The Conspicuous Statue Of Angelina Eberly In Downtown Austin, Texas

April 20, 2012 by Anil Polat  
Culture, Lodging, Pictures and Video

Angelina Eberly statue austin texas

It was a cold Austin afternoon on the day before Christmas as I passed this rather out of place statue more than once on my way to the Texas State Capitol Building. Wandering in between searches for an open cafe to get some work done and a few photo opportunities. Little did I know about the connection between the tallest state capitol building in the United States and this woman lighting a cannon, seemingly pointed at nothing in particular.

In my travels I’ve come across a number of significant but subtle sites from lonely trees in the desert to haunted (slightly Satanic) palaces. But there was a fire in this cold piece of steel I was drawn to and her name was Angelina Eberly. She was an innkeeper who, while working on December 30, 1842, noticed a theft in progress across the street. It was members of the Republic of Texas attempting to secretly move the national archives from Austin to Houston. When Eberly realized this she fired a canon into the General Land Office Building (she was aiming at the thieves but fortunately for them, Eberly missed.)

Still, the firing of the cannon was enough to draw the attention of local cavalry who were able to chase and track down the bandits. Eberly’s actions were a turning point in what is known as the Texas Archive War – the attempt by then Texas President Sam Houston to move the capitol of Texas from Austin to Houston. (Texas was an independent republic at the time and not yet a part of the US.)

Because of Angelina Eberly, the archives were retrieved and returned to Austin before the next morning. 3 years later when the Republic of Texas was admitted as America’s 28th state, Austin, not Houston, was made the capitol – which it remains today. Thanks, in large part, due to that 3 kilo canon ball fired by Eberly near the spot where her statue stands today. So I suppose it’s true what they say, don’t mess with Texas – or perhaps more fittingly, don’t mess with Texas’ women.

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  1. That’s a fantastic statue. I am partial to interesting memorials and that surely takes the biscuit. Perhaps stores today should have a cannon outside, maybe that will prevent hold-ups!

    Love the blog, kind regards, Si

  2. I loved this! Sometimes we learn so much about a place by stopping and really looking at those small memorials or statues that dot the cities and roadsides throughout the US.

    • Anil P. says:

      The United States really has an interesting history that many like to dismiss because they simply don’t know about it. It’s the little stories that give culture character – and Texas certainly has a lot of that!

      I’m glad it was such a quiet day otherwise I would have probably missed Eberly’s statue as well.

  3. I’m sure I’ve walked by this statue a thousand times, and never taken the time to actually look at it and read the story behind it. It’s certainly an interesting tale. Perhaps it also confirms another saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” Instead of simply scolding the thieves with a beating from her purse, she attempted to blow them to bits Texas-style with a giant cannon ball.

    • Anil P. says:

      haha, yes! The use of the cannon is absolutely Texas and really gives the story character. Now you won’t be able to look at this statue the same again 😉