The 'New' Williamson County Jail
Originally, the Williamson County jail was located on the east side of the county courthouse. However, after jailbreaks began taking place all too often, prisoners were moved to the Travis County jail and a new one was approved for construction.
Land formerly used as a wagon yard was purchased from David Love and by January 1889, the 'new' Williamson County jail was accepting 'residents'. There is some disagreement over how the town received funds to construct this new building, but most accept these were raised through the generous donations of Georgetown's wealthier citizens.
FYI: The jail has been in continuous use since 1888. It was constructed from native limestone at the cost of $22,000 and styled in the French Castille design. A $40,000 restoration took place in 1934.
It appears to be used currently as a community health administration office.
Location: 312 Main Street. For more on this see www.georgetown-texas.org
San Gabriel River
The San Gabriel river runs through town and is impounded by a low dam. Locals like to visit the park there (six blocks north and one block west of the courthouse) and cross over to the rock bluffs on the north bank. The water is deep for a refreshing plunge from as high as you dare (up to about 40 feet).
Georgetown is in the centre of Williamson County, about 26 miles north of Austin. Named after George Glasscock who, with his partner, donated land for the site. Pioneers were drawn to the area by the abundance of timber and good, clear water. The Tonkawa Indians already had established a village there. The land was also inexpensive and extremely fertile. First settlers in the area were from Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Illinois, Arkansas as well as other states. By the 1850's Swedish settlers arrived following in 1890 by the Germans, Austrians and Swiss than later by the Czech.
Southwestern University established itself in 1873 and construction of a railroad began in 1878 which contributed to the town's growth and importance. The cattle trail (Chisholm Trail) was also led through the heart of the town. Cotton production became dominant in the area from the 1880s to the 1920s. Georgetown is known as the Red Poppy Capital of Texas. The flowers came to Georgetown almost 80 years ago when a WWI soldier fighting in Europe sent his mother in Georgetown a packet of red poppy seeds from Flanders Field. She planted them and the seeds have propagated over the years.
Driving up from Austin I saw the dome of the county courthouse and the spire of the University from the freeway, so we decided to pull off and find out what it was all about. The town square was a made up of a delightful mix of shops, restaurants and cafes. There was even some filming going on outside the little cafe (for what, I'm not sure). There is also the Inner Space Cavern - Georgetown's most popular attraction which is a cave that was discovered in 1963 when drilling crew working on an Interstate Highway 35 drilled into one of the large rooms of the cavern which is over 80,000 years in the making. Remains of the Ice Age Mastodons, wolves and sabre-tooth cats have been found within the eroded limestone structure. We didn't have time to check it out but if you have the time, I'm sure it would be worth it. It was certainly worth breaking the journey and its amazing what you find when you go 'off the beaten track'.
The Visitor Centre is a good place to start. They have heaps of brochures not only on Georgetown but also surrounding towns and cities. There is an old couple there which take care of the centre who are just a delight. We were told a delightful story of how they knew each other when they were young and went their different ways and married. 50 years later they finally got back together and got married.
Photos which are taken by myself and all headings are copyright and digitally marked. Please do not use them without permission. Thanks. (c) keeweechic 2001 - 2006 (copyright)