|Nickname(s): Windmill City|
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Location of Goldthwaite, Texas
Goldthwaite (established 1885) is a small city located in Mills County inCentral Texas. The population was 1,878 at the 2010 census. It is thecounty seat of Mills County, which is named for John T. Mills, a justice of the Supreme Court for the Third, Seventh, and Eighth districts of the formerRepublic of Texas. Goldthwaite is located in the western portion of theTexas Hill Country. The elevation is 1,580 feet. Goldthwaite is situated at theintersections of U.S. Highways 84 and 183, Texas State Highway 16, and Texas Farm-to-Market Roads 572 and 574.
Goldthwaite was originally a part of the southern portion of Brown County. Like many other Texas communities, Goldthwaite was named for a railroadofficial, Joe C. Goldthwaite of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, who conducted the auction of town lots. The post office opened in 1886. After Mills County was organized, several landowners donated property with the assurance that Goldthwaite would become the county seat. The first county jail was built in 1888, and the courthouse was completed in 1890.
The Santa Fe Railroad constructed shops and a roundhouse switch. Goldthwaite was scheduled to have become a division point until laborproblems compelled the railroad to relocate the shops to Brownwood, the seat of Brown County, to the north. Even without the railroad, Goldthwaite progressed. By 1898, it had a population of 1,200, three churches, a bank, a number of hotels and boardinghouses, two cotton gins, two gristmills, bothpublic and private schools businesses, and two competing weekly newspapers, the Goldthwaite Eagle and the Goldthwaite Mountaineer. A meeting in 1905 of the Confederate Reunion, a major annual social event, remains the largest public gathering in the history of Mills County. There is a large Confederate monument on the front lawn of the courthouse in Goldthwaite.
A fire in 1912 destroyed the wooden courthouse, and it was superseded in 1913 by a brick structure designed in classical revival style by the architectHenry T. Phelps. The courthouse is shaded by several large trees.The first school library was established in 1915, the same year that work began on Lake Merritt, some seven miles from Goldthwaite. By 1928, Goldthwaite had 2,800 residents and 95 businesses. The population fell to 1,324 by 1931 because of drought and the Great Depression. The number of businesses dipped to fifty-five by 1933. After the depression years, Goldthwaite recovered only modestly though agricultural diversificationbrought renewed prosperity.
Goldthwaite is a trade center for farm equipment and such agricultural products as mohair, wool, fruits, cattle, turkeys, andpecans. Herds of mohair-producing goats are raised in the general area about Goldthwaite. In the fall and winter, the area is popular with hunters seeking white-tailed deer. The city lies on United States Highway 183, a segment of the Ports-to-Plains Highway which connects the Texas heartland with the Texas Gulf Coast. Goldthwaite City Park, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 183 and Texas Highway 16, offers swimming, picnicking, and playgroundequipment. The nine-hole municipal golf course is open year-round. Goldthwaite has two museums: (1) Mills County Museum, which contains replicas of pioneer rooms and hosts a chili supper in mid-November, and (2) the Old Jail Museum at courthouse square, which is included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Goldthwaite is known for its Christmas celebration from November through December. There are lighting displays and holiday fare in the specialty shops. Goldthwaite holds an annual "Parade of Lights" on the first Saturday in December.
Goldthwaite is served by a 3200x60' unlighted asphalt airport (T37) located on Hwy 16 approximately 2 miles south of the city.
Approximately twenty miles west of Goldthwaite is Regency Suspension Bridge atop the Colorado River of Texas, which divides Mills County from San Saba County. Regency is one of the few swinging bridges still in use in Texas. It is featured onBob Phillips's weekly syndicated television series Texas Country Reporter. The bridge is reached by a gravel road of some eight miles accessed from Texas Farm-to-Market Road 574.