Anderson, located about 9 miles away from Navasota, is the county seat of Grimes County.
Together with Navasota, it makes an excellent day trip from Houston in the Brazos Valley.
Anderson, located about 65 miles from Houston, takes an hour to reach from the city.
It also makes an excellent day trip from College Station, being just 28 miles away.
This Republic of Texas era town was established in the 1830s.
Originally called Fanthorp, the town was renamed Anderson after Kenneth Lewis Anderson, the last Vice President of the Republic of Texas, who died here.
Anderson’s heyday was in the mid 19th century.
The bustling town and stagecoach stop was home to the courthouse, sawmills, cotton gins, drugstore, mercantile house, blacksmith, and 5 hotels.
At this time, Anderson was the fourth most populous city In Texas.
During the Civil War, it manufactured handguns for the Confederacy at the local pistol factory.
However, Anderson’s past is closely tied to the railroad.
The town was thriving and home to a population of 3000 but then the local landowners refused to give land to Houston and Texas Central Railroad.
The railroad bypassed Anderson and instead went through Navasota.
Navasota’s growth was accompanied by Anderson’s decline and the town has never recovered since then.
It is home to a population of under 300.
Today, on a visit through the town you will see dilapidated structures and forgotten churches.
Best Things to do in Anderson
Anderson is mostly popular for two things: Grimes County Courthouse and Fanthorp Inn.
But besides these, there are a few hidden gems in Anderson which you can easily see in a couple of hours.
Admire the Grimes County Courthouse
Grimes County Courthouse is the central feature of the town.
The beautiful building was built in 1891 in the Italianate Victorian style of architecture.
It is built from red bricks and limestones.
The courthouse is three-story-tall and has a double sided staircase that looks beautiful in the photos.
The courthouse is the third one to be built here and has been recently restored in 2002 to its original grandeur.
The district courtroom has a beautiful pressed tin ceiling.
One of the famous trials to be held here was that of a Clyde Barrow gang member in the 1930s.
The courthouse also has the reputation of being haunted, but we didn’t find any otherworldly creatures!
See Anderson Historic District
Anderson was originally settled during the Spanish colonial rule and displays the Greek Revival and Victorian style of architecture.
Several of Anderson’s buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can see them on mostly Fanthorp Street or Main Street.
Many are in the Palladian style of architecture.
You can also spot unique things such as old rings used to secure horses on Main Street.
Visit the Anderson Baptist Church
While many historic buildings in town are deteriorating, the Anderson Baptist Church is in really great condition.
It is built in Greek Revival style from native stone and has an interesting facade.
Built by enslaved African Americans, the church is photogenic and resembles rural churches in New England.
Tour the historic Fanthorp Inn
Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site is a must-visit while in Anderson.
Here you can tour a restored stagecoach inn.
You can go on an hour-long tour and view bedrooms, dining room, pantry, and more.
The Fanthorp Inn has beautiful architecture and is worth a trip to Anderson just for the site itself.
Englishman Henry Fanthorp was one of the pioneer settlers in Grimes County.
He built a two log home in 1834 at the site of the present-day Fanthorp Inn.
You can not just see the inn but also take a ride in the 19th-century stagecoach on ‘Stagecoach Days’.
Visit the historic Fanthorp Family Cemetery
Across the street from Fanthorp Inn, you can see the Historic Fanthorp Family Cemetery.
The owner Henry Fanthorp and his wife Rachel are buried here.
They both died in the yellow fever pandemic that swept Anderson and neighboring Navasota in 1867.
Kenneth Lewis Anderson, the last vice president of the Republic of Texas, is also buried in the Fanthorp Family Cemetery.
Several other prominent citizens are also buried here.
See structures in Historic Anderson Park
In the Anderson Historical Park, you can see a variety of the Republic of Texas era buildings and cabins.
One of the popular buildings is the Steinhagen Log Cabin, built prior to 1860 by slaves.
Other buildings in the park include a house, museum, and the Boggess general store.
Another gem to see in the park is a pre World War I railroad truss metal bridge.
A WWI memorial is also located in the park.
Picnic tables are also located in the park and it is a good place to let kids run free.
Restoration of the structures in the park is still an ongoing activity.
Take a stroll in the Confederate Memorial Park
On Main Street, you can find the Confederate Memorial Park.
Dedicated to the Confederate Civil War veterans from Grimes County, the park is worth a visit.
The park has a beautiful bronze sculpture of a Confederate soldier.
The soldier represents the infantry Grimes County Greys that fought in the Civil War.
Confederate Flag as well as informational plaques are also present in the park.
The park is nice and shades and good for a quick stroll.
We loved understanding the history of the Unit and learning about the hardships of the Confederate soldiers at the park.
If you love unique treasures, yard ornaments, and period furniture, then go antiquing in Anderson.
Courthouse Antiques is a good place to stop as is Borski’s antiques.
We also saw many Civil war books in the stores.
Grab a donut at Yankee Doodle Donuts
We love supporting local businesses in small towns.
The day that we went, we didn’t see many eateries open but the Yankee Doodle Donuts shop caught our eye.
They have a nice selection of kolaches, croissants, and donuts.
Have a meal at Kott’s Cafe
If you are dining in Anderson, then visit Kott’s Cafe.
They have excellent breakfast and lunch. Their hamburgers are especially tasty.
They have a nice selection of homemade pies as well.
Attend special events in the town
Anderson may be small and forgotten, but it holds many special events and activities throughout the year.
Visitors can attend the Texas Trek in April and Juneteenth in June.
It also holds a County Fair that is great fun.
You can also visit Washington-on-Brazos Historic Site and the Six Flags over Texas Monument while you are visiting Anderson and Grimes County.
We hope you liked our post on Best Things to do in Anderson.
Let us know if you visited this forgotten town and its eclectic courthouse.