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Hill Country Ghost Towns to Explore When Quarantine Ends: Part 2

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Since Native Americans were the sole population of the Texas Hill Country, communities and settlements have come and gone, changing with railroads, zoning, and environmental fluctuations. Below is part two of some great ghost towns to explore online and visit when quarantine ends!

Friendship: You’ll need scuba gear to visit this ghost town. Friendship used to be located 45 miles from Austin but is now under the waters of Granger Lake. Originally settled in the 1880s by Czech and other immigrants, it was tied to a second community called Allison, or Old Friendship. At one time, Friendship had a church, school, general store, gin, community center, and a co-op. Granger Dame (at first called Laneport Dam) was decided upon for construction, which required residents to sell their lands and dismantle the cemetery. The dam was completed in 1980.

Goforth: Although it sounds like a riled up town, Goforth was actually named for landowner and merchant J. T. Goforth. Once the Hays County center of cotton production, the first school of Goforth was built in 1881. By the time of the 1913 flood, erosion and soil exhaustion had begun reducing local agricultural yields. The school remained for locals until 1948. Goforth and explore these great ghost towns!

Gold: AKA Rheingold was once found off FM 1631 on Rheingold School Road, roughly 13.5 miles Northeast of Fredericksburg. Brothers Jacob and Peter Gold were German immigrants who founded the community of Gold but perished from cholera shortly after arriving in 1852. Their widows and children stayed there, running the community store and gin. When new Germans began moving in, the town became unofficially known as Rheingold. The Great Depression spelled the end of the community but the old schoolhouse remains as of 2019.

Hill Country Ghost Towns to Explore When Quarantine Ends: Part 2
Photo: envato elements

Grapetown: Formerly a German town, stone structures remain here as well as a cemetery. In 1861, Gillespie County voted 400–17 against Union secession, so the Confederate States of America imposed martial law on Central Texas. Unionists from Kerr, Gillespie, and Kendall counties formed a secret organization to support President Abraham Lincoln. Residents of Grapetown, August Hoffman and Heinrich Rausch, joined 60+ conscientious objectors trying to flee to Mexico. In what became known as the Nueces Massacre, Scottish-born Confederate irregular James Duff and his followers reached the objectors at the Nueces River and killed 34. Hoffman and Rausch lived through the massacre but hid in the Hill Country, along with 2,000 other conscientious objectors.

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