Texas Living

Tall Tale: The Story behind the Sam Houston Statue

By Chuck Cox 2.12.13

Just like I’m sure many of my fellow Texans did back in 1994, I just about choked on my double-meat Whataburger when I caught my first glimpse of the ginormous statue of Sam Houston that overlooks Interstate 45 in Huntsville.

The 67-foot-tall ode to the former president of the Republic of Texas, governor of Texas, and United States senator, which is called “Tribute to Courage,” sits on a 10-foot base, rising up out of the Piney Woods.

David Adickes, the sculptor who molded 60,000 pounds of concrete into a dapper-looking Texas icon sporting a cane, grew up in Huntsville, home to Sam Houston State University.

To me, that makes the impressive statue all the more cool. Who else but a Texan could create a statue of a Texas hero?

Texas-size attractions

And while giant Sam is one of the biggest statues of an American hero in the world, there are a couple of statues in Texas that are almost its equal, vertically speaking. The giraffe in front of the Dallas Zoo is 67.5 feet tall, while a statue of Stephen F. Austin, the father of Texas, stands 60 feet tall in Angleton. And I’m not just mentioning that because I went to Stephen F. Austin State University. I promise.

Getting to the statue: Sure, you can see it from 45, but actually getting to the visitor’s center requires a little bit of extra effort.

To get to the statue, take exit 112 or 109 off I-45 toward Texas 75. Take the I-45 frontage road to Sam Houston Avenue (Texas 75). Go right on Sam Houston Avenue to the visitors’ center, which will be on your right.

The statue is a little less than an hour north of Houston, so it’s not difficult to get to. It’s definitely worth the trip. Just make sure you’re not chewing when you get close.