I-35 & US 79
16 miles N of Austin
Population: 61,136 (2000) 30,923 (1990)
there really was a Round Rock, and you can even see it. Judge for
yourself if it even looks remotely round. Although its population
and proximity to Austin
make it seem out of place, we're including it for it's abundant limestone
buildings. It's also a pleasant place to play hooky from Austin.
Remember when Austin
was a hooky player's destination?
The Chamber of Commerce has some old photographs and memorabilia of
the town displayed in a comfortable setting. Look them over before
entering the Chamber proper. Be prepared for a very businesslike atmosphere
toward the back. This is not a small town, remember. Their colorful
brochure is representative of the tightrope they seem to be walking
between the past and the future. An excellent, easy to read map shows
all points of interest and then some. The Round Rock is mentioned
as well as the historical buildings, downtown, and the cemetery where
Sam Bass is buried.
I once chided Round Rock about Sam Bass Road. I had written that Gonzales
would never have named a street after John Wesley Hardin, even though
he once practiced law there. Imagine my surprise when I picked up
The Story of Sam Bass, in the Chamber of Commerce and read
an anonymous biography that was harder on him than I had been. We
both used the word "inept" and the phrase "blown out of proportion".
His name isn't even remotely euphonic, and is missing the all-important
third name like John Wesley Hardin or Billy the Kid. So why did he
become a legend?
in a Pecan Shell
Historical Marker (On Main Street):
began in this area in the late 1830s. By 1848, former Austin
Mayor Jacob Harrell moved here, selling town lots near the Stagecoach
Road crossing at Brushy Creek. A post office named “Brushy Creek”
opened in 1851 in Thomas Oatts’ store. Three years later, the
name changed to “Round Rock” for a distinctive limestone formation
marking a natural ford for wagons.
With immigration from several states and Sweden, the population doubled
during the 1850s, bringing new stores, churches, fraternal lodges
and grain mills. The first institution of higher learning, Round Rock
Academy, began in 1862. After the Civil War, the former trail and
stage road became a prominent cattle drive route. In 1876, the International-Great
Northern Railroad developed a new townsite east of the existing Round
Rock. A commercial district sprang up along Georgetown Avenue (Main
Street) with construction of many limestone buildings. “New Town”
quickly eclipsed the established settlement, whose postal name changed
again to “Old Round Rock.” For months, the new site was the railroad
terminus, bringing lumber and flour mills, cotton gins, blacksmith
and wagon shops, banks, hotels, restaurants, stores and schools. Round
Rock challenged the state capital for economic control of central
Texas, boasting six hotels to Austin’s
five and serving as the retail hub for several counties to the west.
The railroad also made Round Rock a more cosmopolitan place, bringing
new residents from all over the U.S. And all around the world.
Well-positioned for growth by its location on major transportation
routes, Round Rock became one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities
by the late 20th century. Two dozen commercial buildings in Round
Rock’s historic downtown were listed in the National Register of Historic
Places in 1983.
Hairy Man of Round Rock by Maggie Van Ostrand
"Round Rock's Hairy Man's the real thing and he's been there
back since pioneers built cabins and helped conquer the West...
To this day, the Hairy Man's ghost roams along the same shady road
upon which he had died such a grisly death, doomed forever to seek
return of the life that was so violently ripped from him.
Kindly Texans have since tried to make it up to him by celebrating
an annual Hairy Man Festival each October, Halloween month. There
are food, fun, and festivities galore, including a Hairy Man Contest...
by Clay Coppedge
short life of Sam Bass by Bob Bowman
For more than four years, we have been working on a new book, “Bad
to the Bone,” a collection of outlaws who left their imprint on
East Texas. One of the best known outlaws was Sam Bass... more
Bass: The Not So Merry Bandit by Clay Coppedge
If notorious Old West bandit Sam Bass buried all the gold he is
said to have buried in Central Texas, he would have been a wealthy
man indeed. He wouldn't have made the fatal decision to rob a bank
in Round Rock in July of 1878. He would simply have stopped by one
of the caves where millions of his dollars are said to have been
buried, and hightailed it to Mexico, incognito. Likewise, if he
stopped by every place he is said to have been sighted on that ill-fated
trip to Round Rock... more
outlaw Sam Bass inspired tall tales by Murray Montgomery
He was only 27 years old when he met his maker, but during his short
life he became the subject of cowboy songs and tall tales which
were told around many a campfire in Texas...more
212 East Main Street
Monday to Saturday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Chamber of Commerce
212 East Main Street
Rock Hotels > Book Here
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
and vintage/historic photos of their town, please contact