Its an unusual name for a town, to be sure. So there is a natural curiosity to see what it was named after.
Nearby there is a nice little Chisolm Trail Park with informative historical markers and a number of life-size sculptures of pioneers and longhorn cattle.
PLEASE CLICK THE PHOTO TO SEE NEARBY ATTRACTIONS.
Texas A & M University has built a great new health science center in Round Rock. Medical students come to study here in this brand new (as of 2010) facility. One entire floor on one of the wings is a simulated hospital with the most up-to-date equipment for training purposes.
Once you leave the small downtown district of Round Rock and continue down Main Street, you'll see a stately brick residence on the right known as the Nelson-Crier House.
There is a historical marker and a pull off where you can park and admire the house from the road, but it's not open to the public.
A marker informs us that this home was built by the widow and heirs of Andrew J. Nelson. Page Brothers of Austin, Texas were the architects (1895-1900). The original Victorian facade was altered to a Classical Revival style in 1931 by one of the sons and his wife.
The plaque reads that three generations of Nelsons lived in this home. In 1960, the residence was purchased by Eugene N. and Jean Crier Goodrich. They restored and named it Woodbine.
This home has a beautiful setting, surrounded by mature trees and complete with white picket fence. Can't you picture yourself here?!?
After the Civil War, cattle drives helped to revitalize Texas. It's thought that more than six million cattle were moved from Texas to markets in Kansas and as far as present-day Oklahoma over a period of about 20 years.
Opening pic--ruts cut into Brushy Creek from wagon wheels traveling the Chisholm Trail
It might be interesting to know that Longhorns are a breed that descended from Spanish Andalusian cattle. These animals were brought to America in the early 16th century by Spanish missionaries, ranchers and those exploring the area.
After the Texas Revolution, these animals were left to roam free in this area where ranches were few and far apart. Little human contact allowed them to breed, adapt to the land and grow to a population of millions.
* Info. taken from The Chisholm Trail published by the Texas Historical Commission
There is an actual round rock from which the town drew its name. It sits in the middle of Brushy Creek and marks a low water crossing where native Indians, pioneers and the cattle drives could cross safely.
Jim and I parked our car near Chisholm Trail Commemorative Park and walked down a slight grade to where a small bridge spanned the creek. Here, a plaque denoted the importance of this site. Brushy Creek didn't seem too deep at this time, but I imagine during the Spring rainy season it might be a different story.
Be careful if you decide to visit this site, because there is very little space to plant your feet as cars pass over the bridge.
The Chisholm Trail Commemorative Park is a pleasant little park not far from downtown Round Rock that highlights the cattle crossing of Brushy Creek by Jesse Chisholm and other drivers on their way to markets in the east.
Three large bronze sculptures by Jim Thomas of Texas, mark the historic trail:
Opening pic--The Bell Steer--a dominant steer used often in drives which was outfitted with a bell that enabled the cowboys and cattle to identify the head of the herd in darkness or inclement weather.
pic #2 The Longhorn Steer--named Travis, is located at Chisholm Trail Park and one of seven 'reclining' longhorns by Thomas soon to be seen in Texas and beyond.
pic #3 Pioneer Woman and Son-Hattie Cluck's family including her son, Emmett were among the first to travel the Chisholm Trail; Emmett was five when the family first came through and is said to have named Cedar Park, Texas and served as the postmaster there from 1892-1929.
pic #4 A Tribute to the Swedish immigrants who helped settle the area is noted in stone. (The Oscar Edward Quick family in particular). Members of this family owned a pharmacy for over 100 years in Round Rock.
Originally, the old town was situated at the corner of Brushy Creek, where the actual round rock sits.
A mile or so from this first site, Round Rock's historic downtown area is only about two blocks long, but it captures the character of a small late 1800's town beautifully. Bad guy, Sam Bass, had his gunfight with the Texas Rangers in this downtown area.
pic #2 The John Nelson building-1900
pic #3 Mercantile buildings-1880
pic #4 The former broom factory-1879
pic #5 The Palm House museum
On our walk about town, we noticed that at least three eateries, the Palm House museum* (also the Chamber of Commerce), a cleaners, banquet hall and other businesses comprise E. Main Street.
The Robert G. and Helen Griffith Library casts a long shadow, while across the street a little parklet welcomes The Main Street Art Stroll.
*The Palm House (1873) museum contains exhibits detailing Round Rock history and features a Swedish kitchen and authentic furnishings. Structure was originally located three miles from town, moved to RR in 1976. Open daily Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm.
Although one aspect of Round Rock is the modern shopping malls, for contrast, visit the old downtown area.
THIS IS JUST ONE residential area, called Teravista. It is very upscale.
To see some of the homes, click the picture!