The Monument

The Story of Our Rising Star

An illustrative image of the monument

View from the Top

A webcam atop the San Jacinto Monument streams live images of the Reflection Pool and the bustling Houston Ship Channel as it passes through La Porte, Texas. The Eye of Texas is upon you, courtesy of EarthCam.

A Vision for the Future

“In future time, then may the pilgrim's eye

See here an obelisk, pointed to the sky...”

— James Burchett Ransom

This prediction was penned in the poem “Ode to San Jacinto” during the days of the Republic of Texas. Today, the world's tallest war memorial stands at San Jacinto, honoring all those who fought for Texas's independence. Immediately after the battle, the land — then privately owned — commanded respect from all who walked on its soil. The Texas Veteran Association began planning a formal monument, and the state was finally able to purchase the land in the 1890s.

After years of pushing by the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas, as well as help from President Roosevelt's Secretary of Commerce, Jesse H. Jones — a prominent Houstonian — its proponents raised enough money to build a fitting monument. With San Jacinto's 100-year anniversary at hand, the time was right. Explore the gallery below to learn more about the monument's origin story.

Design and Construction

The monument’s design was conceived by architect Alfred C. Finn and engineer Robert J. Cummins, both Houstonians. The general contractor was W. S. Bellows Construction Co. of Dallas and Houston. The impressive structure alone is worth a trip to San Jacinto Battleground. This Texas giant is one of the finest examples of Art Moderne architecture in the United States, and is recognized as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. This gallery provides a window into this epic undertaking.

Grand Opening

The Grand Opening of the San Jacinto Monument, which took place over the course of two days, from April 20 to 21 in 1939, was a magnificent affair. The event unfolded first on the steps of the northwest side of the monument on the 20th, and then moved to the northeast side the following day.

The grand event featured Governor W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel as the keynote speaker on April 21. His speech resonated with Texans across the state, being broadcast on radios to reach as many citizens as possible. Houston firefighters committed themselves to the event by volunteering as security guards on the opening day, ensuring the event ran smoothly and securely.

Adding to the festive atmosphere, music echoed across the event on the 21st, played by a marching band assembled from various Houston high schools. The band marched along the Reflection Pool, leading up to the Monument. The grandeur of this event was marked by the international attention it attracted, with representatives hailing from Great Britain, France, Italy, China, the Dominican Republic, and even the Vatican. Post the museum’s opening, the monument saw a staggering influx of visitors — over 175,000 people visiting in the first six months alone. These visitors didn't just come from Texas or nearby states, but from all 48 states and from 40 foreign countries, cementing the significance of the monument in history.

Museum and Library

The San Jacinto Museum, located in the base of the San Jacinto Monument, offers a 4D experience of over 500 years of history. The museum chronicles the region’s journey, from pre-European arrival through various eras of growth and conflict, represented by over 17,000 artifacts. Key historical events like the Battle of San Jacinto symbolize Texan independence and its global significance. The museum also houses the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library with 30,000 volumes and 400,000 pages of manuscripts.


The carved panels around the octagonal base are rendered in the Art Moderne style, depicting important moments in the War of Texas Independence and the Battle of San Jacinto.


The walls of the Monument’s base are inscribed with the story of the War of Texas Independence, writ large, in less than 600 words.