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History

Byrd Lockhart first set foot in what was to become Caldwell County in the 1800's. Lockhart was a surveyor to Green DeWitt’s Colony and made his living setting boundaries and building roads, and as recompense asked for land along Plum Creek. Although Lockhart lived in Gonzales, he farmed the land he was given, opening it up for other settlers.

Originally a part of Gonzales County, the lack of decent roads and the distance to the county seat inspired the settlers to divide Green DeWitt’s Colony into separate counties in 1848. The City of Lockhart was named Lockhart Springs and the county was named for Captain Matthew Caldwell, a skilled scout and leader of a company of rangers who fought in the Battle of Plum Creek and later for the Republic of Texas.

A severe drought prior to the Civil War set back many farmers returning from the War. But, where crops could not grow, cattle could graze. The first herd to take the famous Chisholm Trail to Kansas was owned by Lockhart's J.J. Myers, and soon Lockhart became a major northward converging point for the Chisholm Trail.
Later, Caldwell County soil was found to be hospitable to cotton. After years of experimentation, Lockhart's A.D. Mebane developed a particularly hardy strain of cotton that continues to set a worldwide standard.

Oil and Texas are synonymous and Lockhart had its days as a boom town with the discovery and development of oil fields in the 1920's. Shallow field exploration continues in Caldwell County, with a major field surrounding Luling 15 miles to the south.

The coming of railroads and automobiles changed the face of Lockhart, as it did for all of America. The Missouri- Kansas route arrived in Lockhart in 1885. The first automobile in Lockhart was hand built by Lockhart blacksmith Emil Seeliger. The total cost of the contraption, including the $60 worth of tubeless tires, was $125. He took the car for its first drive in 1904, attaining the speed of 15 miles per hour.

The story of historic Lockhart is an ongoing tale of human endeavor, proudly nurtured by her citizens. Lockhart warmly invites you to sample its unique brand of small town hospitality. Step back into the past as you tour beautifully preserved buildings and homes and browse the antique shops and enjoy the best of the future evident by the economic vitality. Stay for lunch or dinner. Sample the best barbecue in the world.

Come and enjoy Lockhart!