Victoria County Monument -- Victoria TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 28° 48.077 W 097° 00.079
14R E 695063 N 3187609
Quick Description: The gorgeous pink granite and bronze Victoria County monument, in Memorial Square commemorating the explorers and pioneers who came to and settled in this pretty part of South Texas
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 1/22/2022 9:27:05 AM
Waymark Code: WM15MKJ
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member coisos
Views: 1

Long Description:
The impressive Art Deco Victoria County monument in Memorial Park is a gorgeous work of art installed by the State of Texas and the United States Government in honor of the 1936 Texas Centennial.

The monument is located in the 400 block of E Power Street on the east side of Memorial Square.

The text on the monument reads as follows:

Center panel:

Cabeza de Vaca

de La Salle


1807 (SYMBOL) Martin DeLeon brand

Under the Mexican Government Victoria was a district in 1832, a Municipality in 1835. Under the Republic of Texas Victoria County was created March 17, 1836 with Victoria as the County Seat. Its Territory has since been materially reduced through the creation of other counties.

The principal industry of the people of the region during the 19th century was cattle raising. Here that industry had its origin in Texas, and Victoria County continues to the present day to be the leading cattle county of the state.

[Texas star superimposed over Mexican Eagle]

Erected jointly by the Government of the United States and the State of Texas

Left Front Panel:

Victoria County early home of the Karankawa Indians. Region roamed by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1534-1535, the first white man and companions to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Site of the first French settlement in Texas attempted by Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle and companions who built Fort St. Louis on Garcitas Creek in 1685. Devastated by the Karankawa Indians. Burned by members of the Alonso De Leon expedition in 1689. On its remains the Spaniards constructed Presidio de Nuestra Senora de Loreto de la Bahia Del Espiritu Santo

Right Front Panel:

as a protection for the Mission de Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga, both established by Joseph De Azlor, Marquis of Aguayo and Father Fray Agustin Patron, O.F.M. in 1722. Both moved to Mission Valley on the Guadalupe River in 1726. Moved finally to Santa Dorothea now Goliad near the San Antonio River in 1749. The area embraced by this county settled by the Colony of Martin De Leon, empresario, in 1824 who named the seat of his colony Guadalupe Victoria in honor of the President of Mexico, hero of its struggle for Independence.

From the National Register of Historic Properties application: (visit link)

"Statement of Significance

The 22.5-foot-long Victorian County monument in Victoria, Victoria County, Texas was a major project of the 1936 Texas Centennial. The Advisory Board of Historians initially proposed a small monument at Fort St. Louis in Victoria County. For two years, arguments over property owner rights delayed and altered the original plan and amid the controversy, the Victoria County Centennial Commission leveraged its connections to obtain an imposing memorial befitting their county’s history.

Sculptor Raoul Josset and architects Page & Southerland designed the Victoria County monument, one of 45 Centennial properties classified as a “monument,” to commemorate 400 years of county history. Completed during the height of his career, Josset’s bas-relief sculptural interpretation of La Salle and Cabeza de Vaca was based on the Victoria County flag.

. . .

The Victoria County monument is located at its original site in Memorial Square Park in Victoria County, and it retains excellent integrity. The period of significance is 1938, the year it was erected.

Brief History of Victoria County

Before Mexican and Anglo colonists established Victoria County’s first permanent settlements in the 19th century, Native American groups and European explorers traversed the territory. Paleo-Indian artifacts indicate diverse cultures once occupied the area, and by the 16th century there were four distinct Native American groups living in the county: Karankawas, Aranamas, Tamiques, and the Tonkawas. In 1528, Spanish conquistadores (soldierexplorers) led by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, part of the ill-fated Narváez Expedition, accidently landed on modern-day Texas shores on their way from Florida to Spanish settlements near present-day Tampico, Mexico. Cabeza de Vaca’s subsequent Texas explorations included visiting Victoria County.

Frenchman Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle also missed his intended destination in 1685, when he landed 180 colonists at Matagorda Bay. He then established a settlement, historically called Fort. St. Louis, on Garcitas Creek in presentday Victoria County, but it failed three years later. Spanish explorer Alonso de Leon discovered the ruined settlement and established a presidio (fort) and mission on the site of Fort St. Louis in 1721, and it remained in Victoria County until 1749. The Spaniards subsequently introduced cattle and horse-raising to the region.

After the mission and presidio moved to San Antonio (Bexar County), organized settlement in Victoria County ceased until the 19th century. However, there was continuous activity in Victoria County as the La Bahia Road, a critical trade route, connected East Texas to San Antonio through the territory. Individual ranchos also existed within Victoria at the time, and Martín De León (1765-1833) was one Mexican citizen to establish a ranch there. He owned several leagues between Chiltpin Creek and the Aransas River. De León raised cattle, mustangs, and goats; by 1824, he amassed 5,000 branded cattle.

The Mexican government approved De León’s petition to establish a colony near the vicinity of his ranch in 1823, and he settled 41 Mexican families at a new town called Nuestra Señora Guadalupe de Jesús Victoria (present-day Victoria). Victoria developed as shipping point and stock-raising center along the La Bahía road and the Guadalupe River. Before the Texas Revolution, the majority population were of Mexican descent. Many of its original settlers fled under Mexican Army occupation, and Anglo citizens later ostracized Mexican Texans that tried to return home. When the Republic of Texas incorporated Victoria in 1839, the city occupants were primarily white.

Throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, Victoria flourished as a major junction between Lavaca Bay ports, San Antonio, Austin, and northern Mexico. The county’s booming cattle industry shaped transportation improvements, improved the economy, and led to population growth. Rail transportation began in Victoria in 1861 with construction of the San Antonio and Gulf Railroad, and the New York, Texas, and Mexican Railway reached the city in the 1880s. Overland trade routes converged in Victoria, and in 1889 the community built its first highway, a 3-mile-long road that connected at the convergence of the Refugio, Goliad, and Mission Valley roads. Fifty-two city blocks were also paved. By 1900, Victoria was a cosmopolitan city with modern infrastructure and cultural institutions. The Texan Advocate, the precursor to Victoria Advocate, was published weekly starting in 1846 and began daily printing in 1897. It is the second oldest newspaper in Texas. Between 1850 and 1860, the population more than doubled to 1,986; in 1920, there 18,271 living in Victoria; and by mid-century, the county enumerated 31,241 citizens.

Memorial Square Park

Memorial Square Park was the City of Victoria’s first public cemetery. De León’s 1824 Victoria plat map included a 2-block burial ground that was used for public internments until the 1860s. Hundreds of citizens, many whom died from a cholera outbreak, were buried at the cemetery and remains include soldiers of the Texas Revolution, the Mexican War, and the Civil War. During Reconstruction, it was reported that occupying Union soldiers desecrated graves and, families subsequently elected to reinter their family members at another cemetery. It remains the site of more than 200 unmarked burials.

Beginning in 1899, the city council made several attempts to construct buildings over the cemetery, but citizens opposed each effort. In 1934, Victoria approved a bond to build a municipal assembly hall in Memorial Park. The Bronte Club, a women’s literary group, saved the site from development when they argued:[Memorial Park] is one of the city’s most cherished historical spots, and it is believed that the appropriation the state is soon to make for the observance of the Texas Centennial in1936 will be partly expended in the beautification of this square and that the erection of a public building on the square may deprive Victoria of such an allotment. Since 1938, the square has remained a public park that is used to display historical markers and relics."
Who placed it?: US Government and State of TX Government

When was it placed?: 1936

Who is honored?: French and Spanish explorers, and settlers who followed Empresario Martin DeLeon to this area

Website about the Monument: [Web Link]

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