Kyle is on Interstate Highway 35 eight miles north of San Marcos and twenty miles south of Austin in northeastern Hays County. At its site the Balcones Escarpment meets the blackland prairie; to the east there is farming and to the west, ranching. The town was established on July 24, 1880, when David E. Moore and Fergus Kyle (for whom the town was named) deeded 200 acres for a townsite to the International-Great Northern Railroad. The new town drew residents and businesses from Mountain City, three miles west, and Blanco, four miles west. Tom Martin operated the first business in Kyle. The community's population exceeded 500 by 1882 but later declined. Kyle was incorporated in 1928 as a general-law city with a mayor and five council members. In 1937 Mary Kyle Hartson, daughter of Fergus Kyle, was elected mayor by a write-in vote. In the early 1940s Kyle was noted as the only Texas town with an all-woman government. In the 1980s the community was served by the Hays Consolidated Independent School District. The Mary Lee Foundation School, at a seventy-three-acre site north of Kyle, educated multi-handicapped students. Kyle, located in the developing region between Austin and San Antonio, opened five new residential subdivisions in 1984–85, though three of these went bankrupt during the economic slump of the late 1980s. In 1989 a prerelease prison facility, classified as "minimal to medium" security, opened in Kyle; it housed prisoners in the last two years of incarceration who were being prepared for reentry into society. In the early 1990s Kyle reported a population of 2,256, with seventy-nine businesses. In 1992 the town had a library, a post office, a newspaper, a medical clinic, a strip shopping center, two banks, three grocery stores, and four churches. The town has been home to San Jacinto hero John Wheeler Bunton, Ambassador Edwin J. Kyle, Rhodes scholar Terrell Sledge, American League baseball pitcher C. C. "Tex" Hughson, historian Milton Nance, and authors Katherine Anne Porter and Lena Elithe Hamilton Kirkland.