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"City of Hospitality"

Lavaca County Seat, Central Texas South

29°26'43"N 96°56'27"W (29.445398, -96.940734)

On Hwy 77 off I-10
25 miles SE of Weimar
18 miles S of Schulenburg
45 miles N of Victoria
113 miles W of Houston
123 miles E of San Antonio
ZIP code 77964
Area code 361
Population: 2,731 (2020)
2,550 (2010) 2,345 (2000) 2,718 (1990)

Book Hotel Here › Hallettsville Hotels

Hallettsville TX Opera House, built 1896
Opera House, Hallettsville, Texas. Built 1896
Courtesy Friench Simpson Memorial Library, Hallettsville, Texas

You'll find the tranquil and tidy town of Hallettsville just south of I-10 and halfway between Houston and San Antonio.

Hallettsville, Texas Topics:

  • History in a Pecan Shell
  • Hallettsville Landmarks, Attractions
    Historic courthouse, jail, cemeteries, hanging tree, bridge...
  • Hallettsville Stories
  • Lavaca County Vintage Photos next page
  • Hallettsville area destinations

  • Hallettsville TX City Hall
    Hallettsville City Hall
    TE photo, 2001

    History in a Pecan Shell

    The town was named after Margaret Hallett, wife of John Hallett, who bequeathed the land for the townsite. This woman's life reads better than a novel.

    Married to a seafaring man against her family's wishes, the newlywed Halletts traveled west with a wagon whose tongue was cut from a ships mast and the sails serving as the wagon cover. He even brought his anchor.

    A Veteran of San Jacinto along with one of his three sons, Mr. Hallett died, as did all the males in the family, leaving Mrs. Hallett alone with her only daughter. Fluent in Spanish and able to defend herself in two Indian dialects, she left Goliad where they had been living and returned to the original grant in Lavaca, opening a trading post and making friends with nearly everyone. She once cudgeled an Indian who was making a nuisance of himself. The Chief paid her a visit and she explained the injury should be regarded as "a knowledge knot". The Chief laughed. Upon her death in 1863, local Indians decorated her grave. Her grave is in the Founder's cemetery, a short distance from the Town Square.

    Lavaca County
    is also the home of "The Archives War" in which the citizens of Hallettsville rode into Petersburg to liberate the county records, which had been removed in a disputed election over the official county seat. The Hallettsville "committee" rode into Petersburg where the Petersburgans were celebrating their "victory" with a barbecue. They not only reclaimed the records, but also ate the barbecue for their trouble. Petersburg never recovered from this, the greatest Texan humiliation, and faded into oblivion.

    See How Hallettsville Became Seat of Lavaca County - Eyewitness Account by Murray Montgomery

    Hallettsville, Texas

    Several other noteworthy buildings on the square includes the one now occupied by the Hallettsville Florist. This was the photography studio of H. J. Braunig and offers the absolute best view of a courthouse anywhere in the state.

    Hallettsville is the home of the Lavaca Historical Museum (open weekends 2-5) at 413 N. Main.

    The Texas Championship Domino Hall of Fame (tournament held every January) shares space with The Texas Fiddler's Hall of Fame (Fiddler’s Frolic held fourth week of April) at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Hwy 77 South. Both are open Mon - Fri 9am to 11am.

    Hallettsville also is home to the Alton C. Allen Historical Conference, sponsored by the LaVaca County Historical Commission and the Raymond Dickson Foundation. Contact the Chamber.

    One of the few remaining downtown single screen movie theaters in Texas, The Cole shows first run movies, just off the north side of the square.

    The 1897 Lavaca County Courthouse

    Town Square has a beautiful 1897 Courthouse designed by Eugene Heiner, famed Architect and would-be rival to J. Reily Gordon if he hadn't died at age 42. Although several of his courthouses are standing, they’ve been altered over the years. Today only Hallettsville and Columbus have representative Heiner structures. The closest example of Heiner's other work is the Old Jail Museum in Gonzales.
    Lavaca County Courthouse 1897
    Courthouse detail
    TE Photo
    Gordon's work is represented on the square in the old Renger Bar, a beautiful stone building now undergoing renovation by the new owner. The Upper floor reportedly contained bat guano four feet deep.

  • Lavaca County Courthouse by Lou Ann Herda, Ed. D.

  • "The Grand Old Lady On The Square" by Murray Montgomery
    "Thanks to an old newspaper from July of 1899, we can turn back the hands of time and get a glimpse of how the citizens of Lavaca County celebrated their brand new courthouse..."

  • Two Texas Courthouses and their Pennsylvanian Inspiration by John Troesser

  • Hallettsville Hotels › Book Hotel Here
  • Christmas light, Lavaca County Courthouse, Hallettsville Texas
    The 1897 Lavaca County Courthouse
    Photo courtesy Murray Montgomery, 2013

    Hallettsville TX - The hanging tree

    The Old Hanging Tree in Hallettsville
    In city park - west side of US 77, north city limits
    TE photo, 2001

    Historical Marker:

    Old Hanging Tree

    Gallows used Sept. 12, 1879, at public hanging of "Pocket", an Indian, killer of Englishman Leonard Hyde.
    Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1967

    More Texas Historic Trees

    Hallettsville TX - Lavaca County Jail
    Lavaca County Jail
    TE photo, 2001
    More Texas Jails

    Hallettsville, Texas - Old Lavaca County Jail cell
    Photo courtesy Debra Fawcett, 8-9-2015
    The Old Lavaca County Jail

    Lavaca County TX 1883 Charlottenburg Cemetery
    Charlottenburg Cemetery
    About 7-1/2 miles NW of Hallettsville on CR 369

    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Lavaca County TX - St. Mary's Catholic Church

    St Mary's Church and Cemetery
    About 3-1/2 miles almost due west of Hallettsville on FM 350.

    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Lavaca County TX - Hallettsville Jewish Cemetery Hebrew Inscription
    Jewish Cemetery TE Photo, 2006

    Halletsville TX - Old County Farm Cemetery
    Old county farm cemetery
    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Halletsville TX - Old County Farm Cemetery
    Halletsville old county farm cemetery
    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Halletsville TX - Old County Farm Cemetery
    Tombstones in old county farm cemetery
    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Halletsville TX - Old County Farm Cemetery
    Old county farm cemetery - Broken tombstone
    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Halletsville TX - Old County Farm Cemetery
    Old county farm cemetery - Fallen tombstone
    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Halletsville TX - Willing Worker Cemetery  sign
    Willing Worker Cemetery sign
    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Halletsville TX - Willing Worker Cemetery
    Halletsville TX - Willing Worker Cemetery
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    More Texas Cemeteries

    Halletsville TX - Bridge on CR130
    The bridge on CR130 in Hallettsville
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Halletsville TX - Bridge on CR130
    The bridge on CR130
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Halletsville TX - Bridge on CR130
    The bridge on CR130
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    More Bridges in Texas

    Hallettsville TX Cole Theatre
    Hallettsville's Cole Theatre
    See Barclay Gibson's Texas Theatre Old Neon Collection

    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Hallettsville TX theatre
    TE photo, 2001
    More Texas Theatres

    Hallettsville TX 1889 store
    TE photo, 2001
    More Pitted Dates

    Hallettsville TX building detail
    TE photo, 2001
    See Texas Architecture

    Hallettsville TX Brahams Sign
    Brahams Sign
    TE photo, 2001

    Hallettsville TX - HVFD Celebration Committee 1910
    Hallettsville Vol. Fire Dept. Celebration Committee 1910
    Courtesy Friench Simpson Memorial Library, Hallettsville, Texas
    Lavaca County Vintage Photos

    More Hallettsville / Lavaca County Stories

    Don Milo
  • The wreck of the "Don Milo" and other Hallettsville R.R. History by Murray Montgomery 2-13-24

  • Hallettsville Photographer Left a Legacy of Memories by Murray Montgomery
    Henry Jacob Braunig

  • Old Turner Hotel Uncovered by Hallettsville Fire by Murray Montgomery

  • Lavaca County and the Raw Frontier by Murray Montgomery

  • Lavaca County pioneer from the beginning of Hallettsville by Murray Montgomery

  • The Story of Richard J. Clark - Lavaca County Cattleman by Murray Montgomery

  • Lavaca County violence from back in the day by Murray Montgomery

  • All Were Welcome at the Fink Hotel by Murray Montgomery
    It has been said that Mr. and Mrs. A. Finkelstein always had a room in their hotel and a home-cooked meal for any who appeared at the door.

  • Lavaca County's Old Brown School by Murray Montgomery
    People who were raised in Lavaca County, Texas, are probably familiar with the old school. This article, which appeared in The Tribune on Jan. 10, 1933.

  • The Legend of Campbell’s Branch by Murray Montgomery
    If you leave Hallettsville traveling on FM 957 towards Breslau, you will cross over a small creek named West Campbell Branch – known as just plain “Campbell Branch” to most folks. Recently I came across a fascinating story, from 1944, about the legend of Campbell’s Branch...

  • Did the Dalton boys ever visit Lavaca County by Murray Montgomery
    In the year 1895, reports were circulating around Victoria, Texas, that a member, or members, of the famous Dalton Gang were in the Victoria and Lavaca County area...

  • Hallettsville was booming in the early 1900s by Murray Montgomery
    With the construction of a new light system in the summer of 1900, Hallettsville started a nine-year run of development that included the construction of new buildings, the beginning of new businesses, and renovations to existing structures...

  • The story of Emil Kreklau's self-propelled fan by Murray Montgomery
    If you go online and do a search of “The Industrial Revolution,” you will be inundated with more information than any normal human being is prepared to digest. An old newspaper article that I came across recently prompted me to give it a try and my head is still spinning as a result...

  • One saloon for every editor in old Hallettsville by Murray Montgomery
    By the early 1900s, the town had gained such a reputation that it would eventually be included in the famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not. According to historian Boethel, in his book The Free State of Lavaca, Ripley reported the following: “Hallettsville with its 1300 people in 1913 had thirteen newspapers, thirteen saloons, thirteen churches, and an empty jail.”

  • The adventures of John Himes Livergood by Murray Montgomery
    In the days of early Texas, Lavaca County had its share of adventurous pioneers, and a man from Missouri, John Himes Livergood, can be counted as one of the best among them... Here is a story about him in an expedition against the Indians who had killed a settler’s wife and daughter and kidnapped his 8-year-old boy...

  • The Old Iron Bridges of Lavaca County by Murray Montgomery
    "In 1891 the county had a total of 19 iron bridges; the paper referred to them as 'substantial structures' and folks back then took great pride in their creation." more

  • Rustlers and Outlaws Were Common in Early Days by Murray Montgomery
    "Folks living in Lavaca County in this day and time might be surprised to know that back in the 1870’s, 1880’s and 1890’s this was quite a wild place ..." more

  • The Demise of Bad Man Buckley by Murray Montgomery
    During the days of early Texas, there were many a scoundrel packing guns and causing panic and mayhem amongst the town folk. Hallettsville had one of the worst of these villains in a fellow known as "Bad Man Buckley." more

  • Rocks From The Sky by Murray Montgomery
    One story appeared first in the Yoakum Times and the Halletsville Herald printed it on July 16, 1903. This fascinating piece was about a fellow named Benedict Manning who was witness to several strange occurrences during his lifetime...

  • HallettsvilleTX Outdoor Staircase
    TE photo, 2001

    Hallettsville Area Destinations

  • Lavaca County
    15 miles to the west is Shiner.

  • Fayette County - 18 miles to the north is Schulenburg, known for it's painted churches.

  • DeWitt County - Take a country drive to the open pastures of neighboring DeWitt County to Cuero.

  • Hallettsville Hotels

  • Hallettsville Tourist Information
    Hallettsville Chamber of Commerce: 512-798-2662
    Website : www.hallettsville.com.

    The chamber is just north of town on highway 77. If you're coming from the North, it's on your left just after you enter the city limits.

    The Hallettsville Chamber of Commerce will provide you with an excellent map showing all points of interest and for visitors interested in history and/or Courthouses, two pamphlets are for sale (to cover printing costs). One is Lavaca County Seats and Their Courthouses (including the "Archives War") and is written by Paul C. Boethel. The other is a Historical Tour and is written by Dorothy Bujnoch, Anne Rhodes and Doug Kubicek. Local historian Mr. Doug Kubicek is an "Investigative Historian" who also teaches History at the Middle School. It was he, along with the late Dr. Pat Waggoner who spent years authenticating the Gonzales "Come and Take It" Cannon.

    Our special thanks to Mr. Kubicek who enlightened us on many historical details, and to Chamber Director Pat Carr, who represents what an invaluable asset a dedicated Chamber Director is to a town.

    Take a road trip

    Central Texas South

    Hallettsville, Texas Area Towns:
    Weimar | Schulenburg | La Grange

    See Lavaca County

    Book Hotel Here:
    Hallettsville Hotels | More Hotels
    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.















































































































































































































































































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