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The History Of Glen Rose, Texas

Somervell County, once famous for its countless natural springs and flowing wells, was created from about 200-square miles of the southern portion of Hood County.

Formed on March 15, 1875, Somervell County was named in honor of General Alexander Somervell, who fought in the battle of San Jacinto and later served as a Senator in the first Texas Congress. In 1871, T.C. Jordan bought the gristmill on the Paluxy River from the Barnard brothers and purchased other nearby property.

The present town square was founded from this property, with streets and lots being divided. Captivated by the surroundings of huge, lush trees, beautiful flowing twin springs and an abundance of wild roses and ferns, Mrs. Jordan chose the name "Rose Glen" for the new site in honor of her native Scotland. The citizens later voted to call it "Glen Rose".

At that time, Glen Rose was still in Hood County, with Granbury as its county seat. Residents of the southern portion of the county felt Granbury was not centrally located, which led to the forming of Somervell County and the naming of Glen Rose as its county seat in 1876. The newly formed county needed a place to hold court, so it was held in a room of the original Charles Barnard home, located now across the street from the mill. After recovering from financial setbacks, construction of the courthouse began in 1882.

It was a simple, two-story, hip-roofed structure with a cupola-like attachment at the top, and a wooden fence surrounding the lawn. The building was unfortunately devastated by fire in 1893, destroying most county records prior to that date. Adorned with a mansard roof and ornamental cresting, a new two-story stone courthouse with a fireproof vault was erected in the fall of 1893.

The limestone used for construction came from an area near the Paluxy River and was hauled to the site by horse and oxen-drawn wagon. In 1902, the courthouse was again ravaged by nature, this time by a tornado. No attempt was ever made to completely restore the tower from the storm that had destroyed the local newspaper building.In 1963 the historical, architectural and cultural value of the building received Texas Historical Landmark status in the form of a Texas State Historical Medallion. The National Register of Historic Places entered the courthouse and Barnard's Mill into its registry in 1980.

Somervell County government and its one and only town fell on hard times in the years since its formation. With the railroads and industry passing them by, the only viable source of revenue was from agriculture. Tourism flourished but was not a substantial revenue source.

Texas Utilities began the construction of Squaw Creek Reservoir and the Comanche Peak Steam Electric Station in Somervell County in the early 1970s. Representing much needed tax dollars; this was just what the county had wished for. Using the advise of the Texas Historical Commission and the Somervell County Historical Commission, the courthouse was completely renovated and restored, and professionally landscaped.

The building was rededicated on October 31, 1987. The citizens of Glen Rose and Somervell County have indeed shown a quality of character, combining courage and staying power. Glen Rose, population 2,400, is one of the premier locations for living the "Rural American Life Style."

Glen Rose is the Threshold of the infamous "Texas Hill Country." The City of Glen Rose is the only city in Somervell County. Somervell County is the second smallest county in Texas. However, our location is in the Fort Worth metropolitan region that represents a 1.1 million-area population for shopping, services, culture, business and leisure.

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