We discovered Goliad somewhat by accident, and we fell in love with it at first sight. Walking through the streets of this old town is like taking a stroll through the set of a western movie. Courthouse Square is on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the buildings date back to the early 1800s. The people are friendly and the pace is slow. Here's one town that hasn't been ruined yet by "The Wal-martization of America." It's been here for more than 250 years, but it can't last forever. You'd better come soon ... then again, stay home. We love Goliad just the way it is, without all the crowds.
The walled bastion Presidio La Bahia, a National Historic Landmark, is operated by the Catholic Diocese of Victoria, and stands across the San Antonio River from Mission Expiritu Santo. Both were built in 1749, and together they represent one of North America's few surviving examples of a Spanish Colonial crown and church community. Colonel James W. Fannin and his men were imprisioned here after their surrender, until their execution at Santa Anna's order one week later. Even a person with a casual interest in history should be absolutely enthralled by this place and the many stories it has to tell.
Open daily, 9-4:30, except four major holidays. Admission is $3.00 adult, $1.00 child
This is Goliad's third courthouse and the second to be built on this site. The current courthouse was completed in 1894 at a cost of $67,800. In 1902, a tornado devastated most of the city and the courthouse served as a hospital and morgue. The nine flags that have flown over Goliad are on display.
Market Days are held here the second Saturday of each month, March through December. With more than 170 booths and vendors, it is one of the largest and most popular street markets in South Texas.
Just south of town, the 178-acre Goliad State Park maintains the 1749 reconstructed Mission Espiritu Santo, and as an interpreted archeological site, the ruins of Mission Nuestra Senora del Rosario. Along with the nearby Presidio La Bahia, it comprises one of North America's most outstanding examples of a Spanish mission-presidio complex.
One block beyond Presidio La Bahia is the monument and field which is the burial site of Col. James W. Fannin and the 342 men who had surrendered to Mexican forces after the battle of Coleto. Some of the massacred Texan freedom fighters were burned and the bodies of the others were stripped and left on the ground to rot or be eaten by wild animnals. It was not until almost three months, and after Texas had decisively won the war, that General Thomas J. Rusk and his troops arrived to gather up the decomposing remains and give them a proper burial with full military honors.
This humble reconstructed dwelling marks the birthplace of Gereral Ignacio Zaragoza, the Mexican hero who rallied the rag-tag Mexican army and defeated Napoleon's French forces at Puebla, May 5, 1862, securing Mexico's independence. He is regarded as the father of Cinco de Mayo, which today is celebrated as an international holiday.
This plaza and obelisk near the center of Goliad was dedicated in 1886 for the 50th anniversary of the Goliad Massacre. Two cannons from the Texas revolution are on display in the plaza. Under one is inscribed: "Found on the Streets of Goliad after the Battle of 1836." Beneath ther other: "Used by Colonel Fannin and His Men on Fannin Battlefield in Goliad County, 1836."