Early History of the City of Bastrop. Long before white men arrived, this region was inhabited by Tonkawa and Comanche Indians. In 1691 the first Spanish explorers crossed this territory en route to east Texas. From their route, parts of "El Camino Real" (the King's Highway) were blazed, thus placing Bastrop on a major early travel artery. Because El Camino Real crossed the Colorado River here, this was a strategic spot. In 1805 the Fort "Puesta del Colorado" and accompanying community were founded here to protect commerce on the road. In 1825 this area became "Mina," one of the first settlements in the colony of Stephen F. Austin. It was named for revolutionary leader Xavier Mina. In the years that followed, many members of its first 100 families served in the Texas Revolution (1836), the Mexican War (1846-1848), and were active in political life in the Republic and State of Texas. In 1837 when the town incorporated, the name was changed to "Bastrop" to honor the Baron de Bastrop, influential early land agent and statesman. The city was also designated county seat in 1837. (1968) From 1851-1870, this was seat of Bastrop Military Academy, an important Texas school. First courthouse was built in 1853; present one in 1883 on the same spot. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1968. Located at Loop 150 and SH 21, entrance to Bastrop State Park.
Old Bastrop Academy Bell. Cast 1850. Bastrop ladies collected money, and bell was brought here in 1851 by steamer "Water Mockasin." In 1892, no longer used to summon school classes, it was placed in a cupola at the Methodist Church; since 1928, in this campanile. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966. Located at 1201 N. Main St., Bastrop.
The Bastrop Advertiser. In June 1852, Bastrop's Colorado Reveille Newspaper ended its brief run. In December of that year, William J. Cain, a young printer from Mississippi, bought the press and printing materials and started the Bastrop Advertiser. The newspaper began as a weekly publication from a shop on Main Street in March 1853. Thomas C. Cain took over the business when his brother retired, and his son, T.W. Cain, followed him as owner and editor. In 1920, Cain sold the paper, which was later owned by the J.O. Smith Family of Elgin. Except for a period during the Civil War, the paper has continuously served Bastrop residents. Through the years, the paper has focused on the area's news and rich history. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 2003. Located at 908 Water, Bastrop.
Bastrop 1935. Bastrop or Mina, lies on the left bank of the Colorado, at the intersection of the road leading from Bexar to Nacogdoches with the river. It was laid out in 1830 by the Empresario, General Austin, in his contract of 1827, and is already a considerable place, and continues to grow rapidly. It is a favorite spot for new settlers, and is quite the rage at present; no sickness of any kind having ever been known there. It is situated on a bend of the river, sloping beautifully down to the water, with ranges of timber—first oak, then pine, then cedar, rising in regular succession behind it. - Texas by Holley, Mary Austin; Austin, Texas, 1935, page 116
Bastrop Opera House. The Bastrop Opera House was constructed in 1889 by D. S. Green and P. O. Elzner. Elzner, a prominent local merchant, became sole owner in 1901. Over the years, it has been the scene of a variety of entertainment shows. Traveling opera and drama companies, musicians, and other artists have performed here. The Bastrop Opera House, which features a three-part facade with bays separated by pilasters, also has been the setting for graduation exercises and school proms. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1984. Marker located at 711 Spring St., Bastrop.
First National Bank of Bastrop. First bank in county. In early days, money for safekeeping was placed with mercantile firms. Organized as "Bank of Bastrop County", in March 1889; became a national bank on Aug. 10, 1889. Presidents of this bank have been J. C. Buchanan, B. D. Orgain, W. A. McCord, W. B. Ransome, Earl C. Erhard and Gates B. Mack. Present structure built 1950, is on site of 1860's law office of Geo. W. Jones and J. D. Sayers; each served Texas as Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Congressman. Sayers was Governor, 1899-1903. Noted trading store of John Swan Johnson also stood here. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1967. Located at Corner of Main and Spring Sts., Bastrop.
Site of Bastrop Military Institute. A Methodist institution chartered January 24, 1852 as Bastrop Academy. Rechartered under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church South in 1853. In 1856 became the Bastrop Military Institute. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1936. Located at corner of Buttonwood and Church St., Bastrop.