Day Trips: Sam Houston's Grave, Huntsville
Monument to first president of the Texas Republic is part of cemetery's art gallery
Sam Houston's grave and memorial in Huntsville's Oakwood Cemetery honors the man who was so instrumental in the early years of Texas. After a life of travel and action, Houston lived his last days in Huntsville where he died on July 26, 1863, at age 70. It would be 48 years after his death before the simple headstone was replaced by the monument made of gray Texas granite by Pompeo Coppini in 1911.
Born in Italy, Coppini migrated to San Antonio where he sculpted the Alamo Cenotaph in addition to other famous monuments in Texas. Coppini is credited with producing 36 public monuments, 16 portrait statues, 75 portrait busts, and his own crypt in San Antonio's Sunset Memorial Park.
Oakwood Cemetery, on a high point north of downtown, dates back to 1847. There are several other sculptures in the garden, including a beautiful life-sized memorial to a 17-year-old daughter. On the edge of the cemetery, in a heavily wooded area, is a full-sized replica of Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen's The Christus. Completed in 1838, the original is "considered the most perfect statue of Christ in the world." This is the only copy in Texas and was commissioned on the death of 5-year-old Rawley Powell.
Sam Houston's grave is at the corner of Ninth Street and Avenue I in Huntsville. Oakwood Cemetery is open to the public during daylight hours. To take a smartphone tour of the cemetery, go to www.walkercountyhistory.org/oakwood_cemetery.php.
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