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Burnet County, Texas Hill Country

US 281 and FM 1431
On the Colorado River
13 miles SE of Burnet
46 miles NW of Austin
50 miles W of Round Rock
83 miles N of San Antonio
Population: 6,161 (2010) 4,959 (2000)

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Marbles Falls, Texas Topics:

  • History on a Pecan Shell
  • Marble Falls Founder
  • Marble Falls Attractions & Scenic Drives
  • Marble Falls Hotels

  • View of the lake near Marble Fall, Texas

    A view from the bluff
    TE photo, August 2001
    History on a Pecan Shell

    The falls for which the town was named were called "great falls" or the "marble falls" as early as 1817.

    A man ahead of his time was Colonel Charles J. Todd. In 1851 he bought a good portion of the land along the river for $80. In 1854 "Todd's village" was to be a thriving community in a beautiful place, but few people saw Todd’s vision. The land went unsold for want of buyers and the county auctioned the land for taxes in 1880.

    Adam Johnson
    also saw the falls in 1854 and wanted to build an industrial showplace, channeling the waters of the Colorado into a riverside plant. Johnson enlisted in the Confederate army during the Civil War and was blinded for life, but not before becoming a General. In 1886 the now blind Johnson bought a good deal of land – including the all-important falls. The Texas Mining and Improvement Company was chartered in June 1887 and Johnson and nine investors put the first lots up for sale in July of 1887.

    A timeline of significant events in the history of Marble Falls

    1871: the legislature authorizes the building of a dam near Marble Falls but it fails to materialize
    1881: State Capitol in Austin burns – a replacement is planed and granite is the preferred building material
    1885: Adam Johnson grants right-of-way across 7 miles of his property – letting a railroad spur be built from Burnet. The quarry donates the stone for free and the spur allows it to be hauled to Austin.
    1887: The town’s first newspaper The Nutshell is published
    1889: The Austin and NW Railroad builds extension to Marble Falls from Granite Mountain
    1890: the community had a weekly newspaper and an estimated 400 to 600 residents.
    1892: Marble Falls Alliance University was chartered
    1895: a huge building is built, but funding runs out when the time comes to buy machinery
    1907: First city officials are elected
    1908: Independent School District is formed
    1917: Birdie Crosby Harwood is elected as the first woman mayor in the United States
    1920s: Paved roads and electric lights came in then 1920s.
    1925: a dam was built to supply power to the Marble Falls Textile Mills Company – Johnson’s company.
    1940: the population was just over 1,000.
    1950s: A dam forms Lake Marble Falls, but destroys the natural falls.

    Blind Man’s Town by Clay Coppedge

    They called the man who founded Marble Falls “Stovepipe” because of a sneaky trick he pulled off as a Confederate commander in the Civil War. The town he founded was called Blind Man’s Town because he was blind when he laid out the streets of the town by memory... more

    Marble Falls Attractions
    A roadside park near Marble Falls, Texas

    A roadside park near Marble Falls
    TE Photo, August 2001
  • Granite Mountain – RM 1431 on the road to Burnet just North of town. From a roadside park (with the nicest picnic tables in the world) you can observe the quarrying of the same pink granite that was used in the construction of the state capitol building.
  • Lake LBJ: (formerly Granite Shoals Lake) 6,375 acres of water with high bluffs and granite outcroppings
  • Lake Marble Falls
  • Dead Man's Hole ("Texas Tales'' Column by Mike Cox)
    The expression "he just dropped out of sight" had both figurative and literal meaning in Burnet County during and after the Civil War. Common belief held that folks who disappeared in that area often ended up at the bottom of a 150-plus-deep foot limestone fissure south of Marble Falls aptly named "Dead Man's Hole."
  • Marble Falls Hotels - Book Hotel Here
  • Scenic Drives

  • RM 1431 SW to Lago Vista, and NW to Kingsland, winding road with views of Highland Lakes
  • RM 2147 along the SW shore of Lake Marble Falls
  • Hwy 71 from Austin to Llano, South of Marble Falls
  • Marble Falls Hotels - Book Hotel Here
  • Granite and cactus
    A granite outcropping with cactus
    TE Photo, August 2001
    Marble Falls Tourist Information

  • Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce
    916 Second Street • Marble Falls, TX 78654
    830-693-2815 • f: 830-693-1620
  • Visitor Center
    801 Highway 281 Marble Falls, Texas 78654
    SE corner of the Historic 1893 Depot Building at 801 Hwy 281
    1 block SE of the US Hwy 281/FM 1431 intersection.
    (800) 759-8178
    Local: (830) 693-4449
  • Marble Falls Hotels

  • Marble Falls Chronicles

    Thermopylae by Mike Cox
    In the late 1950s or early 1960s, a worker bulldozing a trench during construction of a new building at the Granite Mountain Quarry near Marble Falls made a discovery that created a mystery still unsolved... more

    bear king
    Legends of Marble Falls

    The Belle of Marble Falls and the Bear King by Mike Cox
    If something’s printed in a newspaper, it’s got to be true, right? Good. Now consider the amazing story of Miss Ramie Arland...

    Marble Falls, Texas Forum

  • Subject: Bluebonnets
    Even though we are currently out here in St. Lewis, Washington, our hearts are still at home in Kempner. Just remembering the field of bluebonnets surrounding the little rock house north of Marble Falls. - JL Truitt, August 21, 2004

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

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