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Austin County Seat, Central Texas South

29░56'50"N 96░15'31"W (29.947225, -96.258657).
Hwy 36 and 159, FM 529, FM 1456, and FM 242.
18 miles SE of Brenham on Hwy 36
10 miles N of Sealy on Hwy 36
15 miles SW of Hempstead on Hwy 159
64 miles W of Houston via I-10
103 miles E of Austin via Hwy 290
Population: 4,266 Est. (2018)
4,097 (2010) 3,794 (2000) 3,378 (1990)

Bellville, Texas Area Hotels > Brenham Hotels | Sealy Hotels
Bellville Texas Finn Building
The Historic Finn Building
TE Photo
Historical Marker:


Brothers Thomas and James Bell came to this area from Florida in 1822 with Stephen F. Austin's colony and acquired about 2,000 acres of land in 1837. Thomas Bell offered a portion of his land at this site for a new townsite to replace San Felipe as the county seat; his offer was accepted by voters in 1846.

Pioneers from such faraway places as England, Germany, Connecticut, Maryland and Georgia were drawn to the new town, which was platted in 1848 and soon called Bellville by popular vote.

A courthouse and jail were erected in 1848 and Bellville's first hotel opened in 1849. Within ten years, the booming town boasted about fifteen businesses. The Civil War left the town nearly deserted, and as in many similar Texas towns it was difficult to rebuild during the Reconstruction era. Positive growth began about 1877 as new business ventures took root. In 1880 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway arrived in Bellville, and the population doubled rapidly. The Episcopal and German Methodist churches organized about 1881, and the Bellville Standard newspaper was established in 1882. A telephone company began operations and a library was established by 1886.

Cotton production rose in the late 1890s and more than 10,000 bales were shipped each growing season. By the turn of the century Bellville was thriving both culturally and economically. Oil replaced cotton as the area's major industry in 1915 when black gold was discovered around Bellville. Development of local oil fields further spurred the town's growth and continued to help support Bellville throughout the 20th century.


Austin County Courthouse

It's a sad story when a town loses its courthouse and it's more tragic when it is such a fine example of judicial architecture.

  • Austin County Courthouse

  • The Most Remembered Courthouse in Texas:
    Austin County's 1888 Courthouse in Bellville
  • 1888 Austin County Courthouse, Bellville, Texas
    The beloved 1888 (former) Austin County Courthouse in Bellville
    Courtesy Bellville Historical Society

    Belleville Texas main street
    Main Street in Bellville
    It looks the same today - only different.

    Photo courtesy Bellville Library

    Bellville, Texas Landmarks / Attractions

  • Austin County Jail, Museum & Library
    Bellville has a great jail, which now serves as the Austin County Museum, and many other buildings. Maybe they aren't as grand as the jail, but they are charming and in some cases unique (The old Dr. Pepper bottling plant with its rock fašade comes to mind). more

  • Town Square
    On and just off the square are antiques and crafts shops and eateries within easy stroll.

  • Guide to Historic Buildings
    The Bellville Historical Society
    has prepared a guide to Bellville's turn-of-the-century homes and downtown buildings. It's available at the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Bellville band, vintage photo

    The Bellville Band
    Photo courtesy Bellville Library

    Bellville Chronicles
    Hanging in Bellville, Texas, vintage photo
    The Double Hanging at Bellville in 1896
    The Double Hanging at Bellville in 1896

    All things considered, it was a pretty civilized affair.

    There were two murders in Austin County in 1895. While they occured in distant corners of the county, they were separated by a span of only 38 days. Both perpetrators were apprehended and taken to the County Jail in Bellville. This sort of situation must have been on the minds of our wise and august lawyers in Austin when they passed legislation demanding Courthouses be placed near the center of the county. It certainly made things convenient for the populace to attend hangings. more

    Bellville water tower




    "The Bellville tin man tank and its giant red arrow wind vane. Unfortunately that tower no longer exists today."
    Oct 20, 2000 Photo courtesy David Stall

    More Texas Water Towers

    Bellville, Texas Forum

  • Subject: Really enjoy this site!
    Hi, as a resident of Bellville, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the site designed by Kate Wong Troesser. The pictures used are fine and the site is so easy to navigate - always a good thing! And the information given is informative, interesting and such fun to share. I have sent this address to a friend in Norway so he can finally get a little gist of the town of Bellville. Thank you for making this available. - Sincerely Susan W., May 19, 2002

  • Subject : cool site
    I enjoyed the hell out of your whole site. I'm trying to think of the best way to say "Go look at this cool site" to my readers at Houston.About.Com. I found you via a Google search for some small town thing - can't recall now. The Double Hanging in Bellville tempted me to go off on a highly enjoyable tangent.- Aussie M

  • Bellville, Texas Area Destinations
  • Austin County Towns

  • The Road to Independence: Washington County - Featured trip

  • Especially for Houstonians who visit San Felipe first, Bellville is a convenient stop between Sealy and Brenham.

  • Don't miss Chappell Hill, Round Top, Warrenton, Fayetteville

  • Bellville Tourist Information
    Bellville Chamber of Commerce
    - 979-865-3407
    13 East Main, PO Box 670 Bellville Texas 77418-0670

    Bellville Area Hotels
    Brenham Hotels | Sealy Hotels | More Hotels
    Austin County Texas 1907 Postal Map
    Austin County, Texas 1907 Postal Map showing Bellville
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

    Take a road trip

    Bellville, Texas Nearby Towns:
    See Austin County | Central Texas South

    Book Hotel Here:
    Brenham Hotels | More Hotels
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