The History of Kerrville
Originally called “Brownsborough” in 1844 after founding settler Joshua Brown, Kerrville was a cypress shingle manufacturing town. After some town growth, Brown asked that the name be changed to Kerrsville in honor of his friend, and fallen soldier of the Texas revolution, Major James Kerr. The “s” was eventually dropped when the town became the county seat.
The town continued to grow and by 1857 boasted a grist and saw mill, as well as mercantile and freighting enterprises owned by the empire of the Charles Schreiner family. With the boom in the Texas wool industry, the Schriener family had elevated Kerrville to a prominent town by adopting and implementing a system of wool warehousing.
After the Civil War, the town continued to prosper, seeing financial gain as successful sheep, cattle, and goat ranches where established in the area. By the 1880’s and 1890’s Kerrville’s economy boomed, largely due to cattle drives.
With a booming economy and growing population, it became necessary to develop utilities for the town. The Kerrville Water Works Company opened in 1894, followed by telephone service in 1896. Shortly after, in 1912, roads began to be paved.
Though many cities were devastated by the Great Depression, Kerrville fared far better than most. The town remained wealthy and diversified, economically surpassing many of its neighbors. Quickly, it became a banking, transportation, and medical center for the western Hill Country. In 1946, Mooney Aviation Company moved to Kerrville, producing airplanes, and thus financial gain, for the U.S. and Kerrville.
Although it could have likely been a city of pretentious residents, the common post-war slogan “living city but thinking and singing country" attracted a new generation of inhabitants.
To this day, Kerrville has displayed steady growth, with an economic base that has been diversified and broadened through business, agriculture, light manufacturing, health care, and education.