The Fayette County “Walk of History”, comprised of 60 tiles spaced out around the perimeter of the courthouse lawn, is now complete. The chronological timeline, beginning in 1519 and ending in 2005, highlights the most significant historical events that occurred in the county. Recognizing that some people are physically unable to walk around the square, the “Walk of History” was divided into installments and published as “Footprints of Fayette” articles in local newspapers, sponsored by the Fayette County Historical Commission.
The idea for the history walk, presented by former County Judge Ed Janecka in 2018, was approved by the county commissioners and supported by the local historical commission. Bobbie Nash, Commission Chair, helped with the design and implementation of the project. Stolz Memorials donated and engraved the tiles; Kathy Carter, Rox Ann Johnson and Carolyn Heinsohn, members of the commission and local historians, researched and compiled the history; members of Judge Janecka’s staff assisted with the final proofing; and several commissioners helped with the installation of the tiles that commemorate the interesting history of our beautiful county.
1. Texas was under Spanish and French rule from 1519 until 1821. Some of the first Europeans to spend time in our area were the expeditions of Spaniards Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca (1528) and Alonso de Leon (1689), as well as Frenchman Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle (1687). They came this way following an ancient buffalo trail and a well- known Native American trade route that crossed the Colorado River at a place with a solid rock bottom just upstream of present-day La Grange (the La Bahia Trail).
2. In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain and the province of Texas was a part of the new Republic of Mexico. Aylett C. “Strap” Buckner, the Castleman family and a few others were already living in the wilderness along the Colorado River near present-day La Grange, when an Anglo colonization grant was awarded to Moses Austin and carried out by his son Stephen F. Austin to settle 300 families in Texas (Old Three Hundred). Austin chose the rich and fertile land between the Colorado and Brazos Rivers for his colony.
The Rabb millstones are now located in the Founders Park, across from the courthouse.
3. On July 7, 1824, John Andrews and Sylvanus Castleman were issued official land grant titles in present-day Fayette County.
William Rabb received title to three adjacent leagues (13,284 acres) located on the east side of the Colorado River. He built a grist and saw mill on the river to support the colony; it washed away in the flood of 1833.
Jesse Burnam established a store and ferry, known as Burnam's Crossing, on the river 12 miles below present-day La Grange.
4. During the late 1820s, the Townsend family of Florida settled near present-day Round Top; Colonel James J. Ross settled at Ross Prairie; John Ingram settled near Winchester, and Zadock Woods and family settled near West Point, where he built a fort.
In 1831, John Henry Moore and his wife, Eliza Cummins, settled on his half league of land near the La Bahia Road crossing of the Colorado River, where he established a ferry and built twin two-story blockhouses. By late 1837, he was promoting the new town of La Grange.
5. In 1831, Christian Gotthelf Wertzner and F. W. Grasmeyer were the first European immigrants to arrive. Joseph Biegel was granted a league of land (4,428 acres) in 1832 and established an agricultural settlement under his name. Biegel was the first German settlement in Fayette County and the second in the state of Texas.
In 1834, the first-known school was conducted in a log cabin at the David Breeding homestead on Cummins Creek near present-day Willow Springs.
6. Hostile Native American tribes often caused families to abandon their homesteads and flee to the safety of larger settlements. Settlers fought back, often led by John Henry Moore. Between 1835 and 1840, several residents were killed, wounded or captured, including Amos Alexander and his son; John G. Robison and his brother; Henry and Fields Earthman; and James Lyons and his son, Warren, who was captured at age 12 and held by the Comanche for 10 years. The Indian menace was lessened after the Peace Treaty of 1843.
7. In 1830, Mexico ended immigration of U. S. citizens into Texas, but they still came and unrest ensued.
In June 1832, Captain Aylett C. Buckner and others were killed at the Battle of Velasco. The march toward revolution and independence for Texas had begun.
Jesse Burnam was a delegate to the Convention of 1832, where the issue of separate statehood was first raised.
In October 1835, Col. John Henry Moore commanded troops during the “Come and Take It” Battle of Gonzales. The ragtag Texas army was victorious at Goliad and Concepcion.
8. In January 1836, William B. Travis, en route to the Alamo, sent letters from his headquarters at Burnam's Crossing. A month later, he penned his “Victory or Death” letter from the Alamo.
On March 1, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted while the Alamo was under siege by Santa Anna’s army. On March 6, 1836, the 13-day battle ended with Texas defenders either killed in the battle or executed. Fayette County had at least one man killed during the battle—Samuel B. Evans.
9. The Mexican Army began a deadly march of destruction across the state as the Texas Army retreated eastward, causing families to flee to safety in the Runaway Scrape.
Trying to stay ahead of Santa Anna’s army, Sam Houston crossed the Colorado River with his troops at Burnam’s Crossing.
After retreating for nearly six weeks through cold rain and flooded rivers and prairies, the Texas Army advanced against the enemy near San Jacinto on the afternoon of April 21, 1836.
10. The Battle of San Jacinto lasted 18 minutes and the Mexican Army was vanquished. Santa Anna escaped, but was captured by Texas soldiers, including Joel Walter Robison, who carried the General into the Texas camp on horseback. The General gifted him with an ornate gold brocaded vest. Robison was one of about fifty men from present Fayette County who fought to secure Texas Independence. The prized vest was worn by numerous Fayette County bridegrooms.
In honor of Fayette County's namesake, Fayetteville artist Pat Johnson created this bust of the Marquis de Lafayette that is located inside the east entrance to the courthouse.
11. When the First Congress of the Republic of Texas met in October 1836, Fayette County was represented by James S. Lester and John G. Robison. Jesse Burnam replaced Robison after he was murdered by Indians. John Rice Jones was appointed Postmaster General.
Fayette County, named for the Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, was initially established by the Second Congress on December 14, 1837. It was created from the counties of Colorado and Mina (Bastrop), with La Grange as the county seat.
12. Fayette County was organized as an official entity on January 18, 1838 when the first commissioners’ court was held. A property tax rate was set and public roads were approved.
Napoleon Breeding and Charlotte O’Bar were the first couple to obtain a marriage license in the new county.
The House and Senate of the Second Congress of the Republic of Texas passed a bill choosing the Eblin League (now part of La Grange) as the state capital, but Sam Houston vetoed it and Austin was later chosen.
13. Both La Grange and Rutersville were officially incorporated in January 1839. La Grange had a population of 80 to 100 inhabitants living in 20 houses, mostly log cabins. The first courthouse was originally a small store that was moved onto the square for county offices. It was replaced by a two-story wooden courthouse with a bell in 1847.
Rutersville had been surveyed with 52 acres set aside for Rutersville College, chartered by the Republic of Texas as the first college in Texas.
14. On September 18, 1842, Nicholas Dawson’s militia company of 54 men, most from Fayette County, battled at Salado Creek near San Antonio, attempting to repel Mexican invaders; 36 men were killed in what is known as the Dawson Massacre; 15 prisoners were marched to Perote Prison in southern Mexico.
Later, 250 more Texans were captured while seeking vengeance at Ciudad Mier in Mexico. When most tried to escape, but were recaptured, the Black Bean Lottery determined who would be executed. The others were sent to Perote Prison.
15. Cotton growing drove the local economy for much of its history, and slave labor allowed large plantations to flourish by the early 1840s when keel boats were transporting cotton to the coast.
In 1844, the first steamboat on the Colorado River was built at La Grange. However, river conditions brought commercial steamboat operations to an end within about 15 years.
The county’s first newspaper, The La Grange Intelligencer, began publication in February 1844.
16. Texas became the 28th state annexed into the United States on December 29, 1845.
U.S. post offices were established at Ingram’s Prairie, La Grange, Lyons, Round Top and Rutersville in 1846, followed by Black Jack two years later. Mail was transported by passenger stagecoaches.
In 1846, part of southern Fayette County was given up for the formation of Lavaca County.
Fayetteville was platted by Philip Shaver in 1847, and within three years, it had its own post office.
17. The last men from the Dawson and Mier Companies, who had not escaped or died in the harsh conditions of Perote Prison, were released in 1844. Three years later, one of the survivors led a team to retrieve the bones of the executed men of Mier. The remains were brought to Fayette County, as were those of the Dawson men from the Salado Creek battlefield.
In 1848, on the sixth anniversary of the Dawson Massacre, the remains of the Dawson and Mier men were reinterred on the bluff overlooking La Grange, now called Monument Hill.
18. A Masonic Lodge, chartered at La Grange on January 15, 1847, was soon followed by other area lodges. In the early days, many prominent citizens and leaders were Masons.
In 1849, a local cattle rustler became the first prisoner in the State Penitentiary at Huntsville.
Discoveries of gold in California enticed some locals to seek an easy fortune. John Murchison, who organized The La Grange Company, died en route to the gold fields. Some of the men returned, and at least one, Jacob Laferre, brought back riches.
This photograph of the third Fayette County Courthouse, built by Heinrich L. Kreische, was taken by Wallace & Hooben, about 1867. The photographer, J. J. Wallace, was one of many victims of the 1867 yellow fever epidemic. Photo courtesy of the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives [PHO 1994.27.405].
19. Fayette County’s first federal census in 1850 recorded 2,740 free citizens and 1,016 enslaved persons.
Round Top held its first Fourth of July parade in 1851.
The first county jail kept prisoners ironed and chained or boarded out at great expense.
A new stone jail finally built in 1853 by Heinrich Kreische was considered nicer than the wooden courthouse.
Kreische, a German stonemason, completed a new stone courthouse with cupola in 1856.
Kreische built and operated one of the first breweries in Texas.
20. Diversity increased during the 1850s as Jewish merchants arrived in La Grange and Wendish immigrants settled in northwestern Fayette County.
In 1856, Dubina, the first Czech settlement in Texas, was founded by Joseph Peter and 17 other families from Moravia.
The Biegel settlement boasted a blend of nationalities with emigrants from France, Prussia, Poland, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland.
The first citizenship papers were granted to foreign immigrants in 1857.
21.The Prairie Blume Society was established in 1857 by the German poet Johannes Romberg at Black Jack Springs. Made up of well-educated young German immigrants, it was one of the first literary societies in Texas.
Settlements in southwestern Fayette County became more pronounced with the establishment of post offices at Orizaba, Pin Oak, Cistern, Oso, and Cedar, and Elm Grove.
The county began bridge building across creeks to facilitate stagecoach travel in 1859.
22. In 1860, the county’s total population was recorded as 11,604—a staggering gain of 7,848 people in ten years, due mostly to German and Czech immigration. However, there were also more than 3.5 times the number of slaves as in 1850.
There were 36 schools in the county.
Post offices were established at the mostly German communities of High Hill and Long Prairie (Waldeck area) and Germans across the county began to organize fire companies, shooting clubs, and other societies for fellowship and protection.
23. In 1861, Texas became the seventh state to secede from the United States, even though Fayette County voted against secession, 626 to 580.
Fayette County supplied the Confederacy with active duty troops, home guards, and teamsters, who circumvented the Union blockade by taking cotton to Mexico and bringing back needed supplies.
Some immigrants who were resistors left for Mexico until the war was over and others fought for the North. A Civil War prison camp was located at the present-day fairgrounds.
24. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863. However, Texas slaves did not learn of it until June 19, 1865. This essentially ended the large plantations. Some former slaves chose to stay under their previous masters’ protection, but most left and became tenant farmers. After the Civil War, numerous African-American church congregations were organized across the county. Many of these churches were members of the La Grange Baptist Association, which was formed in 1875.
25. In the mid-1870s, Armstrong Colony, the first Freedmen’s Settlement in the county was established by a group of freed African-Americans relocated from southern states. The autonomous, unplatted community was unified with a church, schools and several scattered businesses.
Soon thereafter, a second settlement was established by freed slaves from area plantations south of La Grange. In the late 1940s, the name Cozy Corner was adopted, replacing the former names of Post Oak and The Prairie.
26. As part of a military district under Reconstruction, post offices were established in 1866 at Neese’s Store (later Warrenton) and Winchester, which was platted the following year.
Beginning in July 1867, local men, including African-Americans, signed oaths of allegiance to the U.S. and registered to vote.
A catastrophic yellow fever epidemic in late 1867 caused citizens to flee La Grange until the danger was over. Fifteen to twenty percent of La Grange’s population was wiped out, with many of the deceased buried in mass graves.
27. The mass migration of Germans and Czechs into the county created new communities, most supporting a church and school. English, Czech and German language services and classes were common.
In December 1870, Augustin Haidusek, at age 25, was the first Czech admitted to the State Bar of Texas. He was also Mayor of La Grange, a Texas Legislator, Fayette County Judge, and the founder of the Czech-language newspaper, “Svoboda”.
28. Railroad expansion brought faster transportation, economic growth, and new communities to Fayette County.
First, the Houston and Texas Central Railway Company (HTC) laid 6.27 miles of track across the north-east corner of the county, through present-day Carmine and Ledbetter; it was completed January 13, 1870.
In 1873 the Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railway Company (GHSA) crossed the southern portion of the county with 22.86 miles of track.
29. Round Top incorporated in 1868.
Post offices were soon established at Black Jack Springs and Bluff.
The first Czech Catholic school in the U. S. was established at Praha in 1869, followed by parochial schools at Dubina, Fayetteville, Ross Prairie and Winchester.
The population in 1870 was 16,863.
On March 30, 1870 Texas was re-admitted to the United States.
The Ladies Cemetery Association of La Grange organized in April 1873, the first such association of its kind in Texas.
30. In 1873 Wenzel Matejowsky was the first postmaster of Nechanitz, named after his birthplace in Bohemia. The family operated the post office for 73 years, a national record.
Other U.S. post offices were established at Ammannsville, Biegel, Ellinger, Flatonia, Haw Creek, Ledbetter, New Prague (Praha), Schulenburg, Swiss Alp, Warda, Warrenton, West Point and Rock House (Willow Springs) during the 1870s.
In 1874 Lee County was formed from part of northern Fayette County.
Detail taken from1881 Bird's Eye View of Schulenburg by Augustus Koch
31. Schulenburg was established in March 1873 after the Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railway Company purchased 450 acres from Louis Schulenburg. Christian Baumgarten, Franz and F. A. Stanzel, and John Wittbecker also offered land as an inducement to get the railroad and a town built. The railroad drew many High Hill businesses and residents into Schulenburg.
The town was incorporated on May 24, 1875 and by 1885 its population was over 1000 and 90 per cent of the inhabitants being foreign born.
32 Flatonia was established in October 1873, when a half interest in 160 acres of the W. A. Faires survey was conveyed to the president of the GHSA Railroad, T. W. Pierce, by F. W. Flato, John Cline and John Lattimer. When the rail arrived in April 1874, many inhabitants of older communities like Oso, Cistern and “old” Flatonia soon migrated to be near the new depot.
The Flatonia Argus, the oldest operating newspaper in the county, was established in 1879 by P. E. Edmondson. [The Argus was first published in Schulenburg in March 1877. Later research showed Edmonton then moved The Argus to Flatonia some time before March 1878.]
33 In 1876 Julia Lee Sinks compiled the first history of Fayette County.
The 1880 county population was 27,996—a 66% increase in ten years.
There were 116 public free schools with 105 teachers and 3,525 white and black students.
In the 1880s, U.S. Post Offices were established at Colony, Dubina, Engle, Freyburg, Muldoon, Nassau, Oldenburg, O’Quinn, Plum, Waldeck and Walhalla.
The La Grange Journal began publication on February 18, 1880 and was in business until 1986
34 1880 was a watershed year for La Grange, because the first rail connection to the outside world was achieved when the GHSA Railway built a spur line from Alleyton to La Grange. A depot was built at the half-way point and the town of Ellinger was established when much of Live Oak Hill moved to the rail line. The first train of the La Grange Branch arrived in town on New Year’s Eve 1880. A passenger and freight depot were built, and within five months over 2000 bales of cotton had been shipped out by rail
35 Precinct courthouses are unique to Fayette County. Seven were approved beginning in 1880 including Ammannsville, Winchester and Schulenburg which no longer exist and those which can still be found in Fayetteville, Flatonia, Muldoon and Round Top.
The communities of St. John, Gay Hill, Prairie Valley and Rek Hill were formed.
In 1882, the third Fayette County Jail, designed by the firm Andrewarthe and Wahrenberger, was built in the Victorian Gothic style of rusticated limestone.
The same firm had designed the Casino Hall in La Grange.
36 Fayetteville was incorporated in March 1882. Carmean was founded by Dr. Benjamin J. Thigpen in 1883. The spelling was later changed to Carmine due to postal confusion with another town.
In 1884, an 18-foot-tall marble and limestone shaft was placed on the courthouse square honoring the Mier and Dawson heroes.
In 1886 Gus Steenken established Oldenburg, southwest of Warrenton.
37 In 1887, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway Company (MKT) was the third line, passing through Kirtley to La Grange and then on to Pisek before leaving the county.
The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway Company (SAAP) was the last rail line to enter the county, passing from Flatonia to Winchester along its 30.9-mile route.
The small communities of Halsted, Plum, Engle, and Muldoon all developed as a result of the railroads. By the end of 1888 passenger and freight trains were prevalent.
38 By August 1887 La Grange had a telephone connection with Schulenburg and, within three years, telephone lines were installed throughout the county.
A county poorhouse built in 1888 provided medical and housing services for the indigent.
In 1889, Dr. I. E. Clark laid out Bermuda Valley Farm Racetrack near Schulenburg. Clark traced the course free style in his buggy.
In March 1889, the KJT, Czech Catholic Union of Texas, was founded at Moravan/Hostyn.
39 In 1890, the population of the county was 31,481, the 14th largest in the state.
That year the third courthouse was deemed unsafe yet required dynamite to demolish it.
Architect J. Riely Gordon of San Antonio designed the fourth courthouse. The Romanesque Revival three-story structure built with four types of native stone, including Muldoon blue sandstone, featured a clock tower and open atrium for lighting and ventilation. The building was completed by November 1891.
40 In 1892, water pipes connected the jail and courthouse, where electric lights were also installed. Infrastructure modernization was happening in larger communities throughout the county.
In 1893, major fires occurred in Schulenburg and Fayetteville, where the east side of the square was destroyed.
The Schulenburg Sticker was established.
In 1894, August Loessin was elected sheriff and served for twenty-six years.
41 The La Grange Deutsche Zeitung, a German language newspaper, was published from 1894 until 1926.
The S. P. J. S. T, a secular Czech fraternal organization, was founded at the courthouse in 1896.
In 1898, at least three military companies, including the Fayette Light Guard, were raised for the Spanish-American War.
In 1899 the first rural free- delivery mail route in Texas was established in Fayette County. During the 1890s post offices were opened at Bridge Valley, Holman, Pin Oak and Roznov.
42 The county population in 1900 was 36,542, the highest ever recorded. The population of La Grange was 2,362, Schulenburg was 1,149 and Flatonia was 1,210. Floodwaters caused extensive damage to crops and property along the Colorado River, including the water and electrical works in La Grange.
The Great Galveston Storm of 1900 did major damage in the county, especially to church steeples.
Post offices were soon opened at Halsted and Primm (Kirtley).
43 In 1901, telephones were installed in the courthouse. Fire nearly destroyed Engle; only two businesses and three houses remained.
In 1902, there were 89 white and 44 black schools in Fayette County, with about 7,500 students.
The La Grange Cotton Compress with 2000 bales of cotton were destroyed by fire in 1906.
In 1907, the state condemned .36 acres of the Kreische property to gain public access to the Dawson and Mier tomb.
44 The last public hanging in La Grange occurred in 1909.
Hurricane winds destroyed or damaged many buildings in the county, including churches, businesses, schools, homes, out buildings and windmills.
The first issue of the Fayette County Record was published. [There have been three iterations of The Fayette County Record. The first was begun about 1874 and ran until about 1880. The second was published from 1909 until 1912. The current Fayette County Record was first published in 1922.]
In 1910, the population of the county decreased to 29,796.
Theodore Roosevelt made a “whistle stop” in La Grange in 1911, speaking for five minutes at the MKT depot.
Photo caption: 1913 floodwaters rose past this building that is now the eastern half of Hengst Printing and Office Supplies at 155 W. Travis Street in La Grange. Dark areas along the lower walls show that floodwaters had already receded about eighteen inches by the time this photo was taken. Photo courtesy of the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives [PHO 2004.24.2].
45 A flood of historic proportions covered much of La Grange in December 1913. Four feet of water filled the square. Damages in the county were extensive.
In 1915, St. Martin’s Catholic Church, billed as “The World’s Smallest Church,” was built with left-over lumber from a larger church.
The U.S. entered World War I in 1917. Including the 59 men lost to disease and accidents, Fayette County had at least 74 war casualties. By 1919, American Legion posts were established throughout the county.
46 By the end of WW I, automobiles had ended the horse and buggy days in the county. Saddleries and liveries were replaced by auto repair shops and gas stations.
In 1918, county-wide school redistricting resulted in 82 school districts. Ten years later, additional consolidation began reducing that number.
Annie Webb Blanton (1870-1945), a La Grange High School graduate, was the first Texas woman elected to statewide office when she became State Superintendent for Public Instruction in 1918.
47 The Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the manufacturing and sales of alcoholic beverages, was ratified in 1919. This legislation was a blow, especially to Germans and Czechs in the county. Federal prohibition officers from Houston regularly visited the county arresting “bootleggers” and “moon shiners”.
Residents were greatly relieved when the Prohibition Act was repealed by constitutional amendment in 1933.
48 In 1920 the population of Fayette County was 29,965.
The La Grange Hospital was established by Dr. Frank J. Guenther in 1920 and incorporated in 1927. Dr. F. E. Young and Dr. C. M. Hoch (anesthetist) were staff doctors of the original five-bed facility.
A nurses training school, established in 1921, graduated 25 nurses before closing in 1932. The Guenther Clinic was across the street from the hospital.
On July 6, 1924 Moravan was renamed Hostyn by unanimous decision at a homecoming of old settlers.
49 The Fayette County Fair Association organized in 1924. An exposition hall, horse racing track with grandstand, dance pavilion and other structures were built on land purchased north of La Grange.
In 1937 the race track was turned into a baseball park for the local team, the La Grange Demons.
Beginning in 1925 the county suffered a severe drought. After the rains returned, the Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church at Hostyn erected its famous grotto in an act of gratitude.
50 In 1929 the Carnation Milk Corporation broke ground in Schulenburg for its first Texas milk processing plant. Special trains brought more than 30,000 people to the celebration.
The same year a Street Improvement Celebration in La Grange attracted thousands, who enjoyed dancing on the newly-paved streets around the square.
In 1930 the population was 30,708.
Fayette County was one of the first in Texas to scatter wildflower seeds along roads and to build a roadside park near West Point.
The dedication of the new tomb for the victims of the Dawson Massacre and Mier Expedition on September 18, 1933, courtesy of the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives [PHO 1990.29.8].
51 In 1931 The Monument Hill Memorial Association organized to provide a new vault, acquire additional land, and ask the legislature to designate Monument Hill as a state park.
On September 18, 1933, the new granite vault at Monument Hill was dedicated on the 85th anniversary of the entombment.
In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission appropriated funds for a 48-foot-tall shaft to be erected near the tomb. An Art Deco panel depicting the black bean episode and a bronze figure decorate the shaft.
52 In 1932 a fire destroyed seven business buildings on the north side of Ledbetter. Most were never re-built.
Home Demonstration work began in 1933, with the first clubs at Bluff, Swiss Alp and Fayetteville.
The Colorado River flooded in 1935 and 1938—the last major floods before the dams were built upstream.
In 1936 the Wolters-Herder Family Association donated land to establish a park in Schulenburg in honor of R. A. Wolters, Sr.
53 In July 1936 the U.S. Government changed their one-hundred-year-old spelling of “LaGrange” to “La Grange” in all government and postal records.
The Fayette Electric Cooperative, established in 1937, built 120 miles of line at Bluff, Trinity Hill, Bridge Valley, Plum, Hostyn, Swiss Alp, Kirtley, Muldoon, Rocky Ridge, Ammannsville, Holman, Dubina, and Freyburg.
Within a year, homes and businesses were receiving electricity for the first time.
In 1940, the population of Fayette County population was 29,246.
A new Highway 71 Colorado River bridge in La Grange was completed in 1941.
54 Between the years of 1941 and 1945, men and women from Fayette County served in WWII; many were injured, some became prisoners of war, and at least 113 men died.
After the war, the exodus from farms to urban areas changed county demographics.
A building boom occurred in towns around the county.
After Sheriff Will Loessin resigned, T.J. Flournoy was elected sheriff in 1947, serving until 1980.
The Fayette County scholastic census in 1947 was 5,310.
After further consolidation, there were eleven rural school districts and three independent school districts in 1948.
55 A massive courthouse restoration reopened the atrium that had been enclosed since 1949.
When the building was rededicated in 2005, it was the oldest existing J. Reily Gordon courthouse in the state.
A Veterans Affairs Clinic opened in 2009 to serve the area.
Fayette County’s population in 2010 was 24,554.
The Founders Park on the courthouse square was dedicated in 2012
Fayette County was the first county in Texas to use rural addressing for 911 services and develop a county-wide recycling program.
56 In 1949, a winter storm caused record low temperatures and snowfalls in the county.
A need for more office and vault space in the courthouse necessitated the closing of the atrium. House-to-house mail delivery began in La Grange.
In 1950, the population of Fayette County dropped to 24,176.
Polio cases were becoming more prevalent in the county.
Colorado Valley Telephone Cooperative was formed in 1953.
KVLG, the first radio station in the county, was established in La Grange in 1959.
57 The population in the county decreased again to 20,384 in 1960, due to the migration of young people to urban areas.
In 1962, the first ceremony honoring all veterans of all wars was held at Praha Cemetery.
Racial segregation of Fayette County schools ended in 1965.
Lady Bird Johnson visited Winedale and other local historic sites in 1967.
By 1970, the county population declined to 17,650. That year a 12.1-mile section of Interstate 10 was built in southern Fayette County bypassing Flatonia and Schulenburg.
58 In 1971, concert pianist James Dick established the Round Top Festival Institute.
In 1974, the Lower Colorado River Authority chose the site for its coal-fired Fayette Power Project that opened in 1979. Accessed from the old Park community, its cooling lake covered family farms and old Biegel.
The 1980 census reported a population of 18,832—the first increase in four decades.
A new jail opened on the northern edge of La Grange in 1985. It was renamed in honor of County Judge Dan Beck in 2018.
59 The Painted Churches Tours began in the late 1980s.
In 1990 the population was 20,095.
The Veterans Memorial on the courthouse grounds was dedicated that same year.
A new section of Highway 71 bypassed La Grange in 1991.
The Fayette Regional Air Center, west of La Grange, opened in 1992.
That year, the 150th Remembrance of the Dawson Men and the Men of Mier was the first in a series of Texas Heroes Day celebrations at Monument Hill.
The first county-wide animal shelter opened in 1994.
60 Internet connectivity was introduced in 1995.
La Grange was chosen as the site of the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in 1997.
That same year Blinn College opened its Schulenburg campus.
The county population was 21,804 in 2000.
The Fayette County Ground Water Conservation District was created in 2001.
Saint Mark’s Medical Center opened in La Grange in 2005.
FOOTPRINTS OF FAYETTE INDEX