A small town of distinctive charm.
Belton was founded in 1850, and in early years grew as a
rustic trading center for nearby farms and ranches. The
first merchant sold goods from his wagon before any
stores were built; first "saloon" was a barrel
of whiskey and a tin cup under a shade tree. A stagecoach
line served the village, and cowboys herding Longhorns up
the Chisholm Trail enjoyed rest stops in Belton. Town is
graced by architecture from the early 1860s to
turn-of-the-century. Preservation of historic structures
is a current priority in Belton's graceful old downtown
area. Some buildings and homes opened during annual tour
late April, early May.
Bell County Museum
Exhibits focus on first 100 years
of Bell County history, from 1850 to 1950. Miriam A.
Ferguson Collection chronicles the life and times of
Texas' first female governor and Bell County resident;
most comprehensive collection of "Ma"
Ferguson's belongings in the state. Other permanent
exhibits include turn-of-the-century kitchen and
authentic post office with working telegraph. Rotating
displays feature various aspects of rural and city life.
Gift shop with books, postcards, posters, and historical
tour tapes. Housed in restored beaux- arts-style Carnegie
building constructed as library in 1904; National
Register property. Open Tues. - Sat. 1 - 5 p.m. 201 N.
Main St.; free admission. 817/939-6110.
Scenic 12,300-acre impoundment of
Leon River and several creeks, noted for numerous arms
and coves along 110-mile shoreline. Corps of Engineers
lake with 13 public parks offering camping and picnic
areas, boat-launching ramps, and marina facilities.
Brushy areas are prime habitat for largemouth and
smallmouth bass (record smallmouth bass, 4.76 lbs.); also
fishing for crappie, catfish, and panfish. Other record
fish include channel catfish, 3.63 lbs., largemouth bass,
7.7 lbs., and smallmouth buffalo, 36.5 lbs. For details,
visit the Corps of Engineers headquarters area at the
dam, junction of F.M. 2271 and F.M. 439. Just northwest
of Belton via Texas 317 north, F.M. 2271 west; also
accessible from Killeen and Temple.