Gonzales (population 7,202), was founded in 1825 and was the first Anglo-American settlement west of the Colorado River. The downtown, which was laid out around seven public squares, still retains its original plan.
Gonzales played an important role in the Texas quest for independence from Mexico. The first shots in the struggle were fired there, and Gonzales was the only community to send reinforcements to the Alamo.
In later years, the community was a thriving center for cattle ranching and cotton production, and its prosperity is reflected in the many substantial historic buildings that remain today.
Two recent projects highlight the community's commitment to preserving and reusing historic assets. The Old Jail (1885) in the heart of the historic downtown houses the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and is the visitor center for Gonzales. Rehabilitation of the building, which retains its original interior, is currently underway.
The community also recently obtained a "new" historic property, the Oak Forest Bridge (1913), which originally was located elsewhere in Gonzales County. Now restored and moved to Gonzales, the bridge carries a pedestrian/bicycle trail.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2004.