Llano, the county seat and largest town of Llano County, is on the Llano River and State Highway 71, seventy-five miles northwest of Austin. It was founded in compliance with a February 1, 1856, state legislative act establishing Llano County. Tracts donated by John Oatman, Sr., Amariah Wilson, and the Chester B. Starks estate provided a surveyed site of 250 acres for the county seat on both sides of the Llano River near the center of the proposed county. An alternative site, on Wright's Creek, was proposed by the residents of the Bluffton-Tow Valley area. The Llano River location was chosen in an election held on June 14, 1856, under a live oak on the south bank of the river, near the present site of Roy Inks Bridge in Llano. Into the 1870s the town was little more than a frontier trading center, with a handful of log buildings housing business establishments, a post office, and a few homes. In 1879 the first bank, Moore, Foster, and Company, was founded, and during the 1880s Llano acquired a number of new enterprises that served the county's farmers and ranchers. After the county outgrew the one-story stone building that had housed its public offices, in 1885 an ornate brick courthouse was completed on the square on the south side of the river. A fire on January 22, 1892, destroyed this courthouse; the present county courthouse was completed and occupied on August 1, 1893. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
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