Historic Finn Building
and James Bell came to this area from Florida in 1822 with Stephen
F. Austin's colony and acquired about 2,000 acres of land in 1837.
Thomas Bell offered a portion of his land at this site for a new townsite
to replace San
Felipe as the county seat; his offer was accepted by voters in
Pioneers from such faraway places as England, Germany, Connecticut,
Maryland and Georgia were drawn to the new town, which was platted
in 1848 and soon called Bellville by popular vote.
A courthouse and jail were erected in 1848 and Bellville's first hotel
opened in 1849. Within ten years, the booming town boasted about fifteen
businesses. The Civil War left the town nearly deserted, and as in
many similar Texas towns it was difficult
to rebuild during the Reconstruction era. Positive growth began about
1877 as new business ventures took root. In 1880 the Gulf, Colorado
and Santa Fe Railway arrived in Bellville, and the population doubled
rapidly. The Episcopal and German Methodist churches organized about
1881, and the Bellville Standard newspaper was established in 1882.
A telephone company began operations and a library was established
Cotton production rose in the
late 1890s and more than 10,000 bales were shipped each growing season.
By the turn of the century Bellville was thriving both culturally
and economically. Oil replaced cotton as the area's major industry
in 1915 when black gold was discovered around Bellville. Development
of local oil fields further spurred the town's growth and continued
to help support Bellville throughout the 20th century.
beloved 1888 (former) Austin County Courthouse in Bellville
Courtesy Bellville Historical Society
Street in Bellville
It looks the same today - only different.
Photo courtesy Bellville Library
Texas Landmarks / Attractions
County Jail, Museum & Library
Bellville has a great jail, which now serves as the Austin County
Museum, and many other buildings. Maybe they aren't as grand as
the jail, but they are charming and in some cases unique (The old
Dr. Pepper bottling plant with its rock fašade comes to mind). more
On and just off the square are antiques and crafts shops and eateries
within easy stroll.
The Bellville Historical Society has prepared a guide to Bellville's
turn-of-the-century homes and downtown buildings. It's available
at the Chamber of Commerce.
The Bellville Band
Photo courtesy Bellville Library
Double Hanging at Bellville in 1896
All things considered, it was a pretty civilized affair.
two murders in Austin County in 1895. While they occured in
distant corners of the county, they were separated by a span of only
38 days. Both perpetrators were apprehended and taken to the County
Jail in Bellville. This sort of situation must have been on the
minds of our wise and august lawyers in Austin when they passed legislation
demanding Courthouses be placed near the center of the county. It
certainly made things convenient for the populace to attend hangings.
Bellville Tourist Information
Bellville Chamber of Commerce - 979-865-3407
13 East Main, PO Box 670 Bellville Texas 77418-0670
tin man tank and its giant red arrow wind vane. Unfortunately that
tower no longer exists today."
Oct 20, 2000 Photo courtesy David Stall
enjoy this site!
Hi, as a resident of Bellville, I wanted to tell you how much I
enjoyed the site designed by Kate Wong Troesser. The pictures used
are fine and the site is so easy to navigate - always a good thing!
And the information given is informative, interesting and such fun
to share. I have sent this address to a friend in Norway so he can
finally get a little gist of the town of Bellville. Thank you for
making this available. - Sincerely Susan W., May 19, 2002
Subject : cool
I enjoyed the hell out of your whole site. I'm trying to think of
the best way to say "Go look at this cool site" to my readers at
Houston.About.Com. I found you via a Google search for some small
town thing - can't recall now. The
Double Hanging in Bellville tempted me to go off on a highly
enjoyable tangent.- Aussie M
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