Originally known as Washington-on-the-Brazos or Old Washington, the town was established in 1834 near the location of a Brazos River ferry that had operated since 1822. The town achieved prominence during the Texas Revolution in 1836 as the site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence and the drafting of the Constitution of the newly born Republic of Texas. From 1842 to 1846, Washington-on-the-Brazos served as the capital of the Republic. Through the 1840's and 1850's, the town flourished as a retail and commercial center for the cotton-producing Brazos Valley.
The little village today (southeast of Bryan-College Station) lies just off Texas 105 between Brenham and Navasota.