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BLANCO, TEXAS

Blanco County, Texas Hill Country

Highway 281 and FMs 1888 and 165
14 Miles S of Johnson City
33 miles SE of Fredericksburg
50 Miles SW of Austin
Population: 1804 (2010) 1,505 (2000)

Blanco, Texas Area Hotels
Johnson City Hotels | Fredericksburg Hotels
Former Blanco County Courthouse
The 1885 Former Blanco County Courthouse in Blanco
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006
History in a Pecan Shell

First settlement began in 1853 when cabins were built on the banks of the Blanco River. The following year investors of the Pittsburgh Land Company, bought Horace Eggleston's land grant and platted a town they called Pittsburgh after the company's founder, General Pitts. The new community was on the south side of the river.

That same year a Methodist church was organized and the building also doubled as the first school. The Masonic Lodge of Twin Sisters moved to Pittsburg in the late 1850s.

The county was organized in 1858 and instead of Pittsburgh, a new town on the opposite bank of the river was to become the county seat. The Pittsburgh Land Company didn't seem bothered by the snub, for they donated 120 acres of land for the new town. A post office was granted in 1858 and two years later the county's first courthouse was built.

The Masons penned a charter for a Masonic University in 1874, but after the foundation was laid, funds dried up. A native stone courthouse replaced the log structure in 1875. Architects for the project were the Ruffini Brothers (Frederick E. and Oscar) who were to become prolific builders across Texas. The former courthouse burned in 1876 and that's the year the citizenry of Johnson City first petitioned for an election in hopes of "stealing" the title from Blanco. Johnson City lost.

In 1884 a high school was built on the abandoned foundation of the university that never was. The school opened in the fall of 1884, and the first class graduated three years later. Johnson City won an election in 1890 and the records were transfered there from Blanco the following year. The rivalry between the two towns continues to this day.

From a population of less than 500 in 1904, Blanco grew to 1,100 by 1939, the year they incorporated. In the 1940s, it dropped back to 453 but once again grew to 1,238 for the 1990 Census. In 2000 it reported 1,505 residents.

The courthouse has been restored in recent years, making one of the best preserved former courthouses in the state and is a fine example of the Ruffini Brother's work.

A Trip to Blanco
Swimming to Mexico

Blanco River, Blanco State Park, Blanco Texas
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2005
Blanco River | Blanco State Park

Blanco, Texas Stories

  • The Ghost on Highway 281 by C.F. Eckhardt ("Charley Eckhardt's Texas" Column)
    "...About a year and a half later John was in the old Jailhouse Barber Shop in Blanco, and he mentioned seeing the guy with the knife alongside 281. "Oh," somebody said, "you saw Lackey's ghost." ... As it turned out, John wasn't the only person who'd seen Lackey trying to hitch a ride north toward Johnson City. A lot of people were aware of him. Truckers don't like to drive that stretch on fall nights..."
  • The Bones in the Courthouse Crawlspace by Johnny Stucco
    What the exterminator saw...
  • Courthouse Savior by Terry Jeanson
    Persistence and Tenacity Preserves Blanco Landmark
    JoNell Haas and The 1885 former Blanco County Courthouse
  • Blanco County Courthouse
  • The Revenge of 'Devil John' McCoy by Murray Montgomery
    E.G. McCoy, of Blanco, came to Gonzales and had a chat with the local editor. McCoy’s narrative of an event involving his father was published in the Inquirer way back in 1879. His father, John, was a pretty tough ol’ boy and had a natural dislike for Indians. I think you will find by reading the article, that John McCoy wasn’t one to forgive and forget.

    Trips
  • Swimming to Mexico
  • Hill Country

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  • Limestone building, Blanco Texas
    Blanco Architecture
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006
    Blanco Texas theater
    A Theater in Blanco
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006
    Downtown Blanco Texas
    Downtown Blanco
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006
    Blanco City Hall, Texas
    Blanco City Hall
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006
    Former Blanco County courthouse, Blanco Texas, Ruffini 1885
    The former Blanco County Courthouse in Blanco
    Photo courtesy Texas State Library and Archives
    Blanco County Courthouse
    TX Blanco County 1940s Map
    Blanco County 1940s map
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office
    Blanco, Texas
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    Johnson City
    Fredericksburg
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