Cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tions kick off

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Fauzeya Rah­man Round Rock Leader

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.”

HENRY HUEY / ROUND ROCK LEADER

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.

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