WEST COLUMBIA, TEXAS
West Columbia was founded as Columbia in 1826 by Josiah Hughes Bell. Bell laid out the town of Marion in 1824 which is now called East Columbia. Marion was the location of Bell’s Landing. In 1826, he laid out the town of Columbia, now called West Columbia, which is located two miles west of Marion.
West Columbia is called the First Capitol of Texas. Known as Columbia during the Texas Revolution, it was the capital of the Republic of Texas from September to December 1836. The First Congress of the Republic of Texas convened here on October 22, 1836. Sam Houston was inaugurated as president, Mirabeau B. Lamar as vice president, and Stephen F. Austin as Secretary of State. A state historical marker has been placed on the site. The hurricane of 1900 destroyed the building that the government met in and a replica, built in 1977, now stands nearby. On November 30,1836, the seat of government was move to Houston which had more adequate structures for government personnel.
On December 27, 1836, Stephen F. Austin died in Columbia at the home of George B. McKinstry. A park and marker is located on this site in West Columbia.
In 1918, a twenty square mile oilfield was discovered and West Columbia again became an important place in the area and also saw a large increase in population. The economy was driven mainly by rice, cotton, and oil. West Columbia also once had the largest cattle population areas in Texas.
Today, its historical homes and sites, including Varner-Hogg Plantation, are drawing more visitors to West Columbia. Many come to visit and end up staying. There are many places to see, but don’t miss Varner-Hogg Plantation, the Columbia Historical Museum, East Columbia, First Capitol Replica, Capitol of Texas Park, the Columbia Rosenwald School, Old Columbia Cemetery, and the McKinstry’s Home Site.
West Columbia is rich in heritage and history.
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