The History of Round Rock

Modern Round Rock’s roots lie several miles from downtown along the banks of Brushy Creek. The thriving community started like many other Texas communities: cattle driving, followed by becoming a transportation hub. How did Round Rock, Texas, transform from a stagecoach stopover to a technological hub ranked among the top places to live in the United States?


What is Round Rock?

A suburb of the Austin metropolitan area, ranked Round Rock as the fifth best place to buy a house in America. The city earned recognition for its low crime rate, leading schools, and affordability. Other media outlets have called Round Rock one of the best places to raise a family and for retirement. Today, it’s one of the fastest-growing cities in America.


Round Rock’s move to top-ranking city starts with its roots.


Settler History

The area called Old Town is the original settlement of modern Round Rock. The hamlet was near the banks of Brushy Creek at a natural crossing point in the river used by cattle drivers on their way to Kansas. Its unique feature was an anvil-shaped boulder in the river, which passers-by called the “round rock.”


Early settlers in Round Rock history included Matthew Moss, Dr. D.F. Knight, Jacob M. Harrell, and the Brattons. They named the settlement Brushy Creek. Williamson County’s first school was built in a log cabin near the settlement, with a second school soon after.


Over time, the fording point became the crossing for stagecoaches and other travelers. John Harris built the Harris Stagecoach Inn in 1848 using limestone quarried right from the hill on which it stood. It served as a regular stop on the stagecoach lines and was a gathering place for the townsfolk to watch travelers.


The settlement continued to do well despite a tendency to flood. Houses and businesses continued popping up along Brushy Creek to service residents and the surrounding area.


How Did Round Rock Get Its Name?

Another town in Texas was known as Brushy. Postal authorities determined it was too close to the town of Brushy Creek, and so they asked the local postmaster, Thomas C. Oatts, to provide a new name for the settlement. He settled on Round Rock, citing the distinct feature of the large rock in the middle of Brushy Creek where he and Jacob Harrell spent time fishing.


The town officially got its current name in 1854. Round Rock was included on the Texas land office maps and 1856 for the first time.


This famous rock is in the middle of Brushy Creek near Chisholm Trail Street.


Round Rock and the Railroad

In 1876, the International and Great Northern Railroad lines enticed the commercial ventures of Round Rock to move towards the east. For a while, the map showed the functioning Old Round Rock and the other as New Round Rock. But, by 1891, the activity shift caused the Old Town post office to shut down.


The railroad increased the town’s prosperity. Several hotels, new factories, businesses, and professional offices opened in the years following. The wealth attracted outlaw and train robber Sam Bass to the area, and the famous shootout that led to his demise is re-enacted during the Frontier Days celebration.


Restored Round Rock

Interest in the older section of town was low until the early 21st century when people recognized the historical significance of the old stone buildings and restoration work launched. Now the Old Town area is home to several businesses that have restored and occupy the buildings.


Today, the expanded town of Round Rock surrounds the original settlement. This Austin bedroom community is an innovative hub of industry and technology. The city has a thriving minor league baseball team and top-ranked schools.


Want to make Round Rock your new Texas home? Make the most of new construction in Round Rock with a new Pulte home. With communities and around Round Rock, you are sure to find a fit for you and your family.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Casey McKenna-Monroe

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Published 1.6.21

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