Skip to Main Content

67-ft. tall Sam Houston statue on 10-ft. high base.
Sam Houston gazes over treetops 77 feet above the ground.

Giant Statue of Sam Houston

Field review by the editors.

Huntsville, Texas

Huntsville offers odd extremes when it comes to tourism. As nexus of the Texas penal system, it provides convenient public viewing of "Old Sparky," the electric chair which sent 361 condemned criminals to the extra crispy regions during 40 years of service. You can see it at the Texas Prison Museum. When you're done admiring the shivs and contrabands on display, head south of town for a glimpse of the world's tallest statue of a once-living American: Sam Houston.

At 67 feet tall (on a 10-foot-high Texas granite base) the statue is called "Big Sam" by locals, but its official name is "A Tribute to Courage." Sam Houston, political architect of Texas, towers in concrete above Interstate 45, with walking cane and snappy duds of a 19th century statesman (though he could also be mistaken for a statue of P.T. Barnum). In the summer humidity of east Texas, we appreciate the tensile strength of one who could dress like this and still lead.

Stupendous Sam is touted in attraction literature as the second largest freestanding statue in the U.S., bested only by the allegorical and over-promoted Statue of Liberty (And, pssst... Roadsiders know of other statues taller than Sam, such as Tulsa's 76-foot-tall Golden Driller and Butte's 90-foot-tall Our Lady of the Rockies).

Pose with the head.
Pose with the head.

Artist David Adickes, born and schooled in Huntsville, sculpted this colossal monument to the man who still inspires Texans to reach lofty heights. Sam Houston (1793-1863) remembered the Alamo with his surprise slaughter of Santa Anna's more experienced and professional Mexican Army at San Jacinto, then went on to become President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of the State of Texas, and a U.S. Senator.

Adickes started in early 1992, not exactly certain how he would accomplish the massive project. The over-30-ton steel-and-concrete colossus is comprised of 10-foot sections, each containing five layers of concrete reinforced with steel straps. The outside layer includes a fiberglass mesh. Entombed inside the giant head is the statue's cement mixer -- it died on the final day of construction -- and the colossus was dedicated on October 22, 1994.

Sam can be seen for over six miles heading north on the interstate, a site specifically chosen by Adickes because it was so visible. Access is via the nearest exit, then following a parallel road behind a wooded park. The entrance gift shop sells tiny reproductions of the statue, and a "Sam Houston Replica Cane" mounted on the wall. On the trail to the monument, visitors can pose with a large 3D version of the statue's face.

Adickes couldn't put down his chisel after finishing Sam Houston. He's the sculptor who spent subsequent years creating giant U.S. President heads that can be seen in Sam's namesake city, and in less-expected places as well.

Giant Statue of Sam Houston

7600 TX-75, Huntsville, TX
South of Huntsville. I-45 exit 112 northbound (southbound exit 109, then turn around). At the end of the exit ramp, turn right, then a quick right at the blue sign to the parking lot.
M-F 9-5, Sa 10-5, Su 11-5. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

21-Foot-High Raven21-Foot-High Raven, Huntsville, TX - 4 mi.
Grave of Tripod the DogGrave of Tripod the Dog, Huntsville, TX - 4 mi.
Prison Bat ColonyPrison Bat Colony, Huntsville, TX - 5 mi.
In the region:
Lucky Land: Terra-Cotta Army, Houston, TX - 54 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Texas

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Texas.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Texas Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Poozeum: Dinosaur Turds, Williams, Arizona (Jun 10-16, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings