Mason is the seat of Mason County, Texas, United States. The town is an agricultural community on Comanche Creek southwest of Mason Mountain, on the Edwards Plateauand part of the Llano Uplift. The population was 2,114 at the 2010 census.
Mason County Courthouse
|Nickname(s): Gem of the Hill Country|
Location of Mason, Texas
Location of the City of Mason
|Coordinates: 30°44′52″N 99°13′55″W|
The first settler is thought to have been William S. Gamel in 1846. The settlement of Mason grew up around Fort Mason which was established by the United States War Department as a front-line defense against Kiowa, Lipan Apache and Comanche, on July 6, 1851. George W. Todd established a Fort Mason post office March 8, 1858, which became consigned to the civilian settlement on June 26, 1858. The protection and commercial possibilities of the fort drew settlers. W. C. Lewis opened a general store that served soldiers and settlers. In 1860, James E. Ranck opened a second store and later became known as "The Father of Mason". He and Ben F. Gooch began leasing 5,000 acres (20 km2) of land to cotton sharecroppers. Mason was elected the county seat in 1861
After the U.S. Civil War, returning Confederate veterans and German ranchers clashed in 1875 over cattle rustling and other crimes. The resulting killings were known as "The HooDoo Wars," In the midst of the war, Loyal Valley home owner Tim Williamson was murdered by a dozen masked vigilantes who accused him of cattle theft. Williamson’s adopted son Texas Ranger Scott Cooley sought revenge. Cooley and his desperadoes, which included Johnny Ringo, created a reign of terror over the area. It was during this episode that Ringo committed his first murder, that of James Cheyney.
The first courthouse and jail were built in 1869 of stone walls lined with post oak timbers. After the Hoo Doo War, a new two-story red sandstone jail was built in 1898 by L.T. Noyes of Houston. Noyes was a contractor with Diebold Safe and Lock Company. A new courthouse was built in 1875, which burned down in 1877 destroying all county records. The 1878 courthouse was destroyed in 1900. The current granite courthouse was erected in 1909 by architect E. H. Hosford & Co. in the Classic Revival style.
On October 3, 1918 October, eighteen months after United States Congress declared war on Germany, the Mason County Council of Defense drew up resolution to abandon the use of the German language in the county. The majority of County residents are of German heritage.
The Broad Street Bridge, a reinforced concrete truss and the only one of its kind in Texas, was built across the Comanche Creek in 1918. The span is 102' long and composed of two 51' spans supported by concrete abutments with a pier at the center. The bridge was slated for replacement by the Texas Department of Transportation, but funding was canceled.