Fentress is an unincorporated community in Caldwell County, Texas, United States. According to the Handbook of Texas, the community had an estimated population of 291 in 2000. It is part of the Austin–Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Fentress is located at State Highway 80 and FM 20 in southwestern Caldwell County, approximately eight miles northwest of Luling and 15 miles southeast of San Marcos. The nearest major city is Austin, located 42 miles to the north(29.7560584, -97.7763901). It is situated at the junction of
A settlement first called Riverside, for its location along the San Marcos River, was founded at the site in 1869. In 1892, the community was renamed Fentress in honor of local doctor and landowner, James Fentress. A post office was established in 1893. By 1896, the population was estimated at 150. The Fentress Waterworks began operating in 1898 and the community had become electrified four years later. Around 1904, a newspaper – the Fentress Indicator, was published. In 1915, the number of residents had grown to 300. That same year, Josh Merritt and his partner C.E. Tolhurst created a resort. It has swimming and camping facilities. The facilities were sold within two years and expanded under the new leadership. Dancing was permitted, which greatly concerned local churches. The population peaked at around 500 during the late 1920s as the economy benefited from local nearby oilfield activity. The Great Depression severely impacted Fentress and the community had lost half of its population by 1940. Soon after, the local school was closed and students were sent to nearby Prairie Lea. Fentress continued to decline during the latter half of the twentieth century. By 1990, there were 85 residents, two businesses, and two churches. The population rose to 291 in 2000.
Although it is unincorporated, Fentress has a post office, with the ZIP code of 78622.
Public education in the community of Fentress is provided by the Prairie Lea Independent School District.