Learn About The History Of Georgetown TX

Just as today the city of Georgetown is a quaint, safe, comfortable little town, it’s foundation and history is a quiet sequence of events. Originally home to the Tonkawa tribe, the indigenous people were skilled buffalo hunters and flint workers. Several other nomadic groups also camped near the San Gabriel River until they were all invaded pushed out by the white colonizers.

Eventually it became a part of Williamson County. In 1848 William Anderson and four other men were tasked with exploring the land to pick a good location for the county seat. While taking an afternoon rest, Anderson’s wealthy landowner cousin George Washington Glasscock, Sr. came to greet them. Without much preamble, Anderson told Gasscock that if he gave them all of the land between their current location and the river, they would name the town after him. Glasscock agreed easily, and thus Georgetown was born.

With 173 acres of land to work with, the townspeople set to work designing and building their new home. From humble beginnings of tents and simple log cabins, the first settlers from neighboring states laid the foundation for the sprawling city to come. Over time, immigrants from Germany, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, and Mexico began to call Georgetown home as well.

Though Georgetown had a steadily growing population since its foundation, it didn’t get a significant increase in popularity until the establishment of the Southwestern University in 1873. As Texas’s first university, it brought many students and their families to the town’s population and workforce. As more and more effort was put into the building, it’s educational quality grew and attracted even better students to increase its prestige. One student of note was Jessie Daniel Ames, an influential suffragette and civil rights activist that fought against misogyny and racism for most of her long life.

In 1878 a railroad was established, connecting Georgetown to nearby towns as well as improving the local trade. With the train’s help, the economy grew steadily around cotton, cattle, and other agriculture and craftswork. In 1904 a railroad to Austin was completed, linking the small town to the state’s capital and increasing its traffic even further.

A large scale tragedy struck Georgetown for the first time in 1921, when a hurricane brought over eighteen inches of rain. The San Gabriel River overflowed, flooding the town and destroying both lives and buildings. After, steps were taken to dam the river to prevent a repeat event. Lake Georgetown was created as a result and continues to be an attractive sightseeing park today.

For forty more years, the small town of Georgetown stayed modest and quiet, its economy growing slowly with the addition of new industries like radio and manufacturing. In 1960, the neighboring city of Austin experienced a large increase of development in all areas. This spread to Georgetown as well and kickstarted its development into the modern age. Since then, both new homes and business have been built and old buildings have been carefully restored to keep their historic charm.

In more recent history, Georgetown has become a humble town with a steadily growing population of friendly locals. Retirement homes, hospitals, and public education centers have been built to increase the quality of life. Additionally, in 2015, the city made the switch to supply all of its power with wind and solar energy and become 100% green powered.

A sleepy little town from start to finish, Georgetown continues to be a friendly, comfortable place to live and visit. Many of its buildings still carry their same 19th century aesthetic, making its history feel that much more exciting to experience in person.