A view from the
TE photo, August 2001
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
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
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
Marble Falls, but destroys the natural falls.
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
Falls, Texas Attractions
A roadside park near Marble Falls
TE Photo, August 2001
– 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
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."
Falls Hotels - Book Hotel Here
granite outcropping with cactus
TE Photo, August 2001
Falls Tourist Information
LBJ Chamber of Commerce
916 Second Street • Marble Falls, TX 78654
830-693-2815 • f: 830-693-1620
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.
Local: (830) 693-4449
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...
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
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Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact