Families of foxes and armadillos sometimes dart across Patty Schneider Pfister’s backyard.
Llano, Texas—population 3,232—is not quite the frontier wilderness German immigrants faced when they first settled in the region beginning in 1847.
Patty lives five blocks from Llano’s Courthouse Square, where the identities of some cattle thieves rampant in the region’s Hoo Doo War got extinguished in flames when the courthouse burned down in 1892.
The Germans, encouraged by the Adelsverein to settle in Texas starting in 1844, began flourishing as stock raisers on the society’s Fisher-Miller Grant. Yet their clashes with American cattle rustlers came to a head in August 1874, when Sheriff John Clark and his mostly German stockman posse arrested M.B. Thomas for illegally gathering cattle. That launched the Hoo Doo War, with ramifications that struck the streets of Llano during the Carter-Coggin shoot-out in June 1882.
Llano County found one of its first settlers in Patty’s great-great-grandfather, Ludwig Schneider, who emigrated here from Germany at the tail end of the Texas Republic. In 1847, he built the first known home in the county, a log cabin that still overlooks the Llano River today.
Maverickers have long ago left the streets of Llano. You will now find them filled with locals who wear their jeans, boots and cowboy hats everyday, everywhere. As one newcomer told Patty, “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fit in, because I don’t drive a pickup around town with a dog or two balancing or hanging out the back.”
Put your dog in the truck bed and check out these places where Llano’s residents love to “shoot the breeze.”
Good Cowboy Bar: Joe’s Bar, Granite O Bar and the Castell General Store are the best cowboy bars for miles around. But folks, you better wear your high top boots, because it sure does get deep sometimes!
Home Tunes: You’ll find W.C. Jameson singing at the Fuel Coffee House and Bode Barker crooning at the Llano County Opry and local dances. Llano native Darrell Steadtler performs locally too; he wrote the George Strait song “A Fire I Can’t Put Out.”
Best Bookstore: Bessemer Store, housing 15,000 used books. The outside mural by Virginia Schwope tracks the building’s history back to 1892.
Hunting Season: Come November, deer hunters feel like they’ve hit the jackpot, as the highest concentration of white-tail deer is found in Llano Basin.
Historic Site Most Schoolchildren Visit: A monument to the lawlessness of 1895 Llano, the four-story Llano County Red Top Jail is visited by third-grade students each year.
Do-Not-Miss Attraction: For interesting photographs, documents and artifacts relating the history of Llano County, head to the Llano County Historical Museum. Louis H. Bruhl originally built it as a drugstore in 1900.
Who knows Llano’s History best? Main Street Director Sarah Oatman Franklin. Her ancestors help founded Llano, and her grandfather wrote several history books about the town.
Avg. House Cost: $90,000.
Avg. Temps: Summer: 94-70; Fall: 80-54; Winter: 62-34; Spring: 79-53.
Preservation Project: The Ludwig Schneider log cabin is currently being reviewed for restoration; the Llano County Historical Commission is seeking out funds for structural repairs.
Special thanks to Patty Schneider Pfister, a board member of the Proposed Historic Preservation Ordinance Committee, for sharing her love of the town with us.