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County
Bell
Region
Praries & Lakes
Population
2010 Census - 18,216
2000 Census - 14,623
Nearby
Towns
Belton, Texas
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Belton Texas History:
In 1850, the community of Nolan Springs was chosen as the county seat of the newly formed Bell County, and the town was renamed Nolanville. The town was platted, the post office was established, and the first town lots were sold that same year. In December, 1851, the Texas legislature incorporated the town and renamed it Belton after Bell County. By the mid-1850s, Belton was a regional trading center for area farmers and ranchers. By 1860, the town had 300 residents. The town suffered through some lawlessness after the Civil War, but continued to prosper, partly due to being located on the Chisholm Trail. An 1879 fire destroyed much of the town’s business district, but the town quickly rebuilt. Around 1880, the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built a line through town. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway arrived in 1882. By the mid-1880s Belton had become a processing and shipping center for area cotton growers, and had daily mail and stagecoach services, three newspapers, an opera house, five schools, steam grist and flour mills, a cottonseed oil mill, cotton gins, two hotels, thirteen grocery stores, three banks, and approximately 4,000 residents. In spite of the town’s successes, Temple, established and heavily promoted by the Santa Fe Railroad, quickly surpassed Belton as the largest town in Bell County. In 1885, Baylor Female College was moved to Belton. It was later renamed the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. During the 1930s, the Great Depression and falling cotton prices forced many businesses to close. The economy only began to recover in the early 1940s when nearby Fort Hood was established. Belton is located on Nolan Creek on the south shore of Lake Belton at the intersection of IH-35 and U.S. 190, 36.8 miles southeast of Gatesville, 29 miles south of McGregor, 44.8 miles southwest of Waco, 30 miles southwest of Lorena, 18.6 miles southwest of Moody, 9 miles southwest of Temple, 35 miles northwest of Cameron, 45.9 miles north of Taylor, 30 miles north of Granger, 60 miles northeast of Austin, 41.8 miles northeast of Round Rock, 32.5 miles northeast of Georgetown, 9 miles northeast of Salado, 47 miles east of Lampasas, 28.5 miles slightly southeast of Copperas Cove, 17.3 miles southeast of Killeen, and 13 miles southeast of Harker Heights, Texas.
 
"The Grove," Texas History, 1859-1972:
The town was established in 1859 and named for a grove of oak trees. It was initially named Morrison Grove. The Grove post office opened in 1874. In the mid-1880s, the town had three general stores, a mill and a cotton gin, four churches including a Wend Lutheran church, and 150 residents. The town shipped cotton, grains and hides. In 1900, the town was one of the most prosperous in the county. After being bypassed by SH 36 in the 1940s, the town began to decline. Some area farmers were forced to relocate when Fort Hood was established in the early 1940s, and when Belton Dam was built in 1953. The last business closed in the early 1970s. The Grove is located just south of SH 36 at the intersection of CR 356 and FM 1114, 16 miles southeast of Gatesville, 18 miles southwest of McGregor, 9 miles southwest of Moody, and 16 miles northwest of Temple and Belton, Texas. "The Grove," Texas Map  "The Grove" Texas Area Map 
 
"The Grove," Texas, 2012:
In 1972, The Grove owners W.J. and Martha Dube sold the town to antique dealer Moody Anderson. The sale included the old general store, post office, saloon, sheriff’s office, blacksmith shop and the working water well. Anderson restored the town and filled the buildings with antiques. The general store is filled from the floor to the tin pressed ceiling with antique farm implements, lanterns, patent medicines and other artifacts. Moody rented the contents for use as props in movies. Items from The Grove were used in the movies “Lonesome Dove” and the “Alamo.” In 2010, the then 82 year old Anderson sold the store to Fran Moyer, the granddaughter of W.J. and Martha Dube. When Anderson owned the town it became a spontaneous live music venue attracting over 400 visitors each weekend. Bands played on the front porch. Visitors danced on a paved dance floor and spent time at the Cocklebur Saloon where they were invited to BYOB. Activities were free but donations were accepted.
 
Bell County Courthouse, 1884:
The courthouse was designed in Renaissance revival style by architects Jasper N. Preston and Sons. The missing bell tower was replaced during a courthouse restoration project. Bell County towns include such names as Alligator, Ding Dong and Echo. The 2010 Bell County census was 310,235. (254) 939-3521. (800) 460-2355. 101 East Central Avenue, Belton, TX 76513. Email