History
 Faison House
 Fayette County Jail House
 Fayette Heritage Library & Museum
 Fayette County Courthouse
 Monument Hill/
 Kreische Brewery
 Railroad Museum
 Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center
 The Chicken Ranch

 

Founded near a Colorado River crossing used by Indians and Spanish explorers, the City of La Grange’s development resonates with themes predominant across Texas history.  

The earliest residents (evidence dates them back to 1527) were Tonkawa and Comanche Indians who pursued the great herds of buffalo.  White settlers began moving into the area began as early as the 1820s, fueled by cheap land grants given by Stephen F. Austin.  Indian raids continued until the 1840s.   

In 1826, a twin blockhouse called Moore's Fort was built within what is now the city limits.  By 1831, a small community had developed and in 1837, a town was platted.  When the Congress of the Republic of Texas established Fayette County the same year, La Grange became its seat of government. Fayette County is named after the Marquis de Lafayette, a Revolutionary War hero.  The City of La Grange takes its name from his chateau to which he retired.

  

La Grange-area citizens were instrumental in the fight for Texas independence. In 1838, the Texas Congress passed a bill intended to place the capital of the Republic of Texas on a site contiguous with La Grange; however, it was vetoed by Sam Houston, first president of the Republic of Texas.

The La Grange Post Office was established in 1838.  During the 1840s and 1850s German and Czechs immigrants began arriving in Fayette County and set down roots as they settled on farms and set up businesses in town.  Their influence resulted in first a county vote against succession.  However, economics influenced many citizens to support the Confederacy and the town organized a number of militia companies. Though La Grange was untouched by Civil War fighting, during Reconstruction the town was torn by conflict and disorder. La Grange was occupied by federal troops in 1866 and an agency of the Freedmen's Bureau was established.

During the early years, the economy was based largely on subsistence farming but during the late 1840s and 1850s, a thriving plantation economy emerged with planters bringing in African-American slaves.  By 1860, Fayette County had 3,786 slaves.       

As immigrants continued to pour into the area, by 1890 approximately 25% of the local population was foreign-born.  La Grange boasted two foreign newspapers -- one in Czech and another in German.  After Fayette County reached its population peak of approximately 36,000 in 1900, the population steadily declined.  Gradually, the economy of the county transitioned from small farms that raised cotton and corn to larger, more mechanized operations that focus on cattle.  Another factor contributing to the dwindling population of the county was the prospect of better paying jobs in nearby cities.  That served as an enticement to servicemen who were returning after Word War II not to return to the farm.

Probably the best known chapter in recent La Grange history is the legend of the Chicken Ranch, a brothel made famous by a stage play, movie and the lyrics of a popular song.  While the house of ill repute thrived for decades in the Fayette County countryside, it was officially closed in 1973.  The ladies who worked there moved on and the plain white, one-story home was eventually hauled to Dallas.  All that’s left today is the legend. 

For more information online, please visit:   

Visit the Muster Oak and Marker and the City’s Big Oaks

Located on the northeast corner of the square, this ancient oak has been a witness to history.  Military recruits from six conflicts, beginning with the struggle for Texas independence from Mexico have mustered at this historic oak tree.  It stands as a memorial to the many soldiers who gathered under its branches to go off to war.  This tree is recognized in Famous Trees of Texas.   

Drive slowly or walk through the residential neighborhoods on the south side of Hwy. 71 to discover who really owns the road in La Grange.  Massive oaks that are hundreds of years old were here before the streets were laid out.  Therefore, the traffic is routed around the trees.

Visit the Old City Cemetery

Wander through the Old La Grange City Cemetery that features Texas State Historical Markers, ornate Italian marble statuary and wooden markets that have become almost illegible over time.  One of the interesting grave markers at the site is that of P. Carl J. Von Rosenburg, who fought at Waterloo.  The Old La Grange City Cemetery is located on Hwy. Bus 71 East.

 

 

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La Grange Area Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. - 171 S. Main, La Grange, TX 78945
Phone: (979) 968-5756 Fax: (979) 968-8000 Toll Free: 1-800-524-7264 or 1-800-LaGrang
La Grange Area Chamber of Commerce
Email: chamber@lagrangetx.org

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