History

Top o’ the Hill Country in Rocksprings, Texas

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Rocksprings is a wonderful little town on the western edge of our Texas Hill Country map. Established a little later than most Hill Country towns, and without ever attracting too much attention, Rocksprings has matured into the prototypical rural county seat, with little traffic, friendly people, and buildings from a mostly bygone era.

Top o' the Hill Country

Photo: Wikipedia

The “rock springs” which give the town its name (it used to be two words, but was changed to one word in 1897) were well known to travelers, freighters, cattlemen and outlaws for years before the town was founded. W.J. Greer set up a sheep camp in the area in 1882; Francis Winan established a cattle and sheep ranch in 1884, and A.O. Burr began farming nearby in 1885.

But the actual town came to be when J.R. Sweeten dug a well in 1889 to serve new settlers. In 1891, he began selling lots, and soon there were enough residents to open a post office and become the new county seat. The courthouse was built later that year.

By 1892, Rocksprings had 250 residents, including a blacksmith, a doctor, a real estate agent, a druggist and two lawyers. There was a hotel, a general store and two saloons. that year, Mr. Sweeten donated two acres of land for a community cemetery. In 1895, the county contracted for the building of a jail on the corner of the square (it’s still there).

Top o' the Hill Country
Photo: Wikipedia

A fire gutted the courthouse in 1897, but the county rebuilt the damaged building. Also that year, the official name of the town was changed from Rock Springs to Rocksprings. In 1898, the Rocksprings Telephone company was formed. The town garnered some unflattering publicity in 1910, when a murder suspect named Antonio Rodriguez was lynched, but the little town continued to grow, and by 1914, the population had reached 500. By then, the town also had its first bank; the new Gilmer Hotel was built in 1916.

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