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Georgetown (Williamson County)

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Georgetown, founded in 1848, is the county seat of Williamson County and lies at the fork of the North and South San Gabriel rivers. Named for George Washington Glasscock who donated the land for the new town, it served an agricultural community for most of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With the location here in 1873 of Southwestern University ( BT27) and construction of a railroad in 1878, Georgetown grew as a regional trading center as well as an educational community. As in many other eastern Central Texas communities, cotton production dominated the economy from the 1880s through the 1920s. The town grew in the twentieth century but this accelerated after the 1970s as the community became a bedroom suburb to Austin, accessible along I-35. Georgetown is recognized for its long commitment to historic preservation that is credited for helping it retain its small-town character despite massive suburban development on its outskirts.

Bounded by Austin, 8th, Main, and 7th streets, the avenues surrounding courthouse square have one of the finest collections of c. 1870 to c. 1910 buildings in the state. Early participation in the Texas Main Street program resulted in a number of important restorations and kept the central business district intact despite development pressure from nearby Austin. Many of the buildings are constructed of locally quarried limestone and give a distinctive regional feel to the architecture.

The M. B. Lockett Building (1896) at 119 W. 7th Street is a two-story, four-bay limestone building with a red brick facade resting on cast-iron columns, an angled corner, and an oriel on the second floor. Also noteworthy is the two-story Italianate Dimmitt Building (c. 1900) at 719 Main Street, which has a cast-iron front and an overhanging pressed-metal cornice. The remaining one-and two-story commercial buildings offer a strong presence, some with rusticated limestone construction and pressed-metal cornices.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.

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