Smithville. In 1691 missionaries on the expedition of Don Domingo Teran de Los Rios sighted a lagoon which the Indians called Nenocadda. The lagoon, known today as Shipp’s Lake, is on the southern edge of present Smithville. Frederick W. Grasmeyer operated a ferry here on the Colorado River in 1836. Steamboats plied the river from 1845 to about 1865. The village of “Old Smithville” was laid out on 640 acres of land granted to Thomas J. Gazley and Lewis Lomas. The town was located along the Colorado River in the northeast section of present Smithville. There were mercantile stores, dry good shops, and a Masonic lodge. In 1876 the first post office was established with John Pride Jones as postmaster. The Taylor, Bastrop & Houston Railroad, later a part of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas system, arrived in 1887, and the town relocated along the tracks. The legend is that a coin was tossed to decide if the name would be changed to Burlesonville for Murray Burleson, who gave land for the railroad depot. The coin toss resulted in “Smithville” being retained as the name, apparently in honor of pioneer settler William Smith. The town was incorporated in 1895 and T. C. Collins served as the first mayor. – Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1979. Incise in base: Marker Sponsor: Smithville Chamber of Commerce 1977-78. Located at 316 Main St. (in front of City Hall), Smithville.
First Methodist Church of Smithville. Organized in 1888 by the Rev. H. M. Haynie and eight charter members, the Methodist congregation in Smithville met in the local school until a frame sanctuary was completed in 1893. A new brick structure was built in 1912-13. Following damage in a 1922 fire, it was rebuilt and enlarged. Exhibiting influences of the Gothic revival and Romanesque styles of architecture, the building features art glass windows, a zig-zag wall, and truncated tower. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1988. Located at the corner of Olive and 4th St.
First Christian Church of Smithville. Formed in 1896, this congregation worshiped originally at Maney’s Opera House and later shared the Cumberland Presbyterian facility. The Disciples erected this church structure in 1903. Builders were Chester H. Turney, a member of this fellowship, and his brother Major M. Turney, of the Presbyterian congregation. The building has a bell tower above the entrance vestibule. Stained glass transoms decorate the windows. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1979. Located at 4th and Burleson, Smithville.