Marble Falls

Marble Falls, Texas

Marble Falls, Texas

Marble Falls in Burnett County, Texas. Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash.

Marble Falls is on the Colorado River at the intersection of U.S. Highway 281 and Farm Road 1431, thirteen miles southeast of Burnet in southern Burnet County. The falls for which the town was named were used as a landmark by travelers and were referred to as the "great falls" or the "marble falls" of the Colorado River as early as 1817. Charles S. Todd made an effort to establish a town at the falls in 1854. Several lots were sold, but few people built homes there. "Todd's village" faded before it ever really got started, and Todd's land was sold for taxes in 1880. Adam Rankin Johnson saw the falls in 1854 and also wanted to build a city at the site. His project remained a dream, however, until the 1880s. Although there was some difficulty in establishing a clear title to the land, by 1886 Johnson had succeeded in buying one-half and controlling the rest of the original Baker grant, which included the falls area. The Texas Mining and Improvement Company was chartered in June 1887; Johnson and nine others were listed as owners. It handled the business of the new town for several years. Town lots were advertised for sale in July. The Austin and Northwestern Railroad built an extension to Marble Falls from Granite Mountain in 1889. A post office was also established that year with Robert Charlton as postmaster. By 1890 the community had Methodist and Baptist churches, a cotton gin, a gristmill, a tannery, a shoe factory, three general stores, a hotel, a weekly Gazette, and 400 to 600 residents. Population estimates reached 1,800 by 1896. Marble Falls Alliance University was chartered in 1892, but it was in operation only a few years; its facilities were purchased by the public schools when an independent school district was established in 1908. The first city officials were elected in 1907, when a mayor-alderman form of government was instituted. In 1917 the all-male voting population of Marble Falls elected Orphelia (Birdie) Crosby Harwood the first woman mayor in the United States. Some improvements to the city, such as paved streets and electric street lights came in the late 1920s; others, such as sewer systems, had to wait until after the Great Depression and World War II.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Marble Falls by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Marble Falls
Pop. Year Source
7,037 2020 United States Census Bureau
7,125 2019 Texas Demographic Center
6,077 2010 United States Census Bureau
4,959 2000 United States Census Bureau
4,007 1990 United States Census Bureau
3,252 1980 United States Census Bureau
2,209 1970 United States Census Bureau
2,161 1960 United States Census Bureau
2,044 1950 United States Census Bureau
1,021 1940 United States Census Bureau
865 1930 United States Census Bureau
639 1920 United States Census Bureau
1,061 1910 United States Census Bureau