a Pecan Shell
The oldest community in Llano
began in 1852 when the Cowan family moved here from Tennessee. The
Cowans worked a salt bed on the Colorado River which provided salt
to the local residents as well as the Confederate army during the
The operation was destroyed in 1871 by a tornado still known as the
"salt works cyclone. " in 1871. (See Salt
of the South by Clay Coppedge.) The town’s namesake arrived in
1853. William Tow settled into what he named Tow Valley and when the
post office opened in 1886, the name Tow was submitted and accepted.
The town sat quietly for decades, content with knowing it was Llano
first community. The prime location made it a retirement destination
starting in the 1970s.
The population never swelled to the extent of other retirement havens
but it did grow from an estimated population of 50 (sometime before
1950) to over 300 by the mid 1970s. The number of 305 continues to
be used on the state map.
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