Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fallen Lone Stars: Chappell Hill

The Stagecoach Inn has been in continuous operation
since it opened in 1847. (photo by Larry D. Moore)
Chappell Hill, Texas — founded in 1847 on 100 acres owned by a woman — is located roughly halfway between Austin and Houston on part of the land Mexico granted to Stephen F. Austin in 1821. Mary Haller, the landowner, and her husband Jacob built a stagecoach inn on the site, at the junction of two major stagecoach lines. Soon, other folks from the Deep South migrated to the area and planted cotton, for which the climate and soil were perfectly suited.

By 1856, the population had risen to 3,000 people, eclipsed only by Galveston and San Antonio. The town included a sawmill, five churches, and a Masonic Lodge, in addition to two of the first colleges in the state — one for men and another for women. A railroad line followed soon after.

A longhorn dozes among bluebonnets outside
Chappell Hill, Texas. (photo by Texas.713)
During the War of Northern Aggression (otherwise known as the American Civil War), the men of Chappell Hill served in both Hood’s Texas Brigade (infantry) and Terry’s Texas Rangers (cavalry), participating in most of the major battles of the conflict. Two years after the war ended, in 1867, many of the Chappell Hill men who survived the fighting perished in a yellow fever epidemic that decimated the town and the rest of the area around the Brazos River.

Chappell Hill never recovered, plunging from one of the largest, most vibrant communities in the state to little more than a memory.

Today, with a population of 300 in town and approximately 1,300 in the zip code, Chappell Hill is an unincorporated community that retains its fighting spirit and independent nature. A May 2008 special election to determine whether the community would incorporate drew two-thirds of eligible voters to the polls. Incorporation was defeated by a margin of three to one.

Today, Main Street in Chappell Hill is a
National Historic District. (photo by stevesheriw)
Widely regarded as one of the best historically preserved towns in Texas, Chappell Hill maintains its landmarks with admirable zeal. The Stagecoach Inn has been in continuous operation since the doors first opened. Main Street is listed as a National Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places. Restored homes, churches, and businesses offer tours to visitors, and the annual Bluebonnet Festival and Scarecrow Festival attract tourists from all over the state.

If you’re ever in the area, it’s worth a visit.

A Texan to the bone, Kathleen Rice Adams spends her days chasing news stories and her nights and weekends shooting it out with Wild West desperadoes. Leave the upstanding, law-abiding heroes to other folks. In Kathleen’s stories, even the good guys wear black hats.

Her short story “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” won the 2015 Peacemaker Award for Best Western Short Fiction. Her novel Prodigal Gun won the EPIC Award for Historical Romance and is the only western historical romance ever to final for a Peacemaker in a book-length category.

Visit her hideout on the web at



  1. I knew very little about Chappell Hill, so your post is a blessing. I've heard the name but really knew nothing about it. Thanks for the descriptions..and the photos.

  2. I so enjoyed this post. Golly that town must have spunk to be still going strong today. Horrah for them. I also loved that picture. I am fascinated with the bluebonnets of Texas as I am a flower lover and the mass fields of such beauty has me speechless. And with a Longhorn in the middle. Gotta love. So nice to see your face again. Thanks for this treat of stepping back in time.

  3. I love these tiny towns that are tucked all over our country. Each one is unique with a rich past. It seems today that everyone flies places, or gets on the interstate and drives as quickly as possible to their destination.By doing that they miss out on these wonderful little towns!

    Thanks for sharing Chappell Hill with us.

  4. How sad to survive the Civil War and the die of a fever. The town sounds wonderful to visit and explore. Nice post, Kathleen.

  5. Be sure to visit the Chappell Hill State Bank. Still in its historical old building with brass and marble teller counters and old plank floors. It embodies the spirit of Chappell Hill - was the only bank in Texas to kept its doors open during the great depression.


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