July 11, 1833 was the official founding date of San Augustine, often called the first American city in East Texas. The official founding date drew attention in 2013 when a forgotten document titled The Founding Papers of San Augustine, Texas, was found in a trunk at an estate sale.
The document describes the design of San Augustine as an American-style city with a central square surrounded by lots and trees. It became the first Texas town to follow the American aesthetic that allowed citizens to determine where to place public buildings.
San Augustine was a point of political events and trade in the 1800s along the Camino Real de los Tejas, the “Royal Highway” that ran from Louisiana to the Rio Grande River.
Today the town boasts dozens of historic homes, public buildings, and churches along its streets. The Ezekiel Cullen House and the San Augustine Courthouse are two significant early structures in the small Texas Main Street City. The Cullen house was built in 1939 and is now operated as a museum by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The 1927 courthouse is located on the town square and constructed of Texas limestone.
The town is located just 23 miles from the Texas state border and is the seat of San Augustine County. The Mission Dolores State Historic Site just three miles east of town is situated on the site of a 1716 Spanish mission. Read more about the Camino Real in the County Line archives.