3 Wild, Western, Williamson County, Texas Towns You MUST Visit
Jarrell, Walburg, and Florence, Texas, made their mark in the late 1800s and continue to bring wild west vibes today
Maybe you’re a cowboy or cowgirl at heart. Perhaps you want to go back in time to ride the rails of the Bartlett & Western Railway. Maybe you dream of roaming the plains bareback, play cards in the saloon and wake up to a new adventure. From fashioned saloons to preserved buildings, read on to learn more about the history of these historic towns and what they look like today.
History of Jarrell, Texas:
You will want to move to Jarrell, Texas. Jarrell can be found on the map smack dab on Donahoe Creek at Interstate Highway 35 and Farm Road 487. Locals like to say it’s “North Central” Williamson county or “just up the road from the Bell county line.”
Two gentlemen found this town in 1909 at the intersection of stagecoach road and the proposed right-of-way of the Bartlett and Western Railway. You can find their names, Jarrel of Temple and E. Haeber of Bartlett, frequently marking their excellence around the town. Soon after the railroad reached the town, businesses began to open their doors, including a saloon, and two stores, followed by a bank. The Jarrel View began printing news shortly thereafter in 1911, and the town post office opened in 1912. Jarrel peaked at 500 folks in 1914, establishing a swanky hotel, movie theater, electric lights, and waterworks. Jarrell made national news on May 27th, 1997, after a deadly tornado struck and killed 27 people and injured many others.
The population reached 1,000 people in the year 2,000. And as of 2019, the town’s population is up to 1,209 people.
You can find more local news in the My Jarrell Monthly issue online. Stay up to date on business spotlights and town events, including the Practitioner Highlight.
Things to Do in Jarrell, TX:
Cheer for the Jarrell Cougars:
Rah! Rah! Ree! Kick ’em in the Knee!
As a 4A Division II school, spend crisp fall evenings watching the Jarrell Cougars. They often play Salado Eagles, Waco Connally Cadets, China Spring Cougars, and the Gatesville Hornets.
Live music. Cold drinks. Food trucks. Must I say more?
The Granary is a local hub that “brings all of our favorite things to one location.” You’ll find “Good drinks, Good Food, and Good People,” but most importantly, they’re home to The Bar and BQ, offering a medley of drinks and some of the best BBQ around.
Sip and socialize at this quaint coffee shop located in Jarrell, TX. Known as a “cup of heaven,” enjoy delicious hot or cold beverages like a caramel macchiato or Chai Tea.
Pick up a sweet treat! Daylight Donuts offers a plethora of round delights that can make any morning worth getting up early for.
John Mueller’s Joint BBQ:
Brisket Mac & Cheese and Creamy Jalapeno Slaw? Yes, please! Take a trip down to Johns for some of the best BBQ this side of Wilco.
Visit Historical Churches:
Established in 1889, Holy Trinity Catholic Church of Corn Hill will leave you breathless. Attend a church service Saturdays or Sundays. Be sure to get your tickets for the bazaar coming up in September!
History of Walburg, Texas
While you’re checking out Jarrell, be sure to drive about 15 minutes south to explore German town, Walburg, TX.
In the 1880s, two Lutheran churches opened for service and, interesting enough, are still very active, one is operating as a schoolhouse. In 1881, Henry Doering moved into the area, opening up a post office and general store. After settling, Doering decided to rename the town, once known as Concordia, after his hometown of Walburg, Germany.
By the 1890s, Walburg’s population was around 16, but quickly became a shipping point and a judicial seat. At this time, you could find a local blacksmith, shoemaker, drug store, banking facilities, and a cotton gin. Near 1904 the population rose to 102 and in 1925 to 200. It seems Walburgians keep to themselves. Given the recent growth in Central Texas, this might not be a bad idea. In 2009 the census estimated 207 for the population. However, Walburgs Facebook page is sporting 629 members.
You can find many different ethnic backgrounds in Walburg, including Czech, German, Wendish, Austrian and Swiss. As a town with a strong German history, it’s no wonder locals flock to the Walburg German Restaurant & Biergarten for dishes that delight. We highly recommend the Hausgemachte Bratwurst and Hunter Chicken.
Walburg is a tiny town. Don’t blink as you go through it!
History of Florence, Texas
Located on State Highway 195 in Northwestern Williamson County, it brings you a small town known as Florence, TX. Settlers came to this small town in the 1850s and called it “Brooksville” for a short time. After a post office opened in 1857, the name “Florence” became its official town name. Unfortunately, the history of the name change is unknown at this. However, it might derive from a small town in Florence, Alabama, which was the hometown of the post office owner.
After the Civil War, Florence quickly became a booming cattle town, especially when wheat and cotton were popular. Then, in the 1890s, Florence became home to doctors, photographers, a stone quarry, a bank, lodges, mills, churches, retail stores, and even a cheese factory.
Under the direction of W.S. Holden, Florence College began educating youth in 1895. Like Walburg and Jarrell, the town hosted the Bartlett and Western Railway until 1935 until it became abandoned. It’s estimated the town population grew steadily over the years, with recent years of 1,054 people in the year 2000.
Today, you’ll find D. Boones Country Store & Cafe and excellent Mexican-inspired food at Mano’s Mexican Food. Looking for some great shopping with the girls, The Main Street Co-OP in Florence is amazing. Wonderful shops and shop keepers we promise you will not walk away empty-handed!
We encourage you to visit these small Texas towns by bike or horse buggy. You’ll want to take a camera and capture the beauty born by the western tales of time. Thank you for reading this blog! For more like it, please stay up to date on our newsletter and social media posts. You can find “Town News” in our blog section. Additionally, if you have anything you’d like to add to this brief town spotlight, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!