Granbury, Texas

Granbury is a town in the US state of Texas, not too far from the greater metropolitan area of Dallas and Fort Worth. The town was founded in the mid-19th century, established on the west bank of the Brazos River. It is associated with several figures from US history, including famous frontiersman Davy Crockett, notorious outlaw Jesse James, and John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated US President Abraham Lincoln. Today, Granbury is a modern town of over 11,000 people, though its history is still very much intact. The town features a historic downtown district, and is also a popular destination for people seeking an outdoor adventure.

Granbury water tower
A water tower in Granbury painted with the city slogan behind a cattle ranch. Editorial credit: xradiophotog / Shutterstock.com

Geography Of Granbury

Granbury is located in Central Texas, about 58 km southwest of the greater metropolitan area of Dallas and Ft. Worth. The town is bisected by the Brazos River and Lake Granbury. US Route 377 also runs through the town. To the immediate south of Granbury is the smaller town of DeCordova. Further south, at the southern end of the Brazos River is the unincorporated community of Pecan Plantation. Another unincorporated community, Oak Trails Shores, is located to Granbury’s north, and the town of Brazos Bend is located to the immediate northeast. The towns of Cresson and Godley are located to the east of Granbury, and the town of Tolar is located to the west. The total land area of Granbury is 36.23 sq. km, of which 1.58 sq. km is water.

Population 

The population of Granbury is 11,490. The overwhelming majority of the town’s residents, 86.5% are considered white, while 8.45% are Hispanic, 2.65% Asian, and 2.1% African American. Just 4.76% of Granbury residents were born outside of the United States. More than 92% of the town’s residents speak only English, while 4.8% speak Spanish. Other languages account for the rest.

Economy Of Granbury

The average household income in Granbury is $82,506. The town has a poverty rate of 10.77%. The largest economic sectors in Granbury are retail & trade, healthcare & social assistance, and educational services, though the highest paying industry is mining, quarrying, and oil & gas extraction. 

History Of The Town

Granbury statue
Civil War hero statue in Granbury.

The story of Granbury begins 1854, when a group of emigrants who were mostly from the US state of Tennessee, led by “Uncle Tommy” Lambert and Amon Bond, entered traditional Native American territory on the west bank of the Brazos River. In that same year, a woman named Elizabeth Crockett, who was the wife of famous frontiersman Davy Crockett, brought her family from Tennessee to settle on land granted to her by the then Republic of Texas. In 1866, two brothers name J. and J.H. Nutt donated 40 acres of riverfront property for the creation of a new town, which was named Granbury, after General Hiram Bronson Granbury, a Confederate general who led soldiers from the area during the US Civil War.

Granbury became a center of trade in north central Texas, marketing pecans, peanuts, peaches, grains, and cotton. Reunion Park, which was established after the Civil War to be a meeting place for former soldiers of the conflict, served as a center for trading and auctioning livestock. In 1887, Granbury was connected to the Ft. Worth and Rio Grande Railways, which triggered a building boom in the town. Most of the buildings constructed during that time were two-storey structures built of limestone. Thirty-nine of these historic buildings still exist today. The Opera House, which would become a major tourist attraction, was built in 1886. Over the last century, Granbury’s historic buildings were occupied by saloons, gun shops, a bank, the sheriff’s office and jail, a farm supply store, a Beef Market, and the Granbury House.

In 1969, a dam was built across the Brazos River at DeCordova Bend, southeast of Granbury, thereby creating Lake Granbury. The creation of Lake Granbury led to the construction of marinas and shopping malls to serve the growing population along the riverbed. Population growth was further accelerated in 1980s, when the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant was established, drawing thousands of employees to Granbury and the surrounding vicinity. In 2013, a tornado touched down in Granbury. Six people were killed, 48 were injured, and 100 homes were destroyed.

Attractions In Granbury

Granbury is home to several historical sites that are frequented by tourists. One of those sites is Historic Granbury Square, in which most of the town’s historic buildings are located. It is the oldest courthouse square in Texas. In fact, it was the first courthouse square in the state to be listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places. The square features 40 shops and a dozen restaurants and eateries. It also features the town’s famous Opera House. In 2012, the Opera House underwent an extensive renovation, which fully restored it and made it a state of the art venue. It is now the home of the Granbury Theatre Company, which produces 8-10 productions each year.

 Granbury, Texas.
Hood County Courthouse in Granbury, Texas. Editorial credit: xradiophotog / Shutterstock.com

Granbury has several museums, including the Hood County Jail Museum, which is located in a building that housed the town’s only jail between 1885 and 1978. The museum allows visitors to view artifacts and memorabilia that depict the history of Hood County, the county in which Granbury is situated. There is also the Hood County Courthouse Museum, which was constructed in 1890-91. It is a three-storey structure built of limestone and constructed in the then-popular French Second Empire architectural style. Another notable museum is the Granbury Doll House Museum, which showcases dolls from around the world, including celebrity look-a-like dolls. The museum also offers doll-making demonstrations.

Granbury is also a place for outdoor fun. One popular outdoor venue is the Acton Nature Center, which features 8 km of trails that can be used for walking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The Center also features the Elizabeth Crockett Memorial Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, and hosts special events throughout the year. Another popular venue is the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, which allows visitors to view a number of endangered species. There is also Dinosaur Valley State Park, which is located just south of Granbury. Here, visitors can walk through ancient dinosaur tracks and view large models of dinosaurs.

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