Historical Sites Near Marble Falls
Jan 4, 2023
As we celebrate our first residents moving into Gregg Ranch, it’s important to look back and better understand the history of the Marble Falls area. In addition to the Gregg family land our community is built on, take a stroll through downtown Marble Falls and discover some of the historical sites and landmarks of the area. From an Apollo astronaut tribute, to cemeteries, musical composer, churches and even a dead man’s hole, Marble Falls has many landmarks to explore just minutes from Gregg Ranch:
Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., placed his hand and footprints in concrete in 1995 at the Uptown Theatre in Marble Falls as he attended the premier of the film, “Apollo 13,” based on his experience and book about the third moon landing. Captain Lovell was living in Horseshoe Bay at the time.
Location: Marble Falls Theatre, 218 Main St., Marble Falls
Although currently closed, the Main Street theater venue has undergone several reincarnations since it was built in the 1940s. The venue opened in the 1942 and served primarily as an audience hall for traveling entertainment but eventually began showing movies. At one point, a fire damaged the building, closing it for a period of time. It re-opened in the 1990s as the Marble Theater.
Location: 218 Main St., Marble Falls
When the town of Marble Falls was laid out in 1887, Texas Mining & Improvement Co. deeded land for a depot to Austin & Northwestern Railroad. The Depot was erected in 1893 and then Southern Pacific Railroad bought the line and property. Area residents gathered at the depot to visit and watch for the train. Excursions were offered and passenger service provided. Hogs, horses, cattle, cedar posts, cotton, pecans, and hides were shipped to market from here. In 1937 passenger service was discontinued and the depot was closed in 1968. It was moved to the present site in 1976.
Location: Intersection of US 281 and Avenue H, Marble Falls
Established in 1884, the original Marble Falls Post Office was built south of the Colorado River. William P. Cochran, appointed postmaster in 1901, built this structure in 1910 and leased it to the U. S. Government for use as a post office. It continued to serve as a postal facility until about 1950. Constructed of poured concrete, the building features a central double door with three-pane transom, a simply detailed cornice, and a stone parapet.
Location: 115 Main St., Marble Falls
The potential of power on the Colorado River led town developer Gen. Adam R. Johnson and Farmers Alliance members to build a cotton mill on this site in the 1890s. The two-story stone factory, 300 ft. long and 100 ft. wide, was erected for the Marble Falls Cotton and Woolen Co., formed in 1892. New machinery run by hydroelectric power was installed by the Marble Falls Textile Mills Co. In the 1920s, woolen goods, surgical gauze, and air conditioners were made here before the factory was gutted by fire in 1964 and razed in 1971.
Ernst Gustav Michel (1865-1930), a native of Germany, and his wife, Lillie Agnes, opened a drugstore at this site in 1891. After fire destroyed the first store in 1905, Michel built a 3-story edifice here. The first floor housed the drugstore and soda fountain. The second floor was an opera house with seating for 300 people. The top floor had the family’s living quarters. That structure burned in a fire that destroyed an entire city block in 1927. All four Michel children who lived to adulthood studied pharmacy. The Michel family has operated a drugstore at this location since 1891.
Location: 216 Main, Marble Falls
Adam R. Johnson donated land in Marble Falls for construction of the present two-story granite building at 2005 Broadway. Completed in 1891, it originally housed the Marble Falls Alliance University. Near Backbone Creek, east of this main building, a wooden boarding house was built for the students. The property was sold later in 1891 at a sheriff’s sale but continued to be leased for use as a tuition school. In 1908 the local voters chose to buy the structure, and it has been used for classes by the Marble Falls School District since that date.
Location: 2005 Broadway, Marble Falls
When the Diocese of Austin began in 1948, there was no Catholic Church in Marble Falls as there were very few Catholics in this area. When the granite quarry became busier and people came to enjoy the lake, more Catholics began working on the area ranches. A man named Herbert Huber moved his family here from Ohio, and asked Bishop Louis J. Reicher if anything could be done about having Mass in their home.
A temporary portion of the church was erected in December 1957 and when the first Mass was held on Christmas day, it marked the first time that Catholics in the Marble Falls area were able to worship in a church rather than the tents and private homes in years past. Work on the completion of the church was begun in January 1960 and completed on December 27, 1961. It was named St. John’s in honor of Saint John the Evangelist and dedicated on his feast day.
Location: 105 Hwy 1431 E. Marble Falls
Measuring about seven feet in diameter and approximately 155 feet deep, the cavernous Dead Man’s Hole was formed by pressure from natural gas inside the earth. Initially discovered in 1821, the hole gained its moniker decades later during the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era. The area became a dumping ground for bodies of Union supporters that were hunted down by the Fire Eaters, a radical group with Confederate beliefs.
An oak tree once stood beside the site that is said to have scars from ropes used in hangings during hasty and biased “trials,” after which the bodies were cut down and dropped directly into Dead Man’s Hole. Reports vary as to the body count, ranging from 17 to more than 36 bodies. It is rumored that bags of bones were discovered in the hole, although their whereabouts are now topic of dispute.
Location: Dead Man’s Hole is off County Road 401 between RR. 2147 East and Highway 71, Marble Falls.
Oscar J. Fox, composer of western songs, was born on a ranch in Burnet County, Texas, on October 11, 1879. He first achieved fame through setting to music the cowboy songs collected by John A. Lomax. He drew strongly on his Texas background, as his best-known compositions illustrate: “The Hills of Home” (1925), “Old Paint” (1927), “The Old Chisholm Trail” (1924), “Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along, Little Dogies” (1927), “Will You Come to the Bower?” (1936), and “The Cowboy’s Lament” (1923).
On May 27, 1962, the state honored him by placing a red granite marker a mile south of Marble Falls on Highway 281. Inscribed on the marker beneath his name is the first line of “The Hills of Home,” his own favorite song and one that has continued to be popular around the world.
Despite the ravages of time, a cemetery is the closest thing a community has to an enduring record of its former inhabitants. As a town’s population grows, so does the population of its cemetery. The Marble Falls City Cemetery includes gravestones of service members who served in World War I and World War II. Confederate commemorative stones threatened by development were transferred to the cemetery. The oldest graves at the Marble Falls City Cemetery date back to the 1850s.
The Marble Falls cemetery bluebonnet flowers inspired Joan Wyatt’s memorial poem, in Flanders Fields.
Location: The southwest corner of the intersection of Avenue S and Johnson Street at 400 South Avenue S, Marble Falls.
We recommend spending some time discovering the history of the Marble Falls area. There’s always something new to learn!
Located in charming Marble Falls, Texas this 240-acre master-planned community is north of Austin and is anticipated to be home to approximately 700 single-family and 550 multi-family residences. A central community area with an outdoor pool, ramada, barbecue area, shaded play area and bocce ball and horseshoe pits are planned. Gregg Ranch outdoor amenities will also include 5.5 miles of jogging and biking trails throughout the community and a dog park. The community is conveniently located at the intersection of State Highways 281 and 71, and is a short drive to Lake Marble Falls, Lake LBJ and the famed Texas Lake and Hill Country. Visit http://greggranch.com/ to learn more.