Parks & Alleys
Alamo Alley, once a blighted alleyway used as a Chinese restaurant drive thru and for random parking - now connects busy Alamo Street to parking along Main Street.Beautifully landscaped with an engraved paver path, the improved alleyway now offers a relaxing oasis from the hustle and bustle of downtown streets. A stage is nestled in the middle of the alley, and a water feature gives the alley a cool feel with the gentle sounds of moving water.
Another alleyway eyesore in the downtown area was improved as a pedestrian walkway between Alamo Street and Commerce Street – straight through to the historic Ant Street Inn. Now known as Belle’s Alley, engraved pavers remember special pets – just like the alley’s namesake, Belle, the Dalmatian mascot for the Brenham Fire Department.
Enter Belle’s Alley on Alamo Street, and you’ll find an entrance to our special pocket park - Toubin Park - where you’ll learn some our community’s fascinating history. Did you know that during the Civil War, Brenham was larger than Houston and Austin combined? Have you heard the story of Brenham as a wild West boom-town? Take some time to meander through Belle’s Alley and take the back door entrance, then step into the past!
Beneath Brenham streets is a State Antiquities Landmark, a large system of historic cisterns. The cisterns were built in the late 1800’s to store rainwater for public fire fighting. Private cisterns were also abundant throughout early Washington County, used for bathing, drinking and cooking.The large system of public cisterns in early Brenham was a rarity. The city was considered very progressive for using the new-fangled contraptions to fight fires. No other Texas cities were known to install public cisterns, or to provide public services so early.
Enjoy the Wild West story of why these cisterns were built. It’s a tale of an early railroad, a rough Boom Town, and colorful characters who shaped Washington County’s history.
Follow the intriguing details of the 1866 Burning of Brenham and the large gunfight that led to the fire. Learn how Brenham citizens banded together to protect themselves and their properties from oppressive Union troops during Reconstruction.
See a large private cistern circa 1880 and learn how it was used. Discover how public cisterns were built and supplied with water by innovative private businesses. Find out about present-day cisterns and how to harvest rainwater for your landscape, water features, livestock, and even for indoor use.