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 Huntsville - 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.
Every year to mark Sam Houston’s birthday, students from nearby Sam Houston State University march from the University Campus to his gravesite at Oakwood Cemetery where speeches are given to honor this Hero of the Republic of Texas.
Huntsville is the home of the Wall’s Unit which houses Texas’s death row, with over 400 prisoners executed since 1974. The city’s environs are largely marked by SHSU, museums and different prison units. The stark and impersonal blank white of the statue echo the isolation of these units and make “Big Sam’s” presence along the highway a jarring and surprising social and historical critique.
Know Before You Go
Located at 7600 Highway 75 South. Take exits 109 or 112 from I-45.