The 67-foot tall, gleaming white statue of Sam Houston, dubbed "Big Sam," towers over Texas Interstate-45. Billed as the “World’s Tallest Statue of an American Hero,” it was completed in 1994 with 30 tons of concrete and steel and then set atop a 10-foot high granite base. Big Sam’s location in Hunstville - as opposed to Houston’s namesake city an hour away - is due to the fact that the two-time president of the former Republic of Texas lived and died here, with his grave located in a nearby cemetery.
Huntsville is better known as home to Texas's death row, with over 400 prisoners executed since 1974. The city's environs are largely marked by vast prison grounds, making Big Sam's presence along the highway a jarring, but welcome surprise.