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County
Mason
Region
Hill Country
Population
2010 Census - 2,114
2000 Census - 2,134
Nearby
Towns
Mason, Texas
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Mason Texas History:
One of the earliest settlers was William S. Gamel who is thought to have arrived in the area in approximately 1846. In 1851, Fort Mason was established by the U.S. Army on Post Hill. The town of Fort Mason grew up around the fort. Gamel Spring, a favorite Indian campsite, provided water for the fort. In 1858, George W. Todd established the Fort Mason post office 3 miles from the fort. The name was shortened to Mason that same year. The post office was eventually moved to the town of Mason. In 1860, James E. Ranck opened the town’s second general store. His efforts to attract settlers to the area earned him the nickname, “The Father of Mason.” In 1861, Mason was elected county seat of Mason County. During the Civil War the fort was under Confederate control, and protected the settlers from frequent Indian attacks. After the Civil War, the fort was occupied by Federal troops and the area began to grow. The federal government established a telegraph line which became available to the public in 1868 when the fort was permanently abandoned. Nearby residents stripped the abandoned fort of usable materials and equipment for use in Mason, leaving very little evidence that fort had existed. In the 1860s, Mason became a stop on the stage and mail route between San Antonio and El Paso, Texas. S.F. Lace Bridges built a picket house to serve as a hotel, and later built the Mason House hotel. When the demand for beef in the eastern and northern markets caused beef prices to soar, Mason became the commercial center for the successful area ranches. By 1923, Mason was the largest town in Texas without a railroad. Mason is still a ranching community, and is a favorite of hunters and fishermen. Mason County is the only place in Texas where the Texas Blue Topaz gem is found. People may dig for topaz at several area ranches. Mason is located southwest of Mason Mountain on Comanche Creek at the intersections of SH 29 (Austin Street), U.S. 377, U.S. 87 (San Antonio Street), and RR 1871 (Avenue F), 38 miles southeast of Menard, 29 miles southeast of Brady, 50 miles west of Buchanan Dam and Lakes Buchanan, Inks and LBJ, 34 miles west of Llano, 54 miles slightly northwest of Kingsland, 42 miles northwest of Fredericksburg, and 44 miles northeast of Junction, Texas.
 
Historic Pontotoc, Texas and San Fernando Academy:
Settlers began arriving in the area in the 1850s. Benjamin J. Willis and five other families arrived in 1959. By 1878, the Pontotoc community was established. The post office opened in 1880. The San Fernando Academy was established in 1882. It drew people to the area, and at one time had almost 200 students. The town was supported by the cotton, wool, cattle hide, and pecan industries. The 1887 typhoid fever epidemic killed most of the town residents. The cemetery became so full it had to close. The lack of rail service and the 1890 closing of the San Fernando Academy doomed the town. The town of Pontotoc is located at the intersection of SH 71 and FM 501 in northeastern Mason County Texas, 23 miles northwest of Llano, and 25miles northeast of Mason, Texas.
 
Mason County Veterans Memorial:
The memorial commemorates all Mason County residents who served in the armed forces. Names of these veterans are inscribed on the memorial. To have a new name added, contact Crockett Keller at the Keller Store or contact the Mason Historical Commission at (325) 347-6583. The memorial is located on the northeast corner of the courthouse square. 
 
Mason Historic Walking Tour:
Brochures are available from the Mason Chamber of Commerce, or click on the above link. (325) 347-5758. Email  
 
Mason County Courthouse, 1909:
The granite courthouse was designed in Classic al Revival style by architect E.H. Hosford and Company. Construction costs were $39,786; most rooms have fireplaces. A veteran’s memorial is located on the northeast corner of the square. The Mason County Historical Commission periodically adds names to the Memorial; call (325) 347-6583 for information. The courthouse square is one of the largest in Texas. The 2010 Mason County census was 4,012. Mason County: (325) 347-5556. 201 Fort McKavitt Street.
 
Mason County Jail, 1894:
The jail is located across the square from the Mason County Courthouse. It still serves as a jail.
 
Historic Fort Mason Museum:
The fort was built in 1851 as one in a string of forts established to protect settlers from hostile Comanche, Lipan Apache, and Kiowas Indians. The original 1,100 acres were leased from private land owners. Although the fort was abandoned for two brief periods, it reached its maximum consignment of troops in 1856 while under the command of Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. Colonel Johnson was the highest ranking Union or Confederate officer killed in the Civil War. A monument and stature of him lying in a coffin are located at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Many homes and buildings in the town square area are built from rocks salvaged from the fort’s 25 buildings. In the 1970s, local citizens constructed a replica of the former four room officer’s quarters on the original foundation. The officer’s quarter’ rooms are furnished with period pieces. The original fort site features some ruins, the replica of the barracks, a Texas Historical Marker, and the original cavalry stable (corner of Post Hill and Bryan Streets). The fort offers scenic views of Mason. It is located on Spruce Street near the corner of Post Hill Street, approximately 5 blocks south of the Mason County Courthouse. Gamel Spring, the fort’s water supply, is located just east of the Mason County Museum at 300 Moody Street. For more information, call the Mason County Chamber of Commerce at (325) 347-5758. The officers’ quarters is located at 110 Spruce Street at Post Hill Street. Email
 
Mason County Museum:
The museum features exhibits depicting the history of Mason County. The exhibits are located in two buildings, the Mason County Museum and the smaller Mason Square Museum. The Mason County Museum contains the bulk of the museum’s collection, including a replica of an old general store. This building is located in the old Mason Grammar School, two blocks south of the courthouse square at 210 Bryan Street. Open Thu-Sat, 10am-noon; 1pm-4pm; closed January and February. For tours of this county museum, call (325) 347-5151. 210 Bryan Street at Moody Street.    
 
Mason Museum on the Square:
The museum features exhibits depicting the history of Mason from prehistoric times to current banking and ranching interests, including the history of Fort Mason, the history of Fort Mason’s generals, local Indian history, the Mason County War (one of the top ten feuds in Texas) and an approximately three pound Texas Blue Topaz, the state gem of Texas, and the largest topaz found in North America. The museum offers permanent and rotating exhibits, and hosts reenactments. Open Thu-Sat, 10am-4pm. (325) 347-5151. 130 Fort McKavitt Avenue. Email    
 
Historic Reynolds-Seaquist House, Late 1880s:
This mansion features 17 rooms, 14 fireplaces, wraparound porches and intricate stone work. The house may be viewed just north of the town square at 400 Broad Street. Call for tour availability. (325) 347-5758.
 
Odeon Theater:
Traditional movies are shown each week. The theater also regularly hosts performing acts including live musical performances from artists such as Joe Ely. Movie show times are Friday at 7:30pm; Sat-Sun, 7pm. (325) 347-9010. The theater is located on the courthouse square at 122 South Moody Street. 
 
Mason County M. Beven Eckert Memorial Library:
The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. The library also offers rotation exhibits featuring the Eckert James River Bat Cave, early Mason families and history, Fred Gipson (author of “Old Yeller”), and the works of local artists. The library’s permanent art collection includes the large “Kindred Destinies” marquetry panel that was created and donated by local artists Spider Johnson and Lora Hunt. This panel is hanging in the main library and is made up of more than 5,000 separate pieces of wood, precisely cut and applied to create the image. The library’s beveled glass entry doors were donated by Walt Germer. The large needlework panel depicting local Texas wildflowers was created by Myrtle Wade and now hangs in the Stribling Room. The bronze Old Yeller statue on the library grounds honors the late Fred Gipson. Gipson was a longtime Mason resident. Open Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm; closed Saturdays and Sundays. (325) 347-5446. 410 Post Hill Road. Email