Centennial celebrations kick off
ROUND ROCK — Officials kicked off the city’s centennial celebration last week with an event that included characters representing six local legends from Round Rock’s past.
They included Thomas Oatts, the city’s first postmaster; the Harrell family, which was involved in the city’s founding; and Judge Raines, who fought in the Civil War and is buried in Round Rock.
“This is a way for people to interact with history,” said Mickie Ross, executive director of the Williamson Museum.
The centennial festivity celebrates Round Rock’s incorporation, but even before the official founding many people called the area home, Ross said.
“People were settled in the area as early as the 1820s, but back then it wasn’t very safe with the Native American presence,” she said. “In 1845, more people began to move to the area and Williamson County came in 1848 and the federal government built frontier forts which offered protection. In 1851, the post office opened along Chisholm Trail and the city was named Brushy.”
However, shortly after that Oatts received a letter that a Brushy, Texas, already existed. Since the Harrell family and Oatts enjoyed fishing near the “round rock” in Brushy Creek, they decided to name the city Round Rock.
When the railroad came to Texas in 1876, it forced the city to move east to the current downtown location.
Wednesday’s kickoff celebration was the first in a series of events leading up to the April 27 street fair and concert. Wednesday also included a holiday concert put on by McNeil High School students.
“We want to do anything to celebrate the city we live in and love,” said Kristin Brown, special event coordinator for the city. “We also want to bring attention to the revitalization going on downtown.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Kris Whitfield said she hopes the centennial events will share more of Round Rock’s history with newer residents.
“I myself didn’t know we had a cheese factory or a broom factory that won an award at the World’s Fair,” she said. “These things shaped our history and brought people to Round Rock.”
Members of McNeil High’s choir sing Christmas carols Wednesday at Prete Plaza downtown. Carolers are Justin Stamps (from left), Cody Dosler, Haley Peeler and Drake Siegel.