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Gillespie County TX
Gillespie County

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Gillespie County, Texas Hill Country

FM 1323 Ė Just off Hwy 16
About 12 Miles NE of Fredericksburg
Population: 75 est.

Book Hotel Here › Fredericksburg Hotels

Willow City TX,  Old Willow City Road
Old Willow City Road
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009

History in a Pecan Shell

Willow City holds a special place in Gillespie County history for being a non-German settlement. First residents settled here prior to the Civil War.

Trade was conducted with stores and businesses in Austin, despite the distance involved. Fredericksburg was far closer, but the Anglos preferred dealing in English.

Perhaps due to itís collective anti-social behavior, Willow (as it was then called) acquired a reputation for harboring criminals. When a post office was granted in 1877, the name was changed to Willow City.

In 1885 a congregation of Methodists was formed, although it took another 15 years to construct a church building.

The community had itís own English newspaper in the 1890s but it was later sold and moved to Fredericksburg.

The population went from a mere 132 people in 1904 to even fewer in the mid 1920s (100 residents). By the time the Great Depression was ending, Willow City had only forty people. After a small increase to sixty, it fell to nearly ghost town status with just 17 people there in the mid 1960s. Four years later it had increased to eighty-five. Since 1970 the estimated population of Willow City has been given as seventy-five.

Willow City TX School
National Register of Historic Places - Willow City School
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009

Willow City

(From "Hindsights" column by Michael Barr)

"... Willow City, or Willow Creek as the place was first called, was one of the few settlements between Fredericksburg and points west. To say Willow Creek was on the frontier was not exactly accurate. Willow Creek was far beyond the frontier line."

"When the new road between Fredericksburg and Llano bypassed Willow City, the little town was left high and dry. Time stood still in the hills and canyons around Willow City. Fifty years later the town still was stuck in the 1920s.

But isolation shielded Willow City and preserved its rare natural beauty.

To this day the countryside around Willow City has a wild charm that is hard to describe to someone who has never seen it. How is it that a country, so much of it covered with rocks, prickly pear, cedar and mesquite, is among the most beautiful places on earth?" Read full article

Willow City, Texas Landmarks:

Willow City TX City limit Sign
Entering Willow City
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009

Photographer's Note:

Here are scenes of Willow City, TX.. Located on FM 1323 and about 15 miles NE of Fredericksburg in Gillespie County. It's a thrill to find a place like this out "in the sticks" and still thriving along. The store/post office is the center of activity and I'm sure you can get up to date on any local news there. One old church is a residence now and the old school is very well kept. There is still a good nucleus of residences in this quaint little place. ....the old school makes great shade for the goats!!! - William Beauchamp, June 15, 2009

Willow City TX Emmanuel Gospel Church
Emmanuel Gospel Church
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009
More Texas Churches

Willow CityT X Store Post Office Fire Dept
Willow City Store / Post Office
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009
More Texas Post Offices

Willow City TX School - National Register of  Historic Places
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009

National Register of Historic Places - Willow City School
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009
See Texas Schoolhouses

Rhinegold School South Of Willow City
Rhinegold School South Of Willow City
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2004

TX - Willow City Cemetery
Willow City Cemetery
Photo courtesy Michael Barr, November 2018

TX - Mary Evans' Tombstone in Willow City Cemetery
Mary Evans' Tombstone in Willow City Cemetery
Photo courtesy Michael Barr, November 2018


  • Mary Evans: Cowgirl Icon by Michael Barr

    "Mary Taylor was a real Texas cowgirl. She was a lady who was the equal of just about any man when it came to riding, roping and running a ranch.

    ... Cowboy heroes in popular culture are too numerous to count, but cowgirls icons are few and far between. Mary Taylor Evans of Willow City was one of them."

  • Hardin Ranch Rodeo - Early Rodeos Were Thrilling and Dangerous by Michael Barr

    "The best known Hill Country rodeo in the early years was the Wild West Rodeo and Roundup held at the Hardin PL Ranch near Willow City... "

    "The most popular act in Willow City was "Friday" Ellis the rodeo clown and his mule of a thousand tricks. The mule would sneak up behind Friday and pull down his pants. When Friday sat a rocking chair, the mule sat in his lap."
  • Animal

    Alter Stolz Solves an Image Problem at FHS by Michael Barr

    Nearby Destinations:

    Willow City Loop by Michael Barr
    "The Willow City Loop is a narrow, mostly paved road through some of the most spectacular landscape anywhere. If there is a prettier place in Texas, especially in April and May when the bluebonnets are showing off, I don't know where it is."

    A Couch-Potato Guide to Climbing Enchanted Rock by ichael Barr

    TX -Enchanted Rock, Gillespie County
    Enchanted Rock
    Photo by Michael Barr, June 2023

    Take a road trip

    Texas Hill Country

    Willow City, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Fredericksburg the county seat
    Johnson City

    See Gillespie County

    Book Hotel Here:
    Fredericksburg Hotels | More Hotels

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact us.






















































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