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LAMPASAS RIVER. The Lampasas River, in the Brazos River basin, rises in western Hamilton County sixteen miles west of Hamilton (at 31°36' N, 98°27' W) and flows southeast for seventy-five miles, passing through Lampasas, Burnet, and Bell counties. In Bell County the river turns northeast and is dammed five miles southwest of Belton to form Stillhouse Hollow Lake (formerly the Lampasas Reservoir), then it continues for nine miles to its mouth (at 30°59' N, 97°24' W) on the Leon River, where the two rivers combine to form the Little River, four miles southeast of Belton. Bennett, Lucy, Sulphur, Simms, School, and Turkey creeks empty into the Lampasas River. The river passes through flat terrain with local shallow depressions, surfaced by clay and sandy loams that support water-tolerant hardwoods, conifers, and grasses. The river name may have been borrowed from that of the Mexican town of Lampazos, since the stream was first known to Spaniards in 1721, when the Aguayo expedition crossed it at its confluence with other streams to form the Little River. Records indicate that the name was in use at least a century before the county was established. At least fifty-six people lived along the river in 1850. Communities located on or near the Lampasas River in 1990 included Adamsville, Rumley, Kempner, and Oakalla.


C. L. Dowell, Dams and Reservoirs in Texas: History and Descriptive Information (Texas Water Commission Bulletin 6408 [Austin, 1964]). Jonnie Ross Elzner, Relighting Lamplights of Lampasas County, Texas (Lampasas: Hill Country, 1974).

Diana J. Kleiner


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

Diana J. Kleiner, "LAMPASAS RIVER," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.