in a Pecan Shell|
First settlement began in 1853 when cabins
were built on the banks of the Blanco River. The following year investors of the
Pittsburgh Land Company, bought Horace Eggleston's land grant and platted a town
they called Pittsburgh after the company's founder, General Pitts. The new community
was on the south side of the river.
That same year a Methodist church
was organized and the building also doubled as the first school. The Masonic Lodge
of Twin Sisters moved to Pittsburg in the late 1850s.
The county was
organized in 1858 and instead of Pittsburgh, a new town on the opposite bank of
the river was to become the county seat. The Pittsburgh Land Company didn't seem
bothered by the snub, for they donated 120 acres of land for the new town. A post
office was granted in 1858 and two years later the county's first courthouse was
The Masons penned a charter for a Masonic University in 1874,
but after the foundation was laid, funds dried up. A native stone courthouse replaced
the log structure in 1875. Architects for the project were the Ruffini Brothers
(Frederick E. and Oscar) who were to become prolific builders across Texas.
The former courthouse burned in 1876 and that's the year the citizenry of Johnson
City first petitioned for an election in hopes of "stealing" the title from
Blanco. Johnson City lost.
a high school was built on the abandoned foundation of the university that never
was. The school opened in the fall of 1884, and the first class graduated three
years later. Johnson City won an election in
1890 and the records were transfered there from Blanco the following year. The
rivalry between the two towns continues to this day.
From a population
of less than 500 in 1904, Blanco grew to 1,100 by 1939, the year they incorporated.
In the 1940s, it dropped back to 453 but once again grew to 1,238 for the 1990
Census. In 2000 it reported 1,505 residents.
The courthouse has been
restored in recent years, making one of the best preserved former courthouses
in the state and is a fine example of the Ruffini
Ghost on Highway 281 by C.F. Eckhardt ("Charley Eckhardt's Texas"
"...About a year and a half later John was in the old Jailhouse
Barber Shop in Blanco, and he mentioned seeing the guy with the knife alongside
281. "Oh," somebody said, "you saw Lackey's ghost." ... As it turned out, John
wasn't the only person who'd seen Lackey trying to hitch a ride north toward Johnson
City. A lot of people were aware of him. Truckers don't like to drive that stretch
on fall nights..." The
Bones in the Courthouse Crawlspace by Johnny Stucco
What the exterminator saw... Courthouse
Savior by Terry Jeanson
Persistence and Tenacity Preserves Blanco
JoNell Haas and The 1885 former Blanco County Courthouse Blanco
Revenge of 'Devil John' McCoy by Murray Montgomery
E.G. McCoy, of Blanco, came to Gonzales and had a chat with the local editor.
McCoy’s narrative of an event involving his father was published in the Inquirer
way back in 1879. His father, John, was a pretty tough ol’ boy and had a natural
dislike for Indians. I think you will find by reading the article, that John McCoy
wasn’t one to forgive and forget.
Your Hotel Here & Save
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic
photos of their town, please contact
|Save on Hotels