Welcome to Bell County!
Bell County was created from Milam County just five years after Texas entered the Union. County Commissioners chose a county seat on the banks of Nolan Creek and named it Nolandsville. Two years later, January 12, 1852, the town’s name became Belton and it was incorporated.
Belton’s first settlers built houses, stores, saloons, and a hotel and prospered until the Civil War when they lined up behind the South. When things went bad for the South, Belton also experienced tough times. By the 1880s, Belton had recovered from the war and began to flourish once again. It was the largest town in Bell County and had a brisk economy. Belton would have become a boom town if it had a railroad, but it only reached its doorstep as the Santa Fe Railroad crossed the county line on the eastern edge near Rogers.
During the mid to late 1860s, the Chisholm Trail cut through central Bell County along a route between the present day cities of Belton and Salado. The 1860’s also saw the establishment of the female religious commune known as the True Church Colony which flourished until about 1900.
Between 1877 and 1915, ten railroads considered placing tracks through Bell County, but only two companies actually came to the area. At a time when railroads made and broke rural communities, the acquisition of a railroad was important. The Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad, known as the Katy, went through Belton, while the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railroad, known as the Santa Fe, established a new town just north of Belton, known as Temple.
To provide the railroad employees with health care, Santa Fe hospital became the city’s first hospital in 1891. Then in 1896, King’s Daughters Hospital was established. Temple Sanitarium began in 1897 and later evolved into Scott & White. In 1983, Santa Fe combined with Scott & White.
The first woman elected as governor in the United States was Miriam Amanda Wallace Ferguson. Ms. Ferguson was born near Little River and she served from 1925-1927 and 1933-1935. Her husband, James Edward Ferguson was born near Salado and elected as governor from 1915-1917.
Alvin Ailey, the founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is a native of Rogers.
Located in the heart of Central Texas, Bell County offers a little bit of everything: small town charm, big city amenities, natural beauty, and a vibrant culture. Within our county are several popular tourist spots, including beautiful lakes, acres of park land, the Bell County Expo Center, and several historic museums and villages.
Welcome to Coryell County!
Coryell County (1,057 square mile area) was created by the Texas state legislature in 1854 and is named for James Coryell (1796-1837 Texas Ranger), an early explorer of the region. Gatesville, the county seat, grew up around Fort Gates, established in 1849 to protect settlers from marauding Indians.
The habitation of Coryell County dates as far back as 4500 BC. The Tonkawa, Lipan Apache, Kiowa and Comanche were among the tribes who migrated through the area at various periods. When the General Colonization Law went into effect in 1824, followed by the 1825 State Colonization Law of Coahuila y Tejas, Robert Leftwich obtained a grant to settle 800 families in Texas. The grant went through several legal challenges, and later became Robertson’s Colony, named for Sterling C. Robertson. The grant encompassed all or parts of thirty present-day Texas counties. Settlers began moving into the area after Fort Gates was established at Gatesville.
Besides Fort Gates, settlements established in Coryell County in the 1850s included Mound, Coryell Church, Rainey’s Creek (Coryell City), Langford Cove (Evant), Boyd’s Cove (Bee House), the Grove, Henson’s Creek, Spring Hill, Station Creek, Turnover, and Lincolnville. The 1860 census showed the county’s free population to be 2,360; 81 of this number were slaveholders, who owned a total of 306 slaves. The majority of residents were from the Old South. Of the heads of households in 1860, the largest number (115) were from Tennessee, forty were from Alabama, and thirty-seven each from Kentucky and North Carolina.
Like most areas in the South, Coryell County suffered a severe economic decline after the Civil War and throughout Reconstruction. Between 1864 and 1866 the county lost 63 percent of its tax base. Recovery was slow because transportation was poor and the economy was so dependent on stock raising and farming. The county economy began to recover in the late 1860s. The overall population more than doubled between 1870 and 1880, rising from 4,124 to 10,924, and the market for agricultural products increased.
In the early 1980s, 88 percent of the land in Coryell County (exclusive of Fort Hood) was devoted to farms and ranches. About 20 percent of the farmland was under cultivation, with oats, wheat, and sorghum accounting for 94 percent of the 101,000 acres harvested; other crops were hay, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peaches, and pecans. Eighty percent of the county’s agricultural receipts came from livestock and livestock products, the most important ones being cattle, sheep, wool, Angora goats, mohair, hogs, and turkeys. Although agriculture continued to be an important part of the local economy, farm receipts represented less than 8 percent of the county’s total income. Professional and related services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and public administration employed 68 percent of the workforce in the 1980s; 10 percent of the workforce was self-employed, and 8 percent was employed outside the county. Coryell County had 56,767 residents in 1980, a 60 percent increase over the 1970 population of 35, 311. The county’s population in 1990 was 64,213, according to census records.
Welcome to Lampasas County!
Lampasas was originally settled by John Burleson in 1850. The city was first named Burleson, however the name was gradually changed to Lampasas Springs because of the existence of seven mineral springs. Lampasas County enjoys many fine attributes such as two significant springs producing more than 3,000,000 gallons of water daily.
Tonkawas, Apaches, and Comanches were all drawn to the mineral springs in the Lampasas area long before the first white settler came. Flowing springs, rivers, and streams filled with fish, and a countryside teeming with game such as white-tail deer, turkeys, pronghorn antelope, and buffalo made the area popular spot for Indians to hunt, fish and camp. Early European settlers also were attracted to the area. After the buffalo were exterminated by hide hunters and the Indians were pacified, settlers found the area ideally suited for the grazing of cattle, sheep and goats. The mineral springs continued to draw visitors, but instead of Indians, it was new comers looking for cures for ailments in the cool sulphur water.
For his services in the Texas Revolution, John Burleson received 1,280 acres of land and established a permanent settlement in the 1850s. When the county was created in 1856, the law specified “The county seat shall be same name as the county.” The City of Lampasas was officially incorporated in 1883.
Several theories attempt to explain how the name Lampasas came to be. The Texas Almanac states the word came from a Spanish word for “lilies” that are found in nearby streams. Another source states the word comes from the Spanish word “Lampazos.” It was given to the river by the Spanish Aquayo Expedition in 1721. It is believed the name was inspired by a Mexican town that also had beautiful springs.
Lampasas County emerged from an era of strife and tension in the 1870s into one of development and stability. The railroad arrived in 1882, and the town prospered with the creation of spas and resorts at Hanna and Sulphur springs. The famed Park Hotel was located near the present day Hancock Springs Bathhouse. The structure was 331 feet long and two stories high. It had 200 guest rooms. The railroad would bring the visitors to the area and mule drawn streetcars would take them to either the Park Hotel or one of the other six hotels in Lampasas. One, Star Hotel, still stands.
In late 1800s Lampasas had a volunteer fire department, a college, an opera house, churches, and a stage coach inn. In the early 1900s a citizen decided to drill for oil just south of the present day football field. They struck Sulphur water, and it became know as the Abney Plunge. The Abney Well was opened for the public in 1906. Public schools started in the early 1900s. In the 1920’s buses started coming through.
In 1933 the first hospital was built and it is still in operation. Sixty-three years to the day, since the destructive flood of 1873, Lampasas experienced the worst flood on record in 1936. The businesses around the county courthouse were the most heavily damaged.
The military has played a big role in Lampasas since the establishment of Camp Hood 1942, it became Fort Hood in 1950. Today, It is the largest military base in the world.
In 1957, after seven years of drought, the clouds opened and up to 12 inches of rain fell on the area west of town. This was worse than the 1873 and the 1936 floods. Five persons drowned, and more than 100 homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged. Water was seven feet deep in the Lampasas County Courthouse. To help prevent similar occurrences, numerous flood prevention dams have been built.
As the population increased, the county expanded to accommodate its growth. Modern apartment complexes, fashionable homes, restaurants, and a variety of other small businesses spring up throughout the community.