A Brief History

Our Part of SW Austin and Hill Country

Hays County
Hays County was created on March 1, 1848, carved out of the southern part of Travis County. It is named for the famous Texas Ranger, John Coffee “Jack” Hays, whose father, Harmon Hayes, fought with Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston in the War of 1812.

Travis County
From 1838 to 1839, approximately 25 families had settled in the community of Waterloo. The Congress of the Republic of Texas chose Waterloo as the site for the new capital. Official approval came in January of 1840, and the capital was renamed “Austin,” in honor of Stephen F. Austin, known as the “Father of Texas.” A few days later Travis County was established, named in honor of William Barrett Travis, the commander of the Republic of Texas forces at the Battle of the Alamo.

Dripping Springs
It is thought that the first settler to the area arrived sometime around 1849, and with other families farming the valleys of Little Barton Creek and Onion Creek by the early 1850s, Dripping Springs had emerged as a community center by the time of the Civil War. By the early 1880s, the town supported several businesses, a gristmill, a cotton gin and a public school.

Those other families that were the foundation of the young settlement that would become Dripping Springs were those of Dr. Joseph McKegg Pound and his wife, Sarah, John L. Moss and his wife, Indiana (“Nannie”), and John Lee Wallace and his wife, Malvina. To establish the post office in 1857, the community needed a name. John Moss would be the first postmaster, and it would be his wife, Nannie, who christened the town for the “dripping springs” at the Milk House Branch of the Edwards Aquifer.

Dripping Springs’ location on the route from Austin to Fredericksburg and points farther west fueled its growth and helped position it as the “Gateway to the Hill Country.”

Wimberley originally began as a trading post near Cypress Creek in 1848, the same year Hays County was created. The community went through a few name changes, depending on who owned the gristmill, until it was sold again to Pleasant Wimberley in 1874, and the name “Wimberley” was formalized when the post office was established in 1880. The town has continued to grow over the past century after becoming known as a resort town and a destination popular with tourists and Texas residents from other parts of the state.

The town of Buda rose up along the International-Great Northern Railroad, which had been extended to connect Austin and San Antonio in 1880. The railroad depot would be the lifeblood of the town for the next few decades, enabling numerous businesses to flourish, including the Carrington Hotel, which became the place for weary travelers to rest and have a meal.

Originally, the town was named “Du Pre,” but in the late 1880s, it was discovered that another Texas town was named Du Pre. According to town historians, “Buda” is a very loosely translated Spanish word for “widow,” in reference to the widows who supposedly cooked all those meals at the Carrington Hotel. And the rest, as they say, is “Buda” history.

Buda was incorporated in 1948. In 2000, the population was 2,400. By 2010, the number of Buda residents had grown to 7,300, and, currently, the population is estimated to be 18,000.

Much like Buda, the International-Great Northern Railroad was key to the establishment of the town of Kyle in 1880. The town is named for Fergus Kyle who, along with David Moore, deeded 200 acres to the railroad for a townsite. Kyle was incorporated in 1928. In 1937, Mary Kyle Hartson, daughter of founder Fergus Kyle, was elected mayor which helped Kyle go on to be the only Texas town with an all-woman government in the early 1940s.

In 2010, Kyle’s population was 28,000. As one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas, the current population is estimated to be 52,000.