about Texas.
- Savor the foods of Texas, like the kolache.
- Discover the people and places of Texas.
- Use #NationalTexasDay to share on social media.
For a complete list of Texas State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks and www.nps.gov. Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below.
Battleship Texas State Historic Site – LaPorte
Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway – Quitaque
Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area – Rocksprings
Franklin Mountains State Park – El Paso
Goose Island State Park – Rockport
Indian Lodge – Fort Davis
McKinney Falls State Park – Austin
Big Thicket Gateway – Lumberton
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument – Fritch
Big Bend National Park – Rio Grande
Padre Island National Seashore – Corpus Christi
Bullock Texas State History Museum – Austin
Texas Memorial Museum – Austin
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center – Austin
Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Dallas
African American Museum – Dallas
Kimbell Art Museum – Fort Worth
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum – Canyon
Houston Museum of Natural Science – Houston
San Jacinto Museum – Houston
Sri Meenakshi Devasthanam – Pearland
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame – Waco
Fort Concho – San Angelo
Fort Griffin State Historic Site – Albany
Gone with the Wind Museum – Cleburne
Ms. Pearl the Squirrel – Cedar Creek
Betrayal and humiliation defined Juan Seguin’s life. Despite his strong support of an independent Texas and his active role in the revolution, Sequin would be made to look like a traitor by the Mexican government. Even when allowed to return to his homeland in San Antonio, he would not remain long.
Considered instrumental in the development of ragtime and jazz, Scott Joplin’s contributions to American music brought upbeat rhythms and memorable piano compositions. He was posthumously awarded a special Bicentennial Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his contributions to American music.
In 1933, Wiley Post became the first man to fly around the world solo. He accomplished the feat in 7 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes. Post would also design a pressurized suit allowing him to fly his Lockheed Vega into the stratosphere. In 1935, his plane would crash in Alaska killing Post and his longtime friend, Will Rogers.
During World War II, Dwight D. Eisenhower led Allied forces in Western Europe. He then served two terms as president during a relatively peaceful and prosperous era in the United States.
Bessie Coleman was restricted from learning to fly because of the color of her skin. To become the first African-American woman to earn her pilots license, Coleman learned French and moved to France. In 1922, she gained her license and began a career barnstorming and stunt flying.
Howard Hughes became known for his aviation, manufacturing, movie production and investments. His success led to massive wealth and celebrity. While always eccentric, later in his life, Hughes became reclusive, never allowing anyone to see him.
Caro Crawford Brown’s investigative reporting is credited with helping to end boss rule controlled by Archer Parr in Duval County and surrounding counties in Texas. In 1955, Caro earned a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.
Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president after the assignation of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Johnson’s administration pursued completion of the Civil Rights Act, declared “War on Poverty” and created the Medicare and Medicaid programs. U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War steadily increased under Johnsons watch.
In 1968, Denton Cooley performed the first successful U.S. human heart transplant. Cooley also implanted the first artificial heart into a human.
Otis Boykin’s interest in resistors helped to advance electronic components in many fields. His advancements found demands in both consumer and military applications. Boykin’s greatest innovation was the control unit for the pacemaker.
In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman Chief Justice on the Supreme Court. Nominated by President Ronald Reagan, O’Connor received unanimous approval.
Willie Nelson’s music spans more than five decades. From Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys to well-received acting performances, Nelson had a reputation as an outlaw country musician while raising money for Farm Aid and other charitable causes.
Author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry’s works have been adapted to film. His gritty westerns weave lore, legend and history into vivid landscapes and colorful characters.