From prominent figures of early Texas history to marvelous musicians and sports stars to the design of the state flag, the region lays claim to lots of fame. Check out some of the area’s most notable places and people.
Celebrating the history of both the Texas Gulf Coast region and that of neighboring Louisiana, the Museum of the Gulf Coast, located in Port Arthur, offers an array of exhibits on topics as diverse as natural history and famous celebrities. Immerse yourself in the area’s pop culture; check the stats on athletes in the Sports Legends Gallery, or tune in to timeless musicians in the Music Hall of Fame. Introduce yourself to well-known personalities – recognized for their contributions in science, politics, education and entertainment – in the Notable People Gallery. Actress Hazel Steck, artist Robert Rauschenberg, industrialist John W. Gates and Civil Rights advocate Velma M. Jeter are just a few of the individuals represented. Showcased in the Music Hall of Fame are such greats as the Port-Arthur-born “Queen of Rock” Janis Joplin who recorded several gold albums including I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama and the posthumously released album Pearl. The exhibit includes photographs, memorabilia, artwork and personal items, as well as audio-visual touchscreen displays that bring her performances to life. Many more great musicians that are featured include Texas native J.P. Richardson, known professionally as “The Big Bopper,” and rock legends ZZ Top. Nearly every sport is represented in the Sports Legends Gallery from martial arts and track and field to football, golf and boxing. The museum is open seven days a week. For more information, visit www.museumofthegulfcoast.org.
The state flag waves proudly in historic Montgomery, birthplace of the “Lone Star” banner. The idea for the design that would become the state flag was drawn up by Dr. Charles Bellinger Stewart, the first secretary of state of the Republic of Texas. His design was approved in 1839 as a flag for the Republic of Texas, and was adopted as the state flag when Texas attained statehood in 1845. The Texas State Archives holds the original sketch done on vellum while the Heritage Museum of Montgomery County, in nearby Conroe, features a permanent exhibit dedicated to the state’s famous flag. The museum is open Wednesdays through Saturdays. For more information, visit www.heritagemuseum.us.
Sam Houston, for whom the state’s largest city is named, is celebrated and commemorated in the nearby town of Huntsville at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and Park Complex
. Houston was an influential figure in early Texas history. After playing a key role in the Texas War of Independence, when Texas ceded from Mexico, Houston served as the first president of the Republic of Texas and later also served as a senator and governor of the state. The story of Sam Houston is retold by the artifacts and exhibits of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. The grounds of the park also feature two of Houston’s former residences, “Woodland Home” and the architecturally unique, circa 1858 “Steamboat House.” The museum is open seven days a week. For more information, visit www.shsu.edu/~smm_www.
A gleaming white statue of Sam Houston, located near the Huntsville Visitor Center on Highway 75 South, welcomes visitors from far and wide. Standing 67 feet high, it is the tallest statue of a prominent American figure in the world. It was created and constructed by artist David Adickes who dedicated it to the city of Huntsville in October of 1994. For more information, visit www.huntsvilletexas.com/statue-and-visitors-center.htm.
Share the limelight; visit some of the region’s tributes to people and places touched by fame.