Presented by Vernagene Mott and Pam Stephenson
Wonder where Pflugerville, Texas was 100 years ago? Take a few minutes to walk back into time and see our community as it was growing.
PFLUGERVILLE, TEXAS Located about fifteen miles north of the Colorado River on the eastern edge of the blackland prairies, Pflugerville was founded in 1860 when William Bohls established a general store and post office in his residence, and named the town in honor of Henry Pfluger. Pfluger first arrived in the area in 1849, leaving his German homeland to escape the Prussian War. He first purchased 160 acres of land two miles east of Austin from John Liese, a brother-in-law who had immigrated before him. In 1853, Henry Pfluger exchanged the land for a larger farm about five miles east of present day Pflugerville. There, the family lived in a five-room log cabin and raised corn, wheat, rye, beans, sweet potatoes, and sugar cane. They also raised cattle, which Henry and his sons drove to market on the Chisholm Trail.
Two additional buildings and a blacksmith shop were added later, but it was not until the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad arrived in 1904 that the town experienced a period of rapid growth. Otto Pfluger, one of Henry Pfluger’s eight sons, built the first gin in 1904, and a second gin was erected in 1909. The town’s prosperity attracted additional business concerns. Otto Pfluger added an ice factory next to his gin, and in 1913, H.H. Pfluger built the Sky Dome Theater, which showed motion pictures to the accompaniment of a player piano, on Friday and Saturday nights. The theater closed in 1928. A weekly newspaper, The Press, was published in Pflugerville from 1907 to 1942.
Residents established a school in 1872 and a Lutheran church in 1875. By the mid-1890's, Pflugerville had a population of 250, and within ten years of the arrival of the railroad, the population had doubled to 500 residents. The Depression halted the community’s growth as citizens moved to larger cities to find work. The population continued to decline after World War II, and by 1949, the number of residents in Pflugerville had fallen to 380.
Pflugerville began to grow slowly again in the 1960’s and was incorporated in 1965. The population rose to 452 by 1968 and to 662 by 1980. The Pflugerville Pflag began publication in 1980. From 1980 through 1988, new development in Pflugerville made it the fastest growing community in the state. After a slight slowdown during the recession of the late 1980’s, the tremendous growth resumed again during the 1990’s, as the population nearly quadrupled in size from 4,444 residents in 1990 to 16,335 in 2000.
PFLUGERVILLE’S COLORED ADDITION In 1910, black workers who worked in the Pflugerville cotton industry and ice factory were not allowed to move into the town. La Rue Noton, a farmer who owned 1,200 acres of land west of Pflugerville, set aside an acre and sold lots to the workers at fifty dollars each. In April 1910, the settlement was placed in the county records as Pflugerville's Colored Addition. The original settlers of the Colored Addition were Pete McDade, George Caldwell, Will Smith, Ned Tyson, Willie Allen, and their families. View the original survey document from 1910.
The community built St. Mary's Baptist Church in 1910 and St. Matthew's Missionary Church in 1920. St. Mary's cemetery was started in the 1920’s for the burial of African and Mexican Americans. The community built an elementary school in 1928, which moved to Pflugerville when the school district desegregated in 1965. In 1959, St. Mary's Church was rebuilt on Farm Road 1825, and in 1973, St. Matthew’s Missionary Church closed.
In 1978, Travis County Commissioners, disturbed that the community's official name continued to reflect its origin under legal segregation, attempted to rename the Addition to Western Addition. However, opposition from the residents kept the County from changing the name.
- "PFLUGERVILLE, TX." The Handbook of TexasOnline.
- "PFLUGERVILLE'S COLORED ADDITION." The Handbook of TexasOnline.
- “PFLUGERVILLE.” Austin Treasures: Online Exhibits from the Austin History Center