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Stone marker gives Round Rock its name

Stone marker gives Round Rock its name
HARRY & LINDA KAYE PEREZ Among the eclectic restaurants, boutiques, and pubs on Main Street is Fire in the Hole Pizza and Brew.

Have you ever wondered how towns and cities got their names? Many are named for famous people, some even for saints, but others cause you ponder Round Rock for instance. It is rather simple.

The first people to live in this area date back to 9200 BC during the ice age. In Leander, just 4 miles west of Round Rock, workers drilling core samples of a new highway discovered skeletal remains now known as the “Leanderthal Lady.”

Much later came the Tonkawas, who hunted buffalo. They were joined by the Kiowa, Comanches, and numerous other smaller tribes. In the early 19th century, they were pushed out of this area by settlers. In 1851, a group of these settlers gathered along Brushy Creek at a low-water point where wagons, horses, and cattle could safely cross. A natural marker for this crossing was a large, anvil-shaped, table rock in the water. The group named their new town Brushy, but in 1854 the town was renamed Round Rock, in honor of the big round rock in the creek.

This rock also was a marker for Jesse Chisholm, who moved cattle from South Texas to Abilene, Kansas, a route known today as the Chisholm Trail. In 1878, the downtown area witnessed an historic gunfight between a Texas Ranger division and infamous American train robber, Sam Bass. This shootout is re-created each year at the July 4 Frontier Days Celebration in Old Settlers Park. Bass is buried in Round Rock Cemetery.

In 2008, the city was named seventh-best American Small City and in 2009, it was listed as the second-fastest growing city in the country. It is home to the international headquarters of Dell Computers, and has an Ikea Store and the newly open Premium Outlets of Round Rock.

Today, Round Rock has a population of more than 110,000.

Main Street

One thing that can’t be missed is a stroll along Main Street in downtown Round Rock. It is a quaint, eclectic collection of restaurants, boutiques, and pubs. At Fire in the Hole Stone Pizza and Brew, we got some of the best pizza we’ve ever had. If you’re in the mood for a steak or seafood, you might try the Main Street Grill. It has a relaxing atmosphere and is a bit less crowded than some of the pubs, but is a little pricey. It is said that Main Street Grill has the best Key Lime pie. If it’s burgers you crave, Junior’s Grill and Ice House is the place. Most evenings, live music can be heard both inside and on the patio.

Dell Diamond

The Dell Diamond is home to the Round Rock Express, a minor league baseball team. It is a state-of-the-art multi-purpose sports and entertainment complex, hosting not only baseball games, but also concerts and festivals. It even has a swimming pool and spa party area, picnic area, and playscape, all available for rent.

Old Settlers Park

This 645-acre park is a well-known sports destination for youth and amateur sports leagues that includes 20 baseball fields, 12 lighted tennis courts, seven soccer facilities, five softball fields, two lighted football fields, a cricket field, and an 18-hole disc golf course. There are also 40 picnic areas with barbecue grills and 3 miles of paved trail, as well as a fishing lake stocked with bass, catfish, and perch.

Though considered by many as a bedroom city to neighboring Austin, Round Rock can hold its own in almost every respect, and greatly adds to the overall attraction for the area. The I-35 Corridor continues to grow and provide value to all of South Central Texas.

Harry and Linda Kaye Perez are freelance writers from just down the road from Floresville. Together they share a passion for traveling and writing, and discovering the very best in all corners of the world. Email them at

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