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.
Landmarks & Attractions
| The 1894 Palm
Valley Lutheran Church and Cemetery
Gibson, April 2005
The Palm House
212 East Main Street
Monday to Saturday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Rock Hotels Book Here
| The 1894 Palm
Valley Lutheran Church
2500 Palm Valley Blvd
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Gibson, April 2005
Historical Marker ( 2500 Palm Valley Blvd ):
In area first
claimed in 1838 by white men. Valley bears name of the Anna Palm family,
1853 Swedish settlers. "Brushy", the first Lutheran church (of logs),
was built here by Andrew John Nelson and 3 hired men in 1861. This
also housed early school. Congregation was formally organized Nov.
27, 1870. Second church, built 1872, was used for sessions of Palm
Valley School. Present Gothic Revival style building was erected in
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1970
Historical Marker ( Sam Bass Rd ):
the early 1850s in what is now known as Old Round Rock, this cemetery
is the burial ground of many area pioneers and outstanding Round Rock
citizens. The oldest legible tombstone, which marks the burial site
of 11-year-old Angeline Scott, bears the year 1851, although there
are many unmarked graves that could date from before that time. One-half
acre in the northwest part of the 4.5-acre cemetery was used as a
burial ground for slaves and freedmen during the nineteenth century.
Numerous war veterans are buried here, as is bank robber and outlaw
Sam Bass, who died July 21, 1878, two days after being shot by Texas
Rangers in Round Rock. Other buried in the cemetery include G. T.
Cole, one of the few area eye doctors; Round Rock broom factory owner
Sam Landrum; stonemason John H. Gray; Round Rock Presbyterian Church
minister John Hudson; and Methodist circuit rider J. W. Ledbetter.
One unusual tombstone, which marks the gravesite of Mary Ann Lavender,
bears the date February 30, 1870.
The Round Rock Cemetery, which contains more than 2,000 graves, is
a visible reminder of the early history of this part of Williamson
County. The burial ground is cared for by the Round Rock Cemetery
Historical Marker ( 203 Commerce ):
Round Rock Volunteer
and Hand Pump Company was formed in 1884 as Round Rock's first organized
fire department. Money for equipment was raised through donations,
picnics, dances, box suppers, and other fund drives. The first building
constructed for Round Rock's fire department was completed in 1892.
About 1934, the department purchased its first piece of motor-driven
equipment--a Model T Ford chassis. As one of the state's oldest volunteer
fire departments, it continues to provide significant service to the
citizens of Round Rock.
Visit to Round Rock
Yes, 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?
Round Rock Chamber
212 East Main Street
| Round Rock,
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...
Smith by Clay Coppedge
On Sam Bass
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
Historical Marker (W. Main Street at Round Rock Ave., Round Rock):
Sam Bass' Death
Indiana orphan who drifted to Texas as a youth, Sam Bass won fame
racing his swift "Denton Mare," gambling, and robbing trains. A rich
haul in Nebraska was followed by months of reckless spending. Bass
liked to shower gold on people who fed or harbored him while he eluded
law officers. In July 1878 he came to Round Rock to rob a bank, and
was shot by Texas Rangers. Gallant to the last, refusing to name guilty
partners, he became a hero to 19th century balladeers. His celebrated
grave is situated in old Round Rock Cemetery.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact