|— City —|
|Nickname(s): Brick Capital of the Southwest; Sausage Capital of Texas|
|GovernmentThe City Charter provides representation through eight council members, representing four wards, and a Mayor elected at-large.|
|• Type||Home Rule,
|• City Council||Mayor
Stacey Van Landingham
|• City Manager||Greg Vick (Interim)|
|• Total||4.7 sq mi (12.2 km2)|
|• Land||4.7 sq mi (12.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||581 ft (177 m)|
|• Density||1,730.8/sq mi (666.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||13736172|
Elgin (pron.: //) is a city in Bastrop and Travis Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 8,135 at the 2010 census. Elgin is also known as The Sausage Capital of Texas3 and the Brick Capital of the Southwest 4 due to the presence of three operating brickyards in the mid-twentieth century (two of which are open to this date).
Elgin is located 19 miles (31 km) miles east of Austin5 and 15 miles (24 km) north of Bastrop.6 Most of the city lies in Bastrop County, with an expanding portioncitation needed into Travis County. Bastrop County also borders Williamson, Lee, Caldwell and Fayette counties.
The City of Elgin owes its existence to a major flood of the Colorado River in 1869. Originally, the railroad was to have run from McDade, ten miles (16 km) east of Elgin, southwest to the Colorado River at a point somewhere between Bastrop and Webberville, then to Austin following the river.
In 1871 the Houston and Texas Central Railroad (succeeded by the Southern Pacific Transportation Company) built through the area and established a flag stop called Glasscock named for George W. Glasscock, a local resident and Republic of Texas soldier who lived in the area in the 1830s. Glasscock was renamed on August 18, 1872 for Robert Morris Elgin, the railroad's land commissioner, following the practice of naming new railroad towns after officers of the company.7 The City of Elgin was created. The original plat placed the train depot in the center of a one square mile area.
Elgin was incorporated and received a post office the following year, and a Baptist Sunday school began meeting in a private home. Much of the community's early population was drawn from nearby Perryville, which the railroad had bypassed. Perryville, or Hogeye as it was nicknamed, was located 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to the south. The community was known by three different names: the name Young's Settlement was chosen, probably in honor of the Michael Young family; Perryville, possibly for Perry Young, who was Michael Young's son; and Hogeye.8 The post office was officially named Young’s Settlement, and the churches and Masonic Lodge carried the name Perryville. The name Hogeye was given to the stage stop at the Litton home where the community dances were held and, according to legend, the fiddler knew only one tune: “Hogeye,” which he played over and over as the crowd danced on the puncheon floor.
In 1879 Elgin was described as a "thriving depot town" of 400. It had a newspaper, a gin, and a gristmill. Three years later Methodists erected the first church building in town. In 1884 Elgin had five general stores, two druggists, three cotton gins, and a saloon; that year Thomas O'Conner started a brick-making enterprise that eventually led Elgin to adopt the epithet "Brick Capital of the Southwest." In 1885, a group of citizens met in Elgin to organize a new north-south railroad which would run from Taylor, the rail head for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (“Katy”) Railroad 16 miles (26 km) to the north, through Elgin to Bastrop, the county seat, 16 miles (26 km) to the south. The Taylor, Elgin and Bastrop Railroad were formed in 1886 and began building the line. That same year the “Katy” acquired the line and continued the construction on to Houston. Thus, Elgin became the beneficiary of two major rail lines with eight passenger trains daily, adding to Elgin's business as a shipping point for cotton, wool, and livestock. By 1890 the community had a population of 1,100 and supported two hotels, a broom factory, two doctors, a dentist, and the Elgin Courier newspaper. The next year oil was discovered five miles (8 km) southeast of town, but the strike was not large. Coal proved better for the economy, when the large coal belt nearby was mined in the early twentieth century, bringing Latin American and African American citizens to the area.
The year 1900 produced a bumper crop of cotton and Elgin prospered. Elgin grew slowly but steadily through the twentieth century, from 1,258 in 1904 to 4,846 in 1990. The city incorporated in 1901, electing Charles Gillespie, building contractor, as Mayor; as well as J.D. Hemphill, Marshal; W.E. McCullough, J. Wed Davis, Ed Lawhon, Max Hirach, and F.S. Wade, Aldermen. Local law enforcement was established to enforce newly established civil and criminal codes. By 1910, Elgin was enjoying a period of great prosperity as families from out on the prairie and surrounding communities moved to Elgin and built nice homes.
By 1940 Elgin was not only the center of a farming community but also the site of two big brick and tile plants. Elgin enterprise was stimulated during World War II by the proximity of the army training facility Camp Swift. A third brick company was established in the town in the mid-1950s, lured by the high-quality clay deposits in the area. In addition to the brick plants, a local sausage factory processed thousands of pounds of beef and pork a week; Elgin Hot Sausage continued to enjoy a widespread reputation. Elgin rapidly became the most important agricultural center in Bastrop County. Five cotton gins and a cotton oil mill were in operation at the same time. Other industries included feed and grain processing and hydraulic press manufacturing.
By the 1980s proximity to Austin had begun to attract commuters to Elgin. In the mid-1980s the Elgin Courier was still being published, the sausage had achieved wider fame, and two brick and tile plants were still in operation. Elgin was also the site of a furniture plant and a leather works. In 2000 the population was 5,700.
The Elgin Commercial Historic District includes 14 city blocks of commercial and industrial buildings. Most of these buildings are constructed of locally produced brick and were erected from 1872 to 1947. During the past 14 years private property owners, business owners, and the public sector have invested approximately $9 million in the downtown area. A majority of the buildings on Main Street, from Depot Street to First Street, have been restored or renovated, and many are currently under renovation. The Elgin Main Street Program provides a variety of incentives to building owners such as a discounted paint program, free dumpsters, and free advice on architectural design and restoration. Primary funding for downtown projects comes from the annual Hogeye Festival in October. The Elgin Commercial Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. Within the 14-block district, 67 buildings are considered contributing structures. A contributing structure is one, which as maintained its architectural integrity. Southside includes Central Avenue and Avenue C in the downtown district. There are five buildings under restoration in the Southside area.
Elgin became a Texas Main Street city in 1990, and in 1999, 2000 and 2001 was selected as a National Main Street Community. Main Street is a national approach to saving our heritage by preserving historic downtown areas. Each year three cities are selected by the Texas Historical Commission and Anice Read Main Street Center to become Main Street Cities. Communities make a commitment to hire a staff person, provide office space, supplies, and a small budget. The primary commitment is to preserving and revitalizing the historic commercial business district. Volunteerism is a key part of the success of any Main Street program.
The City of Elgin is served by the Elgin Independent School District. The Elgin Independent School District comprises more than 168 square miles (440 km2) in portions of Bastrop, Lee,Williamson and Travis Counties and provide educational facilities and resources to meet the needs of more than 4000 students in 2010.9 Elgin's mascot is the wildcat.
Elgin is host to predominantly three different sports for the youth of the community and surrounding area. In Elgin there is the Pop Warner football and cheerleading squads,Elgin Youth Football which is a member of the Tri-County Football League, Little League and Elgin Youth Soccer Association.
The Elgin Little League Major Girls traveled to Portland, Oregon to compete in the 2006 Little League World Series. The Elgin Major Girls softball team came from behind in the Consolation match-up with the South team from Tennessee to win third place in the 2006 Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon. Tennessee defeated Elgin 5-4 in seven innings.10
Elgin Little League’s Major Girls' softball All-Stars defended their Southwest Region Championship and earned a second straight trip to the World Series by beating out Waco-Midway. Seven members of last year's World Series qualifiers made the return trip to Portland. The championship game slipped from the Elgin Major girls' hands in a very close game against the Mattawan Little League team from Michigan. The Elgin team was determined and played with all their heart, but the undefeated Michigan team took Game 22, 2-0. Elgin took home the second place title for the 2007 Little League World Series as the Southwest Region champion. Elgin advanced to the finals with a 5-0 record.citation needed
Several notable films have used Elgin as a location.11 They include:
- 1974 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
- 1975 The Great Waldo Pepper
- 1993 What's Eating Gilbert Grape
- 1993 A Perfect World
- 1996 Michael
- 1999 Varsity Blues
- 2002 25th Hour
- 2002 The New Guy
- 2003 The Alamo
- 2006 A Scanner Darkly
The current demographics can be viewed at the Elgin, TX Economic Development Corporation website.12
The Chamber of Commerce is located in the original 1872 Houston and Texas Central Railroad building at 114 Central Ave, PO Box 408, Elgin, TX 78621. Events and activities for Elgin, TX can be followed on the Chamber website.13
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- House Resolution 705, 74th regular session of the Texas Legislature.
- Handbook of Texas entry on Elgin
- "Location". Elgin Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- Paula Mitchell Marks. "ELGIN, TEXAS". In Texas State Historical Association. The Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- Handbook of Texas Online entry on Perryville. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- City of Elgin-Education. Retrieved on 2008-11-12.
- Elgin Courier Retrieved on 2008-11-12.
- Movies in Elgin
- Demographics http://elginedc.com/demographics.htm
- Chamber of Commerce http://www.elgintxchamber.com/5128305_46362.htm