Constitution Bend [Turning Basin, Port of Houston]
Wayside & Clinton Drive, Gate 8
Houston , 77029
Homeland Security prevented photo oportunities at this location after 9/11/2001, 1997 photos used during this period; access to pavilion granted in Oct. 2014; THC Atlas typo "memoralized", should be memorialized
Directions: From 610 East, exit Clinton; travel west approx. one and eight tenths mile to the second traffic signal, enter property via Gate 8, continue on Ramp Road #2 one half mile to Tour Boat parking lot/Plaza; the marker is near the Tour Boat Sam Houston dock on the lower sidewalk level, next to the boat
Key Time Period: 1836 - 1845 Republic of Texas
Marker Text: Now Houston's famous ship-turning basin, this bend in Buffalo Bayou was named for the "Constitution," first steamboat to turn around here in June 1837.
At the time, Houston was less than a year old. It was serving as temporary capital of the Republic of Texas, which was itself barely more than a year old. According to one story, the town's founders, John and Augustus Allen (brothers), paid the captain of the boat $1,000 to make the trip as a publicity measure. The trading vessel was approximately 150 x 24 x 8 feet in size, with one deck, no mast, a round stern, male figurehead, and a cabin on the deck.
The "Constitution's" trip up Buffalo Bayou was not easy. Lines were run from it to trees and the boat was laboriously hauled forward by windlass. It ran aground twice. At one grounding, famous passenger Thomas Jefferson Chambers (patriot of the Republic) had enough time to visit a friend on shore. Upon their arrival at Houston, 35 of the 150 passengers memorialized the captain for his landmark voyage.
The exit of the "Constitution" was no more graceful than her entrance: she had to back down the narrow bayou until she reached a spot wide enough to turn around. The name of this bend records that event. (1970)
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 495 N
GPS Coordinates: 29 44.914, 95 17.534
Precinct No: 2
Marker No: 10636