Menard, the county seat of Menard County, is on the San Saba River at the intersection of U.S. highways 83 and 190, a mile from the ruins of San Luis de las Amarillas Presidio. The early Spanish settlement at the presidio was abandoned in 1758, but the site was used as a camp by Indians and as a landmark for expeditions in search of a legendary silver mine supposed to have been in the vicinity. Ferdinand von Roemer visited the presidio ruins in 1847 and left a description of them. The town was called Menardville when the site was laid out in 1858 after the legislature approved the establishment of Menard County. That year three families lived there in log cabins surrounded by split-log palisades. Early attempts to organize a county government were unsuccessful. Fort McKavett closed in 1859, leaving residents little protection from frequent Indian raids; the fort reopened after the Civil War. In 1867 Menardville had a store operated by Adam Bradford in a one-room log house, a blacksmith shop, and a saloon and grocery. All supplies were hauled overland from Burnet. Menardville served as a trading post and overnight stop on north and west cattle trails; the old compound of the Spanish mission was used as a holding area for cattle on the way to market. In 1871 a second attempt to organize Menard County was successful, and the first term of county court convened under a live oak tree. A two-story courthouse was built at Menardville in 1872. By the mid-1880s the community had a church, a school, several stores, and 150 residents; livestock, wool, and hides were the principal shipments made from the area. William Columbus Redman published the Menardville Monitor in 1887; later papers included the Record (1889), the Enterprise (1892), and the Messenger (1908), which was owned and operated by humorist Claude Callan.
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.
Claudia Hazlewood | © Texas State Historical Association
Menard at a Glance
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Menard is classified as a Town
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Photos of Menard and surrounding areas
Menard, the seat of Menard County, is situated about 140 miles northwest of Austin, in the central part of Menard County. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.
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Menard by the Numbers
This is some placeholder text that we should either remove or replace with a brief summary about this particular metric. For example, "We update population counts once per year..."
|1,348||2020||United States Census Bureau|
|1,400||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|1,471||2010||United States Census Bureau|
|1,653||2000||United States Census Bureau|
|1,606||1990||United States Census Bureau|
|1,697||1980||United States Census Bureau|
|1,740||1970||United States Census Bureau|
|1,914||1960||United States Census Bureau|
|2,685||1950||United States Census Bureau|
|2,375||1940||United States Census Bureau|
|1,969||1930||United States Census Bureau|
|1,164||1920||United States Census Bureau|