Georgetown is a city and a county seat of Williamson County, Texas. As of May 2019, the town of Georgetown is considered to be the 7th fastest-growing city in the United States. The city is located 30 miles from Austin, and it is the home of the Southwestern University which is the oldest university in the state of Texas. Georgetown known for Victorian commercial and residential architecture; that is why they have an ordinance to recognize and protect the historical architecture in the city.
In this article, we are going to know more about the history of Georgetown and the places you need to see while you’re there.
History of Georgetown, Texas
The earliest inhabitants of the county were the Tonkawas, and they were a flint-working and hunting people who follow buffalos on foot. During the 18th century, the Tonkawas, along with other tribes such as Yojuane, Kiowa, Mayeye, and Tawakoni, made the transition to a horse culture, and they also started using firearms to a limited extent. However, the native populations thinned because of the non-indigenous settlements, and the Comanches still continue to raid the communities of native people in the county up until the 1860s.
The town of Georgetown was named after George Washington Glasscock because he donated the land where the new town was built. Because of the location’s abundance of timber as well as good and clear water, it attracted Swedish and American pioneers. Aside from that, the land in Georgetown was inexpensive and fertile.
Williamson County was formed in March 1848, and Georgetown immediately became the county seat. For most of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Georgetown was an agricultural community. The Shawnee Trail used was a cattle trail that stretched from Texas to the rail centers in Missouri and Kansas. In 1873, Southwestern University was established, and five years later, the construction of a railroad paved the way for the town’s continuous growth and importance. Since then, Georgetown was able to develop a stable economy that is mostly based on agricultural activity. During the 1880s to the 1920s, cotton was a dominant crop in the area. That is why, back then, they became one of the top producers of cotton in Texas. To transport bales of cotton and cattle, Georgetown was served by two national railroads, namely the International-Great Northern Railroad and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad.
A dangerous flood happened in Georgetown in 1921. That is why the town decided to seek flood control and build a dam on the north side of the San Gabriel River which created Lake Georgetown. Round Rock and Georgetown agreed that they would both have the water rights to Lake Georgetown, especially for municipal water use. Industrial expansion and population growth continued in Georgetown during the 20th century until about 1960. Since then, the city has been hailed as one of the best places to live and launch a new business in the United States.
In March 2015, the city announced that its utility named Georgetown Utility Systems will be getting 100 percent of its power for its customers from solar and wind farms by 2017. This move will effectively make the city 100 percent green-powered.
Places You Need to See in Georgetown, Texas
- Go to the Georgetown Palace Theatre – Located in a town square that is surrounded by Victorian storefronts, the Georgetown Palace Theatre has an art deco marquee that undoubtedly stands out. This theatre was built during the Depression as a silent moving picture theatre. However, in 1989, the Georgetown Palace Theatre closed, but it remained one of the grandest theatres in town. That is why in the 1990s, local citizens decided to rally around the historic theatre to urge the city to preserve it. And in 2001, the live theatre opened again, and it is now one of the flourishing places that host professional-quality live performances.
- Visit San Gabriel Park and River – This park is one of the three parks here in Georgetown that has disc golf courses that are open to the public. Aside from that, it also offers the Georgetown Sculpture Tour, hiking, and biking paths along the San Gabriel River, drinking fountains, picnic areas, and dotted benches. So if you want to be in a place where you can breathe in the fresh air and relax while you’re in Georgetown, then you should head on down to the San Gabriel Park and River.
- Williamson Museum – if you want to learn more about the history of Georgetown and Williamson County, then this is the place you need to go. The Williamson Museum offers interactive tours and educational exhibits that are designed to give guests a look at the area’s past. The museum also has several programs outside the museum, such as tours of the Williamson County Courthouse. There are also periodic and annual events that are held here, such as the Civil War cemetery tours and the Chisholm Trail Days.