1410 Center Street
Following the battle of San Jacinto, General Sam Houston, David Burnet and the Texas Cabinet met at a nearby cabin took the Mexican General to a nearby cabin to draft the initial treaty documents securing Texas’ independence from Mexico.
This cabin, the home of Dr. George Moffit Patrick, was located in Deer Park on Buffalo Bayou, and a historical representation of the structure stands in our Heritage Park. Because of these significant events, Deer Park holds the distinction of being the true “Birthplace of Texas.”
New historical features secured during 2017
The Historical Committee had a very busy year in 2017, with many accomplishments related to the 125th Anniversary Celebration and other significant milestones. In partnership with Dow Chemical and the Texas Historical Commission, the Historical Committee oversaw the movement of a Centennial Marker originally placed at the home of George Moffit Patrick from its location at Dow Chemical (formerly Rohm and Haas) to Heritage Park.
610 E. San Augustine
Early Deer Park Graves
Around 1928, surveyors came across a headstone for siblings Mary Jackson and William Wilson. Around 1976, Shell contacted the Harris County Historical Commission and the City of Deer Park to make plans to move the gravesite. The Commission gave Shell permission to move the gravesite and any remains from the site at Shell to Dow Park. A small cement casket of earth from the graves and the headstone were moved on March 7, 1977. It is Deer Park's oldest artifact and some historians believe it is the oldest marked grave in Harris County. As of December 2017, the City was granted a Texas Historical Subject Marker for “Early Settlers in Deer Park.” The marker, as well as the headstone, will be located in central Dow Park.
Pratt Truss Bridge
In 1892, Simon Henry West founded the City of Deer Park. At around the same time, a pin-connected iron truss bridge was built over the Leon River in Coryell County. 104 years later, in 1996, these two seemingly unrelated events of the late nineteenth century were linked together when the bridge reopened to the public at the Battleground Golf Course. This bridge is the only surviving bridge built in Texas by the Clinton Bridge and Iron Company of Iowa.
The Pratt Truss Bridge originally opened in March of 1891 during a period of extensive growth in Coryell County. The bridge spanned the Leon River approximately six miles to the Southeast for its first sixty or so years. Then, the bridge was moved to County Road 322. After about thirty additional years of service, the bridge was extracted. In May of 1995, a 130-ton crane lifted the bridge from its location on County Road 322.
Because of the bridge’s historical significance, transportation officials wanted to find a new home for the bridge. In November of 1993, the city put an $8.25 million bond issue before its voters to authorize construction of the golf course. Voters approved the measure in a referendum at a nearly three-to-one ratio. Tom Knickerbocker of the Centurion Consulting Group suggested adding the bridge to his vision for Deer Park’s Battleground Golf Course. A grant approved for $108,084.58 from the Statewide Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 funded the relocation of the bridge. The bridge traveled three counties and 350 miles in a day and a half, taking detours to remain on the roads that would permit its movement. The Pratt Truss Bridge from Coryell County was brought to the Battleground Golf Course thanks to the combined efforts of TxDOT, Texas Historical Commission, City of Deer Park and the grant from ISTEA. The City of Deer Park agreed to maintain the bridge and its features that give it its historical significance with TxDOT and the Texas Historical Commission.
The construction of the Battleground Golf Course was created with three goals in mind - honor the Battle of San Jacinto, celebrate the City’s 100th birthday and boost the City’s economy through tourism to enhance the overall quality of life.
The Pratt Truss Bridge and the Battleground Golf Course opened to the public together on April 21, 1996, which was exactly 160 years after the Battle of San Jacinto.
The Battleground Golf Course provides its visitors with an understanding of the region’s significant history. The golf course’s clubhouse resembles mission-style architecture was constructed out of native Texas and Mexican style stone. Each of the 18 holes were named in honor of an individual or event involved with the fight for Texas Independence.
City Manager Ron Crabtree knew it was important to document Texas history, so the City applied for a Texas Historical Subject Marker. On September 23, 1997 the Texas Historical Subject Marker was approved for the Pratt Truss Bridge, and the marker was installed in 1998. The commission stated that this 1891 bridge that once spanned the Leon River in Coryell County was significant to Texas history and should be documented. The relocation of the structure saved the last surviving Texas bridge built by the Clinton Bridge Company of Iowa, and prevented it from joining a growing list of exterminated bridges.
The Texas Historical Subject Marker text reads…
“The pin connected truss bridge characteristic of the popular style that once dotted rural Texas, this bridge is the last one in Texas built by the Clinton Bridge and Iron Company of Iowa. Originally opened in 1891 on the Leon River in Coryell County in what later became Mother Neff State Park, the bridge was moved 6 miles in the late 1940s or early 1950s to County Road 322. By 1993 the bridge could no longer support modern road traffic. Texas Department of Transportation officials, in a historic preservation agreement with the Texas Historical Commission, painstakingly transported it more than 150 miles to this site. (1998)”
The Pratt Truss Bridge’s historical marker number is 11958.
For more information about the bridge’s Texas Historical Subject Marker, visit Texas Historical Commission’s website.
Museum Cabinets in Deer Park
Throughout the City of Deer Park, visitors will find cabinets filled with historical documents, photos and items that shed light on the history of our area. The items on display were largely made available through citizen donations.
The cabinets include photos, newspaper clippings and eight letters written by the City’s founder, Simeon West, in the 1850s and 1860s - come see them today!
Cabinets are available for viewing at the Municipal Court/Theater Building (1302 Center Street), the Community Center (610 E. San Augustine), the Deer Park Public Library (3009 Center Street) and the Deer Park Visitors Center (203 Ivy Avenue).
Industrial Tank Murals
Visitors who travel along State Highway 225 through the Deer Park industrial region will be captivated by the beautiful artwork adorning the sides of select storage tanks lining the roadway. Each of the seven images tell a story about the hardships in the fight for Texas independence. While you’re here, don’t miss the chance to take a drive and see each one in person!
“Destiny” sponsored by LyondellBasell
“Discovery” sponsored by Vopak
“Two Storms Passing” - Matching pair of murals sponsored by Shell Deer Park
“The Volunteers” sponsored by ExxonMobil
“Spirit of Independence” sponsored by Vopak
“Muddy Trail to Freedom” sponsored by the City of Morgan’s Point