In 1936 the State of Texas celebrated the Texas Centennial celebration has a huge event. While events were held throughout the state, the main exposition was held in Dallas. The Texas Legislature and the US Congress each contributed $3 million for the event, and fifty beautiful buildings were erected or used at the State Fair venue in Dallas for the celebration. Over six million people visited the exposition in Dallas. (See postcards and program below).
As part of the celebration, various pieces of art were commissioned. One of those is the statute of James Butler Bonham on the southeast corner of the courthouse square in Bonham, which was renovated by the Fannin County Historical Commission in 2014.
As part of the centennial celebration, the Texas State Highway Department erected markers in every county of the state. In 1936 the Fannin County marker was placed about three miles east of Bonham in what was then a highway rest stop on Highway 5. The rest stop is no longer maintained by TXDOT and the marker was vandalized. (see photo of the former location and condition below). The original plaque on top of the monument was replaced in 1976.
In June 2015 the Fannin County Historical Commission asked the Fannin County Commissioners for permission to move the monument to the Courthouse grounds, and this permission was granted. A new medallion was ordered to replace the old medallion which had been stolen. The movement of the monument presented problems because of its placement and size. In April 2016 Commissioner Dean Lackey and his crew moved the monument to the northwest corner of the Courthouse grounds, and the Historical Commission arranged for the cleaning of the monument and the installation of the new medallion.
This 1936 centennial monument now resides in a place where it will be cared for and enjoyed.
Read about the re-dedication of the Centennial Monument.
This area was first settled by Anglo-Americans who traveled up the Red River by steamboat in 1836. Fannin County was created in 1837, organized in 1838, and named for James W. Fannin (1805-36), who was massacred with his soldiers at Goliad (March 27, 1836), after surrendering to the Mexican Army.
County officials first met at Jacob Black's cabin on the Red River. The county seat was moved in 1840 to Warren and in 1843 to Bois d'Arc, which was renamed in 1844 in honor of James Butler Bonham (1807-36), a hero of the siege of the Alamo.
Location: Northwest corner of the Courthouse grounds, Bonham.
Former location and status of the monument
The Paris News, November 8, 1936