The first attempts to establish a town here at the falls of the Colorado River in the mid-1850s failed due to lack of interest. With the chartering of the Texas Mining and Improvement Company in 1887 and the arrival of the Austin and Northwestern Railroad in 1889, the town grew quickly on land acquired by General Adam Rankin Johnson. Quarries in the vicinity were the source of granite for the state capitol building ( AU1) and later the source of granite for construction of jetties and the Galveston Seawall ( GV49). Although the natural falls failed to be developed as a source for industrial power, several attempts at dam construction were finally successful in 1925, providing power to the Marble Falls Textile Mill Company. The Max Starcke Dam, constructed in the early 1950s, formed Lake Marble Falls and destroyed the natural falls. The lake, however, became a new economic resource, attracting subdivisions and resorts to lakeside property. The first female mayor in the United States, Orphelia Crosby Harwood, was elected by the all-male voters of Marble Falls in 1917.
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