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. It is the current home to over 3,500 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.

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 about 25 miles southeast of Ballinger on FM 1929, east of US Highway 83. Ballinger is proud of her beautiful, well-kept City Park, a 20-acre, tree-shaded spot that is located along Elm Creek. The park features an extra large public swimming pool, outstanding playground equipment, picnic area with outdoor cooking facilities, disc golf course and RV hookups. Ballinger has two "City Lakes" with recreational areas, RV hookups, and some of the best fishing in Texas.

Proudly the home to a surviving Carnegie Library, the likes of which rivals its namesake's 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 city's 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).

Yet William Pitt Ballinger never visited the town named after him.

The City of Ballinger was established in 1886, and Mr. Ballinger died in 1888 at the age of 63.

William Pitt Ballinger's Law Office in Galveston, Texas is now known as "The Cradle," where the idea for the Daughters Of The Republic Of Texas Organization was formulated by MIss Ballinger and her first cousin, Hally Bryan Perry.

Source: Daughters Of The Republic Of Texas Information.

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

Book review by David S. Pettus

"Moretta has illuminated an obscure but important 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."