City Profile

History of Ballinger, Texas

Ballinger was incorporated in 1886, laying nestled along the Colorado River and Elm Creek in the heart of West Central Texas.  The current home to over 4,000 friendly people, with beautifully restored historical sites and homes speckled throughout the city.

While Wingate, named after Ballinger attorney W. J. Wingate, was the original County Seat of Runnels County, in 1886 the County officially moved itself to the present seat in Ballinger.

City Hall - Santa Fe Depot

City Hall – Santa Fe Depot

Ballinger is the perfect “host” city for the 25,000 surface acre O.H. Ivie Reservoir. Lake Ivie is only 20 miles southeast of Ballinger on FM 1929, east of Hwy 83. Ballinger is proud of her beautiful, well kept 20 acre, tree shaded City Park that is located along historical Elm Creek. The park features an extra large public swimming pool, outstanding playground equipment, picnic area with outdoor cooking facilities, hiking and bike trails and R.V. hookups. Ballinger has two “City Lakes” with recreational areas, R.V. hookups, and some of the best fishing in Texas.

Proudly the home to a surviving Carnegie Library, the likes of which rivals its namesakes other statuesque features across the country like Carnegie Hall, the facility stands today preserved to the design of Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic vision.  Host to the Cities library with daily operations, a functioning performing stage and theater, and host to children and adult programs driven by a dedicated panel of directors and employees.  The Carnegie is a must-stop for aficionados of architecture and literature while visiting Ballinger.

Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library

The festival features the Colorado River Bike Fest, a large parade, “ethnic food” booths, handmade arts and crafts displayed by approximately 100 different artists, live entertainment, a huge dance with a popular band on Saturday night…All this, plus the friendliest people you’ll ever meet is just a few of the many reasons Ballinger is called “The Greatest Little Town in Texas.”

Ballinger also boasts an incredible school system. The school district has a long tradition of achievements in sports, academic UIL, band awards, and high academic success of its students. Students are encouraged to set and achieve high goals as shown through their TAAS scores, the number of college graduates and accomplishments at UIL meets. Ballinger schools were named Exemplary for 2001 by the Texas Education Agency. To read more about our schools, click here.

Origin of the City Name

The Town of Ballinger was established June 29, 1886 by the Santa Fe Railroad. It was named for William Pitt Ballinger, an attorney for the Santa Fe Railroad. For some history about this Ballinger family see “The Handbook Of Texas Online”, article for Betty Eve Ballinger (1854-1936).

William Pitt Ballinger’s Law Office in Galveston, Texas is now known as “The Cradle”, where the Daughters Of The Republic Of Texas Organization was formulated.
Source: Daughters Of The Republic Of Texas Information.

“The Cradle”   This building was originally the law office of William Pitt Ballinger, father of co-founder Betty Ballinger. Now known as the Cradle, it is cherished by the Daughters as the place where Miss Ballinger and her first cousin Hally Bryan Perry formulated the idea for their new organization (Daughters Of The Republic Of Texas). The Cradle has recently been restored to reflect the original furnishings of the late 1800s. “

The Cradle, Location: 2903 Ave. O 1/2, Galveston
Hours: By Appointment , Admission: None-Donations accepted
Address: P.O. Box 3537, Galveston, TX77552

William Pitt Ballinger never visited Ballinger Texas.
The City of Ballinger was established in 1886 and Mr. Ballinger died in 1888 at the age of 63.

William Pitt Ballinger: Texas Lawyer, Southern Statesman, 1825 – 1888

by John Moretta
Hardcover: 400 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.26 x 9.30 x 6.27
Publisher: Texas State Historical Assn; (May 2000)
ISBN: 0876111770

Book Review By: David S. Pettus   
Moretta has illuminated and obscure but imporant figure in Texas history. William Pitt Ballinger Was one of the most active and important men in Texas legal circles in the mid-nineteenth century. He left a very significant body of papers both personal and legal which are housed in three archives in Galveston, Houston and Austin, Texas. Ballinger practiced a wide range of law but was best known for his Supreme Count appeals in both the Texas and United States Supreme Courts and for representing railroads. Ballinger was widely respected which led him to be designated as the man to obtain pardons for Confederate officials and soldiers after the Civil War. His life and papers deserve more attention. Moretta has brought Ballinger to light after too many years of obscurity. A very important book in Texas legal and business history.

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