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Gonzales Memorial Building and Amphitheatre

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1936, Phelps and Dewees. 414 Smith St.
  • (The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

In 1825 Gonzales was named for Rafael Gonzales, the governor of Coahuila and Texas. The fame of the town in the Texas Revolution is the reason for the construction of this rather austere, stripped classical Moderne public complex. The axial organization aligning a reflecting pool with the entrance vestibule and a semicircular amphitheater is Beaux-Arts in concept. Standing perpendicular across the axis, the small museum consists of a single room on each side of the open-air vestibule, echoing the dogtrot plan of the Eggleston house ( SF14) in the next block. The complex is one of the larger permanent works of the Texas Centennial Commission in the 1930s.

The museum is located within another unusual feature of the 1832 Gonzales town plan, which provided for north–south and east–west extensions of the town square axis as reserves of public lands. The east–west axis of the town squares between St. Louis and St. Lawrence streets is a block-wide civic zone that contains schools, a library, parks, and the museum.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Gonzales Memorial Building and Amphitheatre", [Gonzales, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 192-192.

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