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15 Facts About Round Top’s History

Jun 24, 2020 | Round Top Events , Round Top FYI

With Round Top’s 150th Anniversary Celebration just around the corner on August 1, we’ve been reflecting on the past and the backstory of how Round Top came to be. A lot has changed since 1870, so we’re here to take you on a walk down memory lane with 15 facts about Round Top’s history!

  1. The land Round Top now sits on was part of the American colony Stephen F. Austin established in the Tejas province of Mexico in the early 1800s.
  2. James Winn acquired 4,428 acres in 1831 as part of a land grant. This land became known as Round Top.
  3. Round Top was originally named Townsend, after an earlier settler named Nathaniel Townsend (whose original house still exists as the Texana Lodge).
  4. The town was re-named “Round Top” in reference to the house the postmaster lived in, which featured a round tower.
  5. The area was first settled by Englishmen and Germans, contributing to the rich local German food and culture of the area today.
  6. In 1850, the population in Round Top was 150, and the town had two stores, two blacksmith shops, two taverns and a post office.
  7. The first Round Top Fourth of July celebration was held in 1851, giving the town the distinction of having the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi.
  8. Round Top is home to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the oldest active Lutheran church in Fayette County.
  9. It’s also home to Moore’s Fort, the oldest building in Fayette County. It was built by John Henry Moore in 1828 and currently houses Round Top businesses.
  10. Clara Rummel, known as “the poetess of Texas,” and for whom Rummel Square is named after, called Round Top home.
  11. In 1870, Round Top was incorporated. 150 years later, we celebrate Round Top’s sesquicentennial!
  12. The Round Top Rifle Association was formed in 1873 by town members of German heritage and began as a club encouraging outdoor sports. Today, it’s a non-profit community service organization whose charter includes maintaining the 100+-year-old Rifle Hall.
  13. Ima Hogg, a philanthropist known as “The First Lady of Texas,” purchased property near Round Top in 1963 and personally oversaw the restoration of the Winedale Inn – now known as the Winedale Historical Center.
  14. In the fall of 1968, Emma Lee Turney established a two-day antiques fair that eventually became the Round Top Antiques Show, which draws thousands of people from all over the world to Round Top twice a year.
  15. After its founding in Round Top in 1971, the Round Top Festival Institute became an internationally recognized cultural center for the arts and education.

Round Top’s 150th Anniversary Celebration kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 1 with live music, food, music and 1,000 birthday cupcakes! We hope to see you there for a day of celebrating the history of the town that has touched all of our hearts. To learn more, visit our webpage.

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