Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Round Rock, TX. Texas A&M Health Science Center. Chisholm Trail. Sam Bass. "The Leanderthal Lady". Immigration Act.


For “Travel Tuesday”, Let's go to Round Rock, TX:

Question: “What is the best place to live in Texas?”

Answer: “Round Rock is the best place to live in Texas, receiving an overall rank of 25 out of 1057 cities in the United States.”


#Region.R_Description#Round Rock is in The Texas Hill Country Region of TX which is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. Rolling hills, spring fed rivers and lakes, diverse art and music offerings, specialty shopping, and the state's capital city make the Hill Country a favorite destination for Texans and out-of-state visitors alike. Discover the beauty of the Texas Hill Country Region.

“Round Rock is a city in Travis and Williamson counties in the U.S. state of Texas. It is part of the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area. The 2010 census places the population at 99,887.”

Escarpment formed by the Balcones Fault at Mount Bonnell

“The city straddles both sides of the Balcones Escarpment, a fault line in which the areas roughly east of IH-35 are flat and characterized by having black, fertile soils of the Blackland Prairie, and the west side of the Escarpment which consists mostly of hilly, karst-like terrain with little topsoil and higher elevations and which is part of the Texas Hill Country. Located about 20 miles (32 km) north of downtown Austin, Round Rock shares a common border with Austin at SH 45.

imagesCAP28BLQ In August 2008, Money magazine named Round Rock as the seventh-best American small city in which to live. Round Rock was the only Texas city to make the Top 10. In a CNN article dated July 1, 2009, Round Rock was listed as the second-fastest growing city in the country, with a population growth of 8.2% in the preceding year.

Round Rock has a strong public education system. According to the 2008 ratings from the Texas Education Agency, the Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) ranks among the best in the state. Of 42 schools within it, twelve were rated exemplary and eleven are recognized.

Dell Diamond baseball stadium in Round Rock

Motto: "Sports Capital of Texas"

Round Rock is perhaps best known as the international headquarters of Dell, which employs approximately 16,000 people at its Round Rock facilities. The presence of Dell along with other major employers,  a strong economic development program, favorable tax rates, and major retailers such as IKEA and a Premium Outlet Mall, and the mixed use La Frontera center, have changed Round Rock from a sleepy bedroom community into its own self-contained "super suburb.


Avery Building at the Texas State University Round Rock Campus

“The city is also home to the new Texas A&M Health Science Center Round Rock which opened its doors December 2010.”  




Traffic has steadily increased on Interstate 35 in Round Rock and averages more than 225,000 cars per day.”


Round Rock remains among safest cities in Texas, U.S.

mcgruff and girl“Major crimes in Round Rock decreased 18 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, a fact that helped keep the City on the list of the safest communities nationally and in Texas.

“It’s truly amazing that the number of crimes fell in a year when Round Rock was the second fastest growing city in the country.””



“Round Rock is on Interstate Highway 35 in south central Williamson County, sixteen miles north of downtown Austin. It was established on the north bank of Brushy Creek where Jacob M. Harrell, formerly a blacksmith in Austin, set up his shop during the spring of 1848. The settlement was first called Brushy Creek. Thomas C. Oatts, who became the first postmaster in 1851, was asked by postal officials to submit another name, and on August 24, 1854, the town officially became Round Rock, as suggested by Oatts and Harrell, who often fished together from a large anvil-shaped limestone rock in Brushy Creek near their dwellings. The Chisholm Trail, used by early cattle drivers on their way to Kansas, passed through Round Rock, crossing Brushy Creek near the rock.

Washington Anderson had settled a short distance east of the original Round Rock in 1843 and built a gristmill, which was washed out by a flood in 1845. A later mill was installed west of the round rock near the present low-water bridge and dam. During the Civil War a wool-carding factory opened nearby, and in the 1870s a gin was erected. Greenwood Masonic Institute, a three-story structure, opened in 1867 and was operated by the Masonic Lodge until 1881, after which the Cumberland Presbyterian Church agreed to take over its administration. They renamed it Round Rock Institute. It burned down on April 9, 1883, and a new two-story building was constructed on College Hill. This building burned down in 1913. Local citizens administered the institution until it was transferred to the public schools in 1888.


In 1876, when the International-Great Northern Railroad was built through Williamson County, its tracks were laid a short distance south and east of Round Rock. The community began to move toward the railroad and the south bank of Brushy Creek, building at first a tent city that was referred to for a time as "new" Round Rock. The original site was largely abandoned and was called Old Round Rock in official records. Since 1970 the town has developed in all directions, and so-called Old Town, consisting of a few restored limestone structures, is now surrounded by the rest of the city.

Within a year after the coming of the railroad, the town had a dozen businesses and professional offices, several hotels, a new broom factory, a lime plant operated by William Walsh, and two short-lived newspapers.

imagesCAMLLMR5The town's prosperity drew outlaw Sam Bass to the area in 1878; his capture and death after a shootout that year are commemorated annually during the town's Frontier Days celebration. In 1879 the Round Rock Searchlight was established. This newspaper became the Round Rock Leader in 1896 and was still operating in the 1990s. Trinity Lutheran College was established in the community in 1906; it merged with the Lutheran College of Seguin in 1929. The Round Rock Cheese Factory opened in 1928 and operated until the early 1970s.

Historic Round Rock, Texas.

During the first six decades of the twentieth century, Round Rock had a population between 1,000 and 1,400. The town began to grow in the 1960s and became the site of much historic restoration and preservation work. The 1970s brought dramatic growth, as nearby Austin expanded and brought large-scale development to Round Rock. The town became a bedroom community for Austin and a site for manufacturing and industry. It’s population rose between 1970 and 1980 from 2,811 to 11,812. Growth continued in the 1980s as the city became home to several computer-related industries and over 300 retail businesses.”


The Historic Round Rock Collection is a project documenting Round Rock's history, funded in part with a grant from the Texas Historical Commission.  These pages are adapted from the original 1991 print version, which is available at the Public Library and Round Rock schools.


Chronological History: 

The Early History:
The Tonkawa Indians
Kenney Fort
The Santa Fe Expedition
The Archives War


Old Town:
The Story of Old Town
Round Rock and the Chisholm Trail

Main Street:
Railroads of Round Rock
The Story of New Town
The Story of Sam Bass



Historic Places and Architecture:
Historic Architecture
Historical Markers
Downtown Historic District
Chisholm Trail Historic Sites




Government & Community Organizations:
The Political Structure of Round Rock
Growth and Demographics
Historic City Council Membership Lists





Government & Community Organizations:
The Political Structure of Round Rock
Growth and Demographics
Historic City Council Membership Lists




Oral Histories & Local Legends:
The Local Legend Award
Oral Histories in the Round Rock Public Library


Jukebox Collection
A collection of newspaper accounts, stories, articles
and many other interesting and unique items.
Round Rock Texas, 1913-1938
Round Rock



Prehistoric Round Rock

This Clovis point is from a period of habitation of approximately 11,500 years ago.

“Round Rock and Williamson County have been the site of human habitation since at least 9,200 BC. The earliest known inhabitants of the area lived during the late Pleistocene (Ice Age), and are linked to the Clovis culture around 9,200 BC (11,200 years old) based on evidence found at the much-studied Gault Site, midway between Georgetown and Fort Hood. One of the most important discoveries in recent times is that of the ancient skeletal remains dubbed "The Leanderthal Lady" because of its age and proximity to Leander, Texas. The site is 4 miles (6 km) west of Round Rock and was discovered by accident by Texas Department of Transportation workers while drilling core samples for a new highway. The site has been extensively studied for many years and samples carbon date to this particular Pleistocene period at approximately 10,500 years ago (8,500 BC). Prehistoric and Archaic Period "open occupation" campsites are also found throughout the county along streams and other water sources including Brushy Creek in Round Rock and the San Gabriel River in Georgetown, ten miles (16 km) north. These archeology dig sites show a much greater volume of evidence of Archaic Period inhabitants based on relics and flint tools recovered from burned rock middens. The earliest known "historical" Native American occupants, the Tonkawa, were a flint-working, hunting people who followed the buffalo on foot and periodically set fire to the prairie to aid them in their hunts. During the 18th century they made the transition to a horse culture and used firearms to a limited extent. There also appear to have been small numbers of Kiowa, Yojuane, Tawakoni, and Mayeye Native-Americans living in the county at the time of the earliest Anglo settlements. After they were crowded out by white settlement, the Comanches continued to raid settlements in the county until the 1860s. In the late 19th century, Native Americans were being push out of Central Texas.”



Overview of the Geology of the Texas Hill Country

of the Texas Hill Country








“Considerable faulting occurred over millions of years, particularly in the areas surrounding the Balcones Escarpment, and the remaining fault lines and boundaries between the various limestone strata provide pathways for infusion of rainwater into the underground aquifers. Since rainwater is slightly acidic and the limestone is easily dissolved by acidic solutions, a number of large subsurface caves formed throughout the Hill Country. These caves support extensive aquifers, the most notable of which is the Edwards Aquifer that supplies the water for San Antonio and some of the surrounding communities.

Texas Hill Country graphic

The geology of the Texas Hill Country has been dominated by sedimentation from ancient shallow seas, and igneous uplift events. Glaciers never reached the Hill Country, so natural lakes are not present in the area.” From: http://voicesofthetexashills.org/vthgeology.htm

“The San Antonio area lies in a very unique location here in South Texas. Once you begin heading West from San Antonio, the climate begins to dry out, and quickly switches over to a Semi-Arid Climate, the desert climate of West Texas. It's a dramatic change. You drive west from San Antonio, and within 100 miles, you are in Desert areas. San Antonio also happens to lie along the Balcones Escarpment. The Balcones Escarpment is where the flat coastal plains of South Texas, begin to change in elevation, from gradual rolling hills to the higher altitude of West Texas. The sea level throughout the Escarpment changes anywhere between one, to five hundred feet, but that change in elevation is sometimes enough to impact the weather.”  More at: http://www.theweatherprediction.com/weatherpapers/041/index.html


19th Century History

The "round rock" of Round Rock, Texas

“In 1851, a small community was formed on the banks of Brushy Creek, near a large round and anvil-shaped rock located in the middle of the creek. This round rock marked a convenient low-water crossing for wagons, horses, and cattle. The first postmaster called the community "Brushy," and the creek was called "Brushy Creek". But in 1854, at the suggestion of the postmaster, the small settlement was renamed Round Rock in honor of this now famous rock. After the Civil War, Jesse Chisholm began moving cattle from South Texas through Round Rock on the way to Abilene, Kansas. The route he established, which crossed Brushy Creek at the round rock, became known as the Chisholm Trail. Most of the old buildings, including the old Saint Charles Hotel, have been preserved. This historic area is now called "Old Town."

The era of Sam Bass - 1870s

Palm House Museum in Round Rock

“Downtown Round Rock was the site of an historic gunfight and subsequent capture (and death) of the 19th-century American train robber Sam Bass, by the Texas Ranger Division on July 19, 1878. The Rangers followed Bass and his imagesCAT2YR6W gang after they robbed the Fort Worth-to-Cleburn train. Bass was tracked to Round Rock and as he attempted to flee, Bass was shot and killed in a gun battle by Ranger George Herold and Ranger sergeant Richard Ware. Near Ware was Soapy Smith, a noted con man, and his cousin Edwin, who witnessed Ware's shot. Soapy exclaimed, "I think you got him." The event is known locally as the "Sam Bass Shootout."

imagesCARCNYMJ This shootout is re-created each year at the July 4 'Frontier Days' Celebration in Old Settlers Park.

Bass is buried in Round Rock Cemetery, located northwest of "Old Town" on Sam Bass Road. His original headstone can be found on display at the Round Rock Public Library.”

More at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round_Rock,_Texas

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Round Rock.


On This Day:

Immigration act passed over Wilson's veto, Feb 5, 1917:

“With more than a two-thirds majority, Congress overrides President Woodrow Wilson's veto of the previous week and passes the Immigration Act. The law required a literacy test for immigrants and barred Asiatic laborers, except for those from countries with special treaties or agreements with the United States, such as the Philippines.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States received a majority of the world's immigrants, with 1.3 million immigrants passing through New York's Ellis Island in 1907 alone. Various restrictions had been applied against immigrants since the 1890s, but most of those seeking entrance into the United States were accepted.

However, in 1894, the Immigration Restriction League was founded in Boston and subsequently petitioned the U.S. government to legislate that immigrants be required to demonstrate literacy in some language before being accepted. The organization hoped to quell the recent surge of lower-class immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. Congress passed a literacy bill in 1897, but President Grover Cleveland vetoed it. In early 1917, with America's entrance into World War I three months away, xenophobia was at a new high, and a bill restricting immigration was passed over President Wilson's veto.

Subsequent immigration to the United States sharply declined, and, in 1924 a law was passed requiring immigrant inspection in countries of origin, leading to the closure of Ellis Island and other major immigrant processing centers. Between 1892 and 1924, some 16 million people successfully immigrated to the United States to seek a better life.”



Jay called to say that it was raining, and that he was sick.  It wasn’t really raining, you could run between the drops.

My new foster cat, Arlo, had been locked up in his big cage all night, to get used to his new surroundings.  I let him out in the morning to meet Miss Priss face to face.  He was a little overwhelmed.  Kenya had described Arlo as ‘Highly Active’, but he was no match for Miss Priss.  When she got rough with him, he gave her a little hiss, boxed her ears, and told her to leave him alone.  He got back up in his cage, and just watched her tear around like a little dervish. He would be safely inside his kitty condo, and she would jump on of top of it, tantalizing him.

As I had to leave to pick up an electrician, I locked both cats up in their respective cages.  The electrician was coming to look at the breaker box that the contractors put in my garage years ago, as we found out that they had installed a used one with a temperamental buss bar.  He told me what to buy, and I took him home.  He and his helper are supposed to install the new breaker box next weekend, so I have time to move some shelves out of the way. 

Ray came over to play with the new cat, and he helped me add a barrier to the doorway of Arlo’s wire cage, so that the cats can’t get their feet caught between the bars in the doorway.  They can break their legs, and that is a big problem with wire cages.  Prissy’s cage was done a long time ago.  We zip-tied a piece of an old patio door blind across inside the doorway.  Also, we drilled holes in a piece of paneling that is on top of Arlo’s cage, and zip-tied it in place.  If that paneling should move, any cat jumping on top of the cage could get a broken leg, too.  I learned that the hard way, or rather Bobbiecat learned that, when she broke her leg jumping on top of a wire cage.

Arlo seems very happy to be here, is very affectionate, and purrs when he is petted or picked up.  In the afternoon, I let him roam around the house.  His cage is still his sanctuary, and he stays in there, with the door open, a lot of the time.  Even though he is used to being around dogs, he is very leery of this strange dog, Misty, who is no threat, as she just ignores him, like she does most cats.  Arlo is going to be a great companion when he goes to his ‘furever’ home one day.

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