Texas Historical Resource Guide

Texas, known as the “Lone Star State,” was admitted to the Union on December 29, 1845 and was the only state to be admitted by treaty instead of territorial annexation. Texas’ nickname serves as a reminder of the struggles Texas endured to gain independence from Mexico and represent itself as an independent republic — struggles that can be likened to threads that have woven together over the centuries to create the state’s rich and complex history. Inside, you’ll find 40 valuable resources — from links to Texas institutions to links to lesson plans about the Alamo — that will satisfy anyone who is interested in learning about or teaching the history of Texas.


General Texas Historical Resources

Within this general resources section, you’ll find links to some of the greatest commissions and associations dedicated to the preservation of Texas history.

Texas Historical Commission – As the state’s agency for historic preservation, THC’s mission is to save places that are important history of Texas.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission – Not only does the Texas State Library and Archives Commission maintain the official history of the Texas government, it also includes government records beginning in the 18th century and historic newspapers, maps, photos, journals and much more.

Texas State Historical Association – Here you’ll find plenty of interesting online features and content that document the long history of Texas.

Texas Parks and Wildlife: History and Culture – Discover Texas State Parks and historic sites on this website from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Gammel’s Laws of Texas – Follow this link to find one of the most important primary resources for the study of Texas History, which includes the constitutions, early colonization laws and more.


Austin Historical Resources

Austin, named after Stephen F. Austin, the “father of Texas,” is the capital city of Texas. In this section you’ll find resources that serve as a well-deserved tribute to the Lone Star State.

Texas State Cemetery – This cemetery serves as the resting place for many Texas governors, senators, congressmen, judges, legislators and other influential Texans.

Treaty Oak    – Believed to be in excess of 500 years of age, this oak’s branches spread over 128 feet. It is said that Stephen F. Austin signed the first boundary agreement between the settlers and the Indians near here.

Bullock Texas State History Museum – The Museum features some of the most significant Texas artifacts, exhibitions and feature films.

The Texas Capitol – Recognized as one the United States’ most distinguished state capitols, the Texas Capitol was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

The Governor’s Mansion – As the oldest governor’s mansion west of the Mississippi, this home has been the official residence of every Texas governor since 1856.


San Antonio Historical Resources

Founded as a Spanish mission in 1718, San Antonio has a rich history extending back almost 300 years.

King William Historic District – Known as the most elegant residential area in the late 19th century, the King William District covers 25 blocks of downtown San Antonio. Today it’s still a fashionable area.

Fort Sam Houston – See more than 900 carefully preserved historic structures in one of the Army’s oldest installations.

Spanish Governor’s Palace – If you would like to see an aristocratic 18th-century Spanish Colonial townhouse, this is the only one left in Texas.

The Alamo – For history and exhibits focused on the Texas Revolution, it doesn’t get any better than the Alamo located in downtown San Antonio.


Houston and Galveston Historical Resources

The coastal area of Texas features museums, battleships, mansions and much more for Texas history enthusiasts.

San Jacinto Battle Monument and Museum – See one of the largest collections of Texas artifacts, history and art at this museum located at the base of the San Jacinto Monument.

Battleship Texas – Active in both world wars, Battleship Texas saw plenty of action. Now you can visit her in the Houston Ship Channel where she is at rest.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens – Once the home of Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg, the mansion now features the Museum of Fine Arts and more.

The Grand 1894 Opera House – Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this opera house is one of the few still remaining.


Dallas-Fort Worth Historical Resources

This North Central Texas metropolitan area has much to offer in the way of historic resources, much of which is centered on the 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

JFK Tribute – This tribute, located in General Worth Square, is an 8-foot-tall bronze statue of President John F. Kennedy that includes a granite wall with photographs and quotes from the late president’s term.

Stockyards Museum – If you’re interested in the history of the Fort Worth Stockyards, look no further. The museum offers artifacts, photos, exhibits and more.

Texas Civil War Museum – Opened in 2006, this museum — which is the largest Civil War museum west of the Mississippi — houses over 15,000 square feet of exhibits.

Thistle Hill – This almost 11,000-square-foot Georgian Revival-style mansion has been restored back to the condition it was in during 1912. See why it’s referred to as an impressive example of the mansions of the cattle baron era.

Hall of State, Dallas Historical Society – Built in 1936 and originally known as The State of Texas building until 1938, this structure now honors national and Texas state heroes.

Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District – As the site of the assassination of the 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Dealey Plaza is important enough. However, the district is also home to several other historic sites.

The Sixth Floor Museum – Learn about the life, death and legacy of the 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy.


Texas Historical Landmark Resources

The Texas Historical Commission preserves and operates over 20 historic sites across Texas. For the full list, click here. Otherwise, browse the links below for some of the offerings from the list.

Fulton Mansion State Historic Site – Built in 1877 in the resort area of Rockport-Fulton, this stately mansion gives visitors a glimpse into what it was like to be affluent in the 19th century.

The French Legation – This historical landmark — located in Austin, TX — was originally built in 1841 as a private home for the French monarch Alphonse Dubois who was serving as a diplomat in Texas for France.

San Felipe de Austin – Visit this landmark that marks the location where Stephen F. Austin established his 1823 colony.

Varner-Hogg Plantation – This historic property has been involved in sugarcane production, rum distillation and oil drilling and has had three different owners.

National Museum of the Pacific War  – Located in Fredericksburg, TX, this is a one-of-a-kind museum that’s focused on telling the story of the Pacific Theater in World War II.

Casa Navarro – Learn about the life of Tejano statesman and historian José Antonio Navarro who was one of the two native Texans to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence.


Texas Mission Resources

Missions served a larger purpose than converting people to the Catholic faith. They taught the indigenous people occupational skills and educated them in Spanish language and the Spanish government.

San Antonio Missions – Follow the link to find out about the four historical mission sites in San Antonio, TX.

San Antonio de Valero Mission – Known more commonly as The Alamo, this mission is undoubtedly the most famous in Texas. See it in downtown San Antonio.

El Paso Missions – Find out about the three oldest historic missions in the United States, which are all located in the Diocese of El Paso, TX.

Texas Missions – Visit this site run by U.S. mission enthusiast Kenneth A. Larson. You’ll find information about the various Texas historic missions written from a traveler’s perspective.


Texas Historical Teaching Resources

The history of the Lone Star State extends back to December 1845, which makes for a wide range of teaching possibilities. Discover quizzes, facts, webinars, primary sources and lesson plans.

Texas History Quizzes – These quizzes from the Texas Historical Society are perfect as an introduction to The Handbook of Texas, which is a comprehensive source for Texas History.

The Handbook of Texas – No matter what you’re researching about Texas history — or who, when or where — you can find it in this handbook of the Lone Star State.

Lone Star History Links – Compiled by native Texan and Emeritus Professor of History Dr. Roger A. Griffin, these links are a terrific place to search for primary source information.

Texas Talks Webinar Series – Find information to register for upcoming streaming programs featuring Texas history scholars and experts.

The Alamo Teaching Resources – Follow the link to find lesson plans and other teaching resources based on The Alamo.