First capital, San Felipe de Austin
Before Austin became the capital of our great state, seven other cities held the title of capital city in Texas. There were previous capitals established by the Mexican government and other ruling bodies but over the next month, we will explore the eight cities that held capital positions in relation to Texas Independence.
San Felipe de Austin was the first capital of Texas. It was founded in 1824 by Stephen F. Austin as the unofficial capital of his colony. Austin chose thesite because of its location on a high, easily defensible bluff overlooking broad, fertile bottomlands. Postal service was established in the town by 1826 and remained the hub of the Texas postal service until the Texas Revolution. By the time of the revolution, San Felipe ranked second as a commercial center behind San Antonio. The Conventions of 1832 and 1833 were held at San Felipe. As the site of the Consultation in November 1835, San Felipe served as the capital of the provisional government until the Convention of 1836. After the fall of the Alamo, Houston and his troops retreated through town. Houston ordered the town to be evacuated and then burned so it could not fall into the hands of the Mexican army. The town never recovered after this. Few families moved back after the war and the government of the republic was not able to resume operation in the town from a lack of necessary buildings. Most of the original townsite now lies within the 4,200 acre Stephen F. Austin State Historical Park.
The photo below is courtesy of the Texas State Historical Alliance by Larry Moore and is of a replica cabin at San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.