About Wimberley


Wimberley sits in the heart of the Texas Hill Country which rests on the Llano Uplift consisting of Precambrian rocks ranging from 1.2 to 1.4 billion years old. The Llano Uplift is a geodesic dome primarily composed of igneous and metamorphic rock which, rather having then being lifted, was actually exposed when the softer surrounding rocks (Paleozoic and Cretaceous strata) eroded. Within and around the Llano Uplift are more than 2,000 feet of limestone, sandstone and dolomites that preserve fossils dating to the Cambrian period (538-485 million years ago). Read more about the Texas Hill Country’s Caves and Caverns created because of the preponderance of soft limestone.

About 100 million years ago the area (and much of the central US) was coverd by water from the subduction of the west coast of the Americas during the early growth of the Rocky Mountains. For nearly 40 million years the Western Interior Seaway connected what is today the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean and the warm shallow sea was home to abundant marine life.

About the time the Western Interior Seaway was subsiding due to continued work of Laramid uplift, the area was overrun by a tsunami created by the impact of a massive asteroid in what is now the Gulf of Mexico. The impact ultimately resulted in the extinction of the dinosaur as well as most land animals. Read more about dinosaur in the Texas Hill Country.

Human History

Humans arrived in central Texas at least 15,500 years as evidenced by archaeological finds near Salado in the Buttermilk Creek complex and the Gault Site showing evidence of almost continuous human occupation starting at least 16,000 years ago.

The first written history of Wimberley came in the 1800s. After Texas received statehood in 1845, the population of Central Texas began to grow because of its many springs, its beauty, and its availability. Many of the earliest settlers came as veterans of the Battle of San Jacinto armed with land grants. San Marcos, just 15 miles away claimed 400 citizens by 1846, and Wimberley, a small community of hardy pioneers, bore the name Glendale.

It was into this area that William C. Winters, a San Jacinto veteran, settled his family in the early 1850s. Winters built a sawmill powered by Cypress Creek and later added a grist mill. The two mills served the community for miles around, with Glendale becoming known as Winters’ Mill.

Winters’ Mill lay in a secluded, but not isolated, valley. When the Civil War raged through the South, the community contributed to the Confederate effort by making charcoal on the banks of the Blanco and hauling tons of bat guano from local caves and packing it, along with the charcoal, on mules to Austin. Sodium nitrate, extracted from the guano, was mixed with other ingredients to make gunpowder for the Confederate Army.

Winters died in 1864, and his mill complex was passed down to John Cude, his son-in-law. Cude rebuilt the mill which had been flood damaged, and the settlement became known as Cude’s Mill.

In the 1870s, Pleasant Wimberley moved with his family from Blanco County to Cude’s Mill. “Old Man Pleas” as he was called, was a generous man, and was described as one of Wimberley’s first nonprofit organizations as he chose to ignore when some of the poor helped themselves to the mill’s toll box. He also contributed to the community’s schools and churches.

When Wimberley bought the mill from Cude, the town changed its name again to Wimberley’s Mill. In 1880, the postmaster submitted the name “Wimberleyville” to the burgeoning US Postal Service, which dropped the “ville” from the name, and the town became Wimberley.

Historic Sites

Many of the old structures associated with Wimberley’s history still exist or are fondly remembered:

Winters-Wimberley House

William Carvin Winters and his wife Lavinia came to Texas from Tennessee in 1834. A veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto, where he was severely wounded, Winters was awarded a land grant for his service in the war. Arriving in Wimberley about 1853, Winters built this limestone dwelling in c. 1856 near his grist mill (see below). One of the first stone houses in the area, the Winters house boasted 18-inch thick limestone walls. After his death in 1864, his daughter Nancy and son-in-law John Cude inherited the mill. In 1874 Pleasant Wimberley paid $8,000 in gold to John Cude for 200 acres, the mill and house. The home is Wimberley’s oldest documented stone house.

14070 Ranch Rd 12
Latitude & Longitude: 29º 59′ 53.052”, -98° 5′ 55.896′

Wimberley-Hughes House

Zachary Taylor “Zach” Wimberley began construction on this house around 1877 for his first wife, Mary Elizabeth Franklin. Built of board-and-batten the home was initially painted pink with red trim—a unique color choice in the late 1800s. Zach and his father, Pleasant, operated the mill on Cypress Creek (see Wimberley Mill) providing lumber, flour, sorghum molasses and cornmeal for local families. On Zach’s death in 1913 his sister Eliza Mary (Wimberley) Hughes moved into the house with her husband Nathan Emery Hughes.

101 River Road (Ozona Bank)
Latitude & Longitude: 29° 59′ 50.9064″, -98° 5′ 56.0616”

John Henry Saunders Store

In 1888 Saunders purchased the frame store on this site from J.P. Laney. He built the present building in 1890 from stone quarried on the Blanco River. The date of 1890 and the initials “JHS” appear on the left side of the building above the porch roof. The store also housed the post office until the 1930s. The building burned in 1939, but the stone walls remained intact.

John Henry Saunders Homestead

Born in Virginia, John Henry Saunders served in the Confederate Cavalry and migrated to Texas in 1970. This frame house reflects the Greek Revival style used in Texas in the 1870s and is constructed of native Cypress and black walnut. John Henry, his wife Callie and their 13 children lived here until 1907. Saunders served the village as a teacher, postmaster, merchant, county school superintendent, and commissioner. Allen D’Spain and his family later occupied the house. This is the oldest structure on the Wimberley “square”.

105 Old Kyle Rd., Wimberley, TX
Latitude & Longitude: 29° 59′ 48.75136000008″, -98° 5′ 45.75906999996″

D’Spain Building

Allen D’Spain operated a general merchandise business in the Saunders store on the square. The long era of economic development in Wimberley can be credited to D’Spain who inspired investment in Wimberley. Built in the 1920s, this rock structure has received numerous alterations which the careful observer can discern through a study of all four sides of the building.

Julia Ann Ragsdale Home

The widow of Dr. Frederick B. Ragsdale, Julia was an educated woman who taught school in Arkansas before moving to Texas during the Civil War. Her daughter married Light Stapleton Townsend in 1864 and after Mary’s death, Julia Ragsdale moved to Wimberley to raise her four grandchildren. The board-and-batten home on Cypress Creek was constructed in 1879.

Site is on private land

Latitude & Longitude: 30° 0′ 37.90136999988″, -98° 5′ 40.7221999998”

John R. Dobie House

Built about 1892 for Charles and Susannah Cock, this side-gable, center-passage, box frame dwelling was first built as a two pen dog run. Resting on cypress beams the house is sheathed with pine boards and battens and roofed with cedar shingles. Other notable occupants included County Sheriff James Wren, Dr. W.J. Pyland, John R. Dobie, and his son James F. Dobie and wife Daisy. The house was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1990 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

282 Old Kyle Road
Latitude & Longitude: 29° 59′ 49.08216000012″, -98° 5′ 37.17191000004″

Wimberley Mill

The Wimberley Mill was the economic heart of the village. Built about 1848 by William C. Winters the mill created a settlement called Winters’ Mill. After a flood destroyed the original mill about 1856, Winters moved the mill across the creek to higher ground. At Winters’ death in 1864, the mill passed to his son-in-law John Cude (when the settlement became known as Cude’s Mill) and then, in 1874, to Pleasant Wimberley. The successive names of the village are evidence of the vital importance of the mill: Winters’ Mill, Cude’s Mill, Wimberley’s Mill and ultimately, Wimberley. As a grist mill, saw mill and cotton gin, it provided flour, sorghum, cotton, shingles, and lumber for the area. In 1898, the partners in the mill replaced the mill with steam driven equipment to operate a cotton gin. John Will Pyland, the husband of Pleasant’s grand-daughter, became the last millwright in 1907. The mill ceased operation in 1925 and was demolished in the 1930s.

101 River Road (Ozona Bank)
Latitude & Longitude: 29° 59′ 47.34840999984″, -98° 5′ 54.35590999992”

James C. Lane House

James C. Lane (1902-1976), an avid rock collector, designed and built this bungalow in 1934 next to a cafe operated by his wife Rebecca. One of the front rooms became the first telephone switchboard in Wimberley. Typical depression era features include the “crazy work” rock patterns, petrified wood around windows and doors, smooth rocks cut by hand saw in the front arches, and quartz and stalactite in the chimney.

306 Wimberley Square (private residence)
Latitude & Longitude: 29° 59.74′, 98° 5.813′

Pyland Blacksmith Shop

Sidney Pyland accompanied his parents on their journey from Tennessee to Wimberley about 1880. In 1895, Sidney Jordan Pyland (1875-1953) built his blacksmith shop just above Cypress Creek on the Village Square. The blacksmith shop was the hub of business activity on the square. In 1897, Pyland married Nellie Ann Wimberley, daughter of mill owner Zachary Wimberley. In 1910, Sidney Pyland moved the entire blacksmith shop to San Marcos.

The original site is behind Cypress Creek Coffee House
Latitude & Longitude: 29° 59′ 45.70065999996″, -98° 5′ 50.93716999992”

Wimberley Cemetery

In addition to these sites, no history buff should visit Wimberley without a walk through the Wimberley Cemetery. First patented to Amasa Turner in 1847, a log cabin built here served as a church and school with worship services conducted by circuit riders. When 4-year-old Melissa Wimberley, daughter of Pleasant Wimberley (see Wimberley Mill), died in 1876 she was buried on the grounds. Located at the intersection of FM3237 and Old Kyle Road, next to the First Baptist Church, the cemetery contains the gravesites of many of the early Wimberley pioneers including many Civil War veterans.

501 Old Kyle Road
Latitude & Longitude: 29° 59′ 55.07309000004″, -98° 5′ 29.6901799998″