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The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you.
Support the Handbook today. Lockhart, county seat of Caldwell County, is at the intersection of U. Highway and State Highwaythirty miles southeast of Austin. It was named for Byrd Lockhartwho in received the land that later became the Lockhart townsite as partial payment for his surveying work for the Mexican government. During the s settlement in the area was limited by the threat of Indian raids, but after the battle of Plum Creek inmore settlers began to arrive. By the mids, several families had made their home near Lockhart Springs, and when Caldwell County was established inthe new town of Lockhart became the county seat.
The Plum Creek post office, which had served the area since the year, was transferred to Lockhart. Lockhart was incorporated in with a mayor-council government. By that time the community was well established: Isabel Stewart began publishing a weekly newspaper in or ; the Lockhart Academy opened in ; a Masonic lodge, built inprovided meeting space for both school and church functions; and by at least five different churches had been organized. An census of incorporated Texas listed Lockhart with residents.
In the late s Lockhart became a starting point for the Chisholm Trailand, as such, developed as a regional trading center in the early s. Beginning TXhowever, Texas arrival of the Galveston, Harrisburg and TX Antonio Railway in the southern part of the county and the subsequent establishment of Luling cut into business activity at Lockhart for several years. Lockhart continued to grow, but did not recover its dominance of the county economy until afterwhen the completion of the Lockhart-San Marcos section of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas line increased access to outside markets.
By Lockhart had electricity, a waterworks, streetcars, four schools, seven churches, and a national bank to serve its 1, residents. Aiding its economic growth was the establishment of two more rail lines: in the San Antonio and Aransas Pass connected Lockhart and Shiner by way of Lulingand in the Missouri, Kansas and Texas extended its track from Lockhart to Smithville.
In the s and early s Lockhart became an important regional center for processing cotton, with a cottonseed oil mill opening in and a compress in The turn of the century also brought the establishment of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library still extant and said to be the state's oldest continuously operating city library and Kreuz's Market still selling barbecue in the early s. The census of showed that the city population had nearly Lockhart in ten years, rising to 2, The discovery of the Luling oilfield in again put Lockhart in economic second place in the county, but some Lockhart citizens were able to benefit from investments in the field.
Though it did not boom as Luling did, Lockhart grew steadily, its population rising from 3, in to 5, in the early s. During World War II the Lockhart-to-Luling branch of the railroad was abandoned in as part of the war effort, but as each city had another rail line, neither was irreparably damaged. The agricultural nature of the county economy was reflected in the major businesses in Lockhart at that time: cotton gins and compresses, a creamery, 78644 poultry-dressing plant, a peanut shelling and processing plant, and livestock marketing and shipping facilities.
During the s the population of Lockhart leveled off at slightly more than 6, In the early s, residents became concerned that Lockhart might develop into a bedroom community for commuters to nearby Austin. Inin an effort to avoid such a development, a group of Lockhart residents established the Lockhart Industrial Foundation, the function of which was to Texas new businesses to Lockhart.
Though in the early s some Lockhart residents were commuting to 78644 in Austin, the Foundation 78644 fairly successful in attracting industries to Lockhart. One of the first of these businesses was the Kewaunee Scientific Corporation, which at one time employed to people; several smaller technology-based firms employed another twenty-five. Later the foundation helped bring the Wackenhut Corrections Corporation to Lockhart. Wackenhut Corrections, which leased city-owned space to run a private prison, brought Lockhart an additional jobs.
In the courthouse and several blocks of downtown Lockhart were listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The population was reported at 7, in and at 9, in The population was 11, in The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry. Zona Adams Withers, comp. Places: Communities. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.Lockhart, Texas, TX, 78644
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