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Huntsville, Texas
—  City  —
The Huntsville Unit, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice-operated prison in Huntsville
Location of Huntsville, Texas
Coordinates: 30°43′23.98″N 95°33′3.44″W / 30.7233278°N 95.5509556°W / 30.7233278; -95.5509556
Country United States
State Texas
County Walker
 - Total 31.2 sq mi (80.9 km2)
 - Land 30.9 sq mi (80.0 km2)
 - Water 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
Elevation 371 ft (113 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 35,078
 - Density 1,135.1/sq mi (438.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 936
FIPS code 48-35528[1]
GNIS feature ID 1382049[2]
66 Foot Tall Statue of Sam Houston in Huntsville, Texas.

Huntsville is a city in and the county seat of Walker County, Texas, United States.[3] The population was 35,078 at the 2000 census. It is the center of the Huntsville micropolitan area.

Huntsville is located in the East Texas Piney Woods on the Interstate 45 corridor between Houston and Dallas. Huntsville is home to Sam Houston State University, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Huntsville State Park, the HEARTS Veterans Museum of Texas located inside West Hill Mall, and the Texas Prison Museum. It also served as the residence of Sam Houston (the noted Texas general, elected leader, and statesman), who is recognized in Huntsville by the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and also by an enormous statue on Interstate 45.

Huntsville has offices of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which also has offices in Austin.[4][5] The Huntsville Prison, also known as the "Walls Unit" due to the large, imposing walls surrounding the facility, houses the state's execution chamber. Due to escapes from the prison, the male death row was relocated to the Polunsky Unit near Livingston, Texas; the female death row is located at the Mountain View Unit near Gatesville, Texas.

In reference to its prison, "Huntsville" is the title and subject of a country music song by Merle Haggard, on the album, Someday We'll Look Back.



The city had its beginning about 1836, when Pleasant and Ephraim Gray opened a trading post on the site. Ephraim Gray became first postmaster in 1837, naming it after his former home town, Huntsville in Madison County, Alabama. (Incidentally, "Madison County" is also the name of an adjacent Texas County.)

Huntsville became the home of Sam Houston, who served as President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of the State of Texas, Governor of Tennessee, U.S. Senator, and Tennessee congressman. General Houston led the Texas Army in the Battle of San Jacinto - the decisive victory of the Texas Revolution. Houston has been noted for his life among the Cherokees of Tennessee, and - near the end of his life - for his opposition to the American Civil War, a position which was a very unpopular in his day. Located in Huntsville are two of Houston's homes, his grave, and the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. Houston's life in Huntsville is also commemorated by his namesake Sam Houston State University, and by a 67 ft (20 m) statue. (The towering statue, "Tribute to Courage" by artist David Adickes, has been described as the world's largest statue of an American hero, and is easily viewed by travelers on Interstate 45.)

Huntsville was also the home of Samuel Walker Houston (1864-1945),[6] a prominent African-American pioneer in the field of education. He was born into slavery on February 12, 1864 to Joshua Houston, a slave owned by Sam Houston. Samuel W. Houston founded the Galilee Community School in 1907, which later became known as the Houstonian Normal and Industrial Institute, in Walker County, Texas.

In 1995, on the grounds of the old Samuel W. Houston Elementary School, the Huntsville Independent School District, along with the Huntsville Arts Commission[7] and the high school's Ex-Students Association, commissioned the creation of The Dreamers, a monument to underscore the contributions made by the black community in the growth and development of Huntsville and Walker County.


Huntsville is located at 30°42′41″N 95°32′54″W / 30.71139°N 95.54833°W / 30.71139; -95.54833 (30.711254, -95.548373).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.2 square miles (80.9 km²), of which, 30.9 square miles (80.0 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it (1.09%) is water.


The City of Huntsville is served by the Huntsville Independent School District, the first location for Austin College and is also the home of Sam Houston State University.


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ "Web Directory - Texas Department of Criminal Justice." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Accessed 2008-09-13.
  5. ^ "Contact Information." Third Court of Appeals of Texas. Accessed 2008-09-13.
  6. ^ Handbook of Texas Online accessed 2007-04-29.
  7. ^ Art Tour of Huntsville accessed 2007-04-29.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  


  • Allan Turner (1995-02-05). "A Wall of Hope: Sculpture puts human faces on legacy of black school". The Houston Chronicle, State section: p. 1.  
  • "One man's trash ... by Kate Murphy, The New York Times, September 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-08. Regarding Dan Phillips building low-income housing largely out of recycled materials since 1997.


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