The Time Before Leander
The area we now know as Leander was home to several Native American nations prior to Anglo settlement, including the Tonkawa and Lipan Apache Nations, with the Comanche Nation moving into the area later. The region next fell under the jurisdiction of the Spanish and then Mexico, though Native Americans were still in control. Several settler families arrived throughout the 1840s and Tumlinson Fort was constructed for their protection at the present site of the Blockhouse Creek neighborhood.
Leander is Founded, 1882
Prior to being Leander, the town was located one mile west and was officially named Bagdad in 1855. The town was named after an early settler's hometown, Bagdad, Tennessee. In 1881 the Austin and Northwest Railroad began construction of a new rail line that would connect Austin to Abilene. The line appeared as though it would pass right through the town of Bagdad, but the town was bypassed when the rail line was built one mile to the east. Many of the businesses and residents of Bagdad moved to be near the new train station and purchased lots from the Austin and Northwest Railroad. This town would be called Leander, named after railroad company official and former Austin mayor the Honorable Leander Brown.
The City of Leander created the Leander Historical Preservation Commission in 2017 to preserve and share our history. The LHPC is working hard to add more information about our town's prehistory and history. Check back here often to see what we've added, follow us on Facebook, or check out one of our book recommendations to learn more.
The following titles are available in Leander Public Library located at 1011 S Bagdad Road:
- Historical Leander, Texas by Karen R. Thompson and Kathy R. Howell, Donning Publishers, 2019
- Historic Williamson County: An Illustrated History by John H. Leffler, Historical Publishing Network, 2000
- Land of Good Water by Clara Sterns Scarbrough, Williamson County Sunday Publishers, 1973