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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Preserve America Community:
Bastrop, Texas

Bastrop (population 5,340) is the second oldest Anglo town in Texas. Located along the Spanish El Camino Real, or King's Highway, the area was first settled in the 1820s, and the community was platted in 1832.

Bastrop was a cradle for rebellion against Mexican rule, and a number of its inhabitants fought for Texas independence. With the creation of the Republic of Texas, Bastrop became the county seat of Bastrop County. During the 19th century, the community prospered with an economy based largely on cotton framing and timber harvesting, and, in the 20th century, lignite extraction became the principal industry.

Today, Bastrop is experiencing a new surge in growth because of its proximity to Austin and the new Austin Bergstrom International Airport. However, it has retained much of its historic character, and recently earned the title "Most Historic Small Town in Texas" from a national research group. More than 130 properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of a Multiple Resource Area.

The city is currently working with the Bastrop County Historical Society to help preserve the Fairview Cemetery, which dates to the 1830s. A new memorial/information center is proposed, and interpretive signage about early settlers that are buried in the cemetery has been installed.

Another ongoing preservation project is restoration of the Kerr Community Center (1914), traditionally a hub of the Bastrop African American community.

For more information

City of Bastrop: www.cityofbastrop.org

Bastrop Chamber of Commerce: www.bastropchamber.com

National Register Travel Itinerary: www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/tx

Posted May 13, 2009

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