Central Texas North
32°0'34"N 97°7'28"W (32.009557, -97.124437)
Just off I-35
50 Miles S of Ft. Worth
55 Miles S of Dallas
33 Miles N of Waco
Population: 8,633 (2010) 8,232 (2000) 7,072 (1990)
to 1854, the county seat was spelled Hillsborough.
In 1890, Hillsboro's two newspapers were the Mirror and The
CITY OF HILLSBORO
In 1853, the Texas Legislature carved Hill
County out of Navarro County. Named for physician and Republic
of Texas Secretary of War Dr. George Washington Hill, the new county
had only recently attracted Anglo settlement, following the establishment
in 1848 of Fort Graham. County commissioners selected Hillsboro,
originally spelled Hillsborough, as county seat. They established
the town on land donated by Thomas Steiner, John Caruthers and Jonathan
Newby, and the community soon had a school and post office, as well
as a wood-frame courthouse. Cotton became the mainstay of Hillsboro's
late 19th-century economy.
The city experienced rapid growth after the Missouri, Kansas & Texas
Railroad and other lines came to the town in the early 1880s. In
addition to bringing new settlers and giving access to shipping
and transportation, railroads provided many new jobs. The city continued
to grow and incorporated in 1881. The cotton industry produced a
building boom between 1890 and 1910, as evidenced by the numerous
Queen Anne homes still intact today, as well as the noted 1890
Hill County Courthouse. In 1923, the community established the
Hillsboro Junior College, which over the years has become Hill College.
Many Texas political leaders have come from Hillsboro, including
U.S. Congressman Joseph Abbott and Texas Lt. Governor Bob Bullock,
as well as Thomas Slater Smith, Robert Lee Bobbitt, Robert W. Calvert,
Crawford C. Martin, Nelson Phillips and Sam Johnson. In 1981, Hillsboro
became one of the Texas Historical Commission's five original Texas
Main Street Cities. The growing city continues to provide leadership,
as well as natural, cultural and educational resources.
1890 Hill County Courthouse
This is the one responsible for making Texans aware their "temples
of justice" were threatened and needed attention.
This wedding-cake masterpiece was designed by Wacoan Architect W.
C. Dodson. The Cornerstone was laid without a horned
toad in it in 1890. The stone came from another neighbor - Bosque
The courthouse won the Downtown Association's award for "Best Restoration
1999". Burned "beyond recognition" in 1993, you can now visit
it as it was meant to be seen.
County Courthouse by Sam Fenstermacher
County history, the courthouse, the courthouse square and other
County Courthouse by Lou Ann Herda, Ed.D, July 2002
with handsome buildings. The chamber in the beautifully restored
MKT (Katy) Railroad Depot is reason enough to visit Hillsboro.
Lots of railroad artifacts and photographs of Hillsboro as it was.
Hillsboro was also an Interurban stop between Dallas
Cell Block Museum (former Hill County Jail), just a block
away, is one of the more attractive jails anywhere in Texas. Featured
in Texas Highway Magazine's article on jails, this one had Elvis
as one of its short-term guests. (Elvis was stationed at Ft. Hood).
Heritage Museum: Devoted to Civil War Era documents and exhibits,
especially Hood's Texas Brigade. 3000 volume library.
On the Campus of Hill College. 254-2555 ext. 295
Open Monday through Saturday 9 to 4 and Sunday 11 to 4.
Pick up their brochure at the Chamber.
Junior College dates from 1923, but was closed in 1950. It was
reopened in 1962 as Hill Junior College.
Post Office is now the City Library. This was the first
restoration project of Hillsboro in 1972.
|The 1913 Post
Office is now the City Library.
This was the first restoration project of Hillsboro in 1972.
Michaels, April 2008
with 'The Spirit of Progress' on it was a Montgomery-Ward store. This
image was M-W's logo and appears on many of their storefronts from
the early 20th century. It's a good way to spot old M-W stores that
have been converted to new uses." - Dwight Young.
Photo courtesy Stephen
Michaels, April 2008
Lake Aquilla - I-35, FM310, 10 miles SW of Hillsboro.
Lake Whitney - FM1244, FM 1713
Lake Whitney State Park - Along the eastern shore of Lake Whitney,
16 miles west of Hillsboro.
Box 1175 Whitney TX 76692, 254/694-3793
The Crash at Crush
The field that once was Crush, Texas is now occupied by cows, but
a recently replaced historical marker south of West, Texas tells the
story of one of the most bizarre publicity stunts of all time....
The Great Airship
Mystery by C. F. Eckhardt
On April 15, Attorney J. Spence Bounds of Hillsboro was returning
from Osceola, in the southwestern part of Hill County. At about 9
PM he stated he and his horse were frightened by “a brilliant flash
from an electric searchlight which passed directly over my buggy.”
He described the object to which the searchlight was attached as “in
shape something like a cigar.” Beneath it he described ‘something
similar to a ship,’ which was attached to the cigar-shaped object.
He witnessed the thing disappear behind a hill near the town of Aquilla,
a little southwest of Hillsboro. As he got within a mile or so of
Hillsboro, he saw the object rise from behind the hill and take off
in the direction of Dallas at a speed he estimated at 100 mph....
Willie Nelson has a room (not cell) of his own, qualifying by
being raised in nearby Abbott.
Other hometown boys made good are the late Bob Bullock and
Dr. Red Duke. There's a lot of Audie Murphy memorabilia
as well. Although Murphy was from Hunt County, Murphy's Biography
was written by the founder of the Texas Heritage Museum. (Our thanks
to the museum's sidewalk bricklayers for letting us visit the museum
outside of regular "visiting hours".)
Bluebird of Happiness 1942
Dear Texas Escapes,
I am seeking information about two young (young in 1942-43) Black
men. They were known as Joe B. and Slim.
Slim had two sisters Willy May and Lily May ? One was married to
a man named James. They pulled cotton for my parents in 1942 or
1943 in Hamlin,
Most of [their] family moved on, but Joe B. and Slim did not yet
wish to leave --- so they lived in our front living room for two
more months before they returned to Hillsboro. My family at that
time consisted of my parents (Herbert and Dolores Nauert) and me
(Clinton aged 4).
After Joe B. and Slim went to town one Saturday on their return
they gave me a tiny metal bluebird --- they had gotten from a box
of Crackerjacks --- This was one of the only gifts I had ever been
given --- other than at Christmas. I am now 68 years of age and
I have never forgotten those fellows' kindness. Nor have I ever
forgotten eating breakfast with them for those two months in 1942
or 1943. If I could contact them or one of their children I would
just like them to know how a little kindness can mean so much to
a child. My parents and I have very fond memories of those two really
nice young men. Thank you, - Clinton Nauert, Greenwood, Arkansas,
August 29, 2006
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history
and vintage/historic photos, please contact