Being steeped in Texas history and cultural richness, Goliad’s offerings can be easily spotted without much more than a quick glance around. But as is the case with most seemingly unassuming locales, there’s always more than meets the eye…
The Original Texas Declaration of Independence Goliad is where the very first Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. Drafted on December 20, 1835 by Ira Ingram, it was enthusiastically ratified and received 91 signatures—but was ultimately never adopted. The Texas of Declaration of Independence known today was signed nearly three months later at Washington on the Brazos.
A Trendy Throwback A couple of Goliad’s newest additions are the Mustang Cantina and Courtyard on the Square. Both of these new attractions—one an endearing outdoor venue and the other an unexpectedly rancher-chic restaurant with a cowboy contemporary menu—provide a little kick to the ambiance of Goliad’s Downtown Square in the evenings. Not only that, but the owners have paid homage to Goliad’s history by showcasing it throughout the spaces. From the long-leaf pine flooring that was salvaged from the old Goliad Theatre to doors that were original to the Goliad County Courthouse—and even a 43’ long advertisement (now appearing as a mural and officially on the National Historic Registry) for Bill Durham Tobacco, these venues complement Goliad’s scene with both history and style.
Cattle and the American Revolution
Mission Espiritu Santo in Goliad was the first large cattle ranch in Texas, making Goliad the official birthplace of Texas ranching. But did you know that Goliad’s cows played a role in the birth of America, as well? During the American Revolution, cattle from Goliad were taken to Louisiana and sold to Revolutionists. Even our cows are patriotic!
For the Love of Birds
Birding is serious business! And if you’ve ever seen a beautiful Green Jay or Painted Bunting in the wild, you understand why. These, along with a couple hundred other species of birds, make their way through Goliad for just a few months each year as they migrate between their breeding and wintering grounds. Why Goliad? Because our town just so happens to find itself in the North American Flyway and Texas Parks & Wildlife has recently completed the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, a $1.5 million project. The Trail features more than 200 birding sites along a 500-mile wide stretch from Beaumont to Brownsville…and Goliad is home to 4 of them! Not to mention local ranches and retreats that offer overnight packages for visitors.
River Paddles and Seasonal Flotillas
The Goliad Paddling Trail, an official Texas Inland Paddling Trail, currently offers over 6 miles of kayak and canoe paddling through one of Texas’ most historic and natural areas. Dense with native flora and fauna, the trail offers a peaceful escape from today’s busy world on the San Antonio River. Discussions are currently underway to extend the trail an additional 12 miles, which would put the Goliad Paddling Trail in the top 5 in terms of length in Texas. Canoe Trail Goliad, a non-profit group that promotes the enjoyment and conservation of the natural, cultural and historical resources of the San Antonio River in Goliad County, hosts two seasonal flotillas annually on the trail. The ever-popular Fall Flotilla will be coming up again on November 2nd.
Beginning in the 1700’s, Goliad held an important role as a crossroads for commerce as part of the Spanish-Colonial trade from Mexico to Nacogdoches. The tradition continued throughout the 19th-century as Goliad was included in the routes for oxcarts, freight wagons and stagecoaches. The second Saturday of each month, Goliad relives this tradition with Goliad Market Days. Today, this open-air market that combines an arts & crafts fair with a farmer's market and community festival, is one of the largest and most popular street markets in Texas, boasting an average of 100+ vendors monthly.