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Although famous as the home of Sam Houston, President, Senator and Governor of Texas, we will be exploring an unusual and unique part of Huntsville’s history: it’s prisons. The first Texas state penitentiary in Texas was founded in 1849 just after Texas joined the Union and eleven years prior to the Civil War. As such it was a convenient place to house the Union prisoners captured during the war. The Walls Unit became the center for an ever-expanding prison system that now includes prison units all over the state. For many years, the individual units produced much of the food and supplies needed by the prisoners. They are trained in jobs they will be able to use once they are released.
Today the inmates are appreciated for the assistance they provide to their local communities.
Depart George R. Brown Convention Center for Beaumont.
The Sam Houston Statue where you will enjoy a film about Houston and the town of Huntsville. You’ll have time to take pictures with our Giant Sam.
Drive around downtown Huntsville to see some of the restored historic buildings and Sam Houston State University. Right next to the University, we’ll have a chance to view the old historic brick building known as The Walls Unit. You will hear stories of early prison breaks and hostage crises and the impact of the executions that only take place here in Huntsville. You will also learn about the close interaction between the town and the prison.
Relax for a delightful family-style lunch at The Walls Barbecue restaurant.
Drive a little way out of town to the Prison Museum. You’ll have plenty of time to view the amazing collection of artifacts collected from and by prisoners during the last hundred and fifty years. You’ll even get a chance to see Old Sparky, the original electric chair used in executions.
Stop in at our downtown coffee shops for drinks and snacks before heading back to Houston. Stop in at the best coffee shop and bakery this side of the Mississippi. We’ll take time to relax over coffee and pastries before we start back for Houston.
Return to George R. Brown Convention Center.