Chappell Hill, Texas
Chappell Hill, Texas
Location of Chappell Hill, Texas
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Chappell Hill is a small rural unincorporated community in the eastern portion of Washington County, Texas, United States. It is located along U.S. Highway 290 roughly halfway between Brenham and Hempstead. Chappell Hill is located inside Stephen F. Austin's original colony, and the land is some of the oldest Anglo-settled in the state.
Chappell Hill is located at the junction of US Route 290 and Farm to Market Road 1155. Chappell Hill is located within the Brazos River watershed. The area is part of the Gulf Coastal Plain, and the terrain is rolling hills.
The town was established in 1849 by Mary Elizabeth Haller (née Hargrove; 1827–1867), who founded the town on 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land she bought and having opened a post office two years earlier. She then named the town after her maternal grandfather Robert Wooding Chappell. The area around the town was settled by planters from the Deep South and, thanks to the fertile soil of the Brazos River valley, cotton became the area's main crop.
Jacob Haller (d. 1853) and Mary built in 1850 a large home which served as a boarding house and then became the Stage Coach Inn, which Mary or her mother Charlotte Hargrove (1804–1879) operated until 1859, continuing under new ownership until 1871. Because the inn was about halfway between Houston and Austin, it was a convenient stopover for travelers along two major stagecoach lines.
Before the Civil War. the population reached a maximum of about 3,000 people; at that time, San Antonio and Galveston were the largest towns at around 8,000 people. A sawmill, a railroad line, five churches, and a Masonic Lodge were built in the area. Two colleges, Soule University for men and Chappell Hill Female College for women, were founded in the 1850s.
The town was incorporated in 1856.
The men of Chappell Hill formed part of the First Texas Lancers cavalry regiment during the Civil War and fought in Missouri, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Men from Chappell Hill served in numerous renowned Confederate units, including the Texas Brigade and Terry's Texas Rangers, and saw action in most of the major engagements of the Civil War. In addition, the Soule University building was used as a field hospital.
In 1867, a yellow fever epidemic decimated the town and other southeast Texas towns. Many men who survived combat lost their lives just two years after the war's end. The town never recovered and faded into obscurity. Polish immigrants, mostly from the German partition, began to appear in the 1870s and the area was re-settled, though it did not reach the status[?] of before. In 1889, Father Grabinger from Brenham's St. Mary's established St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church. Denizens of Polish ancestry can still be found in the area surrounding the church and throughout Washington and Austin counties.
20th & 21st centuries
In 1933, the Farmers Bank of Chappell Hill refused to close its doors when so ordered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during a March 6 to March 10 banking freeze. The owner of the bank took out an ad in a Boston newspaper protesting the order.
Chappell Hill today has a tourist economy, attracting visitors with its restored homes, the Bluebonnet Festival, its Independence Day parade, a Scarecrow Festival, and a museum. The Main Street Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Chappell Hill remains one of the best historically-preserved towns in Texas.
On May 10, 2008, an election was held to incorporate Chappell Hill into its own town government. 201 ballots were cast out of a possible 297 eligible voters. Incorporation was rejected by almost 3 to 1 voters; 148 votes against and just 53 for. 90 votes were cast in the mayoral poll; Julie Edwards received 55 votes and Mary Tom Middlebrooks won 35. For the two unopposed council positions, Travis Bevers received 62 votes while Larry C. Wiese received 60. The results of these contests were immediately invalidated by the anti-incorporation outcome.
In 2013, the syndicated television series, Texas Country Reporter, hosted by Bob Phillips, declared the highways between Brenham and Chappell Hill as the No. 2 site for the viewing of wildflowers within Texas. The first ranking went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.
Buildings on the National Register of Historic Places
- Chappell Hill Circulating Library
- Chappell Hill Methodist Episcopal Church
- Chappell Hill Public School and Chappell Hill Female College Bell
- Isaac Applewhite House
- Main Street Historic District (Chappell Hill)
- Stage Coach Inn
- Routt-Crockett House
There are 1,319 people, 532 households, and 377 families living in the Chappell Hill ZIP code area (77426). Of the 1,319 people, 925 are white, 343 are black, and 34 are of another race. Most people are Roman Catholic, Methodist, or Southern Baptist in faith.
The older reference links are broken, December 2015:
- Mary E. Haller Baker on Find a Grave, accessed 09 Dec. 2015.
- Handbook of Texas Online, Chappell Hill. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlc21.
- Jacob Haller on Find a Grave, accessed 09 Dec. 2015.
- Lottie Hargrove on Find a Grave, accessed 09 Dec. 2015.
- Southwestern University Historical Page. http://www.southwestern.edu/library/how-we-remember/root-institutions/Soulerevised.htm Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Chappell Hill, TX by Carole E. Christian in the Handbook of Texas; uploaded 12 June 2010, retrieved 15 Dec. 2015.
- "Weekend of April 20, 2013". texascountryreporter.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- CHAPPELL HILL, TX by Carole E. Christian, in the Handbook of Texas, uploaded June 12, 2010; retrieved 09 Dec. 2015.
- Census Factfinder, Zipcode 77426. (Link)