Chappell Hill is situated in the southeast portion of Washington County, which lies halfway between Houston and Austin on US Hwy. 290.
The town of Chappell Hill was founded in 1847 by Mary Hargrove Haller, granddaughter of Robert Wooding Chappell, for whom she named the town. Mary Haller’s husband, Jacob, was the town’s first postmaster. Mary Haller purchased the town site and it was divided into blocks, with streets and alleys laid off in a regular pattern. The sale of lots began in the fall of 1849.
Situated in the heart of Stephen F. Austin’s original colony, the Chappell Hill area had seen earlier efforts at settlement along nearby creeks. In the late 1840s, the town attracted settlers from prominent families of the Old South who were drawn to the fertile land of the Brazos River with its abundant stands of native cedar. The area became an agricultural community with cotton the principal crop.
By the mid-nineteenth century the town gained prominence in the region, boasting sawmills, a railroad line, a Masonic Lodge, five churches, and two institutes of higher learning (the Chappell Hill Female College and Soule University for males founded in 1856).
The Civil War and Reconstruction era brought violent changes to Chappell Hill, as to all the South. But the terrible yellow fever epidemic of 1867 decimated the population to such an extent that the town never fully recovered. Entire families perished, and many others left never to return.
Yet the town has survived and has entered a new era of growth and prosperity, while maintaining its historic charm.
Present-day Chappell Hill is a small Texas town with a colorful history offering visitors year-round hospitality and charm. The town has a delightful combination of restored homes, shops and buildings. Many are found on Main Street, which has been designated as a National Register Historic District.
Renowned for its blooming bluebonnet fields, rolling hills, scenic views, Bluebonnet and Scarecrow Festivals each year, Chappell Hill allows you to step back in time and enjoy a pleasant outing of browsing and strolling along its streets.
Bed and breakfast inns and unique restaurants make it an ideal "get away" any time of year!
Washington County is revered as the home of the "Birthplace of Texas." On March 2, 1836, in the community of Washington-on-the-Brazos, 59 delegates gathered under the direction of Sam Houston and George Childress to draft and sign the Declaration of Texas Independence. Following the receipt of fateful news from the Alamo, these men declared Texas "a free and sovereign nation" and went on to fight at the Battle of San Jacinto. This area is rich with historical sites from the Republic of Texas era.