Historical Attractions

Goliad County CourthouseThe Town of Goliad

Goliad is the third oldest town in Texas and is the county seat of Goliad County, one of the original counties of Texas. The modern town of Goliad began in 1749 when the Spanish moved the Mission Espiritu Santo de Zuniga and its Presidio here from Guadalupe River at Mission Valley. Originally nicknamed “La Bahia” because of its proximity to the Matagorda Bay, the name stuck and the precursor to modern Goliad was called La Bahia until 1829. Decree #73 of the Congress of Coahuila and Texas granted to La Bahia the title of Villa and changed the name to Goliad on February 4, 1829. The name Goliad came from the Mexican Revolutionary patriot priest Hidalgo. The letters of his name were re-arranged and the silent “H” omitted.

Sightseeing Map of Goliad

Historic sites and points of interest in Goliad County, Texas

The interior of chapel at the Presidio la Bahia where Fannin and his men were kept prisoner after the Battle of Coleto Creek
  • Historical markers, one-mile south of the city limits, Highway 183/77A. Established in 1749 on the south bank of the San Antonio River. Spanish garrisons of this fort protected the Mission Espiritu Santo de Zuniga and Rosario.
  • The site of skirmishes between the Spanish and Indians, Spanish and Mexican forces, it was taken by the Texans in 1835.
  • The Goliad Flag was flown here following the Goliad Declaration of Independence on December 20, 1835.
  • Colonel James W. Fannin and his men were held prisoners in the Chapel prior to their massacre in 1836.
  • Completely restored in the 1960’s by the Kathryn Stoner O’Connor Foundation, former officers’ quarters house a museum of artifacts from Indian to Colonial occupation.
  • Every year on the weekend closest to March 27th, a Living History re-enactment takes place at the Presidio La Bahia.
  • Open daily, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter. Admission fees apply.
  • Guest Quarters (old officer’s quarters) in the Presidio available for overnight stays.
  • For more information, visit http://www.presidiolabahia.org/ or call (361) 645-3752.
Bloody arm flag
  • The severed arm and bloody sword, an old Irish symbol, meant that the Texans would rather lose an arm than be under the yoke of a tyrant.
Monument at gravesite of Col. Fannin and His Men
  • Historical marker south of the Presidio La Bahia, Spur 71, Highway 183/77A.
  • On Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, the men were laid out in three directions from La Bahia and massacred; the wounded were shot in the compound of the Fort. The bodies were stripped and left unburied. On Friday, June 3, 1836, General Thomas Rusk and army gathered the remains together and gave them a complete military funeral and burial.
  • A memorial program is held here the weekend closest to Palm Sunday.
Mission Espirtu Santo
  • Historical marker, located in Goliad State Park, one quarter mile south on Highway 183/77A.
  • The Mission was moved to its present location in 1749 on the north bank of the San Antonio River by the Franciscan Order to convert Indians to Christianity.
  • In the mid-18th century, the padres and converts operated a large cattle ranch between here and Mission Rosario.
  • After secularization in 1831, the buildings were used for education purposes from 1847 to 1862 as Aranama College.
  • Open daily with the exception of Christmas Day.
  • For more information, visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/ or call (361) 645-3405.
  • Historical marker located 4 miles west on Highway 59. Founded in November 1754 for conversion of the Karankawa Indians.
  • Located one quarter mile south of Goliad on Highways 183/77A.
  • Museum of the restored 1749 Mission Espiritu Santo, picnic areas and recreational facilities. Overnight camping with trailer sites, water-only sites, screened shelters, and river trails.
  • State admission fees. For more information, call (361) 645-3405.
Statue of General Ignacio Zaragoza
  • General Ignacio Zaragoza is a Texas-Mexican hero who led the defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla, Mexico in 1862.
  • The reconstructed Birthplace adjacent to the Presidio La Bahia reconstructs the home in which General Zaragoza was born on March 24, 1829. Descendants of the original town of La Bahia, the settlement that grew up around the Presidio, still live in the area today.
  • Also visit the adjacent General Ignacio Zaragoza statue, donated by the citizens of Puebla, Mexico.
Court House
  • Historical medallion and plate. The courthouse sites on the square in downtown Goliad.
  • The courthouse was constructed in 1894 and was used as a hospital after the destructive 1902 tornado.
  • The hurricane of 1942 destroyed the original clock tower and turrets.
  • The interior was enlarged and modernized in 1964, retaining the original wainscoting and carved staircase.
  • In 2003, the courthouse was completely restored, including the replacement of the clock tower and turrets.
The Hanging Tree
  • Historical marker, located on the courthouse lawn. Court was held under this tree during the 1857 Cart War and the guilty were immediately hung.
Markethouse Museum
  • Located on the corner of South Market & Franklin Streets. Built by the city in the early 1870’s and first consisted of 12’ x 24’ stalls which were rented to farmers and stockmen for sale of produce and meat.
  • A council room, hook and ladder room and a tin roof were added in 1886.
  • In 1890, a bell costing $45 was installed to strike the hours of the night and for use in case of fire.
  • The Markethouse is now a museum containing documents, pictures, household items and farm appliances circa 1840 to present.
  • For more information, email goliadhistoric@att.net or leave a message at (361) 645-8767.
Fannin Plaza Park
  • Historical marker, located on the corner of South Market & Franklin Streets.
  • The property was part of the original 1844 land grant by the Republic of Texas to the City of Goliad.
  • This monument was erected in April 1855 to honor Colonel Fannin and his men. The Texas Revolution Cannon was used on the Fannin Battlefield in Goliad County in 1836.
  • In the park is the Ewell Tree, planted by his mother to honor Heath Ewell, the first victim of World War I from Goliad County.
  • Marker 4 miles east on Highway 59 commemorates 1824 treaty between Austin and the Karankawa Indians.
Fannin Battlefield
  • Historical marker, 1 mile off Highway 59, 9 miles East of Goliad.
  • Site of the Battle of Coleto, March 19-20, 1836, where Colonel Fannin and troops were overcome by Superior Mexican forces and surrendered. They were brought back to Goliad to their fate.
  • Operated by the Texas Historical Commission, the site includes memorial shaft, picnic pavilion and restrooms. Open daily.
Goliad Memorial Auditorium
  • Located one quarter mile south on Highway 183/77A.
  • Texas Centennial Structure built in 1936.