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Gonzales Memorial Museum

A Centennial Project

Museum News


"The Immortal Thirty-two" Monument


The Gonzales Memorial Museum is a Centennial Historical Memorial Museum that commemorates the Immortal 32 who died in the Alamo. The Gonzales Memorial Museum and Amphitheater was built in 1936-37 with funds allocated by the Texas Centennial Celebration and the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), a federal government depression era project. The Total cost was approximately $68,000.

The State allocated $30,000 and the works Progress Administration $24,545 for the labor and materials in the construction of the building. Other allocations were designated as follows: $6,000 for equipment, furnishings, and the construction of a reflecting pool; $1,500 for a monument honoring "The Immortal Thirty-two"; $500 for a marble plaque honoring "The Old Eighteen"; and $1,500 for sixteen bronze plaques to be placed in the interior, which related the early history of the region.

Groundbreaking ceremonies took place on January 4, 1937, with Ross Boothe, a member of the Gonzales Centennial Committee, turning the first shovelful of dirt at the site, which officially marked the beginning of construction.
The building, of Texas shell stone trimmed in Cordova cream limestone, was designed by architects Phelps & Dewees. All murals on the walls of the structure, both inside and out, were painted by J.B. Winn, Jr.

The "immortal Thirty-two" monument (men from Gonzales who died at the Alamo), designed by Page & Southerland, architects, consisted of a shaft of axed Texas pink granite 8' 10" in height, tapering from 5' 6" at the base to 3' 8" at the top, and 1' 4" thick, standing on a 3' base. The bronze sculpted panel attached to the face of the monument was designed by Raoul Josset. The hone-finished silver-gray Georgia marble plaque honoring "the Old Eighteen" was designed by Phelps & Dewees.

Dedication ceremonies were held on October 30, 1937, at the amphitheater with then Governor James V. Allred making the dedication address. The structure is an elegant Art Deco complex which includes two exhibition wings, an outdoor 500-seat amphitheater, and a reflecting pool designed by the San Antonio architectural firm of Phelps and Dewees. The complex is constructed of shell limestone and trimmed in Cordova cream limestone. The central exterior entry features a monument comprised of pink granite and a bronze sculpture by artist Raoul Josset.

The massive structure, though rectangular in shape, contains two separate wings originally designed to house the museum in the north wing and the public library in the south wing. Over the course of years, as more historic items found their way into the museum, additional space was needed to display all the artifacts. As a result, in 1972, the library was moved from the south wing into its own building downtown.

The wings are divided by a large rotunda which serves as the entrance. A long terrace with wide sweeping steps at each end graces the front of the building and allows access to the entrance. The rotunda opens to another terrace on the east side of the structure and leads to the amphitheater.

Two indoor murals adorn the two-wing Gonzales Memorial Museum. Both are approximately 7 feet tall and 20 feet long, placed high on the west walls of the building. The murals depict the exploration of Texas’ history and culture -- with special emphasis on the local area of Gonzales, Texas. The murals were painted in 1938 by James Buchanan using aluminum metal leaf over canvas mounted on plaster, as well as special effects under an over painting of mural detail and thin washes of reduced paint to create translucent color over the metal leaf.

The amphitheater, which is used for public gatherings and entertainment, encompasses a large stage, dressing rooms to each side, and seating for approximately five hundred persons. The back wall of the amphitheater features the marble memorial to "the Old Eighteen". In September 1987, the City of Gonzales constructed a striking wrought-iron fence around the amphitheater, with the Texas star featured in each panel of the fencing.

The museum is owned and maintained by the City of Gonzales.
Gonzales Memorial Museum
Gonzales Memorial Museum

What's Inside?

The north wing of the historical museum contains the famous Come & Take It Cannon and items pertaining to the history of Gonzales and Texas. The south wing display tells the story of the people who came after the pioneers, what they were and things they used in their everyday lives. This exhibit changes.
Original documents in the museum include the Constitution of Gonzales, dated 1831, a letter written in Latin dated 1683 and another in Spanish from the Duke of Albuquerque dated 1704. Among many historic items on display are the Bibles belonging to the Eggleston and Green DeWitt families, both names familiar to Texas history; wedding petticoats with row upon row of hand worked and handmade lace; and an old map of Gonzales County, found in the attic of the William Kleine home and declared to be one of the oldest maps of the county. Other exhibits inside the museum include period rifles, ammunition, uniforms, and more. Other objects and artifacts reflect early life in Gonzales, including vintage clothing, household goods, and archival photographs, and all help tell the story of this community, a pillar in the state’s historic march towards independence.
"Come and Take It" Cannon

Come and Take It Cannon

The famous "Come and Take It" cannon, which now resides at Gonzales Memorial Museum, was given to the settlers at Gonzales by the Mexican Government in 1831 as protection against Native American attacks. After several years of unrest and a final open break with Mexico, The Mexican government demanded the return of the little cannon and sent a corporal and five soldiers with an ox cart to retrieve the weapon. The settlers refused to give up the cannon and then buried it in the peach orchard of George W. Davis.

Authorities in San Antonio then sent Lt. Castaneda and 100 mounted soldiers to "take" the tiny weapon. When soldiers arrived on the banks of the Guadalupe River near Gonzales on September 29, 1835, the 18 men remaining in Gonzales had hidden the ferry, thus preventing the soldiers from crossing the rain swollen river.

Later, the cannon was dug up, and on the morning of October 2, 1835, a force of Texans with the cannon confronted the Mexican forces on the Guadalupe River near the present-day Cost community, also referred to as the "Lexington of Texas" approximately 6 miles upriver from Gonzales. Over the little cannon waved a white flag emblazoned with a black cannon, a star, and the words "Come and Take it!"
When the Texans fired the cannon and the first shot for Texas independence, the Mexican troops broke and ran. Thus was the little cannon's big role in the Texans' fight for freedom.
Eggleston House

Eggleston Log House

in 1848 Horace Eggleston built a dog-run or dog-trot home in the town of Gonzales, one of the first constructed, after the Runaway Scrape and the burning of the town in 1836. The adjacent Guadalupe River bottom afforded an ample supply of walnut trees. The logs were hewn by hand and each corner was notched in a half dove-tail fashion. Visitors are encouraged to step onto the porch of the house and activate the speaker box which provides a description of the building and the two illuminated rooms. Considered the oldest home in the county, it is one of the most magnificent examples of a preserved log cabin in the state of Texas.

Donate Online

If you would like to make a donation to the restoration of our Museum, you can make it online through the Museum's PayPal account below. Only credit cards are accepted.



Before your visit...

  • Don't forget to bring your pennies for an inexpensive and unique keepsake from our Penny Pincher Machine. Located next to our gift shop in the North Wing.
  • Bus and RV parking is available Infront and behind the museum. Please call ahead to see if space is available on the day of your visit.
  • We kindly remind all visitors that the reflection pool is not intended for recreational activities. For the safety of both visitors and the preservation of the museum's property, we ask that you refrain from playing or wading in the reflection pool.



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Penny Pincher

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Gift Shop

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General Information

414 Smith Street
Gonzales, TX 78629

Monday-Saturday - 10:00am to 12:00pm - 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Sunday- 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Adults: $5.00
Children: $3.00

Phone: (830)672-6350
Email: gmm@gonzales.texas.gov

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