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WATERLOO, TEXAS (Travis County). Waterloo was on the north bank of the Colorado River approximately at the site of the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin. Jacob Harrell a hunter who erected a tent on the river bank in 1835 and his family were early settlers in the area. He was visited in 1837 or 1838 by Mirabeau B. Lamar, who decided that the spot was an appropriate site for the capital city of the Republic of Texas. The town was surveyed by Edward Burleson in 1838. The five-man commission appointed in January 1839 to select the capital location was instructed by President Lamar to visit Harrell's split-log stockade. The commission found four families living near the stockade and named the site Waterloo, the name under which it was incorporated when it was chosen to be the capital site. Congress designated the name of Austin for the new city, and the name of Waterloo was dropped. The land adjacent was relinquished by Logan Vandeveer, James Rogers, J. D. Hancock, J. W. Harrell, and Aaron B. Burleson. The most desirable spot in the 7,735-acre site was chosen for the capitol building. The new town was surveyed, and the first lots were sold in August 1839.


Mary Starr Barkley, History of Travis County and Austin, 1839–1899 (Waco: Texian Press, 1963). Sam A. Suhler, “Stephen F. Austin and the City of Austin: An Anomaly,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 69 (January 1966).

Claudia Hazlewood

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Claudia Hazlewood, "WATERLOO, TX (TRAVIS COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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