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SAN MARCOS, TEXAS

Hays County Seat, Texas Hill Country

I-35
State Hwys 80 and 21
30 miles SW of Austin
50 miles NE of San Antonio
16 miles NE of New Braunfels
Population: 47,447 (2010)

Book Hotel Here > San Marcos Hotels

Hays County Courthouse annex in San Marcos, Texas
The courthouse annex.
The side with awnings faces the courthouse.

TE Photo, 9-01

San Marcos, Texas Topics of Interest:

  • San Marcos History
  • San Marcos Attractions
  • A Trip to San Marcos, & Scenic Drive
  • San Marcos Vintage Photos
  • Hays County Courthouse next page
  • San Marcos Hotels Book here
  • History in a Pecan Shell

    The county was named for Texas Ranger Captain Jack Hays - The town after the river (named on St. Mark's Day 1689).

    A timeline of significant events in the history of San Marcos:
    1755: Spanish build the short-lived San Xavier Mission and Presidio San Francisco Xavier
    1808: The Spanish Governor of Texas attempts another colony, but floods and Indian raids cause them to abandon efforts in 1812.
    1846: First settlers arrive and settle near the confluence of the Blanco and San Marcos Rivers.
    1848: Hays County is created and San Marcos becomes a stagecoach stop on the Austin-San Antonio run
    1860: Cannonville (named after the same William Cannon the south Austin road is named after) wins an election for county seat, but records are never transferred and William Cannon's death ends the rivalry.
    1869: Second courthouse is constructed.
    1881: The International -Great Northern Railroad reaches San Marcos - population reaches 2,335
    1882: F.E. Ruffini builds the third Hays County courthouse (as well as the former Blanco County Courthouse in Blanco in 1885)
    1903: Southwest Texas Normal School (for teachers) opens - later becomes Southwest Texas University
    1973: Hays County and San Marcos become part of the Austin Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area. By the mid-1980s at least 20 percent of Hays County's labor force worked in Travis County. San Marcos itself was estimated to have a population of 25,000 and 20,000 students, for a total of 45,000.
    1994: Southwest Texas State University takes over management of Aquarena Springs. Extensive remodeling has just recently completed.

    San Marcos Landmarks/Attractions

    San Marcos Texas aerial photo of  courthouse and square
    Aerial photo courtesy of Paul Turner
    Hays County Courthouse >
  • Hays County Courthouse
    The 1908 courthouse by Page, and the 1882 courthouse by Ruffini
  • Former Hays County Jails
  • Aquarena Springs - Recently the Springs have undergone an extensive updating and cosmetic overhaul. Exhibits explain the springs, and their flora and fauna. Glass bottom boat ride. Bird watching on the "Wetlands Walkway" along San Marcos River. The facility is now run by Southwest Texas State University. 800-999-9767,
    512-245-7570
  • Belvin Street District: just a few blocks west of the square - a fine collection of 19th century houses. Not open to the public - drive-by viewing only. Tour of Homes first weekend in May.
  • The Former City Hall and Fire Station: (c. 1915) One half block north of the square. Spanish Revival building typical of the period when fire stations shared space with other community services. Shiner and Hallettsville have similar buildings.
  • Commemorative Air Force Central Texas Wing - at the San Marcos Municipal Airport. Vintage military aricrafts in the 1943 vintage wooden hangar, and museum. 512-396-1943. Admissions.
  • Parks - 21 city parks , including the Children's Park along the river.
  • San Marcos' Living History Trolley Tour - 512-396-3739 for reservation. Admissions.
  • San Marcos River Walkway
  • San Marcos River Recreation - San Marcos City Park. 512-396-5466
  • Southwest Texas State University: Founded in 1899 - opened in 1903 - as Southwest Texas Normal School. On the hill North and East of the square on the 11 acres originally deeded for it.
  • Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern & Mexican Photography and Southwestern Writers Collection - Albert B. Alkek Library, Southwest Texas State University, 512-245-2313.
  • Wonder World - Earthquake-formed cave. 512-392-3760. Admissions.
  • Book Hotel Here > San Marcos Hotels
  • San Marcos Texas street scene
    San Marcos street scene
    TE Photo
    San Marcos Vintage Images
    San Marcos TX - Cotton Yard ca 1908

    Cotton Yard in San Marcos
    Postcard circa 1908 courtesy Will Beauchamp Collection
    More on Cotton

    MKT Depot, San Marcos, Texas, early 1900s

    MKT Depot in San Marcos, early 1900s
    Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
    More Texas Depots | Texas Railroads

    San Marcos TX Aerial View

    Bird's Eye View of San Marcos
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/

    San Marcos TX NW Corner of Square

    NW Corner of Square
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/

    San Marcos TX Post Office

    Post Office
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
    More Post Offices in Texas

    San Marcos Texas Street Scene 1900s

    San Marcos in the early 1900s
    Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com

    San Marcos Texas City Hall and Fire Station

    San Marcos City Hall and Fire Station
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/

    A Trip to San Marcos
  • Swimming to Mexico
    "...Aquarena Springs Drive will become C.M. Allen Parkway. Continue past Sessoms and University Drive. On your left before you get to Hopkins is the San Marcos Convention & Visitors Bureau. 888-200-5620. The bureau has an excellent "Windshield Tour" of San Marcos listing 29 historic buildings and their histories, including ..." more
  • RR 32 - "Devil's Backbone" - Scenic Drive
  • San Marcos Hotels > Book Hotel Here

  • San Marcos Tourist Information
    San Marcos Convention and Visitor's Bureau:
    I-35 (EXIT 206) 1-888-200-5620, 512-393-5930
    Mon-Sat 9AM - 5 PM, Sun 10AM-4PM
    Website: www.sanmarcostexas.com
    Church steeple, San Marcos, Texas
    Church steeple
    TE Photo, 9-01
    San Marcos, Texas Forum
  • Morris Ranch & other places
    My wife love going to old places......About 2 weeks ago we went to the Austin, San Marcos area (Hill Country) We found Morris Ranch,....We went on to San Marcos, there we found an old hospital that had at one time been converted into a college fraternity house, but now is abandonded with a somewhat spooky history of a fraternity ritual that had gone wrong ,maybe true maybe not...( I read about it in a book called Weird Texas, check it out sometime its a cool book)........Also we found an abandonded saw mill outside of Luling ....As usual I can't say enough good about your website...who knows where we will go next.......... Thanks. - Rodney Stegall, November 08, 2005
  • San Marcos, Texas
    Area Destinations:

    Austin
    San Antonio
    New Braunfels
    See Hays County
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    San Marcos Hotels
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    Texas 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 us.

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