San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site is located just north of Interstate Highway 10 in the town of San Felipe (east of Sealy) in Austin County. The site sits on the west side of the Brazos River on Farm Road 1458 and includes much of the footprint of empresario Stephen F. Austin’s headquarters for his colony in Mexican Texas. In the 1920s local civic leaders and preservationists began to memorialize the site of Austin’s town near an extant well that was constructed of handmade brick in the 1830s. Memorial elements, including a granite obelisk (1928); the well (encased in protective concrete in 1928); a replica cabin (first iteration—1934); a bronze memorial to Texan soldier John Bricker who died preventing Santa Anna’s army from crossing the Brazos near this location (1935); and two Texas Centennial pieces—a gray granite marker noting the town hall that hosted early delegations at the town (1936); and a heroic bronze statue of Stephen F. Austin, seated on a pink granite plinth (1938); were staged prior to the donation of the site to the state of Texas by the Corporation of San Felipe in 1940.
For more than sixty years the site, which was designated as a State Antiquities Landmark in 1983, was managed as part of the Texas parks system and within the supervision and boundaries of Stephen F. Austin State Park. On January 1, 2008, the Eightieth Texas Legislature officially transferred operational control of the site from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to the Texas Historical Commission. The transfer prompted the return to the site’s historic name of San Felipe de Austin to distinguish it from nearby Stephen F. Austin State Park, which remained under the control of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Visitors to the historic site can enjoy the memorial components, a third-generation replica log cabin (1976), an interim visitors center located inside the historic J. J. Josey store building (ca. late 1840s), and tours of the historic grounds. As of 2016 San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site consisted of approximately ninety acres, and a modern museum facility was in development with an anticipated opening date in 2018.