you're an admirer of General
Sam Houston -- the respected and sometimes-cursed maker of Texas
history -- this Sunday Drive is just for you. The drive will also
take you through a good portion of the Sam Houston National Forest
and along the shoreline of Lake Livingston.
Start at Huntsville,
and spend some time in the town before you launch your Sunday Drive.
An excellent guide is the Huntsville Fun Trail, a publication you
can pick up at the local Chamber of Commerce office.
Some of the local stops you'll want to touch include the Sam
Houston Memorial Grave and Monument in Oakwood
Cemetery. Since 1911, an impressive monument inscribed with the
promise that "the world will take care of Houston's fame" has marked
the grave of the first President of the Republic of Texas. The cemetery
can be reached by traveling down the two blocks of Spur 94, the shortest
highway in Texas, which intersects Texas 190.
other stops we suggest:
Houston' home in Sam Houston Memorial Park and Museum
Photo courtesy Todd Marshall
Sam Houston Memorial Park and Museum, just off U.S. 75 (Sam
Houston Avenue). Here in a 15-acre setting are Sam Houston's home,
"Woodland," the steamboat house where he died in 1863, his law office,
a pioneer kitchen, a blacksmith shop and other buildings. The museum
itself houses one of the most extensive collection of Sam Houston
memorialbia in Texas.
the original main unit of the Texas prison when all of its prisoners
were housed here. The massive red brick walls front on U.S. 190.
Hill (Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery), the final resting place for
more than 900 prisoners whose bodies were unclaimed at the time
of their death. The 22-acre graveyard is on Bowers Boulevard just
off Sam Houston Avenue. Look for interesting markers.
Statute of Christ in Oakwood
Cemetery. The copy of the famous Thorwaldsen original in Copenhagen,
Denmark, was placed here by Judge and Mrs. Ben Powell as a monument
to their son.
Park, a landmark of freedom for Texas slaves, where Juneteeth
is celebrated each year.
Mural in downtown Huntville. Depicting Huntsville in the spring,
the 938-square foot mural -- called the largest free-standing painting
in the United States -- was done in ceramics by art professor Harry
Bros. building, a Huntsville landmark dating back to the l840s,
when Thomas and Sandford Gibbs opened the store and later entered
the banking business. Today, Gibbs heirs constitute the oldest business
in Texas unde original ownership at the same location on the Huntsville
If you're hungry
before you leave town, we recommend a couple of eating places, the
Cafe Texan on the courthouse
square, which has been serving an excellent pepper steak for some
50 years, and the Junction, an old plantation home (it was built as
a wedding gift to a bride in l849) that has been turned into an excellent
statue of Sam Houston in Huntsville
courtesy Todd Marshall
Huntsville, start east on U.S. 190. You'll pass through the town of
Oakhurst, which was once a thriving sawmill town in San
Jacinto County. A sawmill at Palmetto was moved to Oakhurst in
1911 and operated for a number of years. The town was named for Oakhurst,
Oklahoma, home of several lumbermen who had moved to Texas.
Continuing on U.S. 190, some three miles north of Oakhurst, about
two miles off FM 946, is Sam
Houston's country home, Raven Hill, a name taken from the
Cherokee Indians' name for Houston, "The Raven." A Texas historical
marker is all that remains of the site.
Just east of Oakhurst is the entrance to Waterwood National Country
Club, one of the best golf courses in Texas. The course offers
18 rugged holes built in the old Scottish tradition.
A little farther up U.S. 190 you'll discover the village of Point
Blank, which sounds like something out of an Old West novel. Actually,
was was originally named Blanc Point by a Frenchwoman who moved here
from Alabama. The town was also known as Point White and White Point.
Ask for directions to a small cemetery on the banks of Lake Livingston,
where Texas' second governor, George T. Wood, is buried.
Lake Livingston, covering some 82,600 acres, sprawls over several
East Texas counties
and is popular with fishermen, boaters and campers.
> Book Here
Old San Jacinto County Jail
Photo courtesy Todd Marshall
take Texas 156 southward along the banks of the lake. Near Holiday
Shores, turn on FM 224, which will carry you into Coldspring,
the county seat of San
Jacinto County since l870. Spend some in the quaint shops around
the courthouse square and be sure to visit the courthouse,
as well as the old county jail, now an excellent small-town
San Jacinto County Jail Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Todd Marshall
has had several other names during its lifetime, including Cookskin,
Fireman's Hill and Cold Spring.
head south on Texas 150 toward Shepherd,
but a few miles out of Coldspring,
take a right turn onto a unpaved road leading to the Big Creek
Scenic Area, a tangled forest area that offers a good insight
to what the Big
Thicket looks like. The actual Thicket is 30 to 40 miles east
of the area.
Continue on the unpaved road until it intersections with FM 2666
and follow this highway until you come to its intersection with
FM 2055. Turn north and head back toward Coldspring,
but a few miles out of town, look for the signs to the Double
Lake Recreational Area, one of the most popular parks in the
Sam Houston National Forest. The areas offers facilities
for camping, hiking, picnicking and fishing.
When you leave Double Lake, turn north until you come to Texas 150.
Turn west toward New
Waverly and you'll pass through the small settlement of
Evergreen. Along the way, look for the entrance to the Lone
Star Hiking Trail, the longest (140 miles) of its kind in the
state. The trail traverses the entire Sam Houston National Forest
and crosses two developed camping areas, Double Lake and
At the intersection of 150 and FM 2693 in the Pleasant Grove settlement,
turn north on the farm road and follow it until it turns into FM
2778, which will lead back to an intersection with Texas 150, which
will carry you to New
At New Waverly,
turn west on FM 1375, which will take you on a wide loop carrying
you through some of the tallest timberland in the Huntsville area.
Stay on the road, passing through Bethel
and Union Hill, and you'll wind up in Huntsville.
before leaving Huntsville, take the time to drive south on Interstate
45, and look for the turnoff to two other places you'll want to
visit before completing this drive: ... next
State Park and Elkins Lake >
Trip Map >
Chamber of Commerce -
1328 11th Street, Box 538, Huntsville, TX 77340
Hotels > Book Here
If you are visiting Huntsville, especially if you will be stopping
at the Sam Houston Museum complex, do yourself a favor; walk across
Sam Houston Avenue and visit the campus of Sam Houston State
University. Not only gets my vote as one of the prettiest college
campuses in the state of Texas, if not in the entire country, but
also the site of several interesting things to see. (As a graduate
of SHSU I will readily admit that I am somewhat biased!) Nevertheless,
in very close proximity to the museum, and to each other, on the
north end of the SHSU quadrangle are; Austin
Hall (1851) – If I remember correctly, it is the oldest educational
building in continuous use west of the Mississippi River, Old Main
Memorial – preserved footprint and basement area of this 1890 beauty,
which was lost to fire in 1982, the Peabody Memorial Library – Built
in 1902 to recognize the philanthropic contributions of the Peabody
Foundation to Sam Houston (Normal Institute) and to public education
in the state of Texas, and the bronze statue of General Sam Houston.
This statue, 110% of life size, was dedicated in 1979 to commemorate
the 100th anniversary of the founding of SHSU. It was said to be
the most accurate representation of Sam Houston in existence at
that time. I hope you enjoy your visit to Huntsville and Sam Houston
State University. - Stephen Rogers, Bellville, Texas, November 11,
The location of the site of Raven Hill is south of Oakhurst about
2.5 miles off the main road. Take Raven Hill Rd. S.W. until it ends.
Take a left (dirt road) go another 100 yds. or so. The marker is
in a cow pasture on the right. - Robert Surguy, June 08, 2004
Excerpt by permission of author Mr. Bob Bowman.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history
and vintage/historic photos, please contact