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.

Koockville: On Koocksville Rd, two miles northwest of the town of Mason, are the remains of some of the beautiful rock buildings which were the original centers of the community. It was run by the Koock family until a tragic accident. Visit this site to read through the historical marker and see the two-story former general store and residence.

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

Photo: envato elements

Polly: Located outside of Bandera, this site’s historic chapel and cemetery are maintained by a dedicated group called the Polly Texas Pioneer Association. Jose Policarpio “Polly” Rodriguez is the namesake of Polly which was originally called the J.P. Rodriguez Settlement. As an early explorer of Texas, plus a surveyor and army scout, colleagues trusted his pick of this area for land purchasing and built a community here. See the remaining chapel, cemetery, and buildings to learn more about this revered Tejano man who served his community as a Texas Ranger and Justice of the Peace.

Quihi: Found at Farm Road 2676 and Quihi Creek, this area is named after the white-necked Mexican eagle buzzard, the quichie or keechie. On May 26, 1890 the Quihi Schuetzen (shooting) Verein (club) was created and is the oldest continuous running gun club in the United States. Also a social club/dance hall, dances are still held twice a month. Check out their calendar and explore, but make sure to bring cash!

Which ghost towns have you explored? Sources: Texas State Historical Association, TexasEscapes.com