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Historical Attractions

Christmas Village

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Enjoy the Dickens Christmas Village from Thanksgiving to New Years in the lovely Fred Springer Gardens next to the Historic Santa Fe Depot. The village consists of 7 buildings, a train and several characters. Each piece was hand painted with care and attention by an artist commissioned by King's Daughter's Hosptial several years ago. The Temple CVB is working with a local artist, Kim Meyers, to refurbish and breathe new life into the Temple Christmas Village. Kim has many years of experience and will do an excellent job of refurbishing the village.

Hillcrest Cemetery Walking Tour

Hillcrest Cemetery is older than the City of Temple. The grounds have many marked burials that predate 1881, when the city began . This 70-acre sacred ground was once a farmer's field, where citizens in the mid-1870s began a one room school.
 
The cemetery evolved nearby when a student, age 17, died in 1877. An estimated 16,000 are buried here. Epitaphs in many languages reflect the increasingly diverse nationalities who settled here - Germans, Czechs, Italians, Hispanics, French, Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans.
 
Today, visitors stroll among the graceful old trees, magnificent ornate stones and charming ambiance. Students use it as a learning lab for class projects, and history buffs learn more about their heritage.
Located at 873 N. 1st St. For more information call 254-773-4626 or via email at manager@hillcrestcemeterytempletx.com
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Temple Historic District

Temple was established in 1881 and has since become full of historic gems, such as the newly renovated Santa Fe Depot, a beautiful array of historic homes in the historic residential district, and more than a century of architectural wonders in the downtown historic district.
Many tours are offered that showcase the rich history of the area, including:
  • Tour Temple's Museums
  • Driving Tour of the Historic Homes of Temple
  • Pioneer's Trail Walking Tour
  • Visionaries of Hillcrest Cemetery Walking Tour
  • Innovators and Leaders of Hillcrest Cemetery Walking Tour
Tour guide assistance is available for all of the above named tours. Transportation assistance is also available. Visit the Attractions page for hours of operation and entry fees at individual facilities.

For More Information
To schedule a tour, contact the Temple Office of Tourism at (254) 298-5418.
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Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Belton

Summer Walking Tour. Explore Belton's fascinating history! Join us for a walking tour of the Belton National Historic District. Participants will meet at 6 pm on the north side of the Bell County Historic Courthouse. The tour will last approximately one hour and will conclude at the Bell County Museum. For more information, please call 254.933.5243
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Cochran, Blair & Potts Department Store

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Henry Mansfield Cook opened his first store in Centerville, Texas, in 1869, and in 1874 established the firm of H.M. Cook & Company with his son-in-law, Thomas W. Cochran. The firm moved to Buffalo, Texas, in 1876. Their mercantile business stocked dry goods, hardware, drugs, coffins, and included a lumberyard. The firm relocated to Belton in 1883 and opened a store at this site in 1884. Cook's son, Thomas A., joined the firm in 1896 and the business became known as Cook, Cochran, & Company. In 1904, three years after the death of H.M. Cook, Cochran's son, Harry T., and his son-in-law, Jesse S. Blair, purchased Thomas Cook's interest in the firm and the business became known as T.W. Cochran and Company. T.W. Cochran died in 1910 and his son-in-law, Arthur H. Potts, became a partner in the company. In 1917 the firm became known as Cochran, Blair, & Potts. Though the firm's inventory was destroyed by fire in 1928 the business reopened in 1929 under the management of J.S. Blair, H.T. Cochran, A.H. Potts, H.E. Blair, and Roy Campbell Potts. The corporation was dissolved in 1938 and the business became a partnership owned by members of the Cochran, Blair, and Potts families. The firm, which became solely owned by descendants of Roy Campbell Potts in 1970, was incorporated in 1977. Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845-1995

Bell County Courthouse

On November 14, 1883, the Commissioners Court of Bell County authorized the issuance of bonds and levy a tax therefore for the building of a County Courthouse. Said issue being in the amount of $65,000.00. The order sets forth the fact that....."several successive Grand Juries of Bell County have condemned in unmeasured terms, the present County Courthouse as an unsafe repository of the County's records.....". Further, it was ordered that the County Judge, W.M. Minyard advertise in the Galveston News until the 31st day of December 1883 for plans and specifications for the erection of a new Courthouse in Belton. He was ordered that the cost not exceed $65,000.00 and to be of dimensions sufficient to supply necessary Courtrooms, jury rooms, offices for all County Officers and one Justice of the Peace and ample room for all the records of the County; to be practically fire proof, and the walls of said Courthouse to be built of the best and hardest limestone found in and about Belton.
On January 11, 1884, the firm of J.N. Preston and Son of Austin, Texas was employed as Architects for the building.
On March 3, 1884, bids were opened by the Court and Ben D. Lee, a local builder was awarded the contract in the amount of $64,965.00.
On May 29, 1885, the Architect recommended that the Courthouse be accepted and thereafter the Court issued its "Certificate of Acceptance" of such building.
The present building is the third Courthouse in Bell County built on the same site. The first such building being a two room log cabin built in 1851 soon after the creation of the County in 1850. The second such structure was built in 1858 and torn down to make way for the third Courthouse.
The Bell County Courthouse designed in the Renaissance Revival style was truly a magnificent structure in 1884. This structure, which was built before the current state capital, is one of Texas' finest courthouses in a collection of outstanding public buildings. However, like many of the prominent Texas courthouses, federally funded renovation projects of the 1930's and 1950's had a detrimental impact on the building. The clock tower and much of the rich roof details were removed, the historic interior was modernized and radically altered.
The present Commissioners Court began the process of a complete restoration of the Bell County Courthouse. The restoration began in August 1998 and the interior renovation was completed in November 1999. The statue, dome, and clock tower were replaced with replicas in December 1999, returning the Courthouse to near its original beauty. The Courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Buildings and on the State Archeological Site Register.
A statue of Peter Hansborough Bell, the Governor who created Bell County and its namesake, stands on the Southwest corner of the Courthouse square. Governor Bell was a San Jacinto veteran, Mexican War veteran, Texas Ranger, Governor, Congressional Representative, and later a Colonel in the Confederacy. The county seat, previously named Nolandsville, was changed to Belton due to a postal problem and is most likely a contraction of Bell and town.

Located at 101 E. Central Avenue, Belton, Texas


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