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Williamson and Bell Counties, Texas Hill Country
Highway 95 and FM 487
6 miles E of Schwertner
6 miles S of Holland
24 miles S of Temple
5 miles N of Granger
16 miles N of Taylor
48 miles NE of Austin
23 miles NE of Georgetown
Population 1,675

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Bartlett Texas landscape  and  view of  watertower

The Bartlett landscape with water towers seen in the distance.
Photo Courtesy Genevieve B. Shockley, April 2006

History in a Pecan Shell

Bartlett was officially formed when the Katy Railroad started their survey in 1881. Earlier settlers had been living in the area for the 30 previous years.

One J. E. Pietzsch donated land for the townsite although it was actually named after John T. Bartlett. Lots were sold in 1881 and the railroad reached the town the following year. There were two stores in operation by the time the railroad arrived and the post office opened in 1882.
The Bartlett School
An Abbreviated History of the Bartlett School Building
Restoration & The School Today
The population was around 300 in '84 and the town was established as a shipping point for cotton. There was also a cotton gin, hotel, grocer, butcher and school.

Bartlett incorporated in 1890 when it was a thriving town with two weekly newspapers and a bank.
Bartlett Western Railroad, Texas, 1912
Bartlett Western Railroad, 1912
Photo courtesy Clyde Crews
A railroad running from Bartlett to Florence was charted in 1909. The logical name of Bartlett-Florence Railway Company was changed to the Bartlett Western.

Being the eastern terminus of this busy shortline railroad only added to Bartlett's prestige and economy. In 1914 the town reached its population zenith of 2,200 citixens. The town had two railroads, three banks, three gins and four churches.

The decline of cotton in the 20s and 30s, forced the railroad into bankruptcy in 1935.

In 1931 Bartlett had 1,873 people with nearly 100 businesses. With the Great Depression, the town lost 25% of its businesses although the population loss was a mere 10%. It reached a low of 1,556 in 1988 and has increased slowly to the present 1,675.
First National Bank Building, Bartlett, Texas
The First National Bank Building

Photo courtesy Genevieve B. Shockley, April 2006
Bartlett Texas business cast-iron threshold

Cast-iron threshold of a former business.

Photo courtesy Genevieve B. Shockley, April 2006

"I grew up in Holland, Texas and remember seeing this same type of doorway plate on the older buildings there, as well. This type of doorway plate is on many of the Bartlett buildings." - Genevieve B. Shockley
Bartlett's long (and wide) commercial strip of buildings built during its heyday has made it a natural for shooting movies. Stars Fell on Henrietta, The Newton Boys, and The Whole Wide World (based on the short life of Texas author Robert Howard) were shot in Bartlett as well as several of the familiar truck commercials.
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The Newton Boys
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The Whole Wide World
Churches in Bartlett >
Ghost Signs >

Bartlett Area Destinations

Williamson County > Towns and Ghost towns
Bell County > Towns and Ghost towns

Phantom Alligators by Clay Coppedge
The old community of Alligator, a few miles east of Bartlett, lives in legend, lore and in the memory of ...
Bartlett Texas bank eagle

An eagle on the former Bartlett Bank
See The Bartlett Bank Robbery That Wasn't by C. F. Eckhardt
Photo by John Troesser, July 2002

Bartlett Texas Forum

  • Bartlett's Old Red Brick School First Annual Event
    My husband Paul and I wanted to give Texas Escapes and its readers an update on the restoration of Bartlett's old red brick school.

    We joined the BAC with the idea of starting an annual festival/benefit to help fund the continued renovation of the school. We are having our first fundraiser on June 24th from 3 to 8 pm with musical entertainment, a dance, silent auction and art displays. We will also have a coloring contest for the kids (what if the school was any color you wanted it?), face painting and snow cones.

    We are hoping to draw in crowds, but are mainly interested in getting the "new" Bartlett and "old" Bartlett residents interested in their city again. Hopefully we will get volunteers that will be interested in hosting a much bigger event next year. We hope to attract more local artists to use the auditorium for concerts and maybe even get a community theatre started. By the way, almost all of Barlett's downtown buildings have been bought and now house antique stores and a coffee shop soon. It went from nearly extinct to thriving! Thanks for such a wonderful [magazine]. - Cindi and Paul Reaka, Bartlett, Texas, June 12, 2006

  • I remember Bartlett
    ...I remember taking my shoes off, walking near the tracks, and feeling the exhilaration and excitement of laying out pennies to be squished. When we got home, my feet were black, and my cheeks were bright red from the heat... more - Carolyn Ripper, May 07, 2006

    Anyone wishing to share photos, memories or information on Bartlett, Texas, please contact us.

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    This page last modified: March 28, 2007