Marble Falls Began with Adam Rankin Johnson

As a young man, Adam Rankin Johnson traveled through this treacherous Central Texas territory, working as a surveyor and transporting goods to isolated supply stations in the 1850's. In 1854, Johnson rode down the Colorado River from Fort Mason to see the "great falls," now covered by Lake Marble Falls, and visualized a great manufacturing city powered by the falls. He acquired land certificates for the area and was ready to settle here in 1861, when he discovered the certificates were worthless.

Instead, Adam Rankin Johnson settled with his wife Josephine in Burnet and soon joined the Confederate army. Attaining the rank of General, Adam made quite a name for himself, but was blinded by a rifle ball. He was released after being held captive by the Union army for six months and sent home to Burnet where he spent the next thirteen years working at a land office. Adam Rankin Johnson relied on his superb memory to direct his young son how to drive him through the territory in search of land deals.

Finally in 1887, lots went on sale ranging from $75 to $750 and soon became a thriving cotton center, to be known as "The Blindman's Town." Liberty Hall was built, facing south with a view of the falls. From this vantage point, his wife and children could give the General Adam Rankin Johnson day by day reports as his dream took shape.

More pages in history were written when Orphelia "Birdie" Harwood and her husband Dr. George Harwood purchased, Adam Rankin Johnson's Home Liberty Hall in 1919. In 1917, Birdie Harwood, elected by an all male voting population, had become the first woman in Texas and the United States to serve as Mayor of a community. Birdie once loaned a young teacher Dr. Harwood's microscope for use in his sixth grade class.
This young man became The President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Liberty Hall is a great part of American history that Bill, Eunice, and their son Wilburn Wall, have lovingly preserved since acquiring Liberty Hall in 1946. Liberty Hall, located at 119 Avenue G, now offers professional office spaces, and is a property of John and Belinda Kemper (830-693-2444).

Decades of Time

1887 - Adam Rankin Johnson fulfills his vision of a town at the "Great Falls." (July 7th)

- First telephone.

- "Free" public school began in the Granite Building.

- First woman mayor in the United States, "Birdie" Harwood.

- City block of main street burned.

1929 - The Bluebonnet Cafe opened.

- Buchanan Dam was built.

- Public library opened.

1949-50 - Wirtz dam was built.

1951 - Starcke dam was built.

- First street signs.

- Old factory burned.

- Home mail service began and Horseshoe Bay opened.

- New high school built.

- The Internet is established in Marble Falls.

- Rebuilt Wirtz Dam and Starcke Dam.

See a map of where Adam Rankin Johnson started his town.