Belton, Texas

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Belton, Texas
City
Downtown Belton near Bell County Courthouse
Downtown Belton near Bell County Courthouse
Flag of Belton, Texas
Flag
Official seal of Belton, Texas
Seal
Nickname(s): Beltown
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Location of Belton, Texas
Belton, Texas is located in Texas
Belton, Texas
Belton, Texas
Belton, Texas is located in the US
Belton, Texas
Belton, Texas
Belton, Texas is located in North America
Belton, Texas
Belton, Texas
Location in Texas, United States & North America
Coordinates: 31°3′32″N 97°27′48″W / 31.05889°N 97.46333°W / 31.05889; -97.46333Coordinates: 31°3′32″N 97°27′48″W / 31.05889°N 97.46333°W / 31.05889; -97.46333
Country United States
State Texas
County Bell
Established 1850
Named for Peyton Mansell
Area
 • Total 20.0 sq mi (51.7 km2)
 • Land 18.9 sq mi (49.0 km2)
 • Water 1.0 sq mi (2.6 km2)
Elevation 509 ft (155 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 18,216
 • Density 910/sq mi (350/km2)
 • Demonym Beltonian
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 76513
Area code(s) 254
FIPS code 48-07492[1]
GNIS feature ID 1351858[2]
Interstates I-35 (TX).svgI-14 (TX).svg
Website www.beltontexas.gov

Belton is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, within the Killeen-Temple metropolitan area. The city is on the Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and Waco and is the seat of Bell County.The population was 20,547 in 2015 according to a US Census Estimate.[3] As of 2015 the metro region had a population of 450,051.[4]

History[edit]

Belton c. 1881

Belton and Bell County have been the site of human habitation since at least 6000 BC. Evidence of early inhabitants, including campsites, kitchen middens and burial mounds from the late prehistoric era have been discovered in the Stillhouse Hollow Lake and Belton Lake areas. The earliest inhabitants were the Tonkawa, who traditionally followed buffalo by foot. Belton was also home to the Lipan Apache, Wacos, Nadaco, Kiowas and Comanche. By the 1840's most tribes had been pushed out by settlements, but skirmishes with the Commanches existed until the early 1870's. [5]

Belton was first settled 1850 and named Nolanville, taking the name of nearby Nolan Springs which were named for Texan explorer Philip Nolan. In 1851 it changed its name to Belton after being named the county seat of newly created Bell County named after Texas' governor, Peter Hansborough Bell. In 1860 the population was 300, the largest in the county. During the run up to the civil war, Belton had a large pro-Union minority. A Whig Party paper and anti-succession paper called "The Independent" was published there and the city voted overwhelmingly for Sam Houston for governor, who was strongly against Texas Succession.[6] Nonetheless, in 1861 Bell County voted for succession and many residents fought in the Confederate Army. After the civil war, Belton experienced unrest. Several pro-union sympathizers were lynched in 1866 and Federal troops were called in to protect the Federal Judge serving in the city. After reconstruction, the city, close to a major feeder of the Chisholm Trail, served as growing business center for the region.

In 1868, Martha McWhirter, a prominent figure in Belton's non-sectarian Union Sunday School, created the only Texas women's commune of the 1800s. The commune started several business ventures including a successful hotel. In 1899 the group sold their holdings and relocated to Maryland.[7] The town experienced rapid growth in the 1880's with the building of the courthouse, Baylor Female College buildings, and a "railroad war" in which, by 1881, Belton was bypassed by the railroad which built Temple as the local junction and depot town. In 1904 the town reported a population of 3,700. The town began to thrive and reached a population of 6,500 in 1928. However the town was decimated by the Great Depression and was down to a population of 3,779 only three years later in 1931.[8]

The town began to recover in the run up to World War II as Fort Hood was opened nearby in 1942. Encompassing over 200,000 acres and almost 90,000 troops, this brought a large population and a lot of economic activity to the area. By 1950 the city's population was back up to 6,246 and by 1990 had reached 12,476. [9]

Geography[edit]

Belton Lake

Belton is located near the center of Bell County at 31°3′32″N 97°27′48″W / 31.05889°N 97.46333°W / 31.05889; -97.46333 (31.058904, -97.463382).[10] It is bordered to the northeast by the Leon River, across which is the city of Temple. Nolan Creek, a tributary of the Leon, runs through the center of Belton. The city limits extend south along Interstate 35 across the Lampasas River nearly to Salado.

By Interstate 35 it is 42 miles (68 km) north to Waco and 60 miles (97 km) south to Austin. Interstate 14/U.S. Route 190 leads west from Belton 16 miles (26 km) to Killeen.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.0 square miles (51.7 km2), of which 18.9 square miles (49.0 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), or 5.08%, is water.[11]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 281
1880 1,797 539.5%
1890 3,000 66.9%
1900 3,700 23.3%
1910 4,164 12.5%
1920 5,098 22.4%
1930 3,779 −25.9%
1940 3,572 −5.5%
1950 6,246 74.9%
1960 8,163 30.7%
1970 8,696 6.5%
1980 10,660 22.6%
1990 12,476 17.0%
2000 14,623 17.2%
2010 18,216 24.6%
Est. 2016 20,873 [12] 14.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 14,623 people, 4,742 households, and 3,319 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,171.3 people per square mile (452.4/km²). There were 5,089 housing units at an average density of 407.6 per square mile (157.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 72.67% White, 8.10% African American, 0.64% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 14.83% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25.13% of the population.

There were 4,742 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 18.4% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,052, and the median income for a family was $38,635. Males had a median income of $31,304 versus $20,678 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,345. About 12.7% of families and 17.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Belton is served by the Belton Independent School District. The school district operates two high schools, three middle schools and nine elementary schools. The district and all of its campuses received the Texas Education Agency’s highest accountability rating (met standard) based on student performance on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness. Both Belton High School & Belton New Tech High School have been included on lists of the nation’s best high schools compiled by US News & World Report and Newsweek. Belton New Tech High School and South Belton Middle School have been recognized as Apple Distinguished Schools for their implementation of the district’s digital learning initiative. The mascot for Belton ISD is the Tiger.[14]

Belton is home to the University of Mary Hardin–Baylor. Founded in 1845 its is a private Christian university affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.[15][16] Awarding degrees at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral levels it has an enrollment of 3,898.[17]

Parks and recreation[edit]

For recreation, Belton has two major lakes: Belton Lake on the Leon River, and Stillhouse Hollow Lake on the Lampasas River. Belton Lake has 11 public access parks owned and maintained by the US United States Army Corps of Engineers. Stillhouse Lake has four with lake access. These parks offer many amenities such as boat docks, picnic areas, hike and bike trails, camping sites, public restroom facilities, marinas and designated sandy swimming beaches.[18]

There is also a water park, Summer Fun Water Park.

Notable people[edit]

Downtown Belton near Nolan Creek at night
  • Running Back for the New Orleans Saints of the NFL Khiry Robinson is from Belton.
  • Musician Danny Barnes is from Belton.
  • Actor George Eads grew up in Belton. He graduated from Belton High School in 1985.
  • Historian and rancher J. Evetts Haley was born in Belton and is buried beside his first wife, Nita Stewart Haley, in the Moffat Cemetery. He spent most of his life in Midland and Canyon in West Texas.
  • Musician Chris Marion of the Little River Band was born in Belton in 1962.
  • Commander James T. Melot USN (1913-1988) was born and raised in Belton, graduating from Belton HS and the University of Texas. He served honorably in the US Navy before, during and after WWII. He settled in Brooklyn, New York, with wife Doris (1921-1999) and two children.
  • Bass player Pat Seals from the alternative rock band Flyleaf is from Belton.
  • Physician W. Roy Smythe, the global Chief Medical Officer for Heallthcare Informatics for Philips, grew up in Belton, and graduated from Belton High School in 1978.
  • General Walton Walker, the 8th Army Commander killed in action in the Korean War, was born in Belton on December 3, 1889.
  • Cody McEntire, professional skateboarder, is from Belton.[19]
  • Henry T. Waskow, the basis of a famous article by Ernie Pyle, was a Belton native.
  • Actor Rudy Youngblood of Mel Gibson's film Apocalypto graduated from Belton High School.
  • Bunny Martin, the Past World Yo-Yo Champion Winner and inventor of the Butterfly Yo-Yo is from Belton.
  • Miriam Amanda Wallace "Ma" Ferguson, the first female Governor of Texas grew up in Belton.
  • George Jo Hennard shouted "This is what Bell County did to me!" immediately before commencing the Luby's shooting.[20][21][22]


Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (CBSA-EST2009-01)". 2009 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2010-03-23. Archived from the original (CSV) on 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  5. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online-Bell County". Retrieved June 27, 2017. 
  6. ^ The Belton Independent
  7. ^ Texas State Historical Association - Belton Woman's Commonwealth
  8. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online". Retrieved June 27, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online". Retrieved June 27, 2017. 
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Belton city, Texas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ Belton ISD
  15. ^ The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
  16. ^ Baptist General Convention of Texas - Supported Universities
  17. ^ [news.umhb.edu/archive/2015?page=1 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor News Article]
  18. ^ Stillhouse Lake Parks
  19. ^ "Cody McEntire Skater Profile". Spot Skate Shop. May 24, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017. 
  20. ^ Times-News, Oct. 17 1991
  21. ^ Seattle Times, Oct 17 1991
  22. ^ Catholic Online, Nov. 6 2009

External links[edit]