Texas Hill Country

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For the American Viticultural Area, see Texas Hill Country AVA.
Coordinates: 30°10′27″N 99°03′55″W / 30.17417°N 99.06528°W / 30.17417; -99.06528
Texas Hill Country
Region
Texas Hill Country 187N-2.JPG
Hill Country, Bandera County
Country United States
State Texas
Region Central Texas
Coordinates 30°10′27″N 99°03′55″W / 30.17417°N 99.06528°W / 30.17417; -99.06528
Highest point
 - elevation 750 m (2,461 ft)
Lowest point
 - elevation 300 m (984 ft)
Map of Texas Hill Country
Website: Handbook of Texas: Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country is a twenty-five county region of Central Texas and South Texas featuring karst topography and tall rugged hills consisting of thin layers of soil atop limestone or granite.[1] It also includes the Llano Uplift and the second largest granite dome in the United States, Enchanted Rock. The Hill Country reaches into portions of the two major metropolitan areas, especially in San Antonio's northern suburbs and the western half of Travis County, ending west of Downtown Austin. The region is the eastern portion of the Edwards Plateau and is bound by the Balcones Fault on the east and the Llano Uplift to the west and north. The terrain is punctuated by a large number of limestone or granite rocks and boulders and a thin layer of topsoil, which makes the region very dry and prone to flash flooding. The Texas Hill Country is also home to several native types of vegetation, such as various yucca, prickly pear cactus, cedar scrub, and the dry Southwestern tree known as the Texas live oak.[2]

Several cities were settled at the base of the Balcones Escarpment, including Austin, San Marcos, and New Braunfels, as a result of springs discharging water stored in the Edwards Aquifer.

Counties included[edit]

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the following 25 counties comprise the Texas Hill Country:[3]

Natural features[edit]

Because of its karst topography, the area also features a number of caverns, such as Inner Space Caverns, Natural Bridge Caverns, Bracken Cave, Longhorn Cavern State Park, Cascade Caverns, Caverns of Sonora and Cave Without a Name. The deeper caverns of the area form several aquifers which serve as a source of drinking water for the residents of the area. Wonder Cave in San Marcos was formed by an earthquake along the Balcones Fault.

Several tributaries of the Colorado River of Texas — including the Llano and Pedernales rivers, which cross the region west to east and join the Colorado as it cuts across the region to the southeast – drain a large portion of the Hill Country. The Guadalupe, San Antonio, Frio, Medina, and Nueces rivers originate in the Hill Country.

This region is a dividing line for certain species occurrence. For example, the California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) is the only species of palm tree that is native to the continental United States west of the Hill Country's Balcones Fault.[4]

The region has hot summers, particularly in July and August, and even the nighttime temperatures remain high, as the elevation is modest despite the hilly terrain. Winter temperatures are sometimes[specify] as much as ten degrees cooler than in other parts of Texas to the east.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

The area is also unique for its fusion of Spanish and Central European (German, Swiss, Austrian, Polish, and Czech) influences in food, beer, architecture, and music that form a distinctively "Texan" culture separate from the state's Southern and Southwestern influences.[1] For example, the accordion was popularized in Tejano music in the 19th century due to cultural exposure to German settlers.

Devil's Backbone appeared in a 1996 episode of NBC's Robert Stack anthology series, Unsolved Mysteries, featuring ghosts of Spanish monks, Comanche and Apache Native American tribes, Confederate soldiers on their horses, and a wolf spirit.

In recent years, the region has emerged as the center of the Texas wine industry.[citation needed] Three American Viticultural Areas are located in the areas: Texas Hill Country AVA, Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country AVA, and Bell Mountain AVA.

The Hill Country is also known for its tourism. In 2008, The New York Times listed the Hill Country in an article about North American vacation destinations.[5] Hill Country has also made Texas second to Florida as the most popular retirement destination in the United States. The region has attracted Baby Boomers as they near retirement age.[6]

Frederick Day, a demographer with Texas State University, said that the Hill Country life-style reminds one of the small towns of the recent past. "Like old America . . . [the] cost of living is pretty low. To people who have spent their work life in Houston or Dallas, the Hill Country is very attractive."[6]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jordan, Terry G. "Hill Country". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  2. ^ Lehman, Roy L.; Ruth O'Brien; Tammy White (2005). Plants of the Texas Coastal Bend. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-58544-408-3. 
  3. ^ Texas Parks and Wildlife. "Hill Country Wildlife Management". Land & Water: Habitats. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2009-01-05). Nicklas Stromberg, ed. "California Fan Palm: Washingtonia filifera". GlobalTwitcher.com. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  5. ^ "31 Places to Go This Summer". New York Times. 1 June 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Bobbi Gage, "Baby boomers being drawn to Hill Country", Llano County Journal, July 2, 2008, pp. 1, 7A
  7. ^ Patterson, Becky Crouch. "Crouch, John Russell (Hondo)". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "History of Luckenbach". Luckenbach, Texas. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Koock, Guich Bio". IMDb. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  10. ^ Hallowell, John. "Guich Koock". Texas Hill Country Magazine (Fall 2009). 
  11. ^ Schellenberg, Cynthia. "Nichols, James Wilson". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  12. ^ a b McKeehan, Wallace L. "The Battle of Salado The Journal of James Wilson Nichols 1820–1887". Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Watkins, Melanie. "Petsch, Alfred PC". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  14. ^ de la Teja, Jesús F. "Seguin, Juan Nepomuceno". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "Col. Juan N. Seguin". Seguin Descendants Historical Preservation. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  16. ^ Wolz, Larry. "Van Der Stucken, Frank Valentine". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 

External links[edit]